The handing over of the first of the 23 Water Metro ferries (each capable of carrying 100 passengers) on Friday to Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) by the Cochin Shipyard and another four in the first quarter of 2022, would be followed by the delivery of the rest of the 18 ferries the very same year, said sources.
KMRL placing orders for the second lot of 55 ferries (each capable of carrying 50 passengers) will be based on the feedback from the commercial operation of the 23 ferries across 38 ferry terminals. According to sources, the smaller vessels will be able to operate through narrower waterbodies like the once-navigable Edappally Canal (which is among the canals that KMRL will clear of encroachments and rejuvenate under the ₹1,528-crore Integrated Urban Regeneration and Water Transport System project).
A team of engineers of KMRL and the Cochin Shipyard are engaged in examining a checklist of 91 points, based on which the specifications of the second phase roll-out of 55 vessels will be finalised. This is because technical specifications, based on technological advancements, have changed drastically over the past couple of years. A decision on whether to construct the hull using aluminium that is being used for the 23 ferries in phase one, or any other material, too will be taken based on joint consultations, it is learnt.
Meanwhile, KMRL is readying to recruit personnel based on expert advice, to maintain the fleet of 23 ferries that will be procured by 2022-end.