MUMBAI: Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari today said he has asked state-run Shipping Corporation of India to scout for used LNG ships in the international market, which will help in transportation of the fuel till the country starts building such vessels indigenously.
"I have given orders to SCI to find second hand ships. For the transport of LNG, we can give services to them (SCI)," Gadkari told reporters here.
Gadkari said that the state-run Cochin Shipyard has entered into a joint venture with South Korean company Samsung for getting the technological know-how for manufacturing the very large LNG carriers. However, manufacturing such a vessel indigenously will take around 5-6 years, he added.
He said the contract with SCI for deploying the used Liquefied Natural Gas carriers can be done for 6-7 years till the time the locally-made vessels come up and added that he will be talking to Petroleum Ministry.
Gadkari said a decision on the same will be taken at the "highest level", after a meeting between the Prime Minister, Petroleum Minister and himself, but stressed that he is all for the "Make in India" programme.
It can be noted that Gas Authority of India (GAIL) had floated a tender to acquire nine such ships at an estimated Rs 15,000 crore. In last few months, especially after launch of the Government's 'Make in India' initiative, calls for building some of these nine vessels locally, have been rising.
In order to make this possible, some bankers had demanded a Ship Building Fund, but there was no such announcement in the budget.
When asked about financing, Gadkari today claimed it is not a worry.
"Finance is not a problem. When I am speaking, there is no financial problem. I am not dependent on any finance ministry, we know how to raise finance," he said.
Gadkari today said that the government is keen to build five new ports, but declined to give details on the award of private port projects this fiscal.
Additionally, it will be soon starting multi-modal hubs in identified cities along the river Ganga and has also identified five more rivers for development of inland waterways including Brahmaputra, Mahanadi and Buckingham Canal.