Union Shipping Ministry on Friday (July 24) decided to waive waterway usage charges with immediate effect considering the government`s vision to promote inland waterways as a supplementary, eco-friendly and cheaper mode of transport, according to an official statement.

Charges are waived initially for three years. Currently, only 2% of the total cargo traffic moves through waterways.

The government hopes that the decision of waiving waterway charges will attract the industries to use the national waterways for their logistical needs. Water usage charge was applicable on use of all the national waterways by vessels, it said.

Presently, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) levies the waterway usage charges at a rate of Rs 0.02 per gross registered tonnage (GRT) per kilometer for plying of Inland cargo vessels and Rs 0.05 per gross registered tonnage (GRT) per kilometer for plying of cruise vessels on national waterways, the statement said.

The decision is estimated to increase the inland waterway traffic movement to 110 MMT in 2022-23 from 72 MMT in 2019-20. It will benefit the economic activities and development in the region, the ministry added.

The industry has stated that the charges acted as a hindrance in the administration of traffic movement and the collection of traffic data.

Source:- Zee News India