Cargo can be moved along State’s 600-km coastline
Minister for Ports and Excise K. Babu said here on Thursday that the government was looking at providing incentives for building or acquiring low-draft vessels to increase tonnage in the coastal cargo sector.
The minister was inaugurating a seminar here on new trends in logistics, organised jointly by Kerala State Productivity Council and Falcon Infrastructures Limited, in association with Emerging Kerala.
He said that a recent meeting convened by him of stakeholders in coastal shipping brought out the need for low-draft vessels to service domestic cargo along Kerala’s nearly 600-km coastline.
Mr. Babu said that the government would also support development of port-based logistics hubs as he called for the exploitation of the state’s potential for movement of cargo via the large network of its water bodies.
Road congestion had made it imperative that extensive water bodies are used for transport, he said.
Though coastal shipping and use of inland waterways are among the 10 initiatives proposed by technocrat and development planner Sam Pitroda for Kerala, the State had yet to take forward its initiatives.
Mr. Babu also pointed out that though Kerala and Gujarat differed politically, the latter’s model of port development and utilisation of its coast to move cargo needs to be imitated by other states. Kerala would try and do what Gujarat had done in this regard, the Minister added.
He admitted that though the government had been making all out efforts to make National Waterway No. 3 operational, there were still bottlenecks. At the same time, efforts were on to extend the National Waterway beyond Kollam to Thiruvananthapuram and beyond Kottappuram to Kasargod.
Former Chairman of Kerala State Productivity Council K. M. Amanulla, welcomed the gathering and chairman V. Ramachandran presided at the inauguration.