Source: News Bharati English14 Jul 2017 10:20:27

Bhubaneswar, July 14: A workshop titled ‘Promoting Coastal Shipping and Inland Navigation in India’ organised by the Ministry of Shipping kicked off in Bhubaneswar. This workshop aims to raise the awareness regarding Sagarmala programme which deals with coastal shipping and inland navigation.

To create awareness about the Sagarmala programme amongst the stakeholders and to engage with them, first, this workshop was held on June 9 in New Delhi under the theme ‘Accelerating Sagarmala Implementation – Engaging with States’.

The main objective of the workshop is to increase awareness about coastal shipping and inland navigation, with the purpose of increasing their modal share in the logistical model mix from the current level of approximately 6% to about 12% by 2025 under Sagarmala.

India’s 7500 kms of coastline and almost 14,000 kms of navigable rivers provide the perfect platform for the development of integrated water-based transport system for domestic and EXIM freight as well as passenger transport.  

The promotion of coastal shipping and inland navigation will help to reduce the congestion on the road and rail network. The transportation of cargo through coastal shipping and inland water navigation is also very cost effective. It is estimated that the cost per tonne per kilometre of moving cargo through the coastal or inland navigation route can be 60% to 80% cheaper than moving the cargo by rail or road. One of the other benefits of coastal shipping and inland navigation is that it is more environment-friendly than the other modes of transportation.

In order to promote inland navigation, 111 inland waterways across 24 states have been declared as National Waterways (NWs) under the National Waterways Act, 2016. These will be developed and utilised as environment-friendly and sustainable modes of transport.  

National Waterway-5 covers the state of Odisha and a part of West Bengal. It runs a total length of 623 km of which 91 km is within West Bengal and the remaining 532 km is in Odisha. The stretches from Talcher to Dhamra on the Brahmani River are particularly very important as it will also serve the coalfields in Talcher and Ib Valley of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL).