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The union government plans to ease container shortage with a ‘make in India’ push to the sector focusing on cluster-based manufacturing.

A high-powered meeting was held among the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal and the Union Minister of Railways, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw and the Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare and Chemicals & Fertilisers, Mansukh Mandaviya at New Delhi on Monday (15 August).

The meeting was held to deliberate and facilitate an ecosystem for Container production under the Make In India programme.

It was decided that with cluster base manufacturing in focus, the CONCOR will be working closely with the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways (MoPSW).

The meeting also discussed how the availability of Make In India containers might open up the avenue for domestic cargo transportation using the vast expanse of inland waterways of India.

In the meeting, the ministers also discussed the possibility of moving bulk cargos like cement, food grains, fertilisers etc., through coastal and inland waterways in containerised form.

This move will contribute to a reduction in the cost of logistics and handling charges as it will be through an economical, ecological and easier mode of transportation.

Earlier, a committee was formed comprising of Joint Secretary (Ports), Joint Secretary (Customs), Joint Secretary (Logistics), Joint Secretary (Steel), and a representative from CONCOR and NICDC to assess the demand for containers in domestic trade, EXIM trade as well as the problem faced in the domestic manufacturing of containers.

The MoPSW also interacted with the representatives from CONCOR, the Association of Container Train Operators (ACTO), steel manufacturing companies, container manufacturers, and the Container Shipping Line Association (CSLA).

“In the EXIM segment, container availability and space onboard vessels are consistently improving. In the domestic segment, CONCOR has a requirement for approximately 50,000 containers in the next three years,” MoPSW said.