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i-maritime News Service

Shipping Ministry seeks new cargo tie-ups for inland waterways - 2012-06-11

The Ministry of Shipping is exploring possibilities of tying up with Food Corporation of India and fertiliser and oil companies for diverting a slice of their cargoes for transportation through inland waterways. With the Shipping Ministry strengthening navigation infrastructure on inland waterways, shippers have been increasingly looking at this mode of transportation due to its cost effectiveness vis-à-vis other modes.

The Ministry, in a reply to a Parliamentary Standing Committee report recently, said it is hopeful achieving some success in getting new cargoes, including LPG, for inland water transportation. There is significant potential for cargo diversion to inland waterways.

For instance, NTPC has recently offered a coal transportation project for its Farakka power plant, involving a long term cargo assurance of three million tonnes per annum (mtpa) for seven years. Also, transportation of project cargo through inland waterways was taken up for ONGC's Palatana power plant in Tripura. Similarly, FCI has proposed transportation of 30,000 tonnes a year (tpa) of cargo from Kolkata to Agartala through inland waterways.

There are about seven fertiliser plants near NW-1 (Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hoogly river system connecting Allahabad and Haldia covering 1,620 km). It has been estimated that this could have the potential to carry 7.7 lakh tonne of cargoes for the fertiliser plants annually. Inland waterways sector today accounts for a share of about 0.5 per cent of the total volume of cargo movement in India, with a throughput of about 80 million tonnes annually.

The Inland Waterways Authority of India has proposed a string of projects for the current fiscal with the Rs 130 crore grants it received.

The authority is also setting up intermodal terminals at major cargo centres on all national waterways. “Major terminals at Patna and Pandu have been set up, while similar facilities are underway at Kolkata, Varanasi and Allahabad on NW-1, Dhubri and Jogighkopa on NW-2 and eight terminals on NW-3,” IWAI said in a report.

Source : Hindu Business Line