To promote transshipment at Indian ports, the Shipping Ministry has allowed relaxations in cabotage rules. Cabotage is the transport of goods or passengers between two places in the same country. Transshipment is the movement of goods and containers to an intermediate destination. Currently, Indian ports are not popular transshipment destinations, losing out to Colombo, Dubai or Singapore. Now, ports with less than 50 per cent of its cargo being containers can become transshipment hubs. This will be applicable to exim-laden or empty containers only. Any new or existing container port handling transshipment traffic can apply for the relaxation to the DG, Shipping, said the ministry. The directorate general will grant a relaxation for a year for an old port and two years for a new one. In a March 7 release, the ministry said the port has to submit the existing container traffic it is handling and the project transshipment containers it would handle every quarter for a year.