Ashok Leyland, the second largest commercial vehicles manufacturer in India, today shipped 185 trucks to Mongla Port, Bangladesh in the newly started Ro-Ro-cum- general cargo vessel ‘M.V. IDM Doodle’ service from Chennai Port.
The RoRo (roll-on, roll-off) vessel was digitally flagged off by the minister of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari. According to the government statement, transportation by sea will save 15-20 days of travel time in compared to the land route of travelling around 1,500km.
For this trip alone that involves transport of 185 trucks, a total of about 300,000 vehicle kilometres of road travel will be saved as the land route is longer and considerable time is lost at the congested Petrapole-Benapole check-point at the Indo- Bangladesh border. Furthermore, coastal transportation will also be more cost effective and environment-friendly.
Gadkari, in a video-conference, called upon all automobile manufacturers to use coastal shipping mode for transporting their vehicles.
Ashok Leyland is currently exporting around 12,000 truck chassis to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and countries in Africa. And it expects the volume to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka likely to increase by 80 percent in the coming years. Now, more than 500 trucks per month are expected to be exported via the sea route which will take away a lot of traffic from the roads.
The Coastal Shipping Agreement between India and Bangladesh was signed during prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh in June 2015. Based on the agreement, sea transportation from Indian ports to Bangladesh ports is being treated as coastal movement, making it eligible for 40 percent concession on vessel-related and cargo-related charges. For coastal movement through RoRo vessels, 80 percent concession on vessel related and cargo related charges are applicable in Indian Ports.
Chennai Port had started coastal RoRo voyage on August 8, 2016 when 800 Hyundai cars were shipped on RoRo vessels from Chennai to Pipavav for local distribution. The government says that initiatives like this are aimed at providing innovative logistic chain solutions under Sagarmala. The ultimate objective is to save logistic costs and time of transportation and boosting trade by making Indian goods competitive in international markets.
The fuel consumption at per tonne cargo is much lower via sea route, so transportation by sea will also reduce carbon footprints on the environment. Further, the modal shift to coastal shipping will save wear and tear of the new vehicles and also reduce traffic on congested roads.