With a view to ensure fast, efficient and safe passenger transportation in the country’s coastal regions, the Ministry of Shipping recently floated a proposal for introduction of ferry services as well as catamarans, hovercrafts, seaplanes, RO-PAX vessels and passenger cruises by private operators along the coastline.
India has a vast coastline measuring 7,517 km.
Inviting Expression of Interest from private ferry and cruise operators for point to point services or short circuit voyages, the Ministry of Shipping said the project could be developed either as per the PPP model or any other model based on the 2005 draft guidelines that major ports need to follow for private sector participation.
The EoI document identified Kolkata, Haldia, Paradip, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Kochi, Mormugao, New Mangalore and Kandla as the preferred locations for initiating the services, but added operators were free to choose any location alongside the coastline and also suitable stretches in the network of inland waterways based on viability and revenue potential.
The operators would be required to provide the necessary crafts along with utilities and undertake operations and maintenance of the same, it said, listing the components of the project as cruise vessel/hovercraft/catamaran/ferry craft, modern navigation equipment, utilities (including online booking, boarding and embarking and disembarking facilities), necessary water supply, IT systems, comfort system (including eateries and entertainment provisions), exhibition and advertisement, exhibit of local heritage and comprehensive tour packages.
The EoI document said dedicated passenger terminals would be developed, either by the respective ports or on PPP basis, after identification of key circuits along the coastline and based on passenger potential.
Private operators interested in the proposal can submit their EoI at the Ministry of Shipping by February 20, 2015. The EoI should include an assessment of the project providing details such as preferred PPP model/arrangement for operating the service, size of the project (length of passenger terminal, kind of craft and draft requirements for navigation), nature of proposed facilities, requirement of enabling infrastructure, estimated capital cost, estimated implementation period, passenger potential, key circuits and routes along the coastline for development of terminals and proposed mode of project financing. In addition, it also needs to give complete information about the operator including annual turnover and experience.
The Ministry of Shipping will initiate a detailed tender process after assessing the response of operators.