Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s launch of the Ro-Ro Ghogha-Dahej and subsequently Hazira project (in phase-2) marks the beginning of a radical transformation of the transportation and logistics sector in India.
- The logistic costs in India are extremely high and tapping the full potential of waterways will provide a huge impetus to movement of people, goods, commodities and vehicles. By reducing cost and time this will have an immensely beneficial impact on India’s manufacturing and exports.
- Inland waterways provide several advantages over rail and road transportation by virtue of their operational cost effectiveness (60-80% lower per ton-km), lower environmental impact, convenient interoperability and fewer issues in relation to land acquisition and infrastructure development. Currently only 4,500 Km of inland waterways is being commercially utilized and waterways carry less than 1% of domestic cargo in India.
- Out of total stretch of navigable inland waterways in India, nearly 5,200 Km (36%) of major rivers and around 485 Km (3%) of canals are conducive to the movement of mechanized vessels.
- India has nearly 14,500 Km of navigable Inland Waterways and around 7,517 Km of coastline, which on being developed effectively for transportation purpose, shall help decongest roads and rail networks and offer multiplier effect to the overall economic development of regions.
- Coastal shipping and inland water transport are fuel efficient, environment friendly and cost effective modes of transportation, especially for bulk goods.
- Emissions from container vessels range from 32-36 g CO2 per ton-km while from heavy duty road transport vehicles it ranges from 51-91g CO2 per ton-km.
- Also the road transportation on average costs Rs. 1.5 per ton-km, for railways it is Rs. 1.0 per ton-km, for waterways it would be 25 to 30 paisa per ton-km only.
- One litre of fuel can move 24 ton-km cargo through road transport and 85 ton-km through rail transport, while it can move as much as much as 105 ton-km through water transport.
- These figures strengthen the assertion that waterway offers a much more economical and environmentally friendly mode of transportation vis-à-vis surface transportation. Country can save $50 billion per year if logistics costs reduce from 14 per cent to 9 per cent of GDP. Reduced logistics costs would in return bring down prices of products.
- ‘Sagarmala’ program in March 2015 and a National Perspective Plan (NPP) have been launched for the comprehensive development of India’s coastline.
- Roll-on & Roll-off (“Ro-Ro”) waterways projects comprise of Ro-Ro ships/vessels which are designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as cars, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, trailers and railroad cars that are driven on and off the ship on their wheels or using a platform vehicle.
About the Ghogha-Dahej Ro-Ro ferry project:
- The Rs 615 crore Ro-Ro ferry service reduces the distance between the two towns from 310 km by road to 30 km, which can be covered in one hour
- The service will connect Ghogha in Saurashtra's Bhavnagar district with Dahej in Bharuch district across the Gulf of Khambhat, also known as the Gulf of Cambay, along the Arabian sea coast
- The first phase of the service is meant for passengers
- In the second phase, which will be ready in two months, people will also be able to carry cars between the two towns
- In the final phase, ferries would be able to carry trucks as well
- The project is constructed and designed by Essar Projects, which is the EPC arm of the Essar Group
- The Gujarat government and the Sagarmala project of the central government have partly funded the ferry service
The foundation stone of the project was laid in January 2012, when the present PM was the Chief Minister of the state.