In line with the Gujarat government’s port policy which lays stress on linking the various terminals located along Saurashtra and Kutch coast with south Gujarat through introduction of Roll On-Roll Off ferry service and hovercraft/catamaran service, the Gujarat Maritime Board is sailing full steam ahead to facilitate the establishment of a RO-Pax vessel service between Gogha and Dahej.
Recently, the maritime body which manages 44 state government controlled ports invited proposals for selection of an integrated RO-Pax vessel cum terminal operator at Gogha – Dahej for the RO-RO ferry service across the Gulf of Cambay through an open competitive bidding process.
As per the Request for Proposal document issued by the GMB, the scope of the RO-Pax operation under the concession agreement would include procurement, leasing, chartering, deployment and operation of RO-Pax and fast passenger vessels between the origin-destination pair of Gogha and Dahej. The licensee, having exclusive possession and operational control of the terminals at the two places including their marine structures, would be free to decide the tariff for carrying passengers and cargo trucks as well as leasing and other charges. The license period would be for a period of ten years from the date of handing over of the terminal facilities, further extendable by another 5 years after the end of the concession period at the discretion of GMB.
The construction of shore based terminal facilities such as terminal building, open shed, car parking, marshaling area, internal road, weigh-bridge, water supply and bunkering along with marine facilities that include RO-RO jetties, pontoon and connecting link spans is currently underway at Gogha and Dahej. The capital investment for setting up the facilities is being made by GMB.
Considering that terminal construction plays a crucial role in ensuring the viability of a RO-RO ferry operation, the Gujarat government had decided to first construct the RO-RO ferry terminals at Gogha and Dahej and then subsequently privatize ferry operation.
The bidding process for selection of an integrated RO-Pax vessel cum terminal operator would include two stages. In the first stage, the qualification of the interested parties would be considered. The financial bid of only those who qualify in the first stage would be opened during the second stage of commercial evaluation. The bidder who offers the highest percentage of gross revenue share for implementing the project would be the ‘preferred bidder’. The due date for bid submission is April 21st, 2014.
The RO-RO ferry service between Gogha and Dahej, once operational, would considerably bring down the time and cost of transportation in the region besides reducing pressure on the existing road and rail network. It would also help promote tourism, linking places of historical, religious and tourist interests located in Kutch and Saurashtra with south Gujarat. The circuitous road distance around the gulf between the terminals of Gogha and Dahej is about 360 km. The sea distance between the terminals, on the other hand, is approximately 32 km.
Dahej lies on the eastern coast of the Gulf of Cambay, just north of the Narmada river estuary and almost opposite Gogha. The Dahej terminal is 45 km. from Bharuch and well connected by a broad gauge rail link. Bharuch, a district headquarter, is located on NH 8 connecting Mumbai to the cities of Vadodara and Ahmedabad. It is also an important junction on the Mumbai -Delhi rail and road trunk route. Gogha lies on the western coast of the Gulf of Cambay where the distance across the Gulf between the shores of Saurashtra and south Gujarat is the least. Bhavnagar, a district headquarter, is 20 km. away.