Cargo infra at ports stressed

Bhubaneswar: In a bid to boost transportation through sea, the state government Thursday urged the Centre for development of cargo handling infrastructure at existing ports in the state.
Inaugurating the national-level workshop on ‘Promotion of Coastal Shipping and Inland Navigation in India’ here Thursday, Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi requested the Union Shipping Ministry to develop the cargo handling infrastructure in the existing ports at Paradip, Dhamra and Gopalpur.
Padhi said development of port infrastructure would add to strength and viability of costal shipping in the state thereby reducing the transportation cost of major goods like coal.
“Transportation through coastal shipping is economic and environment friendly. It reduces the logistic cost of the cargo and makes the business more competitive in world market,” he pointed out.
Stating that Oriyas are known as a sea faring race for their glorious maritime trade, he said, “It is a matter of concern that of late the shipping and coastal route has taken a backseat in spite of its comparative advantage over rail and road transport.”
Development of coastal shipping through Sagarmala Project would reduce the congestion on rail and national highways, he opined.
Padhi requested Sagarmala Project Authorities to take initiatives for transportation of coal from Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) mining area to the ports.
Speaking at the workshop, joint secretary of the Ministry Rabindra Kumar Agrawal said around 1 billion tonne of coal would be mined in coming years; out of which MCL alone would contribute around 25 per cent.
“Currently, 61 per cent of the power plants in the country are based on thermal power. There is need for increasing coal production and transportation today. At times logistic cost of coal and other minerals exceeds the cost of the mineral itself. Coastal shipping alone can reduce this cost to a large extent,” Agarwal stated.
Sagarmala is an ambitious initiative by the Centre aimed at bringing about a change in India’s logistic sector.
“It aspires to save `35,000 to `40,000 crore per annum through reduction of logistic cost for exports, imports and domestic cargo”, the joint secretary added.

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