The government is mulling over a scheme to promote coastal shipping. According to the proposed plan, a subsidy of Rs 0.5 per tonne per km on bulk cargo, a rebate of Rs 2,000 per container for container cargo and an additional 20 per cent rebate on vessel/cargo-related charges would be offered. The subsidy would be provided directly to shippers of general cargo items like salt, sugar, automobiles, fertilisers, tiles, steel, cement, marble and foodgrain. A similar subsidy scheme, offering a subsidy of Rs 1 a tonne per km, was previously announced by the Kerala government, which is yet to take off. Although an environment-friendly mode of transport, coastal shipping is beset with problems. Since the 12 major ports are governed by the Centre and over 60 active non-major ports come under the purview of States, there´s a lack of consistency in developing coastal shipping.