The Union Shipping Ministry has embarked on an ambitious plan to mobilise $18 billion in investments (Rs 1.2 lakh crore) from foreign and domestic investors to fast-track the growth of India’s maritime sector.
Kandla Port, Western India Image: kandlacustoms.gov.in
The government, to harness the untapped potential of India’s 7,500-km coastline and 14,500 km of inland water resources, has identified over 200 projects. These will be offered to potential investors at the first-of-its-kind Maritime India Summit 2016, to be held in Mumbai from April 14-16. The summit will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Developed on the lines of investment-oriented events like Make in India, Digital India and RE Invest, the Maritime India Summit will have participants from 57 countries, and South Korea has been taken on board as a partner country based on the success of its maritime sector.
The government believes that planned development of the maritime sector will create one crore additional jobs in five years, besides drastically bringing down logistics costs for manufacturers and exporters by facilitating movement of cargo through waterways.
Union Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, while unveiling plans for the summit, said, “All developed countries have a vibrant port sector, but unfortunately our maritime sector remained neglected over the years despite having immense potential”. The port and shipping sector has the potential to create nearly 40 lakh direct jobs and 60 lakh indirect employment opportunities over the next five years, he added.
He said there was an urgent need to bring down logistics costs to make the Make in India successful. “Currently, the logistics cost in India is about 18 per cent (of the product cost), while it is 10-12 per cent in Europe and 8-10 per cent in China. Our focus is on bringing this down to 12 per cent by developing coastal shipping and inland waterways.”
Source: The Hindu