Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the Ro-Pax terminal at Hazira and flagged off the Ro-Pax ferry service between Hazira and Ghogha in Gujarat through video conferencing. This marks a big step towards the Prime Minister’s vision of harnessing waterways and integrating them with the economic development of the country.
The move is touted to be a step in the direction of bolstering multimodal connectivity in the state of Gujarat. PM Modi said that about 80,000 passenger trains and 30,000 trucks will be able to take advantage of this new service in a year. He reiterated that everyone will benefit from this project and that business will be boosted and connectivity will become faster.
The Ro-Pax service will reduce fatigue of the truck drivers and enhance their incomes by giving them more opportunity to do extra trips. It will also lead to reduction in CO2 emission by approximately 24 MT per day and net saving of approximately 8653 MT per annum.
The Ro-Pax Terminal at Hazira is of 100 meters length and 40 meters width, with cost implications of approx. Rs. 25 crores. The terminal has wide-ranging facilities including administrative office building, parking area, substation and water tower etc. The Ro-Pax Ferry Vessel ‘Voyage Symphony’ is a three decks vessel with DWT 2500-2700 MT, with a displacement of 12000 to 15000 GT. It has a load capacity of 30 trucks (of 50 MT each) on the main deck, 100 passengers cars on the upper deck and 500 passengers plus 34 crew & hospitality staff on the passenger deck.
The Ro-Pax service will especially be beneficial for the people of Saurashtra and South Gujarat, as the journey is shortened from 10-12 hours to 3-4 hours and that it will work as a Gateway to South Gujarat and Saurashtra region. He said this will save time and expenses will also be reduced. Fruits, vegetables and milk can now easily be transported within the region and will thus have an impact on the livelihood of the people.
The Prime Minister lauded the way Gujarat realised its maritime potential in the last two decades and gave priority to port-led development. He listed the initiatives of the state government in developing the maritime potential of the state like drafting a shipbuilding policy, construction of shipbuilding park and specialised terminals, promotion of vessel traffic management system and ground breaking connectivity project.
During the inauguration ceremony, Prime Minister Modi also announced the renaming of Ministry of Shipping as the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.
The Prime Minister remarked that today, maritime business-related infrastructure and capacity building in Gujarat is in full swing. Many facilities are getting ready in Gujrat like Gujarat Maritime Cluster, Gujarat Maritime University and country’s first CNG Terminal at Bhavnagar. Gujarat maritime cluster ports to be built in GIFT city would be a dedicated system to address Ports to sea-based logistics, he said. Modi said that these clusters would help in strengthening the cooperation between the government, industry and educational institutions and will also help in value addition in this sector.
The Prime Minister said that in the recent past India’s first Chemical Terminal was established in Dahej, India’s first LNG terminal was established, now India’s first CNG terminal is going to be installed at Bhavnagar Port. In addition facilities like Ro-Ro terminal at Bhavnagar port, Liquid cargo terminal and a new container terminal are being prepared. He said with the addition of these new terminals, the capacity of Bhavnagar port will increase manifold.