A conference on “Coastal Shipping, Inland Waterways & Surveillance” was hosted by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and National Maritime Foundation (NMF) at Hotel Le – Royal Meridian, Chennai on 23 June 2012. The theme of the conference was “Engaging Rivers – Exploring Coastlines – Enriching India”. The Conference started at 1000 hours and finished by 1730 hours.
HE Shekhar Dutt, SM, IAS (Retd), Governor, Chhattisgarh was the Chief Guest.
The conference went on with:
- Inaugural Session.
- Plenary Session I: Coastal Shipping – Potential and Challenges.
- Plenary Session II: Inland Waterways.
- Plenary Session III: Role and Development of Non Major Ports.
- Plenary Session IV: Tourism, Fisheries & Marine Sports.
- Question & Answer session for each Plenary Session.
- Opening Address – by Mr B Santhanam, Dy Chairman, CII (Southern Region) & Managing Director, Saint – Gobain Glass India Ltd.
- Theme Address – by Mr B Sridhar, Co-Chairman, CII National Committee on Shipping and Director, Bengal Tiger-Line (India) Pvt Ltd.
- Address – by Vice Admiral (Retd) Pradeep Kaushiva, UYSM, VSM, Director, NMF.
- Special Address – by Dr C Sylendra Babu, IPS, Additional DGP, Coastal Security, Tamil Nadu.
- Address by the Chief Guest – HE Shekhar Dutt, SM, IAS (Retd), Governor, Chhattisgarh.
Plenary Session I: Coastal Shipping – Potential and Challenges
- Domestic Shipping – by Mr S N Srikanth, Hauer Associates.
- Managing Near Coastal Waters in the Vicinity of Commercial Hinterland – by Mr Hrishikesh Narasimhan, Jt General Manager & Head of Production, L&T Heavy Engineering.
- Rising Containerization: Driving Force for Coastal Shipping – by Ms Asha Pillai, AMET University, Chennai.
Plenary Session – II: Inland Waterways
- An Agenda for Inland Waterways in India: A 5 Year Plan – by Mr Rajan Chhibba, CEO, Intrim Business Associates.
- Leveraging Inland & Coastal Waterways – by Mr Jackson Tan, Senior Manager, Yanmar Asia (Singapore) Pvt Ltd.
- Recent Initiatives and Future Plans – by Mr S S Mishra, Member Traffic, Inland Waterways Authority of India.
Plenary Session III: Role and Development of Non Major Ports
- Non Major Ports: Major Saviours ! – by Capt Suresh N Amirapu, Managing Director, Portman India Pvt Ltd.
- Energy Efficient Design of Ships – by Mr M S P Raju, Senior Consultant, DNV, Chennai.
Plenary Session IV: Tourism, Fisheries & Marine Sports
- Opening Remarks – by Session Chairman Mr V K Jeyakodi, IAS, Principal Secretary, Govt of Tamil Nadu.
- Marine Tourism & Sports: by Mr Ashok Thakkar, Chairman, Viking Shipping.
- Marine Coastal Pollution: by DIG S K Verghese, CSO (Ops), Coast Guard Regional HQ (East).
- Inland Waterways:
- has to be fully developed for safe navigation.
- presently suitable fuel efficient crafts are not available for use in waterways.
- the same priority given for drinking water and irrigation was not given for developing water bodies/water ways.
- most of the waterways/canals are polluted, encroached due to neglect.
- hurdles to clean up Chennai Waterways:
- removal of organic dry sludge on the banks – 0.4 m thick.
- removal of bottom sludge (faecal sludge) – 0.5 m thick.
- removal of plastics, other pollutants, construction debris.
- flushing possible only during monsoon as water flow is very poor in other seasons.
- no means to stop continuous pollution taking place as stakeholders are too many and no one is accountable.
- the Indian waterways need a novel method to clean as it is seasonal and the gradient is low; solid waste management needs to be implemented.
- Project SWARAN Jal proposed to focus on 6 action areas:
- S – Socio economically Mission critical projects; to successfully commercialise 4 mission critical integrated cargo transport projects for bulk cargo – coal, food grains, fertiliser, wood, other agri produce (rubber, pineapples, bananas, coconuts, onions), and over dimensional cargo for North East India.
- W – Warehousing hubs on water on PPP basis in 12 locations across India.
- A – Accessibility to core social mobile services along waterways like Health Care, Fair Price Shops (PDS), Retail, Tourism.
- R – Roll On Roll Off services for Road Sector.
- A – Assestisation of River Embankments.
- N – Network of Cargo Routes seamlessly integrated with coastal shipping; to crate at least 10 major point to point liner river-sea routes for manufactured goods – cars, tractors, FMCG etc.,
- Inland Water Transportation (IWT) Authority:
- total length declared in 5 National Waterways is 4382 km by IWT.
- a new national waterway (121 km) is under consideration to be declared as NW6 from Lakhipur to Bhanga in the stretch of Barak River.
- despite inherent advantages, IWT is not considered relevant in the logistics chain in India.
- logistics solutions are limited to Rail and Road.
- wherever IWT had natural advantage it thrived; even flourished without State support like in Goa, Haldia-Kolkata lighterage operation.
- proposed strategy to attract Private Participation: NW1 – coal for power plants, fertilizers; NW2 – project cargo for hydro power plants in Arunachal Pradesh, POL for refineries in NER, food grains; NW3 – container cargo.
- CII and NMF as a joint forum can help to develop waterways.
- Coastal Shipping:
- has not received the right attention and priority to use 7517 km of vast Indian coastline, as a cost effective means of transportation.
- regulatory issues, fiscal issues are to be streamlined.
- whether Indian ports can play a pro active role to promote coastal shipping ?
- sea ports must have separate zones for domestic cargo/international cargo movement like domestic/international terminals in air ports.
- strengths/weakness of ports located very closer like Chennai/Ennore, Kolkatta/Haldia, Visakhapatnam/Gangavaram are to be analysed for optimum use as logistic hubs.
- a sustainable maritime cluster for coastal shipping can exist only if the water front is driven away from the Formal Regulated Sector into the Semi Regulated Informal Economy.
- sustainable coastal shipping requires a wide ‘marine face’ connecting waterfront to the land in more points than just a port; cleaning our waterways is the easiest means to achieve it.
- Role of the Government:
- water is a huge rechargeable resource and has to be treated as a national asset.
- the government did set up a working group in August 1992 under the Chairmanship of the Director General of Shipping with members from different Ministries/ organisations to develop Coastal Shipping; but the goal is yet to be achieved.
- the government must limit itself to making policy decisions, framing regulatory guidelines and further encourage private players to run the inland/coastal transportation network by giving necessary incentives.
- from the year 1967 discussions/plans are going on to revive the waterways in Chennai but unfortunately the goal is yet to be achieved in Tamil Nadu.
- Multimodal Transport:
- need for integrating Inland Waterways and Coastal Shipping with Rail, Road Network:
- rapid industrialisation, growing domestic market have resulted in rise in container traffic and containers are widely used in all types of transport networks.
- development of a multimodal transport system as a single entity helps growth of all the four networks.
- helps to set up a seamless transport network.
- helps to be cost effective, time saving, environment friendly operation.
- compared to road, water transport is 6 times more fuel efficient.
- energy efficient ships (both in design as well as in operation) are available using latest technology.
- user concerns to be addressed:
- frequency, reliability and consistency of services.
- availability of door to door multimodal services.
- total multimodal transit time, inventory carrying costs.
- seamless integration of transport modes.
- administrative simplicity.
- for multimodal operators:
- income tax break has to be given to registered multimodal operators using domestic shipping.
- road transport operators must be encouraged to take benefits to become multimodal operators.
- incentives provided must be based on external costs saved.
- need for integrating Inland Waterways and Coastal Shipping with Rail, Road Network:
- Use of Non Major Ports (NMP) for Coastal/Domestic Shipping:
- NMPs perform better than Major Ports.
- out of 187 NMPs only 47 are active and the remaining have to be developed to suit coastal shipping.
- vessel related charges are too high in Indian ports and needs reduction.
- centre-state-private partnership needs to be set up to develop NMPs in the following line:
- setting up of breakwaters and dredging by the central government.
- water front offered by the state government.
- berths, operation and maintenance by private players.
- Marine tourism and sports:
- India has a rich maritime heritage.
- public awareness needs to be created.
- youth must be encouraged to participate in marine sports like sailing, diving.
- a submarine museum is being planned to be set up in Tamil Nadu.
- a marina is being planned to be set up in Chennai.
- a maritime tourism package SAMUDRAM (Seashore Archaeological Museums off the Dravadian Mainland) is going to be launched soon in Tamil Nadu covering Chennai, Mamallapuram, Alamparai, Sadras (Sadarangapattinam), Puducheri, Porto Novo (Parangipettai) and Keveripoompattinam.
- Marine environment protection:
- pollution must be avoided.
- strong legislation like ‘polluter pays for pollution’ has to be enforced.
- oil spill contingency fund needs allocation.
- private oil spill response agencies are to be encouraged.
- Fail proof surveillance of the coast is needed to ensure safe coastal shipping.
Yanmar Asia highlighted on how they are successful in ‘Leveraging Inland & Coastal Waterways’ by screening more video clips about their global presence in Japan, Indonesia, Brazil, Dubai.
Thanks to Cmde (Retd) S Shekhar of NMF and Gp Capt (Retd) L V Mohandas of CII, for successfully hosting this conference.
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