Weekly Current Affairs

Ports to promote waterways as Centre plans policy rejig [Infrastructure]

  • The Centre is framing a policy to enable all major ports to set up subsidiary companies to develop inland waterways.
  • This is part of its plan to cut logistics costs for exporters by moving more cargo on water instead of over land.
  • The establishment of separate units will facilitate easy foreign funding for inland waterway projects by capitalizing on the financial credentials of the government owned ports.
  • As nobody will give loans to inland waterway projects, the policy aims to use the financial credential of ports, which will set up subsidiary companies for developing inland waterway projects.
  • The objective of the government is to reduce logistics costs to make exports competitive and all ports will be asked to improve inland waterways in their periphery to divert large part of the cargo on waterways which is cost effective.
  • India’s biggest container port Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) will set up a subsidiary that will take care of all rivers in Maharashtra. They will raise about Rs.4,000 crore at 2.75 per cent interest rate from foreign banks and this will improve economic viability of the projects. Anybody will give loan to JNPT.
  • Rs.80,000 crore to develop 20,000 km inland waterways in the country and it cannot be met through Shipping Ministry’s annual budget of Rs.1,800 crore.