TCS To Recommend 2 Ports In Each Coastal State For Shipping

Mumbai, Sept 17: | Updated: Sep 18 2003, 05:30am hrs
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), which was mandated by the director general of shipping (DGS) to prepare a report on coastal shipping, is expected to recommend two ports on each coastal state of India. This is in addition to the existing port capacity for coastal trade.

TCS has considered a draft of eight metres with vessel capacity of around 10,000 DWT (dead weight tonnage). The above developments were discussed at an interactive session with TCS officials organised by the directorate general of shipping here on Wednesday. The draft report is likely to be submitted in the next two weeks.

It will later be examined by the DGS, as well as the ministry of shipping, which will take a months time, sources said.

The study has highlighted the need for two additional ports in every coastal state on the basis of cargo study undertaken on the origin and destination of cargo in the coastal belt. Currently, 90 per cent of the coastal trade is handled by the major ports.

According to the study undertaken by TCS so far, a one per cent shift from the surface transport (including road and rail) would mean an increase of 33 per cent to the existing coastal trade, sources said. The existing coastal trade in India is around 90 million tonne, while the cargo moved by the surface transport is around 2,800 million tonne, industry sources said. The coastal route is one-third in terms of operational cost when compared to the railways, and one-tenth that of road transport. However, the subsidised road and railways disturbs the feasibility of coastal shipping here unlike in developed countries where it is subsidised vis-a-vis roads and railways, sources said.

Coastal shipping has been a neglected area in the country with a coastline of around 7,000 km. The study, when completed, should facilitate a regime of coastal trade in India, sources added.

TCS had bagged the mandate to conduct the study on coastal shipping, by pipping 11 other contenders. The study undertaken for the first time in the country, apart from guaging the trade routes and identifying potential cargo movements would also suggest a legal framework to facilitate coastal shipping, sources added.