Kochi (Urban Transport News): The Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) is all set to implement India's first integrated water transport project in Kochi at a cost of Rs747 crore. This project is being financed by the German Bank, KfW. Kochi based largest shipbuilding company, Cochin Shipyard Limited emerged as lowest bidder among four companies shortlisted by the KMRL.
On September 5, KMRL has awarded letter of acceptance (LoA) to Cochin Shipyard Limited for building 23 boats for the Country's first Water Metro Project. The three companies namely Damen Shipyards, GRANDWELD (a branch of ATOS International) and Larsen & Toubro were also in the race of the contract. The Kochi Water Metro services will link the various nods of the city with the Kochi Metro Rail project, thereby helping to achieve a more integrated transport system for the city.
It is for the first time in the country that such a significant level of investment is being brought in for improving water transport system to provide a solution for mobility challenges in the city. The Kochi Water Metro project envisages the development of 16 identified routes, connecting 10 islands along with a network of routes that span 76 km. The integrated water transport project intends to bring in a fleet of 78 fast, fuel-efficient, air-conditioned ferries plying to 38 jetties, 18 of which will be developed as main boat hubs, while the remaining 20 will be minor jetties for transit services.
More than 1,00,000 islanders are expected to benefit from the Kochi Water Metro project, complete with modern watercrafts. The boats supplied by Cochin Shipyard will provide inland transportation using electric/ hybrid technology. The project implementing company, Kochi Metro Rail Limited has a requirement of around 78 high-quality electric boats of international standard. Of this, tender for the procurement of 23 boats having a capacity of 100 PAX were floated by KMRL. On September 3, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan along with Union Minister for Housing & Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri laid the foundation stone of the first terminal of Kochi Water Metro project.