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Amitabh Kumar, Director General of Shipping & Additional Secretary to the Govt of India on Tuesday said that shipbuilding was a high priority area for the government and it was trying various methods to incentivise it.
Addressing the webinar ‘Business Continuity Plan For Indian Maritime Sector and Path To Recovery Post COVID-19’, organised by the industry chamber FICCI, Kumar said, “Our long-term strategies include that we want more ships under Indian flag and we want to use cargo as an asset to building the maritime industry including shipping, shipbuilding, repairs and manning.”
He further said, “We want to liberalise our registration regime, encourage more FDI in shipping, and allow joint ventures in ship ownership. We want overseas Indian citizens to invest in the Indian shipping sector.” Highlighting the long-term vision of the Indian maritime industry, Kumar said, “We are working to become a pioneer in ‘contact-less port call’, where any ship or port doesn’t engage in any human interaction whenever the ship calls the port. This is our three-year vision.”
Elaborating on India’s excellence in small ship manufacturing, Kumar said that the government was coming up with the first maritime cluster in Goa and over 100 companies were already part of this. “We know that we have strength in building small ships and offshore vessels. We need to concentrate on that and become better so that we not only get orders from Indian flag vessels but it becomes a hub for international shipbuilding. Once we have gained this expertise, we can scale it up to large vessels,” he added.
Capt. BVJK Sharma, Chairman (Shipping), FICCI Committee on Transport Infrastructure & Director Ports (CEO Office) Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd said, “The maritime industry has played a very essential role in the short-term emergency response to COVID-19 by facilitating the transport of vital commodities and products.”
He further said that FICCI was working with the government for the action plan required for the industry. “The Make in India program will surely double the number of Indian flag vessels,” added Capt. Sharma.
Steve Felder, Managing Director South Asia, Maersk Line (India) Pvt Ltd, Dhruv Kotak, Managing Director, JM Baxi Group, Jagmeet Makkar, Director, Pastiche Holdings Ltd and Co-Founder & Director, SkillsPlus and Shravan Rewari, Managing Director & CEO, ARI Simulation also shared their perspectives at the webinar.