Chennai, July 12 (IANS) Domestic shipping (coastal and inland water transport) should be at par with the road transport sector in all aspects so as to take away bulk of the cargo movement from the trucks, experts said here on Wednesday.
“The coastal shipping is viable and does not need any viability gap funding. What it needs is the parity in regulations vis-a-vis the road transport sector,” Sudhir Subhedar, former President of ICC Shipping Association, said.
He also cited the differential regulatory treatment between domestic and international aviation.
The Indian Coastal Conference (ICC) was formed in 1951 by 13 leading Indian shipping companies as a platform to facilitate and grow the Indian coastal shipping trade.
Subhedar was speaking at a knowledge sharing session on coastal shipping and inland water transport (IWT) organised by Karaikal Port here.
He said the rules and regulations of international shipping are applied on the domestic transport vessels which in turn makes the operational and capital costs higher.
According to him, shipping laws are shackling the growth of domestic shipping in India.
He said that moving cargo via coastal shipping routes or inland waters is cheaper by 30-50 per cent as compared to road transport.
“A five per cent shift of cargo movement to coastal shipping would increase the gross domestic product (GDP) by one per cent,” Subhedar claimed.
Experts said logistics cost is 13 per cent of the GDP of India as compared to eight per cent in developed economies.
Coastal shipping is an economic mode of transport compared to rail/road movement besides reducing carbon emissions.
The advantages of inland waterways is the savings in cost, reduction in transit time, reduction in accident cost, noise and others.
Coastal and inland waterways movement of goods in Europe is 59 per cent and this one of the reasons for their less logistics cost, said G.R.K. Reddy, Promoter and Director, Karaikal Port.
According to experts, integrating coastal shipping and inland waterways transport is also possible.
The challenge for domestic shipping to take off are capacity building, long term investment in infrastructure, acquisition of land, environmental concerns and growing public concerns about developmental projects.