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Cargo support prog for flag vessels - 2012-03-05

The Union Shipping Ministry is on the verge of finalising a programme for cargo support for Indian flag vessels to help the shipping industry, which is passing through its worst phase on account of a slump in the global shipping business. Though the Indian trade has multiplied several times, tonnage is a little below 1 percent of the global tonnage, said Mr K. Mohandas, who retired as the Shipping Secretary last week.

“We will be able to attract more tonnage once we provide some assurance on cargo,” he said, adding, that the Ministry is in the process of consultingwith other user Ministries — such as Petroleum, Power, Steel and Fertiliser — that can provide cargo support for Indian flag vessels. “Right now, our assessment is that only 8 per cent of the Indian cargo is being carried by Indian vessels.

This figure was 30 per cent in early 80s,” he said. On the relaxation of Cabotage law, the Shipping Secretary said, “It is now at an advance level of final decisions. The proposal will go to the Cabinet in the next two weeks.” Once the Cabotage law is relaxed, he expressed the hope that the Vallarpadam Terminal would attract more transhipment business.

Source : Hindu Business Line