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Cargo through coastal shipping touches a record high 234 million in the last financial year 2017-18

Coastal cargo handling in all the ports of the country including the ones controlled by the state government has touched a record high of 234 million tons during the last financial year 2017-18, about sixteen per cent more than what was handled by them during the previous year

Thermal coal has emerged as the leading commodity transported by ships from coal fields in Bengal Jharkhand states to thermal plants in southern India mostly Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The recent steps taken by the Shipping Ministry to promote coastal shipping have increased the coastal movement of steel, food grains, fertilizers and automobiles besides cement.

The Government push for movement of goods through waterways has resulted in shift of cargo from road and rail to coastal waterways. The average annual growth of cargo moved through coastal waterways has increased by 10 times since the Government came to power, according the official sources

“The average growth rate of coastal shipping was only 1.4 per cent between 2009-10 and 2013-14. This increased to 14.2 per cent during 2014-15 and 2017-18 period. We expect this to go up further as the size of parcels get bigger. More players will shift to coastal movement of such cargo rather than depending on road and rail,” said a Ministry official.

In China, more than one billion tons of coal, steel, grains and fertilisers are transported using the coastal sea route and they have specially built coastal vessels for this purpose.

Currently, about 55 per cent of the cargo is transported through roads, about 33 per cent by railways and 6 per cent each by pipelines and Coastal Shipping.

The Shipping Ministry has set the target to double the share of transportation of cargo through Coastal Shipping and inland water navigation by 2025 under the Sagarmala programme.

A number of steps taken in the past three-four years have helped the sector, which include the reduction in GST on bunker fuel to only 5 per cent from the earlier 18 per cent, financial incentives to states and ports for building exclusive berth for coastal cargo and introducing green channel clearance for coastal cargo.


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