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Govt mulls allowing foreign vessels in coastal waters

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The government is considering a proposal to permit foreign vessels to operate in Indian coastal waters with a view to reduce logistics cost, enhance efficiency and boost domestic shipping industry, an said.

The move would facilitate of cargo between different ports along the country's coastline.

Currently, the rules, which governs this activity, makes it difficult for foreign flagged vessels to handle cargo between two domestic ports.

So far, the policy in the country give first preference to Indian flagships over cargo and foreign vessels. Cargo and foreign ships were allowed only when no suitable Indian flag vessel is available for the same.

Ministries including shipping and commerce are working on the proposal, the said adding the move would also help cut shipping rates and time.

According to traders, there is a scarcity of Indian mainline vessels in the country and it impacts smooth movement of cargo and consignments.

(FIEO) said that these norms should be relaxed as it will increase competition among ports and improve their efficiency to handle consignments.

"The government relax these rules on case to case basis, which is a temporary measure. It needs to liberalised to cut logistics costs as well," Sahai added.

States including Gujarat, and too have asked for relaxation in the norms.

"We have received a proposal to liberalise the existing rules to allow foreign vessels operate in Indian coastal waters. Concerned ministries are working whether the rules needs to be relaxed or not," the said.

Besides textiles and commerce ministries, Container (India), are in favour of liberalising the rules.

However, the Indian is not in favour of this liberalisation.

Indian traders use Colombo, Salalah (Oman), and hubs for shipments, adding to their costs. At present, about 60 per cent of India's exports and imports containers are transshipped through ports like and Colombo.

This trans-shipment through ports outside the country involves not only huge expenditure but also extra 7-10 days of transit time.

has 12 major ports which fall under the Centre's jurisdiction and about 200 non-major ports under the control of states. The main ports include Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT, and Pipavav

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 14 2018. 17:20 IST