Records indicate that the VRV region built and used specialised ships the design of which is now lost

In a bid to revive the now-defunct coastal shipping as an economical and environmentally friendly mode of transport of goods and passengers, a group of city-based entrepreneurs are proposing an investment summit in June.

The group of entrepreneurs who have come together to form a regional economic development forum – Gravity 2.0 – have done extensive homework on the subject and have decided to call for an investor summit to create interest in the waterway transport eco-system. With rising fuel costs and clamour for clean technologies, it is imperative that stakeholders in the Visakhapatnam-Rajahmundry-Vijayawada region look at reviving the coastal shipping and inland waterways, founder member of the forum and CEO of Dreamchip Electronics Pvt Ltd Gopi Bulusu noted.

Historically Visakhapatnam-Rajahmundry-Vijayawada region was known for its shipping and trade on the sea and also shipbuilding industry. However, with passage of time interest in it has diminished and today it is defunct. The use of less efficient means of transport like road and to a lesser extent the railways has killed the shipbuilding industry for transporting goods within the region and to neighbouring areas through coastal shipping, intra-coastal shipping or inland waterways.

Records indicate that the VRV region built and used specialised ships (Telugu Voda) the design of which is now lost.

As recently as the 19th century, thousands of vessels were built at Tallarevu and ports like Korangi (Koringa) near the modern day Kakinada were buzzing with activity with thousands of ships calling on these ports every day. It is unfortunate that renewable, low cost and available resources like inland waterways and the sea are playing a lesser role in the development of the economy of the region, he said.

A small investment of Rs. 30–150 crore can give the region a huge competitive advantage in design and manufacturing eco-system apart from improving the efficiency of local industries that depend on movement of raw material and finished goods, Mr. Bulusu explained.

Head of Visakhapatnam branch of the Indian Maritime University, experts from shipping industry and the Port are scheduled to participate in the deliberations, he added.

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