Indigo Seaways signs agreement to operate RoPax ferry

This service will shorten the distance between Surat and Bhavnagar to just 60 kilometers from the current 370 kilometres (land route).

Surat-based Indigo Seaways Pvt Ltd has signed an agreement to operate a RoPax ferry on the Ghogha-Hazira route that will be virtually be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8.

“A tripartite agreement has been signed between Deendayal Port Trust (formerly Kandla Port Trust) Gujarat Maritime Board and us. This is a supplementary concession agreement, which was signed on November 3,” said Chetan Contractor, chairman of Detox Group, the parent company of Indigo Seaways.

On Thursday, the company’s ferry — Voyage Symphony — which used to operate on the Ghogha-Dahej route since October 2018 reached Hazira for the route inauguration. This service will shorten the distance between Surat and Bhavnagar to just 60 kilometers from the current 370 kilometers (land route).

“The trials have already started and in the next couple of days more needs to be done as Hazira is an operational port,” Contractor added.

The vessel had been lying idle since the Covid lockdown in March.

For the Ghogha-Dahej route, Indigo Seaways had exclusivity on the terminals. As per the supplementary agreement, other ferry operators can be roped in on the same route.

The bookings for this route opened on November 3. “We are expecting a good rush for Diwali. There will be a lot of demand from natives of Saurashtra residing in Surat to take the ferry to their villages,’ the official added.

According to the company website, the ferry will undertake 1.5 round trips between the two destinations. Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya is expected to ride the ferry after it is inaugurated by the PM Modi on November 8.

DPT had floated a tender on behalf of the Government of India for the construction and lease of a jetty at Hazira. The tender was awarded to Adani Hazira Port Pvt Ltd after it emerged as the lowest bidder to quote a Rs 1 per month rental. There were only two bidders for the project. Adani Group has an existing terminal at Hazira that will be leased for 11 months.

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