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Dredging Funds Released for USD8.7 Million Indian Ro-pax Project

Posted on October 24, 2016

By Ramadas Rao, IHS Maritime 360

India’s shipping ministry has released INR585 million (USD8.7 million) for capital dredging works to create ro-pax ferry facilities at Dahej and Gogha in Gujarat on the west coast.

The cash released is the first instalment of government funding for the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) project, which is estimated to cost INR2 billion. The Indian government is providing a supporting grant worth 50% of the project cost under the Sagarmala port-led development programme.

Capital dredging of 3.9 milllion m3for a draft of 5 m is being planned for the project that will connect Saurashtra with South Gujarat (Dahej) in the Gulf of Cambay through the sea route. Travel distance is said to be cut to just 31 km against 231 km by road and time from seven hours to just one hour.

“It is one of the flagship projects under Sagarmala, which aims to increase the share of waterways transportation in modal mix to 10 per cent from present level of 7% by year 2025,” the ministry has said.

The opening up of the route is expected to pave the way for the use of inland waterways through River Narmada for shipping goods from industries located upstream.

Ro-ro vessels will be able to ferry 900 passengers and 100 vehicles in one trip, according to the GMB.

“The project is ideal because it will slash travel time significantly,” Anand Sharma, Director of Mantrana Maritime Advisory, told IHS Fairplay. “The ro-pax service will not only cater to the industrial belt upstream, but if, as per the original plan, the connectivity could be extended to Pipavav (also in Gujarat) and thence to Mumbai, it will facilitate trade further,” he added.

Sagarmala aims to develop 111 inland waterways including the existing five as national waterways, shipping minister Nitin Gadkari said.

Source: IHS

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