New coastal shipping policy, Ports Act amendment in final stages

July 8th, 2011 - 6:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, July 8 (IANS) A new coastal shipping policy for India and the document for amending the Indian Ports Act are currently in their final stages, an official said Friday.

“The new policy is almost ready for coastal shipping and we also talked about amending the Indian Ports Act. Both the documents of coastal shipping policy and amending the Indian Ports Act are in the final stages,” National Shipping Board chairman P.V.K. Mohan told reporters.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a seminar on ‘East Coast Ports - Vision 2020′, organised by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry here.

“No funds have been developed for coastal shipping, but initiatives have been earmarked - like what are the initiatives that the ports have to do, what the shipping industry is expected to do - these are the things that have been highlighted,” he said.

On the amendment of the Indian Ports Act, Mohan said it was basically about ensuring level playing field for the non-major and major ports, and a holistic approach towards development of ports.

He also highlighted the need for awareness by steel and fertiliser industries that coastal shipping was the viable alternative to road and rail.

He said there was a need for understanding the commercial aspects of coastal shipping.

“Initially you will not get two-way cargos. You may get north to south, but you may not get anything from south to north. So the need is for the industry to understand that initially coastal shipping may be marginally expensive compared to road and rail, but eventually when two-way traffic develops, this will definitely be the cheapest form of cargo transport along the coast,” he said.

“It is also environment friendly,” Mohan added.

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