Concor Begins Maiden Coastal Voyage
India has huge potential for enhancing modal share of coastal shipping and inland water navigation. The current share is only 7% unlike countries like China with 24% and Germany 11%. India looks to tap this segment in a big way.
The maiden coastal voyage of a vessel of Container Corporation of India (Concor) was flagged off by Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Shipping and Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Railways.
CONCOR is a public sector unit (PSU) under Ministry of railways. The vessel SSL Mumbai is sailing from Kandla Port to Tuticorin via Mangalore and Cochin. This is a unique example of multi-modal logistics solution through integrated rail and coastal movement. With this CONCOR will start coastal movement of containers as a weekly service on this route, moving about 1400 containers.
Speaking on the occasion Nitin Gadkaricalled this a historical day for the transport sectorin India, and expressed confidence that this modal shiftin the logistics chain was an important beginning that would help to bring down logistics costs and make Indian goods more competitive in the global markets in the very near future.
The Minister said the combination of railways and coastal shipping is a win-win situation for both modes of transport. It will release capacity for railways to carry others goods and facilitate more cost effective movement of commodities like steel, cement etc through coastal route, thereby enhancing the coastal trade basket.
Gadkari also said that besides being economical, coastal shipping is environmentally friendly and can result in 6% reduction in harmful chemicals and pollutants in India.With estimated diversion of about 5% cargo to coastal shipping, the reduced traffic on rail and road can result in saving of Rs. 230 billion.
Urging CONCOR and other cargo transporters to utilize waterways and coastal shipping to enhance their business coefficient, Gadkari said that the network of waterways is growing fast in the country.
"We have declared 111 National Waterways. Work has already started on 11 waterways. With a new river port at Varanasi andmore coming up at Haldia, Sahibganj and Gazipur, and also dredging of Brahmaputra and Barak,goods can now be transported on rivers right uptoMyanmar via protocol route of inland waterways," he said.
With the total potential to move 9 million tones of cargo, CONCOR is expected to move about 2700 containers per month in the first phase to Kandlafor onward carriage by coastal route to southern ports like Cochin.
Under Sagarmala, the flagship programme of Ministry of Shipping, coastal shipping is being promoted and aims to achieve 12 % share of coastal shipping & inland waterways in India’s overall modal mix by 2025.