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Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways Hosts Conference on Maritime Challenges and Solutions in Kochi

Kochi: The Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways (MoPSW), in collaboration with Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) and the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), recently concluded a two-day conference in Kochi, Kerala, focusing on “Challenges and Prospective Solutions in Inland Waterways and Shipbuilding.” The conference, held on April 23rd and 24th, brought together key stakeholders, including state departments, industry experts, and policymakers, to address pressing issues within the maritime sector.

The event, which featured four insightful sessions, aimed to tackle critical challenges in inland water transport, shipbuilding, and the imperative of decarbonizing the maritime industry. Participants engaged in fruitful discussions, sharing key challenges and suggesting interventions to expedite the shift to waterways for cargo movement and bolster domestic shipbuilding.

R Lakshmanan, Joint Secretary of MoPSW, expressed satisfaction with the enriching discussions, stating, “The two-day conference at Kochi successfully facilitated enriching discussions encompassing India’s key priorities, including the Green Transition of Inland Waterways and promoting domestic shipbuilding. This is one among many such meetings conducted by the ministry to identify and address the key challenges faced by the maritime stakeholders in achieving the targets set forth in Maritime Amrit Kaal Vision 2047.”

The inaugural session highlighted MoPSW’s initiatives in decarbonizing the inland waterways sector, particularly through the deployment of Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell Inland Vessels. Varanasi has been selected as the pilot location for immediate deployment on NW-1, with expansion plans informed by pilot learnings. Additionally, discussions revolved around the potential of Methanol as a green fuel for EXIM Vessels, emphasizing the need for indigenous development of Methanol marine engines.

The conference also addressed the significant financing needs of India’s shipping sector, with an estimated investment requirement of approximately Rs 70-75 Lakh Crore by 2047. Challenges in securing long-term funding, lower interest rates, and fixed sectoral lending limits were discussed, prompting the ministry to propose the establishment of a dedicated Maritime Development Fund to address these financing gaps.

The second day of the conference saw stakeholders from various sectors convene to strategize ways to enhance inland water transport modal share and address traffic patterns along key waterways. Discussions also centered on India’s shipbuilding capacity, aiming to boost the nation’s global ranking and reduce reliance on foreign fleets for cargo movement.

The conference concluded with a tour of the Kochi Water Metro and IWAI projects, showcasing the government’s strategic focus on river cruise tourism, urban water transport networks, and coastal shipping.

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