Minister for shipping Nitin Gadkari, on Tuesday said the focus of the government would be on transporting liquid cargo such as LNG, LPG, methanol, CNG and edible oils by Railways and waterways instead of roads, in a bid to reduce pollution and traffic congestion.
He also said that all ports would be turned into green ports.
The minister further said the Centre would fund the setting up of a centre of excellence at IIT-Chennai to provide technical support for cost-effective dredging at all ports and to study and advise the ministry on marine engineering-related matters. He also said logistic parks would be developed in Paradip, Chennai and Vizag to handle freight.
“We are trying to bring this cost down to around 12 per cent which would make Indian goods more competitive in the international market,” Gadkari said, adding that the government was prioritising coastal transport and inland waterways compared to road and rail mode as costs were significantly lower for the former.
“For every Rs 10 of transportation cost by road, it is Rs 6 for railways and only Rs 1 for waterways. That means you would be able to transport goods spending only 10 per cent of the current cost,” said Gadkari, who is also the Road Transport and Highways Minister.
“There are 111 rivers which we have decided to develop as inland waterways. Out of these, work has already started on 10 rivers,” he said. “These waterways will significantly reduce logistics cost.”
Even as the government was focusing on developing waterways, work was simultaneously being done at a fast pace to bring down logistics cost on roads as well, the minister said.
“We are going for electronic toll collection. Currently, Delhi to Mumbai takes 28 hours but soon, it will take only 18 hours because we are abolishing all state barriers. Now we will have e-toll collection and no one will be stopped for paying the toll tax, which will be charged automatically.
“This will lead to saving of 8-10 hours between Delhi and Mumbai,” Gadkari said.
“Our focus is also on logistics parks. We have already acquired land for 32 such parks and all major cities will have them,” he said.
Gadkari added that all logistics parks would be located outside the city where big trucks would arrive with goods, after which smaller vehicles would take those goods to different parts of the city based on requirement.
He said in the road sector alone, his target was to bring in investment worth Rs 25 lakh-crore during his tenure.
“We have already signed contracts worth over Rs 6 lakh-crore in road sector. Under Bharatmala project, we are expecting Rs 8-lakh-crore investment.