Industry captains in Goa want to promote the state as a top logistics destination in western India, saying its inland and coastal waterways can be tapped for hauling national as well as international cargo.
Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) Goa chairman Atul Pai Kane said that a national conference was being hosted here next week, to deliberate on ways in which the state's potential as a logistics destination can be tapped, even as it remains "mired in several complexities in transportation, poor condition of storage infrastructure and low rate of technology adoption and poor skills of logistics professionals".
The national conference comes at a time when the logistics industry here is staring at a setback, with the construction of the state's second airport hanging in balance and a proposal for a parallel railway track being lobbied for by the state industrial bodies, recently rejected by the Goa government.
"The draft Goa investment policy has recommended the use of barges (hollowed river boats which are traditionally used to ferry iron ore) and could be used to carry cargo as well as river transportation," Kane told reporters at a press conference in Panaji.
Kane suggested that barges, around 400 of which have been out of work for over a year due to the ban on iron ore mining and export, could be used to transport other cargo as well as for ferrying of passengers.
Atul Jadhav, convenor of the Goa Barge Owners Association, said that the barges could also be used to ferry coal as well as imported wood chips, which are used for the paper industry.
The conference could also discuss ways and means to promote rail trade with Mumbai's Nhava Sheva port by building a railway siding at Goa's Pernem railway station located on the Maharashtra border, which could help to calibrate container traffic to and fro.
"Goa has the potential to emerge as a good logistics hub in Western India. Such a hub will cater not only to Goa but also to large parts of southern Maharashtra and northern Karnataka," Kane said.
He said the conference scheduled to be held on Sep 25 will be see participation by leading stakeholders in India's logistics industry, which is valued up to Rs.400,000 crore on a pan India level.