The Union Government is giving its attention to promoting coastal shipping, which has a paltry 7 per cent share of the overall local cargo movement. The share of coastal shipping in India is low when compared with Europe and other nations in Asia where it has flourished due to focused policy interventions. Earlier, the shipping ministry announced guidelines on priority berthing of coastal vessels at ports owned by the Indian government. Accordingly, these ports will accord priority berthing, at least on one berth, to dry bulk/general cargo coastal vessels to enable shippers to transport goods from one port to another port in India, irrespective of origin and final destination of the cargo.
This will be in addition to the dedicated berths for handling of coastal thermal coal already existing at these ports. The ports will also have to give priority berthing to coastal container vessels at private terminals and at container berths run by the ports themselves.