21-03-2016

Indian Maritime Sector Heading For Revolutionary Developments

MIS16

Revolutionary Policies Adopted By the Government Will Bring Big Changes In Future: Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping

Maritime India Summit 2016 (MIS 2016), is a maiden flagship initiative of the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India. MIS 2016 is being organised from April 14-16, 2016 at Mumbai. The conference will project vast investment opportunities in each of the Indian Maritime States and Union Territories, including an exclusive partner country session by Republic of Korea.

The seriousness of this revolutionary summit is evident in the dedication displayed by the top government officials towards the preparation of the Maritime India Summit. On Friday, 18th March when everyone including the corporate world was looking forward to and making plans for the weekend, Shri Nitin Gadkari arrived at the venue before the scheduled time to meet important business personalities from shipping, port and shipbuilding industries to decide the future course of Indian Maritime industry to attract the latest technology, investment and job creation in this sector.

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The Shipping Tribune had the opportunity to interview Shri. Nitin Gadkari. We wanted to find out the concept behind Maritime India Summit 2016, the need to promote coastal shipping and inland waterways, the scope of skill development and other important issues relating to investment opportunities in maritime sector. Here are the excerpts of the conversation: 

Ports & Port led development

The Ports and port led development is very important for India. In Sagarmala we have a lot of planning for development of ports. The basic intention behind the policies is how we can create employment potential for the poor people and the skilled manpower. We are making three major ports in the future, the decision has already been taken.

Maritime India Summit 2016 will bring the best technology in the world and investors to India. It is a great opportunity for people to invest in the Indian Maritime Sector. This is going to help us for the development of our country. By promoting waterways & coastal shipping we are trying to reduce the logistics costs from the existing 18% to 12%. This will also help our manufacturing sector which provides more employment potential for the youth of this country and more importantly, it will boost our exports. So, this is the future of our country, for which we are giving it the highest priority for the maritime sector and I am confident that the Maritime India Summit is going to generate more jobs and development for the country in the future.

Coastal Shipping & Inland Waterways

The cost of logistics in our country is 18% where as it is only 8% in China and 10-12% in European countries. If we promote transportation through waterways we can achieve the cost of transportation at 10% of the road transportation. As a result of this, logistic costs will reduce resulting into an increase in exports and boost our manufacturing sector. This will eventually increase job opportunities.

For the past several years our ports, coastal shipping and inland waterways have been neglected. We want to bring in new technology in our country, develop new ports and inland waterways to create employment opportunities in the country.

About 47-48% of the cargo moves through waterways in China. Similarly, in Japan and Korea, almost 43-44% cargo moves through waterways. In India, only about 3.5% of the cargo moves through waterways. Since India has a very large market the Network of waterways will be made on similar lines like the huge road network to reduce the cost of logistics. Cost of moving cargo per kilometre is only 25 Paisa by sea as compared to 1 Rupee by rail and 1.5 Rupees by road. Industry will grow around the river waterways as it happened in the case of road network. This will boost our economy and create huge employment opportunities. Agriculture exports, food grain exports and fertilizers will benefit a lot from this development. We can also expect the building of huge storage facilities for steel, cement and other industrial products. This will prove to be beneficial in the competitive market.

Skill Development & Employment Opportunities

We will create around 1 crore (10 million) jobs and add 2% to the GDP. In the maritime sector, 15 of our institutions (12 major ports, SCI, DCI and Cochin Shipyard together) have earned a profit of 6,000 Crores.  Our Government will complete two years on 26th May 2016. By that time we will start projects worth 70,000 Crores in port modernisation & mechanisation.

We will seek support from the maritime industry. We are exploring the possibility of providing practical training courses in our 27 shipyards and ports. We can consider giving stipend to the trainees. Examination will be conducted and certification will be rewarded by these institutions themselves. This will help create local employment.

Also, we have almost one million fishermen along the coast of India. They are allowed to go only up to 12 nautical miles from the coast to fish, where there is hardly any availability of fishes. If the fishermen can buy trawlers and go beyond 12 nautical miles their productivity will increase by ten folds. However, to go beyond 12 nautical miles they are required to use trawlers which cost about one crore rupees. 

The solution to this is that fishermen pool their money and the government can help by providing them with subsidies while rest of the cost can be covered through bank loans provided by financial schemes such as the Mudra Scheme. This will help industries such as the fish processing and cold storage industries to grow.

On one hand, we have thought about how this will benefit the poor, educated and unemployed youth while also significantly reducing trade and logistics cost. I feel that the revolutionary policies which have been adopted by the government will bring very big changes in the future.

Source: Capt. Virendra Mishra/ TST Newsdesk

              (The Shipping Tribune)

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