India to become pioneer in developing contactless human port call system for ships

Mr Amitabh Kumar, Director General of Shipping & Additional Secretary to the Government of India today said that ship building is a high priority area for the government and we are trying various methods to incentivize ship building in India.

Addressing FICCI webinar ‘Business Continuity Plan For Indian Maritime Sector and Path To Recovery Post COVID-19’, Mr 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 build maritime industry including shipping, ship building, repairs and manning.”

He further said, “We want to liberalize our registration regime, encourage more FDI in shipping and allow joint ventures in ship ownership. We want overseas Indian citizens to invest in Indian shipping sector.” Highlighting the long-term vision of the Indian maritime industry, Mr Kumar said, “We are working to become a pioneer in ‘contact-less port call’, where any ship or port don’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, Mr Kumar said that government is coming-up with first Maritime Cluster in Goa and over 100 companies are already part of this. “We know that we have strength in building small ships, off-shore 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 ship building. 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 and 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 transport of vital commodities and products. FICCI has been playing an active role in addressing the main issues and all stakeholders have extended themselves during COVID-19.”

He further said that FICCI has been working with the government for action plan required for the industry concerns. “Make in India program will surely double the number of Indian flag vessels,” added Capt Sharma.

Mr Steve Felder, Managing Director – South Asia, Maersk Line (India) Pvt Ltd; Mr Dhruv Kotak, Managing Director, JM Baxi Group, Mr Jagmeet Makkar, Director, Pastiche Holdings Ltd and Co-Founder & Director, SkillsPlus; and Mr Shravan Rewari, MD & CEO, ARI Simulation also shared the industry perspective.