Mumbai is taking a major step forward with its highly-anticipated water transport project. The state government has recently appointed an operator to run roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) services from Ferry Wharf (Bhaucha Dhakka) to Mandwa starting in April 2018. The ro-ro service, which allows passengers and their vehicles to be transported on water, will reduce the travel time from Mumbai to Alibaug, which is currently around four hours by road, to just under 90 minutes.
The ro-ro vessels will have the capacity to accommodate 350 passengers and 40 cars and the project is being implemented by the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB), Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), and the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO). The MMB has given a letter of award to Maldar Dredgers and Salvagers.
There are currently several private catamaran services from Gateway of India to Mandwa, however, these services are shut for four months of the year due to the monsoon season. The introduction of the ro-ro service will be a huge advantage for tourists as well, providing an alternative mode of transportation for people traveling to Goa or other parts of the Konkan. The distance between Ferry Wharf and Mandwa is 9 nautical miles or 16km and the ro-ro service will make it possible to reach Mandwa in just 30 minutes and Alibaug in an additional 45 minutes.
The state government has also proposed several other water transport projects to ease road congestion and reduce travel time, including a water taxi service from Ferry Wharf to Mandwa, as well as jetties approved for Gorai, Malwan, and Bhayandar. The second phase of the project involves ro-ro services between Ferry Wharf and Navi Mumbai, which is currently underway and expected to take more time to complete. There are also plans in place for a water transport route from Navi Mumbai to Mandwa.
According to government data, 180 lakh people use the state’s existing water transport network each year, indicating a high demand for alternative modes of transportation. The state government aims to provide a reliable and high-quality alternative for these commuters to reduce travel time and make transport easier and more convenient.