Gadkari urges auto manufacturers to ship vehicles via sea route

Nagpur/Chennai: Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday urged all automobile manufacturers to use waterways and coastal shipping mode for transporting their vehicles.

Flagging off a Roll-on-Roll-off (RoRo)-cum-general cargo vessel carrying 185 trucks from Chennai Port to Bangladesh’s Mongla port, he said that transporting those vehicles through the sea route was expected to save around 15-20 days of travel time.

“As per our government’s vision, our first priority is waterways, followed by railways and roadways. Transport by sea not only reduces cost, it also saves time and reduces carbon footprint.

“I appeal to all automobile manufacturers to use coastal transport for transporting their vehicles for export as well as local distribution,” said Gadkari, also the Road Transport and Highways Minister.

So far, such trucks being exported by Ashok Leyland were being sent to Bangladesh through the land route, travelling a distance of about 1,500 km.

For this trip alone, a total of around three lakh vehicle kms of road travel will be saved as the land route is longer and much time is lost at the congested Petrapole-Benapole check point at the Indo-Bangladesh border, a Shipping Ministry statement said.

“Initiatives like this are aimed at providing innovative logistic chain solutions under Sagarmala. The ultimate objective is to save logistic costs and time of transportation and boosting trade by making Indian goods competitive in international markets,” it said.

The Coastal Shipping Agreement between India and Bangladesh was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh in June 2015.

Based on the agreement, sea transportation from Indian to Bangladesh ports is being treated as coastal movement, making it eligible for 40 per cent concession on vessel related and cargo related charges.

For coastal movement through RoRo vessels, 80 per cent concession on vessel related and cargo related charges are applicable in Indian ports, the Shipping Ministry said.