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India Needs To Draw Master Plan To Boost Coastal Shipping


Port Wings News Network:

India must draw a master plan for non-major ports on the same lines as major ports to map its supply chain linking it to key manufacturing sectors to boost coastal shipping with requisite policy and regulatory changes, according to maritime experts speaking at workshop on Coastal Movement of Cargo in India.

“Maharashtra and Gujarat account for 52% of the total coastal cargo while rest is spread across the remaining coastal states due to absence of mapping the infrastructure and missing railway links to its mines, minerals and manufacturing hubs,” said Captain Amit Wason, President of Maritime Association of Nationwide Shipping Agencies  (MANSA) at the workshop.

For instance, due to congested berths at Paradip, coal loading through dry cargo export berths at Dhamra will ease the capacity constraints significantly and boost coastal shipping volumes and give $29 per ton cost advantage, Captain Wason said.

The workshop was attended by Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, Director (Customs), Mr Zubair Riaz Kamili and Ministry of Shipping (Sagarmala), director, Mr D.K. Rai. Both of them heard the issues and grievances confronting the stakeholders and assured them to resolve the same.

Expressing his views, Captain Vivek Anand, Immediate Past President of MANSA said, “India must enhance its shipping capabilities by promoting and supporting ancillary ship-building industry which will contribute to the success of shipyards in India with lower production cost.  This would lead to ships getting increasingly assembled rather than built in shipyards and with lower ancillary equipment cost coupled with the right tax structure could go a long way in building vessels palatable to coastal cargo needs of the country.”

Considering 73% of the World Population could be residing in Asia Pacific region by 2040, it is imperative for India to draw its master plan for coastal shipping keeping the next two decades in perspective, Captain Anand added.

Speaking at the workshop, Ms Vinita Venkatesh, Director, Krishnapatnam Port, called for the need to adopt a policy of opting for India’s imports at ports of its choice by opting for free on board (FOB) basis rather than Cost Insurance Freight (CIF) basis.   She pointed out that on the East coast container handling capacity is at 6 million TEUs while volumes are only 3 million TEUs.

Overall conclusion drawn at the workshop was that while the coastal cargo has grown with the policy changes, there is a need for some disruptive regulatory changes to ensure that the logistics cost to the economy drops down significantly.

Established in 1977, Maritime Association of Nationwide Shipping Agencies – India which was till recently known as Mumbai and Nhava-Sheva Ship-Agents Association – (MANSA), underwent a name change to position the association’s nation-wide character given that its members account for 85% of the cargo handled at all ports across the country. The association gives a powerful voice to the grievance of ship agents and addresses their issues to enhance working and business environment besides good relationships with the port authorities and port administration.

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