To mark India's position in the league of nations that possess advanced maritime technology, the government has decided to set up a state of the art centre for shipping research at IIT Kharagpur, Union Minister Mansukh Lal Mandaviya said Wednesday.
Other countries like Germany, Belgium and Russia already possess advanced maritime technology. Likewise, India too is aiming at higher prospects in the field. The centre comes under the umbrella of 'Make in India' programme. Once its set up, the centre will not only boost vessels based on electricity, battery and LNG but will also be developed as a hub for global research for vessel designs, he said after the Ministry of Shipping inked a pact with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, here.
A tweet by Mandaviya said that the Ministry of Shipping signed an MOA (Memorandum of association) with IIT Kharagpur:
"To boost 'Make in India' drive of the Prime Minister and develop advanced vessels on the latest technology here in India, we will set up Centre for Inland and Coastal Maritime Technology (CICMT) at IIT Kharagpur. So far, only a few nations such as Germany, Netherlands, Russia and Belgium possess these technologies and excel in martime research," Mandaviya said while addressing media.
He said that along with boosting the domestic shipbuilding industry, the Centre will also promote advanced ships on electricity, battery and LNG and will ultimately be developed as a global hub.
"Indigenous technology is the need of the hour for the maritime sector, and the government is determined to promote Make In India as per the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he said
The Centre is one of the crucial projects under the ministry's flagship Sagarmala programme. Mandaviya also added that the project is of strategic long-term interest for the port and maritime sector of the country and will provide tremendous impetus to inland water transportation and coastal shipping.
"This centre will be a hub for latest technology tools for maritime sector and reduce India's dependence on foreign institutions. It will also reduce the cost of research drastically and result in cost and time savings for work in the port and maritime sector," he said.
Further, he added that currently, there is no testing and experimentation facility available in the country for inland and coastal vessels and the shipbuilders have to approach various European countries for this. He said that transportation charges will also be cut down. The project, costing Rs 69.20 crore, is being funded under the Sagarmala programme. The funding for CICMT is for 5 years after which revenues generated from the end users will make it sustainable.
IIT Kharagpur Director Partha C Chakrabarti said the project will ensure that India becomes a key player other than top-five countries and a break-even point will be reached in three years. He said that with efficient vessels, the aim would be to reduce the logistics cost from 15 per cent to 10 per cent which will hugely benefit the nation. CICMT at IIT Kharagpur will assist with technological support, research, testing and experimentation facility to agencies involved in inland water transport, shipbuilding and ports, among others.
The primary focus will be on ship design for coastal or inland waterways, shipbuilding technology and structural design, transport systems & logistics, cryogenic cargo handling, green/renewable energy harvesting from coastal and inland waters and automation and artificial intelligence (AI) for maritime operations.
Earlier, Shipping Secretary Gopal Krishna and IIT Kharagpur Director Chakrabarti signed a memorandum of agreement for the facility.
(With PTI inputs)