The Steel Ministry has asked the Indian steel-makers to tap the waterways route for transportation in the sector. At least two, — Tata Steel in the private sector, and the state-owned SAIL — have been asked to explore the possibilities in this regard and prepare

As per the minutes of the meeting held in August-end, “SAIL and Tata Steel (are) to submit a note with specific actionable points” on “using waterways for logistics purpose in the steel sector”.

BusinessLine has reviewed a copy of the minutes of the meeting that was held between the Ministry officials and industry stakeholders chaired by the Union Minister, Jyotiraditya Scindia. In all likelihood, the note is expected to be ready by the next meeting scheduled on September 21, those aware said.

Using waterways provides substantial cost advantage apart from being a non-polluting way forward.

Previous instances

Incidentally, Tata Steel has been one of the few companies to have used both the inland waterways and the Indo-Bangladesh protocol routes.

In a more recent move, the company is sending 25 MT of TMT bars to Silchar (Assam) from Kolkata, through the use of multi-modal transportation. The cargo will move from Kolkata port (now called, Syama Prasad Mookerjee port) to Chittagong port in Bangladesh; and then sent to Assam through the Sheola-Sutarkhandi land customs station border points.

The move is expected to cut down transport time to N-E by nearly half. Between March and April, the steel-maker brought in heavy machinery for expansion at its Kalinganagar plant in Odisha. Nearly 1,000 cubic meters (CBM) of four super over dimensional assembled cargo (SODCs), each weighing up to 100 metric tonnes were shipped. These were part of its slag granulation plant that was being set up.

According to a previous statement from the company, its consignment sailed in a chartered vessel from Shanghai to Paradip port in Odisha. At Paradeep, it was loaded on a barge that travelled up Luna River and then unloaded in Kendrapara. From there it was transported using the road.