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i-maritime Newsletter

Govt still discussing pros, cons of relaxing Cabotage law: Vasan - 2011-11-07


The much awaited announcement for relaxing Cabotage Law in favour of the shipping community at Kochi port will be delayed further, as the Union Shipping Ministry has to take some more time to take a favourable decision in this regard. This was evident from the words of the Shipping Minister, Mr G.K. Vasan, as he said in Kochi on Friday that the Union Government was still discussing the pros and cons of relaxing Cabotage Law in the country permitting foreign flag vessels to carry coastal cargo. Mr Vasan, who was here in connection with a Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting on cruise tourism, told reporters that all the issues connected with the Cabotage Law relaxation were being discussed and that the Government was not under any pressure to take a hasty decision in this regard. He also declined to give a specific time-frame for a favourable decision in relaxing the Cabotage Law. It may be recalled the relaxation of Cabotage Law is a long pending demand of the shipping community in Kochi as well as the container terminal operator, DP World, soon after the commissioning of the International Container Transhipment Terminal at Vallarpadam in February this year to boost the transhipment business. However, Indian ship owners are totally against any such relaxation saying that they have sufficient tonnage to cater to the needs of the transhipment terminals in the country.
Asked about the financial crisis being faced by the Kochi port in the recent period, the Minister said that the Shipping Ministry had unveiled detailed plans for each port in the
country and that steps were being initiated to achieve the goals. The Minister also said that the ongoing issues connected with the operational roles at ICTT between the Kochi Customs and SEZ officials would be taken up with the appropriate Ministries. The meeting on cruise shipping was convened on board the vessel Amet Majesty to discuss the issues connected with cruise on major ports. This is the first time that Kochi port is hosting the meeting.

Source: Hindu Business Line