Source: News Bharati English21 Jun 2016 09:19:48

New Delhi, June 21: The Ministry of Shipping organized a National workshop on ‘Promotion of Modal Shift of Cargo to Coastal Shipping and Inland Waterways’ on 20th June 2016 at New Delhi. The workshop was attended by representatives of various stakeholders viz Indian National Ship-owners Association (INSA), ICC Shipping Association (ICCSA), Shipping companies, shippers, logistics companies, freight forwarders and government officials. The participants deliberated on the ways and means to promote coastal shipping and water transportation and make it competitive to roads and railways transportation. 

The stakeholders were unanimous that even though use of waterways, as a mode of transportation, is fuel-efficient, environment – friendly, and capable of easing traffic congestion on road and railways additional there are impediments existing in the form of inadequate infrastructure and higher costs due to multiple handling of cargo at the first and the last mile which prevents modal shift of cargo transportation from road and railways towards waterway transportation. 

The workshop deliberated in detail on the opportunities that exist in transporting coastal transportation of bulk cargo, containers and Ro-Ro. The issues that hamper the modal shift of these cargos were discussed and way forward in promoting their transportation were identified. 

It was recognized that the share of plan investment towards port and shipping sector is 6.5% only. While the importance of roads and railways in the economy is undeniable, there is also a greater need to encourage transportation through coastal shipping and Inland waterways to bring down logistics cost. 

To provide thrust to the transportation of cargo through waterways, the stakeholders were quite clear that financial incentives need to be granted to the freight owners which will provide a level playing field for water transportation and enable decision towards transporting cargo from road and rail to coastal shipping and inland waterways. 

It may be recalled that the Government is committed to promote coastal shipping and inland waterways transportation and has envisioned the increasing of the share of waterways transportation mode from the present level of 7% to 10% by 2020. Under the Sagarmala programme coastal shipping and Inland water transportation is also expected to get a big boost.