State-run Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) will collaborate with Inland Waterways Authority soon to commence coastal shipping services, a company official said on Saturday. The coastal shipping activities will be undertaken by its wholly-owned subsidiary - Inland & Coastal Shipping.
"We will announce a collaboration with Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) very soon. We are commencing coastal shipping operations," SCI chairman and managing director H K Joshi said at a virtual event organised by Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Inland & Coastal Shipping, a Kolkata-headquartered company, is likely to start its operation on national waterway-1, the stretch from Varanasi to Haldia on Ganga river, she said.
The proposed development assumes significance after another state-run entity, Container Corporation of India, had discontinued its coastal shipping operation, the industry sources said.
Coastal shipping accounts for only two per cent of the country's freight movement.
SCI has interests in various segments of the shipping trade, and its fleet includes bulk carriers, crude oil tankers, container vessels and passenger-cum-cargo ships.
At a time when exporters are facing a shortage of containers, Joshi emphasised the importance of making the country self-reliant in terms of its availability.