Logistics

Fund to develop inland waterways mooted

Nivedita Ganguly Satyanarayan Iyer Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on September 27, 2012

Sand being transported in a small country boat across the Godavari river in Rajamundhry, Andhra Pradesh. (file photo).

Upgradation of National Waterways and creation of a fund to help transport operators have been suggested to develop this low-cost mode of transport.

India has navigable inland waterways of almost 14,500 km of which 5,200 km of major rivers and 500 km of canals are suitable for mechanised craft.

According to S. S. Mishra, Member, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), part of the fuel cess should be diverted for development of inland waterways transport (IWT).

Addressing the ‘Intermodal India’ event here, he said despite huge potential, IWT currently handles less than one per cent of total inland cargo transport.

“The share of IWT in the transport sector in India is just 0.40 per cent. While in countries like Netherlands, it is 42 per cent. Logistics solutions is limited to rail and road in India,” said Mishra.

A report on multimodal transport prepared by consulting firm Deloitte said, development of IWT in India is still in its initial stages and requires significant Government funding.IWT projects involve comparatively lower investments both for creation and sustenance as compared to other modes of transport. IWAI is aiming to increase the share of IWT to three per cent in the next two to three years.

IWT has the potential to attract investments of over Rs 30,710 crore (about $5.74 billion) in the next ten years, according to Deloitte.

Of this, new projects will account for Rs 18,135 crore and remaining will be invested in ongoing projects. Private sector will bring in about 65 per cent of the total investment.

Cost-effective mode

In the wake of growing demand for the transportation of bulk goods and over-dimensional cargo, inland water transport emerges as a fuel-efficient, environment-friendly and cost-effective mode of transport.

According to industry estimates, one litre of fuel transports 24 tonnes of cargo by road, 85 tonnes by rail and has the capacity to transport 105 tonnes by inland waterways.

“The yearly losses in the logistics sector amounts to about Rs 150,000 crore due to accidents, congestions in the road sector among other factors. These losses will considerably come down with the growth in IWT,” added Mishra.

nivedita.ganguly@thehindu.co.in

satyanarayan.iyer@thehindu.co.in

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Published on September 27, 2012
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