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India on cusp of waterways revolution; 4% cut in logistics cost to lift exports by 30%: Gadkari

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Waterways transport in is all set for a revolution and has potential to bring down logistics cost by 4 per cent that will propel exports by 30 per cent, said Thursday kicking off PSU Concor's maiden containers voyage through coastal shipping.

The shipping and road transport said many firsts in the country were lined up as massive works were underway on projects for turning 11 rivers into waterways besides pilot run of aeroboats on Ganga on January 26.

Launching Container Corporation of India's (Concor) first-ever container transport through coastal shipping from Kandla to port via and through here, recalled how people used to laugh at his dream of developing waterways and running cargo ships on the

"Now we have paved the way for exports to and through ..If we reduce our logistics cost by just 4 per cent then our exports will boost by 25-30 per cent...We are one of the fastest growing economies and we have the potential to do it," Gadkari, who is also the water resources minister, said.

"The share of coastal shipping (in movement of cargo) in is 24 per cent, 11 per cent and in USA it is 9 per cent but in it is barely 4.5 to 5 per cent....Massive works are underway to develop waterways which many thought was a dream only. Of the 111 rivers to be converted into waterways, projects are underway on 11," said.

He said 80 lakh tonne of cargo was transported through the Ganga this year which was going to swell to 280 lakh tonne as a draft of 3 metre has been maintained on to stretch of 1,680 km.

On the request of the UP government, the Centre is maintaining 1 metre draft from to and barges are designed with such techniques that they can carry 3,500 tonne of cargo each in place of 2,000 tonne at present.

Coastal shipping is developed in such a fashion that it can carry all kinds of cargo - automobile, fertiliser, cement, steel, foodgrain, sugar, the said.

"Besides, four aertoboats using Russian technology are ready for a pilot run on Ganga on January 26. These can run on water, mangrove and land," he said and added that easing of policies has resulted in arresting 30 per cent of the Colombo bound containers...These all are historical steps," he said.

Concor, a PSU under the Ministry of Railways, which saw launch of its maiden container transport through coastal shipping said foray into coastal move is aimed at strengthening the infrastructure along the to start with and further extend to

The minister said the move is significant as water transport is much cheaper in comparison of transport through rail and road.

"Container shipping operations envisage deployment of two vessel each of 22,000 DWT (dead weight tonnage) capable of carrying about 700 containers (twenty foot equivalent units). There will be weekly service from via Mangalore, and Tuticorin," Concor said.

The business potential includes of foodgrains from FCI; from RINL, Tata, and SAIL; from Dalmia Bharat, Ultratech, Ambuja and JSW; automobiles from Ashok Leyland, Hyundai, and besides cotton, fertiliser, sugar, soda ash, ground nut etc.

The PSU estimated that even if 10 per cent of the business volume is captured through coastal, it would be around 2,700 TEUs per month.

In the first phase, with operation, Concor is expecting a million tonnes of cargo per annum besides anotehr million tonnes by starting operations.

"After consolidation of Concor's position in western sector, Concor proposes to further expand the services in the eastern sector also duly connecting ports like Kattupalli, Vishakhapatnam, Gangavaram, Krishnapatnam, Paradip and with as a hub for east and west coasts," it said.

Piyush Goyal, who was also present on the occasion, said that with the launch of container movement through coastal shipping, new records were being set.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, January 10 2019. 18:10 IST