Port Wings News Network:
The Minister of State for Shipping (I/C) and Chemical & Fertilizers Shri Mansukh Mandaviya in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on 11 July 2019 informed that 111 National Waterways are being developed in phased manner for the purpose of shipping and navigation.
The Minister informed that cargo transportation on waterways rose to 72.31 Million Tonnes in the year 2018-19, from 55.20 MT in 2016-17 and 55.03 MT in 2017-18.
The Minister further informed the House that various initiatives have been taken by the Government to increase the use of Inland Waterways and Coastal Shipping for greater cargo shipment. These include providing assured depth of water in the channels, navigation aids like GPS and River Information System, terminals at regular intervals, facilities for mechanized handling of cargo handling etc.
A minimum 40 % discount and priority in berthing is being given to coastal vessels at major ports. Ministry of Fertilizers and Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade have respectively agreed to provide subsidy for transportation of fertilizers and for transportation of raw materials and finished goods for new industrial units in North Eastern Region through IWT mode. Licensing relaxations have been made under section 406 and 407 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1958 for fertilizers, agricultural products, fisheries, horticultural, and animal husbandry products, empty containers and containers being transhipped from another Indian port, special vessels such as Ro-Ro, Ro-Pax, Project cargo/ODC. Allowing carriage of coastal containers through the territorial waters of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar and streamlining of mechanism for freight subsidy reimbursement for fertilizers are other steps taken in this direction.