Imagine if you could board a ferry with your vehicle, no matter what the size, and cover over 360 km in less an hour? Difficult to imagine, right? But India’s first of its kind ‘ Ro-Ro ferry ’ service in Gujarat will make this a reality.
Deemed South Asia’s first world-class Ro-Ro ferry service, Phase 1 of the ‘roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro)’ ferry service between Ghogha and Dahej in Gujarat was inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi on Sunday.
Here’s all you need to know about India’s first-of-its-kind ro-ro ferry service:
What is a Ro-ro service?
A ro-ro ferry service refers to vessels used to carry wheeled cargo like cars, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, trailers, and railroad cars, that are driven on (rolled on) and off (rolled off) the ferry on their own wheels or using a platform vehicle.
Gujarat’s Ro-ro ferry service
This ro-ro ferry will have the capacity to carry over 100 vehicles (cars, buses and trucks) and 250 passengers between Ghogha in Bhavnagar district of Saurashtra and Dahej in Bharuch district.
On completion, the ferry service will be extended to locations across the Gulf of Khambat and Gulf of Kutch. Plans to connect Gujarat to Mumbai and other southern states by the ferry link are also under consideration.
The overall project cost of Rs 614 crore has been funded partly by the State Government of Gujarat and the Sagarmala project of the central government, which aims at India’s port development along its 7,500-km long coastline with the international maritime trade.
The centre allocated Rs 117 crore for dredging work (removing sediments and debris from the bottom of the water body) at Ghogha and Dahej.
The Gujarat government body in charge of marine and ports affairs floated tenders for the project as early as 2011, under which the project was constructed and designed by Essar Projects, the EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) arm of the Essar Group.
Advantages of this Ro-Ro Ferry Service
It will reduce the current travel time between Ghogha and Dahej, linking in Saurashtra and South Gujarat, from over eight hours to a flat one hour. Thus reducing the distance between the two ports from over 360 km to 31 km.
Allowing vehicles and passengers on board, the service will not only save time but also save fuel and help decongest roads as more and more people avail of it.
It will boost connectivity and infrastructure in the state of Gujarat and bolster Saurashtra’s economy.
While the service is a common phenomenon and widely used mode of transport in across North America and Europe, its commencement will be a milestone in the transportation of goods and passengers in Gujarat.