The Ministry of Shipping of India has formulated a revised Central Sector Scheme aimed to provide financial support for the creation of infrastructure that will promote movement of cargo/passengers by sea or National Waterways.
This is in line with the ministry’s port-led- development program – Sagarmala – for creating better infrastructure and promoting coastal shipping for saving logistic costs.
Under the scheme, projects for construction/up-gradation of exclusive coastal berths for coastal cargo and berths/jetties for passenger ferries; mechanization of coastal berths; capital dredging for operating non-major ports; construction of breakwaters for existing & Greenfield Non-major ports; construction of berths/ jetties in National Waterways and islands by State Governments/UT; and construction of platforms/ jetties for hovercrafts/seaplanes will be considered for assistance.
Financial assistance under the revised scheme would be given up to 50% of the total cost of the project.
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.
Under the scheme, the creation of exclusive berths for coastal shipping and its mechanization will reduce waiting time for coastal vessels resulting in reduced cost. The capital dredging and construction of breakwaters shall help in smoother navigation of large vessels into the ports and thus facilitate development of existing and Greenfield ports. With coastal shipping being more environment friendly mode of transport compared to rail and road, it would also help in reducing pollution.