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Live from INMEX India 2020

India works towards removing restrictions on shipowning

Malini Shankar, former DGS
India’s Shipping Ministry is working towards removing a slew of restrictions on ship ownership in the country, with a view to increase tonnage under its flag.

These announcements were made by Director-General of Shipping (DGS), Amitabh Kumar, during Thursday’s inaugural session of the two-day Inmex SMM Virtual Expo, India’s first-ever virtual maritime exhibition and conference.

“It is our aim to make the rules more owner-friendly, so that more companies enter the field, and current owners have reason to flag their ships in India,” said Kumar. “In fact, we are looking closely at the gamut of shipping activities, including ownership, shipbuilding and seafarer training, in our Vision 2030 document that seeks to define shipping in the country over the next decade.”

The DGS asserted that the country would be undertaking the huge task of reducing carbon emissions to the extent of 85%; and that India’s Shipping Ministry had taken a conscious decision to encourage the design and operation of energy-efficient vessels, and to use them extensively at Indian ports.

Earlier, Kumar’s predecessor at the Directorate-General of Shipping, Dr Malini V Shankar who, post-retirement, has taken on the role of Chairperson of the National Shipping Board (NSB) and Vice-Chancellor of the Indian Maritime University, said that the Covid-19 pandemic had not halted shipping, but actually taught companies to adopt several innovative ways of improving their performance.

“Shipping corporates have re-invented themselves,” said Shankar. “Proof of this is the fact that the national carrier, Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), has made enhanced profits in the first two quarters (April to June, and July to September 2020) of the ongoing financial year.”

Shankar, who heads the highest advisory body on matters related to Indian shipping and those arising out of the Merchant Shipping Act, proposed the idea of a Sea Congress, which she said would give a fillip to the Indian shipping industry.

The welcome address to the Inmex SMM Virtual Expo had earlier been delivered by Yogesh Mudras, managing director of Informa Markets India, organisers of the event, which was South Asia’s largest maritime exhibition and conference, and had attracted over 5,000 trade visitors last year.

The Inmex SMM Advisory Board chairman, Sabyasachi Hajara, who retired in 2015 as chairman and managing director of SCI, delivered the opening address and announced the launch of the Inmex Maritime e-newsletter which would keep all maritime stakeholders posted of the latest developments in Indian shipping.


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