Govt waives waterways usage charges to promote Inland water transport

The Ministry of Shipping on Friday waived the waterway usage charges with immediate effect keeping in view the government’s vision to promote inland waterways as a supplementary, eco-friendly and cheaper mode of transport. The charges have been waived initially for three years.

Union Minister of State for Shipping (I/C) Mansukh Mandaviya announcing the waiver on Friday said that currently only 2 percent of total cargo traffic moves through waterways. Decision of waiving waterway charges will attract the industries to use the national waterways for their logistical needs. As the mode of transport is eco-friendly and cheaper, it will not only reduce the burden on other transport modes but also promote the ease of doing business the Minister added.

Water usage charge was applicable on use of all the national waterways by vessels. It was a hindrance in administration of traffic movement and collection of traffic data. 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 decision is estimated to increase the inland waterway traffic movement to 110MMT in 2022-23 from 72MMT in 2019-20. It will benefit the economic activities and development in the region.