In the quest to improve and revolutionize the coastal regions of India into economically thriving hubs, the Government of India has mooted a significant and ambitious project- The SagarMala Project. This project has been undertaken to facilitate the logistics and shifting of cargo from land-based transportation to coastal shipping mode, which can aid in boosting the country’s socio-economic conditions.
Sagarmala Project is an ambitious endeavour by the Government that includes 70 projects worth Rs. 2856 crore that have been sanctioned for the development. Out of the 70 projects, 15 projects that are worth Rs 849 crore have already been completed by the Government. These projects focus on the structural development of passenger jetties, coastal berths, roll-off, and roll-on.
As per the written reply by the Union Ports, Shipping, and Waterways Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to the Lok Sabha, several projects and initiatives have been commenced to stimulate shifting of cargo to coastal shipping against standard land-based transportation. The Major ports on vessels and cargo-related charges have offered a discount of 40% to coastal cargo vessels. He stated that the green channel clearance was instituted to accelerate the evacuation of coastal cargo at ports.
As per Minister Sonowal, GST has been reduced from 18 to 5 per cent on bunker fuels used in Indian Flag Vessels. The projects for stimulating and facilitating the first and last-mile road and rail connectivity with all the non-major and major ports have also been identified for an accelerated cargo moment.
Also read: Bharatmala Pariyojana
The flagship Project of the Ministry of Port Shipping and Waterways, the Sagarmala Project, is focused on developing and connecting coastal areas waterways and ports to address the structural and infrastructure challenges while reducing the turnaround times at the ports. This ambitious endeavour aims to attract more businesses and industries to the ports and coastal economic zones, stimulating economic growth while creating several job opportunities in the country.
By streamlining logistic operations and improving connectivity in the country, the project is poised to enhance industrial growth while attracting more investors from foreign countries. With this significant project, the Government aims to boost the Port-led development by harnessing the 7,500 km long coastline of the country with about 14,500 km of navigable waterways. The development is being commenced in some of the most strategic locations that are crucial in terms of International Maritime Trade routes that are estimated to improve the trade opportunities for the country.