With projects like Sagarmala and the recently launched Ro-Ro ferry services in Gujarat, the Union government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is making moves to exploit the full potential of India's waters, or the "Blue Economy".
With projects like Sagarmala and the recently launched Ro-Ro ferry services in Gujarat, the Union government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is making moves to exploit the full potential of India’s waters, or the “Blue Economy”, to boost growth in coming years. While launching the Ro-Ro ferry services in Gujarat on Sunday, Modi had said, “We want development of ports and port-led development. The Blue Economy must act as a catalyst in improving India’s progress. Kandla Port is seeing unprecedented growth. This is because we have devoted resources to improve the port.”
“Building of infrastructure should enhance economic activities and add to the atmosphere of development,” he added.
Blue Economy is based on the idea of using waterways like rivers and the ocean as resources to achieve sustainable socio-economic development.
The Sagarmala project aims to promote port-led direct and indirect development and to provide infrastructure to transport goods to and from ports quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively.
At present, ports in India handle over 90 percent of India’s total EXIM (export-import) trade volume. But the proportion of merchandize trade in GDP of the country is only 42 per cent. In contrast, for some developed countries and regions like Germany and European Union, it is around 75 per cent and 70 per cent respectively.
According to NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, the waterways push can help the country save up to 5000 crore dollars per year.
In an article in Hinidi daily Dainik Bhaskar today, Kant wrote that through roadways, one litre of fuel can carry up to 24 tonnes of goods for a kilometre, while in the case of railways it can be 85 tonnes per kilometre per litre. However, through waterways, 105 tonnes of goods can be transported with a litre of fuel.
Kant says the cost of logistics in India is very high. Making use of the full potential of waterways will speed up the movement of people, goods and vehicles.
“Reduction of cost and time will have a profitable impact on manufacturing and exports,” Kant writes, adding, “If the cost of logistics in the GDP is reduced from 14 to 9 per cent, then the country will be able to save up to 50 ‘arab’ dollars (5000 crore dollars) per year, leading to a reduction in the cost of products.”
According to the Niti Aayog CEO, at persent only 4500 kilometre of India’s inland waterways is being used commercially and less than one per cent of domestic goods are transported through it.
The Ro-Ro ferry services in Gujarat will help transport up to 100 vehicles and 250 passengers between two terminals. Kant says that Indian Railways is also going to start Ro-Ro services for transporting petroleum products in Bihar and Tripura.