Coastal shipping: Back in focus
On May 29, 2015, Indian Coastal Conference Shipping Association (ICCSA) convened a seminar attended by ship owners, operators and managers. Key note speakers discussed in detail the opportunities that this sector entails and its unrealised potential.
Despite all the benefits in terms of consumption and environment, we are nowhere compared to similarly placed countries as far as coastal and inland waterways shipping go. The focus of the government has primarily been railways and roads in the last 50 years. The challenge is that we are low on transportation via waterways. We have been pitching for a subsidy to kick-start transport via coastal movement.
Secretary, Ministry of Shipping Coastal shipping has been a hotly debated and discussed over several years. With the economy slated for growth, going by the buzz in the Transport Bhawan, it becomes necessary to discuss the opportunities available for augmentation of the share of domestic seaborne transport. Indian exports are growing and would keep growing as the government moves more and more towards the ‘Make in India’ concept.
Hon. Secretary, ICCSA The government has come out with a set of guidelines for incentivising modal ships through coasts. Instead of trying to change the various regulations, the government decided to give an incentive that makes up for the shortfall between what one would pay for a road versus what one would pay for coastal shipping, making competition easier. Also the government is trying to move over dimensional heavy trucks or cargo off the roads.
Captain Gur Prasad Kohli Managing Director/Head of India, Wallenius Wilhelmsen
Logistics (India) The capacity of Indian ship building and marine making equipment compared to China is negligible. There is a need to make use of appropriate technological resources with the help of ICCSA members to commission waterborne transport, RoRos, self-powered barges and build the necessary bridges since water transport is 30 per cent cheaper than road and by that of rail.
Member of Parliament, North Mumbai The impediment that we face in operating our ships and moving cargoes is the rules and regulations of customs and immigration. Presently customs and immigration authorities treat coastal vessels as foreign going vessels, although they say that customs has no role to play in coastal shipping. A new facility needs to be created for coastal RoRo vessels which deals with movement of vehicles including trucks and cars.
Captain Kiran Kamat Vice President
ICCSA The government has already sanctioned six projects in six ports, exclusively for coastal movement. We will try to denotify the area from customs so that coastal shippers need not go through the customs procedures, though it would depend on the location as it would not be possible in all the ports. In some ports, the government has tried ‘ Green Channel Clearance’. If coastal shippers find it useful, the same would be applied to other ports too.
Joint Secretary (Ports), Ministry of Shipping