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Gujarat Maritime Board to promote ro-ro project - 2012-05-14

Gujarat's ambitious project to link Bhavnagar and Bharuch districts across the Gulf of Cambay, and then Mumbai and beyond, is expected to take off soon with the State port regulator Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) organising road-shows in London and Mumbai next month to attract a potential contractor, a ferry operating company, for operation of a ro-pax ferry service.

While GMB will hold a road-show in Mumbai on June 11, its London event will be on June 28, an official told Business Line here on Thursday.

The roll on-roll off (ro-ro) ferry service through the sea route to connect the Saurashtra region with South Gujarat is expected to be made operational next year. The Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, had laid the foundation stone of the Rs 296-crore project to set up two initial terminals at Ghogha and Dahej ports at Ghogha port, 20 km from Bhavnagar, in January this year. Later, the service is expected to be extended up to Mumbai and other southern coastal areas as well.

Work has already commenced on the contract given by GMB on an EPC basis to build the ro-ro ferry terminals and berthing facilities at the Dahej (Bharuch) and Gogha (Bhavnagar) sites, linking the eastern and western coasts of the Gulf, by 2013. GMB will also be awarding a contract for dredging of areas near the berthing facilities and the approach channel at both the terminals for draft of five meters. GMB, which owns the Gogha and Dahej ports, has also appointed a project management consultant (PMC) to assist it. Beckett Rankine Ltd, in association with The Maritime Group (International) Ltd and Avalon Global Research, will provide the PMC services.

The ferry service will reduce the circuitous road distance between Ghogha and Dahej from 352-km to just 32-km and facilitate faster transportation of goods, people and loaded vehicles. It will reduce transportation time and cost from one region to another, lessen road congestion and accidents as also retention period of transport vehicles for loading and unloading, besides minimizing carbon dioxide emission in the environment. After construction of the two terminals, GMB initially plans to run two or three ferry vessels daily for which it is now inviting global tenders from private ferry operators.

Source : Hindu Business Line