Paving through the Waterways
Ministry of Shipping (MoS) under its flagship Sagarmala Programme is setting up the Centre for Inland and Coastal Maritime Technology (CICMT) at IIT Kharagpur. CMICT will provide applied research and development for the inland and coastal waterways sector. This will provide real-world solutions for inland and coastal waterways transportation and provide tools and technological inputs to double the share in intermodal transport for domestic waterways freight carrying capacity.
The project is of strategic long-term interests for the port and maritime sector of the country and is being fully funded under unique and innovative projects under Sagarmala. The cost of the project is Rs. 69.20 cr.The funding for CICMT is for 5 years after which revenues generated from the end users will make it sustainable.
The Govt. of India has provided a tremendous impetus to Inland water transportation and Hon’ble Prime Minister received the first inland cargo vessel in November 2018 at Varanasi. However, a need was felt for indigenous applied research, development and technological support to Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), shipbuilding industry, ports and all other related institutions.
Currently, there is no testing and experimentation facility available in the country for inland and coastal vessels for which the shipbuilders have to approach various European countries. In order to address this long felt need, a state-of-the-art Centre for Inland and Coastal Maritime Technology (CICMT) is being set up at IIT, Kharagpur. CICMT at IIT Kharagpur will provide technological support, research, testing and experimentation facility to agencies involved in inland water transport, shipbuilding, ports. etc.
“The Centre will focus on Ship Design for Coastal/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,” said Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India.
The government is encouraging the use of biofuel and clean energy to reduce pollution and fuel import costs. “In the coming years, this would prove to be critical for the country’s economic growth. Developing biofuel and world-class technologies for the shipping industry would be a significant economic and environmental contribution. IIT Kharagpur is expected to bring in the best practices of technology development and design and act as a catalyst through sponsored research with the focus towards commercialization of technologies developed” remarked the Minister.
CICMT setup signifies a major leap in indigenous innovation and cutting edge technology support to the Port and Maritime sector directly contributing to the Sagarmala programme and support ‘Make in India’ and is based on close collaboration amongst government, academic institutions and industry to make applied research relevant to day to day groundwork in the port and maritime sector.
CICMT is envisioned as a world-class state-of-the-art centre; the centre will also be a hub for the latest technology tools for the 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.
“IIT Kharagpur is extremely delighted to be able to set up the Centre for Inland and Coastal Maritime Technology. This builds on the unique strength of IIT Kharagpur’s Ocean Engineering and Naval Architecture department supported by all the other engineering and science departments. We hope to be able to work on deep areas of technology development and indigenous technologies development as well as in areas related to energy efficiency and use of automation and AI in these areas,” said Prof. P P Chakrabarti, Director, IIT Kharagpur.
Photo Credit: Suman Sutradhar