Kochi, India (Urban Transport News): The first among the 23 battery - powered electric boats manufactured by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) for Kochi Water Metro service has been handed over to the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL). The boat was handed over at a ceremony held at the ship terminal in the Shipyard on December 31, 2021. The boat was named ‘Muziris’. With this, Kochi became India’s first city to have a Water Metro Project.
The boat is fully air-conditioned and can accommodate up to 100 passengers. It can be charged within 10-15 minutes. It can gain a speed of up to 10 nautical miles per hour. The boat can be operated in a hybrid way by using both battery and diesel generator. The manufacturing of five boats is underway.
The construction of water terminals also is progressing. Vyttila and Kakkanad terminals are almost completed. It is expected that the construction of High Court, Vypin, Eloor, Cheranalloor, and Chittoor terminals will be completed by April next year. There are facilities to monitor the boat automatically from the operating control centre at Vyttila hub.
Such an extensive battery-powered boat service chain is first of its kind in the world, the authorities claimed. Kochi Water Metro is a urban water transport service that connects 38 terminals in 76 kilometre length using 78 boats.
In the present transportation scenario, with the ferries having the average trip length of 8.9 km as compared to the average trip length of 11.3 km for public transport in general, the significance of the system for people’s commute between the islands and the mainland is further justified. Currently, the State Water Transport Department is the main operator in the water transport system in Kochi, besides various private operators and the localised ‘Jangar’ Ro-Ro services.
The estimated cost Kochi Water Metro project is Rs 819 crore. This project is being funded by German bank KfW. On December 4, 2019, Kochi Metro Rail Ltd., Govt. Of Kerala and KfW Bank had entered into a tripartite agreement of accompanying measures for the Water Metro project.
The project has a total cost of Rs 819 crore and a major part is financed under Indo-German Financial Cooperation with a long-term loan agreement of 85 million euros (Rs 579 crore) with German funding agency, KfW (Kreditanstault fur Weideraufbou). The Kerala government will provide Rs 102 crore and land acquisition cost of Rs 72 crore. There is a PPP component of around Rs 66 crore.
In 2035, when fully operational the Water Metro Project shall cater to a daily ridership of 1.5 Lac passengers.