Trans-shipment gets shipping ministry’s support
The Ministry of Shipping recently organised a brainstorming session with industry stakeholders for promoting trans-shipment of containers in India. A suitable action plan will be prepared focusing on the key steps discussed during the session.
The Ministry of Shipping, along with the major ports sat down to hear from the container shipping lines about their concerns and requirements so that they can do trans-shipment of containers. Listening to their challenges were
Kailash Kumar Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Shipping; Malini Shankar, Directorate General of Shipping; Sanjay Bhatia, IAS, Chairman, IPA and Mumbai Port Trust, Joint Secretary, Customs; and Neeraj Bansal, Chairman, JNPT. Aggarwal asked the shipping lines for their views regarding trans-shipment in Indian ports. Promoting trans-shipment in India would lead to cargo growth at Indian ports emanating not only from India, but also potentially other countries in the region, which in turn would lead to creation of jobs in India, growth of the accompanying ecosystem, revenue growth for Indian ports, and retention of foreign exchange in India. The development of such trans-shipment hubs shall provide a fillip to the overall growth in the Indian port and shipping sector. Separate sessions were held with container shipping lines and port terminal operators to understand the operational and commercial constraints which need to be alleviated in order to realise the Ministry of Shipping’s vision of transforming India into a global transhipment hub.
SHIPPING LINES NEEDS
One of the things that the container shipping lines and port operators are seeking is a change in the bilateral coastal shipping agreement signed between India and Bangladesh to permit trans-shipment of Bangladesh cargo from Indian ports. The India-Bangladesh coastal shipping agreement covers only origin-destination cargo between
the two neighbouring countries.
Capt Deepak Tiwari, Chairman, Container Shipping Lines Association (CSLA), gave voice to this and said, “We have started discussions with authorities in Bangladesh to allow trans-shipment of their cargo from Indian ports. Chittagong port in Bangladesh is heavily congested so maybe we can take advantage of that.” The MoS will separately pursue an amendment to the pact.
RECOGNITION OF PORTS
It was recommended that in addition to the recent relaxation for chartering foreign flagged vessels in India by improving on the ease of doing business and improving the port infrastructure to support large vessel calls, some of the existing major and non-major ports in the country could potentially be recognised on the routes of global shipping lines with calls from mother ships.