Kochi Water Metro: KWML To Collaborate With IIT-Madras, CUSAT For Fort Kochi Terminal’s Innovative Pontoon


Kochi Water Metro Limited (KWML) is reaching out to the academic expertise of IIT-Madras and Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) to design a cutting-edge floating pontoon for the Fort Kochi Water Metro terminal.

This initiative is to ensure passenger safety and stability, particularly in the face of strong currents and waves at the terminal located at the confluence of the Arabian Sea and backwaters.

The Water Metro ferry services, an unprecedented venture in the country, have already incorporated concrete floating pontoons at all their boat jetties.

These pontoons facilitate seamless boarding and deboarding, irrespective of high or low tide conditions. However, the unique geographical location of the Fort Kochi terminal necessitates the development of a specialised pontoon capable of withstanding the challenges posed by the Arabian Sea’s currents and waves.

pontoons (KMRL)
pontoons (KMRL)
Illustration of Kochi water terminal (KMRL)
Illustration of Kochi water terminal (KMRL)

According to KWML managing director Loknath Behera, “installing normal floating pontoons would not be practical in Fort Kochi as they cannot resist the huge waves in the area. So we are planning to develop a different model exclusively for the jetty. We have started discussions with IIT-Madras and CUSAT teams, and will soon take a decision regarding this.”

The proposed pontoon is expected to prioritise passenger safety, addressing the specific challenges posed by the strong waves and undercurrents in the region. The goal is to create a structure that not only ensures the safety of commuters but also enhances the stability of the terminal.

KWML aims to commission the Fort Kochi terminal and commence Water Metro services by December this year. Despite the innovative addition of a new type of pontoon, the project timeline remains unaffected, as per Times Of India report.

Currently, KWML operates services on High Court-Vypeen, High Court-Bolgatty, and Vyttila-Kakkanad routes using 12 boats, with an average daily ridership of around 3,500.

KWML General Manager Shaji Janardhanan emphasised, “special safety features would be the specialties of the new floating pontoon. We will focus on the stability of the structure as the strong current and huge waves would be risk factors.”

While demands for increased boat services are on the rise, the frequency of Water Metro services is expected to increase only after receiving additional boats from Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).

Kochi Water Metro

The Kochi Water Metro is an integrated water transport initiative that seeks to enhance connectivity between the mainland and the islands of Kochi.

The project aims to improve the livelihoods and living standards of both islanders and the general public. It is expected to benefit more than 100,000 islanders.

The project is expected to significantly reduce travel time from one part of the city to another. It is projected to decongest the city’s ever-increasing traffic and significantly reduce the city’s carbon impact.

Once Phase I is fully operational in 2024, it is expected to serve 34,000 passengers a day.

Water Metro Route Network map (KMRL)
Water Metro Route Network map (KMRL)

The Kochi water metro project envisages the development of 15 identified routes connecting 38 jetties across 10 islands and two boatyards. The overall length of the line is 76.2 km.