New Delhi:- Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Ro-Pax terminal at Hazira and flagged off the Ro-Pax ferry service between Hazira and Ghogha in Gujarat through video conferencing. He also interacted with the local users. He renamed the Ministry of Shipping as the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.
Speaking on the occasion, the PM said today, people of Gujarat have got their Diwali gift. Everyone will benefit from this better connectivity. He added that business will be boosted and connectivity will become faster. He further said RO-PAX service between Hazira and Ghogha has made dreams come true for the people of Saurashtra and South Gujarat, as the journey is shortened from 10-12 hours to 3-4 hours. He said this will save time and expenses will also be reduced. He said about 80000 passenger trains and 30000 trucks will be able to take advantage of this new service in a year.
Modi also said better connectivity between Saurashtra and Surat is going to change the life of the people in these regions. He added fruits, vegetables and milk can now easily be transported and pollution will also be reduced due to this service. He thanked all those engineers, workers, who remained courageous to develop the facility amidst a lot of challenges. He wished the people for this new maritime connectivity established between Bhavnagar and Surat.
The PM lauded the way Gujarat realized its maritime potential in the last two decades and gave priority to port led development and said it is a matter of pride for every Gujarati. He listed the initiatives of the State Government in developing the maritime potential of the state like drafting a Shipbuilding policy, construction of Shipbuilding Park and Specialized Terminals, promotion of Vessel Traffic Management system and GroundBreaking Connectivity project. He said with these initiatives the port sector has got a new direction. He stressed that efforts were made to modernize the entire ecosystem of the coastal area in addition to developing the physical infrastructure.
Modi said that Gujarat has become a gateway of prosperity due to the efforts of the government in ensuring the development of all types of infrastructure in the coastal area. He said over the past two decades, a unique model of integrated port has evolved from traditional port operations in Gujarat and has developed as a benchmark today. He said the result of these efforts is that the ports of Gujarat have emerged as major maritime centers of the country. Last year, it accounted for more than 40 percent of the country's total maritime trade.
The Prime Minister remarked that today, maritime business-related infrastructure and capacity building in Gujarat is in full swing. Many facilities are getting ready in Gujrat like Gujarat Maritime Cluster, Gujarat Maritime University and country’s first CNG Terminal at Bhavnagar. Gujarat Maritime cluster ports to be built in GIFT city would be a dedicated system to address Ports to sea based Logistics. He said that these clusters would help in strengthening the cooperation between the government, industry and educational institutions and will also help in value addition in this sector.
The Prime Minister said that in the recent past India’s first Chemical Terminal was established in Dahej, India’s first LNG terminal was established, now India's first CNG terminal is going to be installed at Bhavnagar Port. In addition facilities like Ro-Ro terminal at Bhavnagar port, Liquid cargo terminal and a new container terminal are being prepared. He said with the addition of these new terminals, the capacity of Bhavnagar port will increase manifold.
The Prime Minister said the government is making efforts to restart the ferry service between Ghogha-Dahej very soon. He said many natural challenges have arisen in this project and efforts are being made to remove them through modern technology. He added Gujarat Maritime University is a big center for getting trained manpower and experts ready for maritime trade. Today, this University provides opportunities to pursue maritime law and international trade law and also MBA in Maritime Management, Shipping and Logistics. He said apart from the university, work is also going on to build the first National Museum to preserve the country's maritime heritage in Lothal.