India’s Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) has been actively promoting coastal shipping as part of the Sagarmala programme. MoPSW says it has now identified a number of domestic ports, including Hazira, Okha, Somnath Temple, Pipavav, Dahej, Mumbai/JNPT, Jamnagar, Kochi, Ghogha, Goa, Mundra and Mandvi which could be connected by ferries and inland waterway services, as well as four international destinations, Chattogram in Bangladesh, Seychelles and Madagascar in East Africa and Jaffna, Sri Lanka.
Through the Sagarmala Development Company, the Ministry says it plans to facilitate the start-up of ro-ro, ro-pax and ferry services on various domestic and international routes and will provide the required support to make these projects operational.
MOPSW has recently implemented one such ferry route, deploying a ro-pax ferry between Hazira and Ghogha. This service has reduced the distance between the two ports from 370 km to 90 km and travel time has been cut from 10 to 12 hours to about 5 hours. To replicate the success of the business model, MoPSW is now inviting the private sector to identify potential routes.