India’s first ever “Roll On Roll Off” (RO-RO) ferry service connecting Dahej (Bharuch) and Gogha (Bhavnagar) at the Gulf of Cambay is expected to start operations by April 2017. The Rs 550-crore project, implemented by the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB), would drastically cut down on travel time between Saurashtra region in Gujarat and its Southern parts.
GMB’s ferry project is considered to be a game changer for the region’s and the state’s economy, and is expected to considerably boost tourism prospects of the region.
Covering a route of approximately 32km, the RO-RO ferry services – both passenger and freight – is significant as they save a great deal of travel/transport time and logistical costs.
At present the travel time between Gogha and Dahej, connected by a 360-km road, is around 12 hours for trucks and buses, and nearly 8 hours for cars. Once the Ro-Ro ferry service commences, this time would be dramatically shortened to just one-and-half hours, as the sea route is just 32 km long.
According to GMB officials, though Ro-Ro passenger ferries are common in European countries, this is the first such project not just in India, but in South Asia as well. Work on building on-shore and off-shore terminals at Dahej and Ghoga are in full swing.
The RO-RO ferry service, apart from bringing down transportation time and costs in the region, would also reduce traffic congestion on the existing road and rail networks. The service is also expected to enhance tourism potential in the region.
Dahej, lying on the east coast of the Gulf of Cambay, is almost directly opposite Ghogha, which lies on the west coast of the Gulf of Cambay. Ghogha is just 20 km from Bhavnagar, an important commercial centre, while Dahej is well connected to another key industrial town Bharuch by rail link.
Significantly, GMB is working on plans to start hovercraft service along the 32 km stretch between Dwarka and Bet Dwarka, which are two hugely popular and important pilgrimage sites in Gujarat.
With the government’s nodal agency Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) already developing terminals at Gogha and Dahej in Phase-1, tremendous investment opportunities exist in RO-RO ferry service operations, and also in the booming tourism sector in the region.