Nitin Gadkari proposes two sea routes to reduce traffic jams and pollution in Mumbai and Thane

Union minister wants two sea routes - Vasai-Virar to JNPT, and JNPT to MbPT - at key ports for trucks so that they don’t have to enter city limits

mumbai Updated: Nov 09, 2017 12:07 IST
Eeshanpriya M S
Eeshanpriya M S
Hindustan Times
Nitin Gadkari,Jawaharlal Nehru port trust,Mumbai Port Trust
Gadkari wants to divert container traffic from the roads in Mumbai and Thane to the sea.(HT File)

Union transport and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said his ministry was looking at two options to reduce traffic congestion in Mumbai and Thane by transporting goods through sea route.

If all goes as per plan, there will soon be a sea route between Vasai-Virar creek and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Nhava Sheva, Navi Mumbai, for transportation of goods. The Centre is also planning to ferry goods entering Mumbai from JNPT via sea route to Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), Mazgaon.

First plan

Gadkari said on Wednesday that he has proposed a plan to acquire 350 acres of salt pan land near Vasai-Virar creek to convert it into a depot for trucks to unload goods, which can be ferried to JNPT via sea. “It will be a relief to Mumbaiites because these containers enter Mumbai and Thane and cause a lot of traffic and pollution,” he said.

Second plan

The Union ministry for roads and highways also wants to ferry goods entering Mumbai from JNPT via a sea route to MbPT. Goods can be unloaded and stored at warehouses at Mumbai Port Trust and then transported to various places in Mumbai, Gadkari said.

“We are trying to bring the entire transport system to water, to save cost, and increase profit margins. Using sea routes will decrease traffic jams on roads, reduce pollution, and increase the life of roads. The logistics cost of all businesses in India is very high, which is why we cannot compete in the global market,”he said.

According to Gadkari, the logistics cost of trade in India is pegged at 18% as opposed China’s 8%. Using sea transport over road will help reduce the logistics cost to 12%, the minister said.

As per the government’s estimate, it takes Rs1.5 per unit of goods to transport the items from one place to another by road, Re 1 per unit to transport goods by rail, but it takes only 10-20 paisa if they are transported by sea. Pointing out the need to make this shift, Gadkari said: “If India manages to reduce the logistics cost, the country’s export is likely to increase 1.5 times, adding profit to our economy.”

The ministry recently transported 185 trucks of Ashok Leyland to Bangladesh, via sea route from Chennai. Similarly, last week it transported 2.4 lakh tonnes of iron from Vishakhapatnam to Kochi, Chennai, and Ahmedabad via sea.

First Published: Nov 09, 2017 10:41 IST