KOCHI (Metro Rail News): With discussions between Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) and Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), the sole bidder in the fray, entering an advanced stage. The inking of the contract to manufacture 23 modern, air-conditioned ferries as part of the ₹750-crore Water Metro project is closer to being realized.
By June 2020 the first of the 100-seater ferries have to be delivered.
Madhu S. Nair, CMD of Cochin Shipyard said that “We understand that we are the only party that submitted the bid. The technical evaluation process is underway. We have responded to all clarifications sought by KMRL”.
He added; the shipyard is confident of delivering the ferries in time. A plan of action is ready, for which a study had been undertaken.
Aspects like the design best suited for operating the ferries in the Greater Kochi area and the type of battery they need are being discussed by the two agencies. A decision on inking the contract will be taken once they are finalized, official sources said.
The two-roll-on roll-off (RoRo) vessels that the Kochi Corporation operates between Fort Kochi and Vypeen were built by CSL, which is mainly into manufacturing merchant and Naval vessels. Following this, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) placed an order to manufacture two RoRo and eight RoPax vessels.
Formal permission from KfW, the German funding agency, which has extended a soft loan for the Water Metro project, is awaited for inking the contract with CSL, KMRL sources said.
They added, “The deadline for supplying the first ferry will be extended from December this year to June 2020. The delay occurred because much brainstorming was necessary to zero in on and then revise the technical parameters. The rest of the vessels will have to be supplied within 18 months of inking the contract”.
Another contract to supply 50-seater air-conditioned ferries will be floated subsequently.
All the vessels will have an aluminum hull and fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) body to ensure safety and optimal life-cycle cost.