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Port capacity augmentation a top priority for govt

In order to meet the ever-increasing trade requirements, expansion of port capacity has been accorded the highest priority with implementation of well-conceived infrastructure development projects like Sagarmala, project Unnati, etc., as per the Economic Survey, which was tabled by the Finance Minister, Ms Nirmala Sitharaman, in Parliament last week. 


Parameters identified by Ministry to reduce dwell time and transaction costs


To facilitate ease of doing business, the Shipping Ministry has identified various parameters for reducing dwell time and transaction costs at the Major Ports, which include elimination of manual forms, accommodation for laboratories to participating government agencies, direct port delivery, installation of container scanners, e-delivery orders, radio frequency identification-based gate automation system, etc.


Shipping’s pivotal role in Indian trade


Noting that "shipping plays a pivotal role in India’s trade dynamics", the Economic Survey said, "As on January 31, 2019, India had a fleet strength of 1,405 ships with deadweight tonnage (DWT) of 19.22 million (12.74 million GT), including Indian controlled tonnage, with Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) having the largest share of around 30.52 per cent. Of this, around 458 ships of 17.58 million DWT (11.26 million GT) cater to India’s overseas trade and the rest to coastal trade".


As far as the Inland Water Transport is concerned, the survey said India’s first inland waterway multimodal terminal (MMT) at Varanasi was inaugurated in November last year by the Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, and the first container consignment on Ganga, which had sailed from Kolkata, was received at Varanasi MMT on the same day.


Survey stressed promotion of inland waterways for its great benefits


The survey emphasised on promoting inland waterways as it is cheap and environment-friendly. To enhance access and establish alternative connectivity to the North-East through the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol route, dredging works between Ashuganj and Zakiganj, and Sirajganj and Daikhawa in Bangladesh through 80:20 sharing (80 per cent by India and 20 per cent by Bangladesh) have been awarded, said the Survey, as per a report.


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