The Shipping Ministry aims to double the share of transportation of cargo through coastal shipping and inland water navigation by 2025 from six per cent under Sagarmala programme.
At present, about 54 per cent of the cargo is transported through the roads, 33 per cent by rail, seven per cent by pipelines and six per cent by coastal shipping.
"In the total modal mix in India, coastal shipping accounts for six per cent. We aim to double it by 2025. Doubling it will be gigantic task," said Rabindra Kumar Agarwal, joint secretary (Sagarmala) at Shipping ministry at a workshop on Sagarmala Implementation (Promoting coastal Shipping and Inland Navigation in India) here.
He said, there is potential for transportation of coal, steel, cement, fertilisers and automobiles through coastal shipping.
Reports said that 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 kilometer of moving cargo through the coastal or inland navigation route can be 60 per cent to 80 per cent cheaper than moving the cargo through rail or road.
India with 7,500 kilometers of coastline and almost 14,000 km 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.
Speaking on the occasion, Aditya Padhi, chief secretary of Odisha urged the Shipping ministry to take steps to improve the infrastructure facilities at three ports in the state to enable growth of coastal shipping and for faster evacuation of coal from Mahanadi Coalfield mines.