● Government Interactions
Inland waterways can serve as an effective way of transportation, as it is cheaper, more reliable and less polluting than transporting goods by road or ra il. The government of India has taken an initiative to revive and develop this greener mode of transporta tion.
Realizing that waterways have the potential to emerge as the leading logistics option amongst the multi transport network, ASSOCHAM organized a Round Table Discussion with Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Hon'ble Union Minister for Shipping, Road, transport and Highways in New Delhi.
Mr. Gadkari highlighted that with India having. 7500km of coastline and 20,000 kms river length, the Government's first pr ior ity is to promote waterways. This sector provides huge economic viability and income potential The logistics cost in India could decline and businesses will be internationally competitive, if waterways is used as modal transport The private sector can come forward and take explore the possibilities.
The logistics cost in China is just 8- 10%, while in Europe it is 10-12% and in India it is 15-16%. This is mainly due to high diesel cost "The cost of methanol obtained from low grade coal (with higher fly ash content not usable in the Power sector) is Rs. 13-14, while diesel costs Rs. 60. Use of methanol will cut down fuel cost and further reduce logistics cost to world competitive rates@ 10-12%", said Mr. Cadkari. The Government is thus promoting innovations to develop / refurbish old engines for methanol use. Niti Aayog has set automobile standards at M-15. Mr. Gadkari advised ASSOCHAM to discuss with Dr. Saraswat, Advisor Energy, Niti Aayog to prepare a study on 'Total Methanol Economy'.
He also informed that Hubli Dock is developing 500 barges for IWAI, with increased
carriage capacity of up to 35004000tons cargo (as against 2500 tons of cargo). Higher carrying capacity with further reduced fuel cost will make waterway transportation most effective (expected @ 25 paisa per ton per km).
Giving a heads up on the huge opportunity for the private sector to invest in the IWT sector, Mr. Gadkari informed that the government is procuring Russian boats which could run @43nautical miles. Industry too could buy old cruise vessels, refurbish and use it. The Ministry of Shipping will lend all help to investors. Passenger cruise (ships run on methanol fuel) from Mumbai to Bali enroute Andaman and Nicobar is being envisaged. Further, using coastal shipping route, cars could be transported from Chennai to Kandla and and vice versa and then transported through waterway route to northern India. This would reduce cost of vehicles in far fetched states.
In response to industry demand for fiscal and tax incentives, Minister said that often Ministry of Finance is reluctant to accede to such
demands. However, any help within the purview of Ministry of Shipping could be offered to private sector. Fertilisers are transported through trucks at subsidized rates. Ministry is pursuing to extend similar benefit for transportation through waterways.
Industry pointed that India and Bangladesh signed an MoU for Indo-Bangladesh protocol route Mr. Sacchar informed that SOP has been sent to Bangladesh Government and should it receive their nod, shipping protocol will be signed.
Chittagong Port is highly congested with turnaround time exceeding 15 days. Secondly, under the Indo-Bangladesh protocol agreement, return freight to India isnot permissible. Hon'ble Minister suggested that ASSOCHAM could take lead in addressing this issue and call for a joint meeting of Chambers of Commerce (Dhaka and Bangladesh Chamber), Ministry of Shipping Bangladesh, IWAB and IWAC (Bangladesh) and the Chamber's of Commerce, Kolkata Port Trust, IWAI. Ambassadors of two countries also could join and resolve the issues around Indo-Bang Ia Protocol agreement.
Mr. Pravir Pandey, IWAI also Chairman National Council on Inland Waterways said that the flagship JMV project started on June 15 and progressed remarkably over past 4 years. "Over next 7-8 years we shall achieve development equivalent to what other nations have achieved over 50-60 years. In Ganga river front end engineering studies, mathematical modeling, numerical modeling have been completed. For the first time environmental impact, social impact assessment, cargo analysis has been done since 2014. Cabinet approved the project on 3rd January 2018 and loan with the World bank was signed in Feb 18. JMVP is 800 million $ project." It is a historic step. Under the National Waterway Act 2016, IWAI is currently handling 1000 crore projects annually (as against 80-100crore projects per annum handled earlier). Extensive work has started on 8NWs. Currently we are handling 5000-6000kms of waterway routes including Ganga (1400 kms), Indo- Bangladesh Protocol route & NW 2 Brahamputra route (1600 kms). IWAI has raised extra budgetary resources through Bonds and World Bank has also extended large funds.
Though IWAI is working on mission mode, however, it is also realized that task of this magnitude cannot be accomplished alone. There is a need for private sector to partner with IWAI. New modal choice is being created; road and rail have been contemporary choices, it is time that waterways is added as the new choice.
Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Hon'ble Union Ministry of Shipping, Roads and Transport releasing ASSOCHAM's strategy paper on 'Inland Waterway Transportation' with (L-R)Mr. D. S.Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM, Mr. Pravir Pandey IA & AS, Vice-Chairman, Inland Waterway Authority of India (lWAI) and Project Director Jal Margas Project (JMVP), Ms Nutan Guha Biswas, Chairperson, IWAI, Mr. Sandeep Jajodia, President, ASSOCHAM, Mr. R. Sachar Advisor E, Ministry of Shipping, Mr. Saibal De, CEO, Directors & FSMaritime Infrastructure Co. Ltd.
Mr. Sandeep Jajodia, President, ASSOCHAM in conversation with Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Honble Union Ministry of Shipping, Roads and Transport.
Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Hon'ble Union Ministry of Shipping, Roads and Transport addressing the audience. Also seen (L-R) Mr. D. S.Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM, Mr. Pravir Pandey IA&AS, Vice-Chairman, Inland Waterway Authority of India (iWAi) and Project Director, Jal Marg Vikas Project (jMVP), Ms Nutan Guha Biswas, Chairperson, IWAI, Mr. Sandeep Jajodia, President, ASSOCHAM, Mr. R. Sachar Advisor E, Ministry of Shipping, Mr. Saibal De, CEO, Director, IL&FSMaritime Infrastructure Co. Ltd.