Shipowners' body seeks sops for cargo transport

Mamuni Das New Delhi | Updated on November 12, 2017


Indian shipowners want preferential treatment for national cargo transportation in the export-import (exim) segment. The commodities for which INSA (Indian National Shipowners' Association) wants such reservation are crude and refined products, thermal coal, coking coal, fertiliser and iron ore.

This is not the first time that INSA – the shipowners' lobby — has raised this issue. In a recent proposal sent to the Shipping Ministry, the body has sought policy interventions on the issue. The preferential treatment could be in the form of reserving one-third of exim cargo transportation by Indian flagged vessels.

The Shipping Ministry has, in turn, sent this proposal to the Petroleum Ministry, said an official source.

Proactive policy

Many nations, including the US and China, have a proactive policy of cargo reservation, which allows use of only domestic flagged vessels for carrying national cargo, INSA has stated in its note to the Shipping Ministry.

Indian ships carry about nine per cent of the country's overseas seaborne trade, down from 40 per cent levels in the late 1980s, according to INSA. INSA members include the Shipping Corporation of India, Essar Shipping and Varun Shipping. “Long term charters of five-seven years should be given to Indian flag companies...The offer could be on based on public tenders open only for Indian companies,” it has stated.

“Develop a national fleet in the energy sector, similar in concept to the United States' Sealift Command,” INSA stated.

The national fleet should consist of Indian flag vessels to ensure uninterrupted transport of essential cargoes such as crude oil, petroleum products and gas, while ensuring national and energy security, it added.

INSA has also demanded that exim cargoes moved by public sector units must be transported on Indian flag vessels whenever Indian flag vessels are available.

While INSA has sought a 33.3 per cent reservation, it also said that Transchart, the chartering wing of the Government, could evaluate the existing Indian fleet capacity and stipulate the percentage of cargo that should be reserved for carriage by Indian flag vessels.

Published on October 06, 2011

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