Passenger water transport is the best alternative to Mumbai traffic


Mumbai being a business magnet, businesses and labor are mostly concentrated in the Mumbai metropolitan area. A study by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy – ​​India (ITDP) reports that 51% of Mumbai residents get around on foot or by bicycle, 30% use public transport and 19% use private vehicles and taxis. It is also observed that the
the number of vehicles has tripled in 15 years, from 0.8 million
in 2001 to 2.27 million in 2016; of which 0.86 million are just cars. The report also finds that while only 19% of people travel in private vehicles and taxis, they consume 82% of road space and 55% of traffic crawls at less than 20 km/h during rush hour.

Heavy congestion on these roads causes travel time to be delayed indefinitely. In addition, there is no land available for expansion. It is necessary to develop and adopt a new environment-friendly and environmentally friendly transportation system. When selecting this system, consideration should be given to the mode that does not contribute to an unnecessary increase in fuel consumption, exhaust emissions and traffic jams. The natural environment facilitating, the development of water transport would be an alternative in Mumbai to facilitate travel and save time and fuel consumption. “Inland Water Transport” is an ideal solution.

The Ministry of Ports and Waterways (MoPSW) has prepared the Maritime India Vision – 2030, which envisions the development of passenger movement in inland waterways. Therefore, the Mumbai Port Authority in association with the Maharashtra Maritime Board has launched a plan to develop the eastern Mumbai waterfront as a hub for passenger water transport with an extension to the creeks Thane-Vashi, Ulwe-Belapur and Dharamtar.

Passenger services were already operating from Ferry Wharf to Mora and Rewas and also from Gateway of India to Mandwa and Elephanta Island.
Due to increased demand, it was decided to operate the ROPAX service to Mandwa.

Mumbai to Mandwa ROPAX works successfully even in monsoon season. This gave confidence to the operator as well as the commuters. ROPAX berths are ready in Nerul and Karanja. MMB has undertaken the construction of ROPAX berths at Mora (the northern part of Uran), Rewas and even at Kashid.

The Thane-Vashi stream is heavily silted, so its capital dredging cost is quite high. In view of this, MMB had issued a “letter of intent” to operate a hovercraft. As the operator informed MMB, due to the current situation, the import of hovercraft from Russia is delayed.

Meanwhile, on-demand Water Taxi service has started from Belapur to Elephanta. It is likely to start soon between Belapur and JN Port and South Mumbai.

Currently, Gateway is heavily congested. Therefore, a new passenger
terminal will be developed jointly with MMB, close to the Radio Club area. This will facilitate the smooth embarkation and disembarkation of passengers. This passenger terminal, like all other terminals under development by MMB, is partly funded by the MoPSW Sagarmala project.

In the future, when the new Panvel Airport is almost completed, a jetty will be built on the Belapur-Ulwe stream. This will facilitate the transfer of passengers from the domestic cruise terminal at the Port of Mumbai.

In a nutshell, we would like to create a network of waterways to facilitate the movement of passengers in Mumbai.

To support the government’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions, we are evaluating various options with research groups and shipyards to assess the transition from fossil fuels to green fuels such as LNG, solar, etc. .

(Rajeev Jalota, IAS, Chairman of Mumbai Port Authority)

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