The Ministry of Shipping is organizing a workshop with various stakeholders and industry representatives on 20th June 2016 between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi to discuss ways and means to promote water transportation and make it competitive to roads and railways transportation.
The waterways mode of transportation is fuel-efficient, environment – friendly, and capable of easing traffic congestion on roads and railways thus preventing loss of human lives due to accidents. The Government of India is committed to promote coastal shipping and inland waterways transportation and has envisioned the increasing of the share of waterways transportation mode from the present level of 7% to 10% by 2020.
To optimize utilization of waterways as a transportation mode many important steps have already been taken, which include (i) moderating manning and technical requirements for vessels operating within Indian territorial waters through a river sea vessel notification; (ii) declaring the inland vessel limits for facilitating coastal trade operations; (iii) issuing coastal shipping rules for coastal vessels operating within 20 miles off the coast; (iv) advising major ports to introduce green channel for coastal cargo, priority berthing for coastal vessels and construction of exclusive coastal berths; (v) exempting customs and Central Excise duty on bunker fuels (IFO 180 and IFO 380 CST) for use by coastal vessels carrying EXIM cargo or empty containers or domestic cargo between two ports, in India; (vi) bringing abatement of service tax at 70% for coastal shipping at par with road and rail; (vii) simplification of customs procedures, etc.
To provide thrust to the transportation of automobile cargo through waterways, apart from relaxing cabotage for Roll-on-Roll-off vessels, the wharfage charges on per unit basis, instead of on ad volarem basis, have been introduced for major ports and tariff is prescribed at concessional rates for Roll-on-Roll-off (RoRo) vessels on coastal voyage for transporting cars from one Indian port to another Indian Port.
As a step towards finalizing the operationalization of the above initiatives, the workshop is being organized with participation of Indian Waterways Authority of India, Director General of Shipping, INSA, ICCSA, logistics companies and freight forwarders and other stakeholders to seek their views on modal shift of cargo transportation to coastal shipping and waterways, and to remove impediments and make water transportation competitive.