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BW Businessworld

Goa Shippers Scout For Non-mining Cargoes

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Goa's shipping industry, which is struggling to survive after the last year's ban on mining and export of iron ore, is pinning hopes on alternative cargoes to salvage their sinking business. The shipping industry in the State was catering to 90-odd mining leases before the temporary ban came into force.
The central government has been encouraging the shift of cargo from roads to sea transport to reduce carbon footprint and also pressure on highways infrastructure. This has given a new lease of life to Goa's barge (ship) industry.
"Nationally, there is shift of cargo from road-rail to shipping. You can also get carbon credit for such shift," Atul Jadhav, President, Goa Barge Owners Association, told PTI.
The barge industry is looking for incentives to assist the logistics and transport industry achieve sustained and long-term shift from road freight to short sea and inland waterway transportation.
Jadhav said the Kerala government has already started giving per tonne per kilometre subsidy to shippers for the cargo shift from road to waterways.
He said the Centre can offer similar subsidy for the barges in Goa, which are left without cargo since September last year, when mining leases were suspended and iron ore exports from the state came to a halt.
The fate of 400-odd barges, which generally operate in Goa's rivers, is hanging in balance, waiting for the Supreme Court to allow iron ore export.
Jadhav said the barges from Goa can venture into deep sea and collect mining cargo from bigger vessels once the Ministry of Shipping declares waters up to four nautical miles off Goa shore as "partially smooth waters".
The vessels can operate in the deep sea only when an area is declared as "partially smooth water", he said.
Atul Pai Kane, Chairman, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) Goa Chapter, said once these issues are settled, cargoes like cement, steel and coal can be transported with the state through barges instead of roads.
"Two companies have already sought permission from the government to construct jetties in inland waters," he said.