Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on 28 October digitally flagged off a RoRo cum general cargo vessel MV IDM Doodle carrying a consignment of 185 trucks from Chennai Port to Mongla port in Bangladesh.
Gadkari informed that these trucks exported by M/s. Ashok Leyland Ltd were being sent to Bangladesh through the land route covering a distance of about 1500 kilometres.
Transport through the sea route will save about 15-20 days of travel time, Gadkari, the Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, said.
For this trip alone that involves transport of 185 trucks, a total of about three lakh vehicle kilometre of road travel will be saved as the land route is longer and much time is lost at the congested Petrapole-Benapole check point at the Indo-Bangladesh border, he said.
He added that besides saving time, coastal transport will also be more cost effective and environment friendly.
The Minister called upon all automobile manufactures to use coastal shipping mode for transporting their vehicles.
M/s Ashok Leyland Ltd is currently exporting around 12,000 truck chassis to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and countries in Africa.
The volume to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka is likely to increase by 80 percent in the coming years.
Now, more than 500 trucks per month are expected to be exported via the sea route which will take away a lot of traffic from our roads.
The Coastal Shipping Agreement between India and Bangladesh was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh in June 2015.
Based on the agreement sea transportation from Indian ports to Bangladesh ports is being treated as coastal movement, making it eligible for 40 percent concession on vessel related and cargo related charges.
For coastal movement through RoRo vessels, 80 percent concession on vessel related and cargo related charges are applicable in Indian Ports.
Initiatives like this are aimed at providing innovative logistic chain solutions under Sagarmala.
The ultimate objective is to save logistic costs and time of transportation and boosting trade by making Indian goods competitive in International markets.
The fuel consumption at per tonne cargo is much lower via sea route, so transportation by sea will also reduce carbon footprints on the environment.
Further, the modal shift to coastal shipping will save wear and tear of the new vehicles and also reduce traffic on congested roads.