India's Minister of Shipping Shri G.K. Vasan yesterday launched the Maritime Agenda 2010-2020. The plan calls for a total investment of 165,000 crores rupees (about $36 billion) in the sector over the decade, though the Minister provided scant details of who would be doing the investing.
Launching the Maritime Agenda, the Minister talked about the goals set for the sector including:
- To create a port capacity of around 3,200 million tons to handle the expected traffic of about 2,500 million tons by 2020.
- To put India's ports on par with the best international ports in terms of performance and capacity.
- To increase the tonnage under the Indian flag and Indian control and also the share of Indian ships in India's export trade.
- To promote coastal shipping as it will help in decongesting our roads and is environment friendly.
- To increase India’s share in global shipbuilding to 5 percent from the present 1 percent
- To increase the percentage of Indian seafarers in the global shipping industry from between 6 - 7 percent to at least 9 percent by 2015
Among goals for ports are the development of two new major ports one each on east and west coasts and development of two hub ports on each of the two coasts – Mumbai (JNPT), Kochi, Chennai and Visakhapatnam,
Major ports are to have a draft of not less than 14 m and hub ports 17 m, so it's not too surprising that the Minister is also calling for a new policy on dredging.
The Maritime Agenda also looks for the identification and implementation of projects for rail, road and inland waterway connectivity to ports
The agenda for shipping calls for an increase in Indian tonnage "through necessary policy interventions." Among a slew of other things it calls for the establishment of a P&I Club in India and promotion of a salvage company in India, "with Viability Gap Funding if required."
The Minister also wants to see the introduction of passenger ferry services between India and nearby countries and of RO/RO ferry service in the Gulf of Kutch, Gulf of Cambay and other suitable places
The Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) is "to have ambitious vessel acquisition plans to lead the growth in Indian tonnage."
The Agenda calls for the introduction of a new Shipbuilding Subsidy Scheme and the grant of infrastructure status to the shipbuilding industry
Indian shipyards would be given purchase preference in procurement of ships by Government through global tenders.
Cochin Shipyard would be expanded.
January 14, 2011