Odisha requests Centre to enhance cargo handling at ports

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Thursday requested the Centre to enhance cargo handling infrastructure in the existing ports of the state.

The government said the transportation cost of major goods, like coal, can be reduced substantially with the enhancement of cargo handling infrastructure at ports.

Odisha Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi requested the Union Ministry of Shipping to develop cargo handling infrastructure in the existing ports of Odisha – Paradip, Dhamara and Gopalpur.

“Development of port infrastructure will add to the strength and viability of coastal shipping in the state,” said Padhi while addressing a national level workshop on ‘Promotion of Coastal Shipping and Inland Navigation in India’ here.

He said that it is a matter of concern that in recent days the shipping and coastal route has taken a back seat in the transport sector in spite of its comparative advantage over rail and road transport.

“Transportation through coastal shipping is cost effective and environment-friendly. It reduces the logistic cost of cargo, making the business more competitive in the world market,” said Padhi.

He said development of coastal shipping through Sagaramala project will reduce congestion on the rail network and National Highways.

Padhi also mentioned about the need for evacuation of coal from the mines of Mahanadi Coalfield Ltd (MCL).

In recent days, MCL has enhanced its production and there is a need for quicker evacuation of the excavated coal from its mining area. Sagaramala Project authorities should take the initiative from their side for evacuation of coal from the MCL mining field to the ports so that those could be transported to destination points through the sea route, he added.

Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Shipping, Rabindra Kumar Agarwal said around 1 billion tonnes of coal will be mined in the coming years, of which MCL alone will contribute around 25 per cent.

Presently, 61 per cent of the power plants in the country are thermal-based. There is a need for increasing coal production and transportation, Agarwal said.

He maintained that at times, the logistics cost of the coal and other minerals became more than the cost of the mineral itself.

“Sagaramala is an ambitious national initiative aimed at bringing about a change in India’s logistic sector performance. It aspires to achieve overall cost saving of Rs 35,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore per annum through reduction of logistic cost for EXIM and domestic cargo,” Agarwal said. (IANS)

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