There are mainly three requirements for successful navigation on Inland Waterways. These are i) navigable fairway for movement of inland vessels, ii) Aids to navigation for safe navigation and iii) Terminals for loading/ unloading of cargo at various locations along the waterway. The present of these facilities on NW-3 is as given below:
A navigational channel of 38m width in wider reaches and 32m in narrow reaches with 2 m depth is to be developed for navigation in NW-3.To develop the navigation channel with above dimensions, 40 Lakh cu.m capital dredging was envisaged over a length of about 87 Km. As on July 2014, IWAI has carried out nearly 36 lakh cu. m dredging over 80 km shoal length. With this, though the targeted depth of two meters has been provided in the entire NW-3, but widening of the navigation channel to the required width of 32 meters is yet to be completed in a length of 2 km in Alapuzha (Karuvatta and Mullackal villages),1.50 km in Kayamkulam Kayal, and 2.75 km near Chavara. The balance shoals of about 6 km are at Alappuzha/Kuttanad (2 km), Kayamkulam Kayal area (1.5km) in Alappuzha District and at Chavara (3.5km) in Kollam District, for which the work is in progress.
The developmental works of NW-3 is targeted to be completed by December, 2014 subject to co-operation of the local people and removal of remaining fishing nets from the navigation channel of NW-3.
Aids to navigation:
The entire route length of NW-3 has been provided with aids to facilitate 24 hours navigation.
Out of total 11 locations envisaged for setting up of terminals, eight have already been constructed at Kottapuram, Aluva, Maradu (Kochi), Vaikkom, Cherthala (Thanneermukkom), Thrikunnapuzha, Kayamkulam (Ayiram Thengu) and Kollam. Construction of one terminal at Alappuzha is in progress at a cost of Rs.9.04 crores and 88% works have been completed as on July 2014.
Terminals at remaining two locations namely Kakkanadu and Chavara are proposed to be constructed in the next phase after firming up the cargo availability. For effective utilization and to encourage private sector participation, operation and maintenance of IWT terminals at Aluva, and Vaikkom have been outsourced to KSINC (A Govt. of Kerala Undertaking).
In addition, for decongesting the Kochi city by providing an alternate transport route for the Vallarpadam container terminal, IWAI has set up a pair of Ro-Ro terminals at Willingdon island and Bolghatty jointly with the Cochin Port Trust. The transportation of containers along this route is being carried out successfully since February 2011.