• arjun vikraman

Ministry of Shipping to be renamed as Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways

Updated: Nov 21, 2020

Soumya Maniyar

8th November 2020

The Ro-Pax ferry before the inauguration ceremony (Source- The Hindu)

On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Ministry of Shipping to be expanded and renamed as the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, reported the PTI. The announcement happened when the Prime Minister was addressing a gathering after the inaugural ceremony of a Ro-Pax ferry service between Hazira in Surat and Ghogha in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat, which will reduce the 370 km road distance between the two places to 90 km by sea route.

According to the PTI report, the said ferry service would also reduce the travel time between two places to about four hours from 10 to 12 hours.

The PTI reported, Prime Minister said, "To boost the government's effort, one more big step is being taken. Now, the Ministry of Shipping is being renamed as the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways." PM Modi said special preference is being given to country's sea areas to play their important role in the agenda of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' (self-reliant India).

"The ministry is being expanded. In developed economies, in most places, the shipping ministry also takes care of ports and waterways. In India, the shipping ministry does a lot of work-related to ports and waterways. Clarity in name will also bring about clarity in work", further added the Prime Minister, as reported by the PTI.

According to the PTI commenting on the launch of the new Ro-Pax ferry service between Bhavnagar to Surat, the Prime Minister said it would reduce the distance and travel time between them. "The service will help people save both time and cost and also reduce the traffic congestion on roads and reduce the pollution," added the Prime Minister.

As per a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the three-deck Ro-Pax Ferry Vessel Voyage Symphony connecting Hazira in Surat district in south Gujarat and Ghogha in Saurashtras Bhavnagar has a load capacity of 30 trucks, 100 passenger cars, and 500 passengers plus 34 crew and hospitality staff, reported the PTI.

According to the PTI- the ferry will be making three trips daily, annually transporting five lakh passengers, 80,000 passenger vehicles, 50,000 two-wheelers, and 30,000 trucks.

The PTI reported, PM Modi said that compared to other developed nations, the cost of transporting goods from one part to another is relatively high in India. This cost could be reduced by using water transports. The Prime Minister added that we need to strengthen the 'blue economy,' which is important to power up the sea's logistics.

In his address at the inauguration, the Prime Minister also said, as reported by the PTI, "our focus is to create such an ecosystem where seamless cargo movement is ensured. Today, for better maritime logistics along with better infrastructure, we are working on a single-window system." He further added, "To reduce the cost of logistics, the country is moving ahead with a holistic and long-term view of multi-modal connectivity. The effort is to improve connectivity between road, rail, air, and shipping infrastructure by removing silos between them."

According to the PTI, multi-modal parks are being constructed in the country, and efforts are being taken to cut down the logistics cost. These efforts are also helpful to provide an overall boost to the economy, said the Prime Minister.

PM Modi further added that to gear up the 'blue economy' and fishing business, his government also focused on fishermen and has come up with the 'Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana' with an outlay of Rs 30,000 crore to benefit the fishing industry, reported the PTI.

As reported by the PTI, the Prime Minister said, "Today, the port capacity of coastal areas across the country is being increased, and new ports are being constructed. Efforts are being made to ensure that the 21,000 km jal marg (waterways) are used for the country's development." Many projects worth lakhs of crores are ready, and more than 500 projects under Sagarmala are underway for this purpose.

As reported by PTI, the prime minister said work is in full gear to create and provide infrastructure and capacity building for sea routes, like maritime clusters and maritime universities, also the world's first CNG Terminal in Bhavnagar. A dedicated step towards addressing ports and seaways' logistics is the Gujarat Maritime Cluster coming up in the GIFT (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City).

India's first chemical and LNG Terminal was constructed in Dahej in Gujarat. Soon a Ro-Ro (roll on roll off) terminal, a liquid cargo terminal, and a container terminal are being set up in Bhavnagar, said PM Modi, as reported by the PTI. "The new terminals will increase the Bhavnagar's port capacity by many times," he said- reported the PTI.

According to the PTI, the Prime Minister further said the government is also trying to restart the ferry service between Ghogha and Dahej launched in 2017, amidst all the natural challenges. This is being made possible with the help of new and modern technology.

During the inauguration, the Prime Minister also interacted with a few people like farmers, pilgrims, and small businessmen. Union Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani was also present at the ceremony.

(Sources-The Hindu, The Press Trust of India)

Edited by- Nivedita Dutta

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