Chennai: Oppressed with the problem of increasing costs owing to multiple handling through water transport, the shipping ministry is looking at how to have seamless connectivity between the consumer and the producer so that it doesn’t face problem in moving through the coastal route also. The ministry is expecting the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to submit a report on issues regarding coastal shipping and suggest remedies by December this year.
Also, the government is discussing with the Bangladesh government for a possible tie-up to allow Indian cargo to pass through rivers of that country to transport it from West Bengal to northeastern states like Tripura, according to a senior official.
“We are trying to analyse various constrains commodity-wise. We have assigned a study to ADB to analyse each and every constraint and are trying to address the issues,” says Kailash K. Aggarwal, joint secretary of ministry of shipping.
Every alternate week, there is a discussion between the ministry and ADB team and there are discussions with various stakeholders, boards, industries and ministries.
The issues are diverse, including that of warehouses which may not be available at certain places, or absence of last mile connectivity, and higher cost of handling at some locations. In absolute terms, the cost of transportation through railway is around Rs 1-1.2 per km and per ton, while by road it is around Rs 1 per km and per ton, whereas the cost of transportation through water is 25-30 paise per km and per ton.
“But the problem is multiple handling through water transport increases the cost. So we are looking at how to have seamless connectivity between the consumer and the producer so that no problems are faced in moving through the coastal route too,” he said while speaking on the sidelines of the two-day CII Port Conclave 2018, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
The scope of the project is not only in India but also in other countries. For instance, if one transports material from West Bengal to the North Eastern States through rail or road, it is a very circuitous route. But, it becomes very short and cheaper transportation if it could be transported through Bangladesh Rivers.