November 22, 2017   
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New Delhi, Nov 1 (IANS) Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said that use of coastal shipping for transporting goods could be a key enabler for reduction of logistics cost for domestic and as well as export-import trade of the country.

Flagging off a consignment of 2,30,000 tonnes of steel from Vizag Port to Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Kochi through coastal shipping route, Gadkari, who also holds the Road Transport and Highways portfolio, said that Rastriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) was till now transporting its products to 22 stockyards through road and rail mode but their coastal transportation will now help save 380 million tonne km of rail transportation per annum and bring down logistics costs.

“This is especially significant since RINL has doubled its production capacity to 6.3 million tonnes per annum, and to cater to the increased volumes, it is important to economize on transportation costs to be globally competitive,” a statement quoted Gadkari as saying.

The Minister urged all other manufactures to make use of coastal shipping for transporting goods “as this can be a key enabler for reduction of logistics cost for domestic and EXIM (Export-Import) trade of India”.

Movement of cargo through coastal shipping has inherent advantages over land modes of transport such as road and rail as it is more cost effective, causes less pollution, reduces congestion on land and can cater to huge parcel sizes, a statement from the Shipping Ministry said.

The government’s ambitious Sagarmala programme envisages to double current share of coastal shipping in India’s overall modal mix from 6 per cent to 12 per cent by 2025.

Globally, countries such as China and Netherlands have achieved a modal share of 24 per cent for coastal shipping and inland water navigation.