Coastal Shipping: India Wants World Bank Money
India’s Shipping Ministry is trying to gain funding from the World Bank-managed Global Environment Fund (GEF) to promote coastal shipping. The aim is to reduce road congestion and transport costs.
Daily Shipping Times reports that shipping secretary Vishwapati Trivedi told stakeholders that the Ministry proposes to raise funds from GEF to partly finance the development plans for the sector. The sector seems to be eligible as it is considered the most environmentally friendly and fuel efficient mode of transport. Studies have shown that cost of movement of goods by waterways is 50 per cent lower than by road and 30 per cent cheaper than by rail.
Besides financial assistance, incentives planned for coastal shipping include a priority berthing facility for coastal ships at government-owned major ports. Currently, ocean-going vessels get priority.
“Getting a berth on time is a major issue hurting the coastal service now. Dedicated facilities at all major ports will help attract more cargo to coastal service and reduce the burden on roads,” said SK Shahi of SKS Logistics, a leading coastal service operator.
Despite the country’s vast coastline, coastal shipping currently only accounts for seven per cent of domestic freight.