Business Standard

Survey expresses worry over aging shipping fleet, low share in global tonnage


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Economic Survey has expressed concerns over aging Indian shipping fleet and a meagre 0.9 per cent share of the country in total global dead weight tonnage.
About 42 per cent of India's 1,419 fleet is 21 years and above, the Economic Survey for 2019-20, tabled in Parliament by Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday, said.
"Despite one of the largest merchant shipping fleet among developing countries, India's share in total world dead weight tonnage (DWT) is only 0.9 per cent as on January 1, 2019 ... The existing Indian fleet is also aging, with the average age increasing from 15 years in 1999 to 19.71 years as on October 1, 2019 (42.06 per cent of the fleet is 21 years and above and 12.49 per cent is in the 16 to 20 year age group)," the Economic Survey said.
It noted that shipping is essential to both commodity and services trade of any country.
Around 95 per cent of India's trade by volume and 68 per cent in terms of value is transported by sea.
The Survey said the performance of the global shipping industry is generally mirrored by Indian shipping.
India's shipping tonnage was only 1.92 lakh Gross Tonnage (GT) on the eve of independence, it said and added that it increased gradually thereafter, but was practically stagnant at around 70 lakh GT till the beginning of 2004-05.
However, the tonnage tax regime introduced by the Government of India in that year boosted the growth of the Indian fleet as well as its tonnage.
"However, it is an undeniable fact that the after-effects of the global economic downturn are still having negative effect on the global shipping industry in general and Indian Shipping industry in particular," it said.
About the ports sector, the Survey said the government has been striving to improve the operational efficiencies through mechanisation, digitisation and process simplification.
"As a result key efficiency parameters have improved considerably. The Average Turnaround Time in 2018-19 improved to 59.51 Hrs as against 64.43 Hrs in 2017-18. The Average Output Per Ship Berth day has increased from 15,333 Tonnes in 2017-18 to 16,541 Tonnes in 2018-19," it said.
Major ports in the country have an installed capacity of 1,514.09 million tonne per annum as in March, 2019 and handled traffic of 699.09 MT during 2018-19.

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First Published: Jan 31 2020 | 4:55 PM IST

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