AGBOA seeks ceiling on number of ships operated



Panaji: A body of ship owners carrying Iron Ore from jetties to local ports has demanded that no more barges should be allowed to be registered in Goa.

In a letter to Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, the All Goa Barge Owners Association (AGBOA) has sought complete ceiling on number of barges allowed to operate in the inland waterways of the state.

AGBOA Secretary William D'Costa claimed there is no space for more barges considering the quantum of Iron ore allowed to be extracted in the state.

Although Goa exported 54 million metric tons of Ore last fiscal, the actual capacity, as per environment ministry is just 45 million metric tonnes, he said.

Goa, traditionally, has been using barges to ship the ore from jetties to both its ports Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) and Panjim Port. There are 400 barges ferrying ore in the state waters.

"The waterways are congested. There is no place for more barges," D'Costa said adding that the total dead weight of all barges together is 6.5 lakh tons.

"Considering the existing capacity, all barges together can have on an average 70 trips a year, which is uneconomical," he said.

The traditional barge owners are also wary of the mining companies buying their own barges pushing back the business of individual entrepreneurs.

D'Souza said major mining firms like Sesa Goa, Timblo Private limited, Salgaoncar mining industry, V M Salgaoncar and others have their own barges that carry the ore extracted by them.

"We need governments help to save the business from dying," he said adding there are some local politicians too who have been investing in the business and getting priority in the trade.

PTI