Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, on Sunday, informed that the Coastal Shipping Bill might soon see the light of the day in the Parliament. Currently, coastal shipping only moves around 7% of India’s domestic cargo.
“We are bringing a separate Bill in Parliament in the coming days to promote coastal shipping so that coastal movement and transportation increases (sic.),” Mandaviya said while speaking at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Konkan Maritime Cluster, first such project in the country for building maritime industry-related infrastructure.
The minister said that the bill will see an increase in the demand for manufacturing of inland vessels. Mandaviya said that his Ministry is geared towards making the shipbuilding sector more competitive in the international market.
The Union Minister highlighted that India was lagging behind in shipbuilding globally.
“Why are we not moving ahead in the shipbuilding sector? First, we are not competitive in the international market; second, there is no domestic demand. How do we increase domestic demand and become more competitive in the international market?” Mandaviya asked, adding that a thrust on coastal shipping will encourage domestic demand.
“This will see an increase in the demand for inland vessels and through an increase in coastal movement, demand for coastal shipping will also increase,” Mandaviya added.
The Coastal Shipping Bill 2020 has been drafted by carving out chapter 14 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1958, which deals with grant of licences for coasting trade in India. It has been drafted to oversee India’s coastal shipping sector, which seeks to give a “legal structure” to the right of first refusal (RoFR) granted to local fleet owners operating their ships between ports in the country.