NEW DELHI: To ensure the success of ‘Make in India’ initiative, the government is committed to bring down the high logistics cost to 12 per cent and raise the share of waterways transportation to 15 per cent in the next five years, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today.

At present the country’s logistics cost is 18 per cent while barely 3.5 per cent of goods are transported through waterways.

” Make in India scheme will be a great success if we can bring down the high logistics cost from 18 per cent to at least 12 per cent. In China , it is 8 per cent. The government is making efforts in this direction as goods transportation through water costs barely 20 paise per km in comparison to Rs 1.5 a km through road and Re 1 per km through railways,” Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Gadkari said.

The Minister while launching a joint report by Transport Corporation of India (TCI) and IIM, Kolkata on “Operational Efficiency of Freight Transportation by Road in India” also urged logistic companies like TCI and others to shift from roads to water transportation and buy ships saying massive work is underway on waterways which is the government’s top priority.

“Buy ships. Waterways is our top priority. We have given infrastructure status to shipbuilding and offering subsidies. There are plans to develop 2,000 waterports,” the Minister urged the logistic firms.

He said work on 10 waterways was scheduled to begin before December and tenders have already been received to develop two waterways to export iron ore from Goa.

“Our target is to ensure at least 15 per cent of goods transport through water in the next five years. At present, barely 3.5 per cent of the goods transportation in India takes through this route,” the minister said.

He also urged truckers to use double axle trucks to minimise pollution besides carrying high quantity of goods and asked transporters to ensure that only trained drivers got access to driving, lamenting that generally trucks were found driving in the first lane.

The minister said that to ensure comfort to truck drivers, it has been decided that all new trucks will have air conditioned cabins. The government is also planning to construct truck clubs alongside the highways in the proposed 1,300 highways amenities of which the tender has already been floated for 70.

He said India has 22 per cent shortage of drivers and about 33 per cent of driving licences are bogus and to ensure a transparent transport sector regime, a Group of Ministers from States is meeting in Dharmashala on June 12 and would finalise their reports on Motor Bill in the meeting at Laddakh.

Based on their recommendations, the Bill will be finalised and introduced in the upcoming Parliament session, he said.

Also, there is a plan to build a godown on about 3,000 acres of land outside Delhi to decongest the national capital, he said.