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Water Transport in India

There are 2 kinds of water transport:

Inland Water Transport (IWT) or river transport Costal or Marine Transport

Inland Water Transport

It comprises of variety of rivers, canals, creeks etc.

Cheapest mode of transport

Labor intensive No investment

Benefits the weaker community

Only requirement : navigable water

It forms a small part of total transport network of the country

it carries about 17 million tones which is only 0.15% of domestic transportation.

It extends up to 14500kms of which 5200kmsof major river

and 485 canals.

Inland river transport is important in ASSAM, WEST


Highly important in KERLA where rivers and backwaters are

used to transport goods and people.

Some importance in ORISSA, ANDHRA

Some waterways are not exploited potentially because:

Shallow water and narrow width of channel- during dry weather. Bank erosion and lack of navigational aids. No attempts have made to modernize the craft. Inadequate co-ordination in hydle power flood control navigation irrigation prorject.

Indian shipping
Before independence, Indian shipping companies did not survive
due to sever competition from foreign shipping companies.

Scindia Steam navigation Company was only one company facing

the competition.

At this time there were only 42 ship less than 100000 GRT
(Gross Registered Tonnage).

Indian ships carried only 2% of the volume of India's overseas


In 1947 the Govt. appointed a Shipping Policy Committee which recommended a National Shipping Policy.

India should secure 100% of her coastal trade. Secure 75% of trade from BURMA,CEYLON, and other
neighboring countries.

Indian Shipping Tonnage has grown from 0.2million GRT in

1950-51 to 2.2million GRT in1998-99

The 6th five year plan proposed to

Give importance and encouragement to inland water


Declared certain waterways ass national waterways, replace

vessels, modernize dockyard etc.

Grant of subsidy to inland water transport, entrepreneurs to

acquire mechanized vessels and modernize the existing craft including country boats

Govt. participation
The govt. set up 2 Shipping Corporation: The EASTERN SHIPPING CORPORATION in
1952 to operate with Australia and the far east.


1956 to operate on Indo-Persian Gulf, Indian Red Sea and Indo-Poland routes.

In 1961, the 2 corporations were merged to form SHIPPING


It had a fleet of 160 vessles aggregating 4 million tones GRT and

was ranked the largest shipping companies of the world.

There are 66 Shipping Companies in the country of which 16 are

engaged in costal. 43 in the overseas trade. 7 in both.

India has got 4 major shipping yards:


Bombay Cochin

There are 2 major public sector ship building yards:

Hindustan Shipping Ltd Cochin Shipping Ltd

1st major problem is the inadequacy of tonnage

The Indian container fleet is almost negligable. The Indian fleet is over aged with resulting high
operating cost.

Geographical position. Inadequate infrastructure.

The Govt. of India announced a new shipping policy in 199091 in conformity with liberalization.

Automatic approval for private shipping companies for

acquisition of all categories of ships, except crude oil tanker.

No approval for sale of ship Freedom to timer charter out in Indian ships to foreign
companies to raise foreign exchange.

Merchant Shipping Act 1958 has been amended to facilitate

Indian companies to raise foreign exchange loans abroad by mortgaging their vessels.

In November 2005, the cabinet gave flexibility to stateowned firms importing liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Last week, the Indian cabinet allowed state-run steel

makers STEEL ATHORITY OF INDIA LTD (SAIL) and RASHTRIA ISPAT NIGAM LTD (RINL) to directly hire vessels to import raw materials, mainly coking coal, without going through Transchart, the centralized shipchartering wing of the government.

In September 2012, the cabinet allowed foreign registered

container ships to carry cargo between the countrys ports, provided they shipped containers out or in through the international container transhipment terminal at Vallarpadam in Cochin port.