Water Metro can usher in sustainable mobility, says IMO official


A Water Metro ferry engaged in trial run in the backwaters off Marine Drive in Kochi on Monday.

A Water Metro ferry engaged in trial run in the backwaters off Marine Drive in Kochi on Monday.
| Photo Credit: H. VIBHU

Novel and unique initiatives such as the Water Metro could usher in sustainable mobility in navigable waterbodies across the world, Jose Matheickal, Chief of Department of Partnerships and Projects, International Maritime Organisation (IMO), said here on Monday.

Speaking to the media after travelling in a Water Metro ferry, Mr. Matheickal said environmental sustainability and commercial viability must go hand-in-hand. “The electric hybrid ferries that were built here [at Cochin Shipyard] will go a long way in providing commuters with a safe, comfortable, and economical mode of transit. I am impressed with the design and operational system in place for the ferries,” he said, adding that he would speak about the unique project to United Nations member nations.

He exhorted stakeholders to sustain the momentum as part of decarbonisation efforts worldwide. India could play a lead role in developing green technology in the efforts to achieve net-zero emissions, he said.

IMO officials in charge of its India projects, Astrid Dispert and Minglee Hoe, too travelled in the ferry as part of studies for Green Voyage, an IMO project in which India is a prominent participant.

While not specifying the date to commission the first lot of five ferries of the Water Metro project, Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) Managing Director Loknath Behera said efforts were on to ensure that both Kochi metro and Water Metro operated fully on solar power by 2024. “For that, we have requested the government for land to set up a solar farm, from where 8-MW power can be sourced for the metro and 6 MW for the Water Metro. The possibility of sourcing power from wind too is being looked into,” he added.


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