The government is planning to increase the share of coastal shipping to 10 per cent in the modal cargo mix by 2020, which will reduce burden on rails and roads.
The share of waterways transportation mode in the modal cargo mix is about 7 per cent now.
“The government envisions increasing the share of coastal shipping in modal cargo mix to 10 per cent by 2020 from the current share so as to reduce the over-dependence on road and rail sectors for domestic cargo transportation,” Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan told Rajya Sabha in a written reply today.
Radhakrishnan said the government has also given in-principle approval to setting up of four new ports at Colachal in Tamil Nadu, Sagar in West Bengal, Durgarajapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Vadhawan in Maharashtra.
India has 12 major ports under the control of the Centre besides 205 non-major ports under the purview of state governments/ union territories, he said.
The percentage share of cargo handled by major ports in 2015-16 stood at 56.5 per cent as against 43.5 per cent by non-major ports, the minister said.
Government’s recent estimate has said promotion of coastal shipping of just six commodities, including coal, cement and steel, could result in a huge Rs 40,000 crore annual saving.
The Sagarmala project recently announced by the Centre intends to double the share of coastal and inland waterways in transport, thus boosting domestic trade and exports.
The government expects to do this by expanding current port capacities, building new ports and developing ports proximate to industrial and manufacturing clusters.