No review on new cabotage law rules
The shipping ministry has rejected calls for reviewing its rules issued in March on easing the cabotage law to allow foreign container carriers to operate on local routes for promoting transshipment hubs. “We have tried to bring the best possible package between a need for a pure transshipment hub vis-a-vis the Indian container ship-owners. You can’t have a oneway traffic,” says Rajive Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping. On March 7, the shipping ministry relaxed cabotage restrictions for transportation of exportimport (EXIM) loaded and empty containers on foreign container ships on local routes for aggregation of containers to facilitate transshipment. The main opposition to the new rules relates to a stipulation that once cabotage relaxation is granted to an existing container handling port, it should be able to transship at least 50 per cent or more of the total containers handled during the first year, while a new port will have to achieve this level in the second year after a gestation period of one year. Otherwise, the relaxation granted would be revoked and the port/s will not be considered again for such relaxation for the next three years.
Rajive Kumar Secretary, Ministry of Shipping