Foreign-flagged ships will no longer need to obtain a license from India’s Director General of Shipping to engage in coastal shipping in the country.
The relaxation of the cabotage law, announced by the Ministry of Shipping of India on May 22, relates in particular to shipping of agricultural, fisheries, animal husbandry and horticultural commodities.
In practice, this means that international shipping companies would be able to move EXIM containers along India’s coast.
Companies wishing to take advantage of the decision will have to submit information about their vessel and commodities transported to the Director General of Shipping via a prescribed format. The form needs to be sent at least 24 hours prior to the departure of the ship from the port in lndia.
However, the ministry said that the foreign-flagged ships would be subject to inspection by Indian law enforcement agencies.
As informed, members of such agencies “shall be allowed to board such ships any time in the sea for ascertaining the bonafide credentials of the said ships/crew.”
Industry major A.P. Moller-Maersk welcomed the move, saying it would help boost the country’s global competitive position.
“This will bring greater competition to the feeder market which in turn would benefit local importers and exporters. Indian ports would also benefit as this positive change would allow them to compete for container traffic currently handled in adjacent regional hub ports,” Julian Bevi, Lead Public Affairs Advisor, Maersk Group India, said in a comment.
World Maritime News Staff