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Inland shipping to get boost from coastal baseline relaxation

LiveMint logoLiveMint 25-05-2014 PTI

Kolkata: Inland shipping will get a boost with the government relaxing the baseline for inland vessels which can now move deeper into the sea.

“Government has relaxed the norms for inland vessels to move deeper into the sea. The baseline has been relaxed by 12km from coastline which is known as territorial waters,” director general shipping Gautam Chatterjee told PTI.

“This will help inland waterways transport. Now inland vessels can venture into sea to offload cargo from large vessels directly and this in turn will bring huge operational cost saving for the trade,” Chatterjee said.

Currently, there are some 800 redundant ocean going vessels being used in inland water transport, but gradually the picture will change with the policy, Chatterjee said. Inland waterways transport companies are constructing new inland vessels, he said. Jindal ITF Ltd is transporting imported coal to NTPC Ltd’s power plant at Farakka through inland waterways.

The company won a `650-crore contract from the Inland Waterways Authority of India. Chatterjee said a proposal has been sent to the ministry of shipping to introduce Indian controlled tonnage concept to increase cargo share by Indian shipping companies. Currently, the share of cargo handled by Indian flag liners is just 8%.

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