By curtailing the 30-km road route to a 3.50-km waterway route, the two roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) vessels of the Inland Water Authority of India (IWAI), which will ferry container-laden lorries from Willingdon Island to Bolgatty Island, will augment connectivity between the two isles. This means: “convenience up, commerce up and capacity building up, while resulting in congestion down, pollution down and transport costs down,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, after commissioning the vessels here on Sunday.
“Kochi is a city of trade and commerce. The people of this city understand that time is of the essence. They also appreciate the importance of proper connectivity. That is why the dedication of ro-ro vessels to the nation is special,” he added.
The vessels were built by Cochin Shipyard at ₹12.50 crore a piece.
The IWAI has handed them over to city-based Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) for operation. Each of the vessels — christened MV Adi Shankara and MV CV Raman — has a capacity to carry six 20-feet trucks, three 20-feet trailer trucks, three 40-feet trailer trucks and 30 passengers. Container lorries from southern districts now travel over 30 km through the NH bypass and other congested city roads to reach International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT), Vallarpadam, worsening traffic congestion, pollution and causing accidents, while also affecting optimal fleet utility of lorries due to time that is lost in the process. This also increased their operational expense.
With the commencement of the ro-ro service, container lorries can be carried onboard these vessels from the Willingdon Island jetty and ferried to the Bolgatty Island, from where they can access ICTT, Vallarpadam by road.
Similarly, outward loaded/empty vehicles from ICTT can avail of the return service, for onward road movement, reducing the distance to 3.5 km — a tenth of the road distance. The turnaround time too will be reduced to approximately one hour, as compared to much more if the lorries were to take the road route, ushering in optimal utility of lorry fleet.