New Delhi, Apr 5 (PTI) To encourage coastal shipping, the government has initiated a number of steps, including priority berthing and reduction in GST on bunker fuel, Parliament was informed today.

Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan, in a written reply to the Lok Sabha, said that automobile manufacturers are also encouraged to use coastal shipping for transportation of vehicles.

“The government has taken steps to encourage coastal shipping which inter alia include reduction of GST on bunker fuels used in Indian Flag Vessels from 18 per cent to 5 per cent; 40 per cent discount on cargo related and vessel related charges for coastal ships carrying coastal cargo except for coal, POL and iron ore,” Radhakrishnan said.

Besides, he said 80 per cent discount is being offered on vessel and cargo related charges on Ro-Ro vessels for transportation of vehicles for two years, priority berthing of coastal ships without any charge, introduction of green channel clearance for faster evacuation of coastal cargo at major ports and allowing the reimbursement of freight subsidy on primary movement of subsidised urea.

Radhakrishnan said Chennai Port, Kamarajar port and VO Chidambaranar Port have approached the automobile manufacturers to use their ports for coastal shipping of vehicles by offering concessional rates and other facilities.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.