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Indian coastal shipping policy on the anvil

Indian coastal shipping policy on the anvil

Mumbai: A comprehensive Indian coastal shipping policy is currently under preparation, and will be notified by end-October this year, according to Shipping Secretary K Mohandas, who made this announcement as part of his keynote address, delivered at the sixth edition of the Indian Shipping Summit in Mumbai, last Friday. The event, organised by Seatrade and Tradewinds, was a platform for much debate on the country's maritime issues.

With India's merchant fleet having just hit the 10m gt mark for the first time, and also crossed the 1,000-ship mark, to touch 1,027 vessels, Mr Mohandas felt that there was need to multiply the country's port capacity, which was set to touch 1bn tonnes during the ongoing financial year.

"We need to better utilise shipping by the coastal route and on inland waterways," he said. "Coastal shipping has hardly been tapped in India, with only 7% cargo being moved through this route, compared with countries like China, where 30% cargo is transported by inland waterways and along the coast. There is a strong case for a modal shift."

 Mohandas also announced that a committee had been set up under the stewardship of Rakesh Mohan to suggest improvements in the logistics sector; and its recommendations, to be received within 18 months, would go into the formation of a comprehensive policy for the logistics sector.