India developing Green Freight Corridor along western coast

India wants to build greater synergies between the major and non-major ports in order to promote coastal trade and provide sustainable, cost-effective and efficient intermodal & multimodal solutions.

India's Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways
Image Courtesy: India’s Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways

By doing so, the country’s Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways aims to provide seaborne connectivity to the trade and industries in the hinterland, reduce congestion on the road and rail besides bringing down logistics costs.

In June this year, Green Freight Corridor-2 coastal shipping service was launched from Cochin to Beypore and Azhikkal ports.

At present, the service is operated by Round the Coast Private Limited, Mumbai, with the vessel calling twice a week at Beypore and Azhikkal ports with containers.

This service is expected to bring about a marked modal shift of transportation of containers and ease the congestion on the road and reduce carbon footprint.

The steps taken to promote coastal shipping includes:

  • licensing relaxation to foreign flag vessels for carrying transshipment containers, empty containers, fertilizers and agricultural, fisheries, animal husbandry and horticultural commodities on coastal routes;
  • minimum 40% discount is offered by major ports on vessels and cargo related charges to coastal vessels;
  • prioritization in berthing of coastal ships at major ports, subsidy to Indian flagged vessels for carrying Public Sector Unit’s cargo; and
  • GST reduced on bunker fuel from 18% to 5%.

There are 63 Projects worth more than Rs 17,000 Cr. identified under SagarMala Programme in the state of Kerala for enhancing the infrastructure related to port-led Industrialization, port modernization, port connectivity enhancement, coastal community development & coastal shipping, and inland waterways.

India’s freight transport sector is said to offer enormous potential for climate mitigation and sustainable economic development by increasing its efficiency, shift of road-based freight to railway and ships and promoting modern technologies.