November 02, 2020: A pair of roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) ferries of the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), which will transport container-laden lorries on the Willingdon Island-Bolghatty Island route, will be launched online by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. November 9 has been fixed as the tentative date to launch the service.
The ferries will initially carry only container-laden lorries.
In the long run, commuters too might be transported since the ferries cover the 3-km waterway in around 20 minutes, whereas the road route would take over an hour.
Vehicles opting for the ro-ro service are expected to decongest roads. About 1,000 container lorries commute through congested city roads, including the NH Bypass and Edappally-Kalamassery NH stretch.
The launch of the ferries was initially slated for Saturday and they were set to begin operation from Sunday. The ferries, each capable of accommodating lorries bearing six 20-feet containers and three 40-feet containers, will be operated by the city-based Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation. Each ferry can also carry around 30 cars.
The two ferries were built by Cochin Shipyard Limited, which had earlier built the ro-ro ferries operating in the Vypeen-Fort Kochi sector. Those ferries, owned by the Kochi Corporation and operated by KSINC, carry both commuters and different types of vehicles, including two-wheelers, buses and lorries.
As per estimate, the ro-ro ferries must transport at least 150 container lorries daily to operate in a feasible manner. Discussions were held in October with lorry operators and driver unions to prevail on them to opt for the fast, eco-friendly and cost effective mode of transporting containers between the two isles, said KSINC sources.
The lorries can be driven to Vallarpadam container transshipment terminal, from the adjacent Bolghatty Island.
The agency will shortly write to the District Collector, seeking curbs on transporting container lorries through NH Bypass and other congested corridors in the city, it is learnt. The Collector can take a decision, especially since he heads the District Road Safety Committee and Regional Transport Authority.
The ongoing reconstruction of Palarivattom flyover and the burgeoning number of vehicles are among the reasons for traffic hold-ups on the bypass. The Traffic Police too are keen to keep container lorries away from city roads.
The ro-ro ferries are expected to operate from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Source: The Hindu