India to move 100 mln tons of cargo on coastal shipping route over next 5 years

India will move 100 million tons of coastal cargo in the next five years through the coastal shipping route from the present 2 million tons, an official from the country’s shipping ministry said on Friday.

“The linkage of inland waterways to coastal waterways is essential by embarking on shifting major project cargo from rail and road to inland waterways,” Director General of Shipping Amitabh Kumar told a conference in Mumbai.

The country has 1,429 vessels registered under the Merchant Shipping Act of which over 900 vessels are operating at coastal routes.

Flagging out the issue facing the coastal shipping industry, Kumar said that even if the cargoes are available, the routes are not financially viable. “There is enough produce available in the hinterland to fill thousands and thousands of ships. What we lack in India is a good agglomeration service for small producers,” he said.

India has a coastline of 7,516.6 km, including 1,197 km of touching the various islands apart from inland waterways.

“A few years back we had only 5 waterways, now we have 111 waterways, which is a huge jump,” said Amit Prasad, chairperson of Inland Waterways Authority of India.