Millennium Post

Govt plans financial incentive to shift cargo to water

To encourage shippers to shift cargo to waterways and coastal shipping, the government plans to provide an incentive of Re one per km for a tonne of cargo. "To encourage modal shift of cargo to coastal shipping and Inland Waterways Transportation, the government is planning to offer financial incentive to shippers who switch to waterways from roads and rails for movement of cargo," an official who did not want to be named said.

The incentive is planned at Re one per tonne per km which will come out to about "Rs 290 crore for 2.5 years," the official said. Initially the government plans including nine commodities that include foodgrain, automobile, cement and marble. Sources said a note on the incentive scheme would soon be sent to the Cabinet for its nod. Under the ambitious Sagarmala project of the government that aims at port-led development of coastal area, the government has already announced that increasing the water transport share could result in an annual saving of Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 crore. When contacted, Additional Secretary, Shipping Alok Srivastava said the government was working hard to shift the cargo to waterways as not only it is an environment-friendly mode of transportation but economised the cost.

He said the government was planning to redefine incentives to boost the share of transportation through waterways and coastal shipping. Earlier on Monday in a workshop the stakeholders demanded that to provide thrust to the transportation of cargo through waterways, government should come out with financial incentives for freight owners to shift cargo from road and rail to coastal shipping and inland waterways. They were unanimous that though waterways is a fuel-efficient a mode of transportation, environment friendly, and capable of easing traffic congestion on road and railways, there are impediments like inadequate infrastructure.

The Ministry of Shipping has organised a workshop on 'Promotion of Modal Shift of Cargo to Coastal Shipping and Inland Waterways which was attended by representatives of Indian National Shipowners 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. It was recognised that the share of plan investment towards port and shipping sector is 6.5 per cent 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," the officials stressed. 

New policy for dry bulk cargo for major ports from Aug 20
To increase efficiency of major ports, a new berthing policy for dry bulk cargo will be in place from August 20, the government said on Monday. “Ministry of Shipping has formulated a new Berthing Policy for Dry Bulk Cargo for all major ports which will come into effect from August 20, 2016,” Ministry of Shipping said in a statement. 

The objective of the new policy is to provide a standardised framework for calculation of norms, specific to the commodity handled and the infrastructure available on the berth besides driving higher productivity and achieving near-design capacity of the available equipments/infrastructure, it said. 

It will reduce berthing time and overall turn-around time of ships, drive higher cargo throughput using the available infrastructure in major ports, the statement, said adding it will improve utilisation of port assets and create additional capacity without any significant capital investment. 
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