The Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) is also evaluating prospects of entering inland waterways as the bulk cargo movement beginning through inland waterways from Haldia again after decades. SCI sources said that it is evaluating and keeping a close watch on the business prospects of inland waterways.
Sources said that inland waterways would help to save 15 per cent of transport cost and was environmentally friendly too.
Keeping in mind the recession in international trade and freight rates, the SCI will have to get into this (inland waterways) cargo movement, the SCI sources added. SCI do not have vessels or infrastructure for inland waterways, but that will not come in the way, as a fleet can be easily procured on lease, said the sources revealing the SCI interest on inland waterways.
The Union government created inland waterways infrastructure on NW1 to help the industrial corridor on the the banks of the river looking at the potential demand. The SCI and CIL have also entered into a MoU for creating an SPV that will undertake management of importing coal to India, but it was yet to take-off.
The shipping minister recently flagged off bulk movement of coal through national waterways by Jindal ITF, to move 3 million tonne coal from the Sandheads to NTPC's Farakka thermal plant.