Integrating coastal and inland shipping with road and rail networks can make significant contribution to the regional economic development of Visakhapatnam-Rajahmundry-Vijayawada region, Indian Maritime University, Visakhapatnam centre Director, S.C. Misra, has said.

Delivering the keynote at the Vizag Bay investment summit organised by Gravity 2.0 here, he said waterways and coastal shipping had the potential to promote development of the region by offering an economical transport solution to industries as well as people. There was potential to move 11 million tonnes of goods annually in the region, he noted.

He advocated full utilisation of the National Waterway 4 – Kakinada-Puducherry – the second longest National Waterway in India. The IMU can help entrepreneurs with ship design, hydrographic studies, training and mentoring, he said.

The formation of a State Maritime Board was a prerequisite for the development of maritime sector. The Board would not only provide a single window clearance for the project proposals but also enable the government to plan development of infrastructure. The State government should learn from the experiences of similar boards in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu, founder-director of Reveille Engineers Private Limited Captain Sitaram Nadimpalli said.

He said the maritime and marine infrastructure consultancy would be willing to help any fresh entrepreneur draw up a business plan.

The SIDBI expressed interest in the sector and SIDBI AGM T. Kameswar Rao said the financial institution would be keen to fund small and medium businesses with detailed project reports in the area of ship design, ship building, ferry operations, and cargo liners.

Representatives from Imaginnovate, IMU (NSDRC), Sankhya Technologies, RECAMS, VCTPL, Vikkys Maritech, Reveille Engineers (P) Ltd, Xinthe, Vizag Steel Plant, Stanchart Securities India, SIDBI, MSME Development Institute, and GITAM School of International Business participated in the event supported by Visakhapatnam Port Trust.