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Mandaviya highlights coastal shipping & other priorities of Ministry


The Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Chemicals and Fertilizers, Mr Mansukh Mandaviya, has stressed that the promotion of coastal shipping is the topmost priority of the Ministry of Shipping. The government wants to increase the share of freight transport through coastal route from 7 per cent at present to 10 per cent by 2020, which will result in a saving of Rs 20-25 billion.


Speaking about the Sagarmala programme, the Minister said, after inaugurating an event here, that the main focus of Sagarmala was port-led development, to reduce logistics cost and enhance last-mile connectivity. Under this programme, more than 600 infrastructure projects with an investment of approximately Rs 8.78 lakh crore have been identified, of which 89 projects worth Rs 14,000 crore have been completed and 436 projects worth Rs 4.18 lakh crore were under various stages of implementation. He added that after completion of these projects, logistics cost is expected to reduce by Rs 30,000-40,000 crore, also creating 1 crore jobs, including 40 lakh direct jobs in the process.


Mr Mandaviya said that the Ministry is working on developing 14 Coastal Economic Zones (CEZs), which will provide huge employment opportunities in coastal areas and will lead to the port-led development of such regions. Once operational, the CEZs will bring employment opportunities and economic upliftment of the people in coastal regions.


Speaking about the India-Bangladesh agreement for use of Chittagong and Mongla ports for cross-border movement of goods, the Minister said it would be a game-changer for eastern India. It will open new routes for cargo movements to Central Asia and Europe and will promote cooperation between the two countries in the economic, social and cultural fields. He also pointed out that the development of Chabahar port in Iran will provide a direct route to Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.


Mr Mandaviya stressed that there is huge scope for development of ship repair facilities in the country. The potential ship repair market in India is estimated to be in the range of Rs 2,600-2,800 crore, assuming that all Indian fleet will be repaired in India, he said.


He added that the MoU between Cochin Shipyard and Mumbai Port Trust for operation, maintenance and development of the ship repair facility at Indira Dock would provide a professional ship repair ecosystem that would be beneficial for the commercial as well as defence ship repair industry in India. Cochin Shipyard is in the process of developing ship repair facilities in joint venture with HDPEL on the east coast and with Mumbai Port on the west coast, he said.


In order to strengthen the shipbuilding industry, the government has given infrastructure status to the yards to make them legible for financial assistance at reasonable rates. The government has introduced a Rs 4,000-crore Financial Assistance Policy (FAP) for shipyards for 10 years, for contracts secured between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2026, he highlighted, as per a release.


Source : Exim News Service - Mumbai, Nov. 5


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