LPG transportation through Inland Waterways soon

The Samikhsya Bureau

NEW DELHI: In a bid to ensure cleaner and greener mode of transportation, India has come forward to switch over to LPG transportation through inland waterways soon.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed on Thursday between IWAI and MOL (Asia Oceania) Pte. Ltd for transportation of LPG through barges on National Waterways-1 and National Waterways-2.

Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Mansukh Mandaviya was present on the occasion.

The MOU facilitates handling of LPG cargo on IWAI terminals/ Multimodal Terminals at Haldia, Sahibganj and Varanasi as per notified provisions and rates on request of MOL.

MOL Group is World’s largest gas carrier company and will invest for construction and operation of dedicated LPG barges under Make-in-India initiative of the Government of India.

Aegis Group proposed investments for setting up storage terminals, dedicated pipelines between jetty to the terminal and necessary infrastructure at jetty for evacuation of products from barges.

Presently, 60% of the LPG is moved through road to the various locations with a cost of Rs. 5 to 6 per metric tonne per kilometre, which the oil companies are interested in reducing.

Also at times, there are issues of strikes by transporters, road blockages which cause delay in transportation.

Therefore, the main area of interest for the companies is to use waterways to have a cheaper alternative to the existing mode of transportation, which is also cleaner and greener mode.

Also, there are some areas which are difficult to approach through rail/ road especially in the North-East Region where IWT sector may provide usable solutions, besides the parcel size as compared to road trucks which can carry 17 MT of LPG in case of barges shall be of bigger size depending on  the barge leading to economies of scale.

Handling LPG by inland waterways will help reduce the carbon footprints, lowering the overall logistics cost, which in India stands approx. 13 to 14% of GDP, compared to global average of 8% and contributing to Government social schemes like “UJJAWLA” for LPG supply.