In a bid to save on fuel cost and promote water transport, the Shipping Ministry is preparing a blueprint on the ambitious plan to ship vehicles made in the South to Gujarat via sea route.
“The Ministry has been asked to prepare a report on the feasibility of transport of vehicles from Chennai-based ports to Gujarat and from Delhi to South from Gujarat-based ports,” a Shipping Ministry official said.
Last week, Road, Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari had asked officials to come up with a report in this regard.
“Officials have been asked to come up with a report for shipping vehicles manufactured in Chennai from ports in Chennai to Mundra in Gujarat and from there to Delhi via road to minimise fuel cost,” Gadkari had said.
The same route could be adopted for transfer of vehicles from manufactures such as Maruti to South, he had said.
The Minister had said that waterways were a fuel efficient mode of transport with a cost of barely 55 paise a km as against ₹1.5 on transportation by road.
It may be noted that Ennore Port, near Chennai, has already seen export of 4,49,720 automobile units till December, 2013, including by automobile manufacturers such as Nissan, Ford and Ashok Leyland from Chennai, Toyota from Bangalore and Honda from Delhi.
The 12 major ports – Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT, Marmugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Ennore, VO Chidambaranar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia) handle approximately 61 per cent of the country’s total cargo traffic besides about 200 non-major ports in control of States.
The possibility of a waterway between Gangotri, Kanpur, Allahabad and Kolkata for cargo and passenger movement is also being explored.
So far, there are five declared waterways besides the new 121-km Barak in Assam, but some of them are yet to be operational.