Coal India Ltd, the Paradip Port Authority, and the Inland waterways authority of India, are looking to invest up to 120 billion rupees ($1.46 billion) to establish an industrial water transport corridor in the country’s east, two government sources said.
As per the sources, the corridor would connect two ports in the eastern state of Odisha via the Brahmi river and could potentially carry 12 to 15 million tonnes of cargo by 2030.
Catering to a major industrial cluster in India, the corridor would be primarily used for the movement of finished products such as steel, aluminum, sponge iron, and fertilisers, they said.
The corridor looks to de-congest and take pressure off the existing rail and road infrastructure in a region that is dotted with mines as well as steel and fertiliser plants, said the sources.
Transportation via waterways costs roughly two-thirds of railways and half of the costs incurred on road transportation. Once ready, the corridor would also help move coal to power stations in southern and western states, some of which were hit by power cuts due to coal shortages triggered by the unavailability of railway rakes.
Currently, the bulk of coals is majorly transported by the Indian Railways. The proposed corridor will also connect four key industrial clusters of Odisha.
The four clusters house big power, electricity and fertiliser companies such as Jindal Steel and Power, Adani Enterprises, Tata Steel, ArcelorMittal, National Aluminium Co, NTPC and Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative.
As per the sources, once the waterway becomes operational, private and public companies would be invited to operate terminal and cargo services.
A detailed project report will be finalised in the next four to five months, they said.