Kochi gets two new container roll-on, roll-off services

The Inland Waterways Authority of India will launch two new roll-on/ roll-off services from Willingdon Island to Bolgatty on November 1. Kerala State Inland Navigation Corporation spearheads the service, which will only be used to transport containers

Bringing a much-needed fillip to the industrial belt of West Kochi that is facing numerous hardships amid the Covid-induced slowdown, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will launch two new roll-on/ roll-off (Ro-Ro) services from Willingdon Island to Bolgatty on November 1. Kerala State Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC), which currently operates the Kamalakadavu (Fort Kochi)— Vypeen service for Kochi Corporation, will helm the service. However, the new ferry service will only be used to transport containers in the first phase.

According to officials, the 56 metre-long Ro-Ro vessel built by Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) will provide in-house design for the day-and-night operation throughout the year.  The vessels, with air-conditioned accommodation for eight crew members and an open deck will ensure smooth loading and discharging of trucks and vehicles in the first phase.

“We have scheduled to complete the trial runs by October 28 and plan to launch the service on November 1. Initially, we are expecting around 100 containers daily. It requires around 140 containers to reach break-even in the service. We have hired trained masters and other crew for the service,” said a KSINC official.

If the need arises, the service will also accommodate passengers in future, maintained the official. Earlier, a private container vessel, which ran the service, discontinued in 2017.

Fort Kochi- Vypeen route gets decent patronage

Ever since the resumption of services following the brief halt during the lockdown, the Ro-Ro service between Kamalakadavu (Fort Kochi) and Vypeen is witnessing a moderate number of passengers every day. Though the Covid restrictions have reduced the onboard passengers and vehicles, the service carries over 1,000 people and around 500 vehicles daily. The vessels are being operated adhering to social distancing norms on the ferry as well as in ticket counters. The ro-ro which ran from 6am to 10 pm during the pre-lockdown period is now plying between 6.30am and 9pm. Currently, a total of 45 trips are conducted daily.

In a nutshell

  • Number of RO-RO Vessels
    Number of daily containers to be transported 40
  • 30 passengers maximum on-board and 15 TEU container trailers
    Time schedule
    6 am – 2 pm &
    3 pm – 11 pm
    Frequency of trips: Every one hour
    Number of crew members: 6 workers including master

Source: The New Indian Express