New Delhi/Hazira: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Sunday gave another gift to his home state, Gujarat, when he flagged off a Ro-Pax ferry service between Hazira and Ghogha through videoconferencing and inaugurated a terminal for it, connecting South Gujarat with Saurashtra via the sea. 

The service is expected to boost efforts to harness waterways and integrate them with the economic development of the country.

During the virtual event, Modi is also interacting with local users of the roll-on/roll-off passenger service (Ro-Pax).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday while inaugurating the Ropax Ferry Service between Gujarat’s Ghogha and Hazira said that the state’s port industry is one of the largest in the world and makes the state a gateway to India via the sea.

He said that the Ropax Ferry Service will enhance ease of doing business and also decrease transportation costs. He said that maritime universities are a growing sector in the state given the size of its port industry.

This ferry service will reduce the distance between Bhavnagar and Surat from 375 km (by road) to just 90 kilometres (by sea route), Modi said while flagging off the service.

PM Modi said that the connectivity boost given by the ferry service will impact everyone starting from traders to students.

He also said that the name of the Ministry of Shipping will be changed to Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways. He said all affairs related to shipping and waterways comes under the ambit of the Ministry of Shipping and a change in name will bring clarity to the work the department is assigned to do.

PM Modi said that the drive to developing waterways has been taken to decrease the cost of logistics. He said the nation is aiming to develop a multimodal connectivity system following which cost of logistics can be lowered across the country.

This ferry service will reduce the distance between Bhavnagar and Surat from 375 km (by road) to just 90 kilometres (by sea route), Modi said while flagging off the service.

It will save time and fuel and boost eco and religious tourism in the Saurashtra region of the state, a release issued by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) earlier said.

The three-deck Ro-Pax Ferry Vessel 'Voyage Symphony' connecting Hazira in Surat district of south Gujarat and Ghogha in Saurashtra's Bhavnagar has a load capacity of 30 trucks, 100 passenger cars, and 500 passengers plus 34 crew and hospitality staff, it said.

The Ro-Pax terminal is 100 metre long and 40 metre wide costing approximately Rs 25 crore, as per a statement issued by the PMO.

The ferry service will make three round trips per day on the Hazira-Ghogha route, is projected to annually transport about 5 lakh passengers, 80,000 passenger vehicles, 50,000 two-wheelers and 30,000 trucks.