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`Integrate coastal shipping with transport system'

By Our Staff Correspondent

MANIPAL, (Udupi District), Nov. 2. The Director of the National Institute of Port Management (NIPM), Chennai, T.S. Ashok Kumar, on Sunday said that coastal shipping should be integrated with the transport system of the country.

He was speaking here after inaugurating the workshop on "Coastal shipping and road transport system: integration and quality improvement''.

Stressing the importance of linkages with ports and inland waterways with appropriate road and rail connectivity, Mr. Kumar said shipping was the cheapest mode of transport for bulk traffic over long distances. Coastal shipping was controlled by the Directorate General of Shipping, while non-major ports were under the State governments. This difference could work against the development of coastal shipping and a question was being posed if the non-major ports should be brought under the Union Government. Commodity-oriented transport plan with critical assessment of origin and destination of cargo, and costing of services between different modes of transport would facilitate a clear assessment of the benefits for planning movement of cargo, he added.

The inland water transport and coastal shipping should be linked to ensure for continuous flow of cargo. Coastal shipping should be given an infrastructure status and incentives should be given to attract investments.

Coastal shipping should be redefined as coastal trade, Mr. Kumar said.

The former Chairman of the Marmagao Port Trust, Jose Paul, said that integration of road transport with coastal shipping in the country was the need of the hour. The major sea ports situated along the West Coast and the busy passenger and freight traffic on the national highways between Cochin and Mumbai covering the New Mangalore and Goa ports provided an ideal setting for establishing a short sea "roll-on roll-off'' passenger cum freight service (RoRo Service) on the lines of the successful short sea operations as in the European Union.

According to an estimate, nearly 85,000 people died and 12 lakh people get injured in road accidents in India every year. Nearly 89 per cent of carbon dioxide emission was attributed to road transport. The roll-on-roll-off service would be cheaper, eco-friendly and would reduce the number of accidents.

A minimum of four ships should be introduced in the initial phase, Mr. Paul said.

K.V.M. Varambally welcomed the gathering. K. Raveendra Rao compered the programme. Padma V. Upadhya proposed a vote of thanks. H.S. Ballal, Vice-Chancellor of MAHE, and B.M. Hegde, former Vice-Chancellor of MAHE, were present.

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