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More ferry services may set sail, EOIs invited for 13 routes

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The union shipping ministry has invited expressions of interest (EOI) from private players to set in motion the ambitious project to connect various coastal destinations with Ro-Ro, Ro-Pax and cruise services.

As many as 13 destinations have been chosen along the Gujarat coast alone.

On Monday, at least 88 stakeholders participated in the virtual roadshow organized for operators by the shipping ministry.

After the success of Ghogha-Hazira Ro-Pax ferry service, the ministry of ports, shipping and waterways (MoPSW) has directed Deendayal Port Trust (DPT) to provide technical support to operators in the service from Diu and Pipavav, which is expected to commence in a year in the first phase.

MoPSW, through it’s own company Sagarmala Development Company Limited (SDCL), has also asked interested firms to submit their EOIs by January 7.

The roadshow on Monday was part of the process, said sources. SDCL will facilitate all the interested operators in promoting Ro-Pax and coastal services and also provide equity support.

An attendee of the virtual meeting told, “The government is keen on promoting these routes for Ro-Pax and coastal shipping. They will not only provide all possible support to operators but will also open other routes if the companies desire.”

The Hazira ferry service saw good success during Diwali and Christmas festivals, garnering average 90% occupancy. DPT chairman, SK Mehta told TOI: “We have to provide all the technical support and other help required for all the proposed destinations in Gujarat.”

Mehta further said that Diu and Pipavav services are in advance stage and the service is likely to start within a year.

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