31-08-2016

Shipping ministry to fund infra projects

MOS

The ministry of shipping has decided to give financial assistance of up to 50% of the project costs by revising its Centre Shipping Scheme.

The projects which would be covered under the scheme are construction or upgradation of exclusive coastal berths for coastal cargo and berths or jetties for passenger ferries; mechanization of coastal berths; capital dredging for operating non-major ports; construction of breakwaters for existing and greenfield non-major ports; construction of berths or jetties in National Waterways and islands by state governments; and construction of platforms or jetties for hovercrafts and seaplanes.

According to the scheme’s revised guidelines, financial assistance would be subject to some terms and conditions. Besides, the balance cost has to be borne by respective ports or the concerned state government from their internal resources.

Under the scheme, maximum financial assistance would be given in cases of capital dredging for operating non-major ports and construction of breakwater for existing and greenfield non-major ports. The financial assistance for these cases is limited to Rs.50 crore.

Similarly, up to Rs.25 crore will be given in case of construction or up-gradation of exclusive coastal berths for coastal cargo and passengers in ports’ water, while Rs.15 crore will be given for mechanisation of coastal berths. For construction of platforms or jetties on national waterways and islands, a maximum assistance of Rs.10 crore will be extended.

“The main objective of the revised scheme is to promote coastal shipping and increase its share in domestic cargo movement, which is currently only as low as 7%, compared to other developed countries in Europe and Asia,” said a shipping ministry official, requesting anonymity. “Better infrastructure for coastal shipping in terms of handling facilities will decongest rail and road network as well as ensure cost competitive and effective multi-modal transportation solution.”

According to the National Perspective Plan of Sagarmala, internal cargo movement can save around Rs.21,000 crore toRs.27,000 crore by 2025 by shipping 230-280 million tonnes per annum by transporting key commodities like coal, cement, fertilizers, iron, steel and foodgrain.

The shipping ministry in its press statement said that the infrastructure-like exclusive berths for coastal shipping and mechanization created under the scheme will help reduce the waiting time for coastal vessels resulting in reduced cost. The capital dredging and construction of breakwaters will also help smoothen navigation of large vessels into the ports and thus facilitate development of existing and greenfield ports. With coastal shipping being a more environment friendly mode of transport compared to rail and road, it will also help in reducing pollution.

Source: Live Mint 

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