Government waives Inland Waterways Usage Charges to boost cargo movement

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In a bid to encourage use of waterways for cargo movement which is still untapped, the Ministry of Shipping has waived waterway usage charges for three years with immediate effect, as per an official statement.

“The Ministry of Shipping has decided to waive waterways usage charges with immediate effect  considering the government of India’s vision to promote Inland waterways as a supplementary, eco-friendly and cheaper mode of transport”, read the statement issued by the Shipping Ministry.

As per the statement, at present, Inland Waterways Authority of India(IWAI)  levies the waterway usage charges at a rate of INR 0.02 per gross registered tonnage(GRT) per kilometer for inland cargo vessels  and INR 0.05 per GRT for cruise vessels.

“Towards optimal, viable and eco-friendly mode of transport! In a major move aimed at promoting ‘Inland Water Transport’ – Ministry announced waiving Inland Waterways Usage Charges. This will boost the mode of transport and create more employment.”

~Union Minister of Shipping (I/c) Mansukh Mandaviya on twitter

It is estimated that the move will lead to an increase in the movement of inland waterway traffic to 110 million tonnes in 2022-23 from 72 mt in 2019-20, said the statement. The cargo loaded fiscal 2018-19 was a tad over 72 mt, according to official data.

Cargo movement on waterways has stagnated in the fiscal year 2020 in comparison to the previous year, which may have been a reason for the move to be implemented.

Union Minister of Shipping (I/c) Mansukh Mandaviya said  that currently, only two percent of total cargo traffic moves through waterways. This move of waiving waterway charges is poised to attract industries,which may prefer the waterways for their logistical needs.

Apart from lessening the burden on the other available modes of transportation, waterways, which is an eco-friendly and cheaper mode of transport will also promote the ease of doing business, hopes the Shipping Minister.

Last month, Mr Mandaviya had informed that the National Logistics Policy will soon be out in the coming days, as it was still being worked upon by a committee under the purview of the Ministry of Commerce.

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