Speaking on the occasion Shri 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. 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% & Germany -11% , he said.
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
Shri 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, Shri 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.