Ahmedabad, Feb 24 (Calcutta Tube) The infrastructure to operate a RORO ferry service, expected to come up within the next three years in Gujarat, will be created at a cost of Rs.170 crore (Rs.1.7 billion), an official said Wednesday.
‘Plans are afoot to create the infrastructure for operating the ferry service from Ghogha near Bhavnagar in Saurashtra to Dahej near Bharuch. This will be done at a cost of over Rs.170 crore,’ an official in the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) told IANS.
The RORO (Roll-on/Roll-off) ferries are vessels designed to carry automobiles such as trucks, semi-trailer trucks, trailers and railroad cars that are driven on and off the ship on their own wheels.
The ferry service will operate in the Gulf of Cambay in Gujarat and revolutionise movement of goods and passengers between Saurashtra and Mumbai.
The GMB official said the service would help in cutting the time by more than seven hours. ‘At present it takes about 10 hours by road to cover this distance. By ferry, it would take just about three hours.’
‘The RORO ferry service is expected to be operational by 2012 between Ghogha to Dahej. It will be then extended to a point near Surat in the second phase.’
‘If successful, this service will be extended to Mumbai. It is for all practical purposes a pilot project to encourage coastal shipping on the Gujarat coast,’ the official said.
The ferry service between the two points has been a decades-old demand but did not materialise for a variety of reasons. Rapid industralisation of Saurashtra and Kutch is now expected to make it a highly viable economic preposition.
The model being worked out is that the GMB will create the infrastructure and maintain it while contracting private operators to operate it.