India Opens Coastal Shipping to Foreign-Flagged Vessels

India has decided to allow certain types of commercial vessels sailing under foreign flags to enter its coastal shipping market as the domestic cabotage fleet cannot meet the demand.

The Central Government of India has relaxed cabotage for foreign-flagged vessels such as Roll-On Roll-Offs (Ro-Ros), Hybrid Ro-Ros, Ro-Paxes, Pure Car Carriers, Pure Car and Truck Carriers, LNG vessels and Over-Dimensional Cargo or Project Cargo Carriers for a period of five years.

With this relaxation, vessel operators will be allowed to bring foreign flagged vessels of this category to ply the coastal routes off India.

Such special vessels are in short supply in the country but since they cater to specific class of cargo, their availability will make it possible to shift cargo movement for these commodities from road and rail to coastal shipping, the government said in its announcement.

The availability of these special commercial vessels is essential for the success of efforts to develop coastal shipping and decongest the country’s roads and railways, the announcement said, and it will enable ”a green mode of transport reducing fuel intensity and carbon emissions.”

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