Ports capacity has to be doubled: Mahapatra

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Mumbai, Oct 30 (UNI) Shipping Ministry secretary A K Mahapatra today said the shipping industry needs an immediate and urgent action plan for the expansion of the port capacity.

''The present port capacity, which is 7.5 million tonnes both of the government and maritime states, has to be doubled,'' said Mr Mahapatra while speaking at the opening day of the 'Shipping Summit 2007' held here.

Pointing out that all institutes that keep ports' efficiency going do not exhibit the kind of promptness and efficacy in the situations arising out of oil spills, he urged the industry to galvanise the system across the globe.

He also stressed on the need for maritime education and quality training to the seafarers and said ''there was tremendous scope for such training.'' He said the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the various conventions that do take place in the ageis of the organisation should be made effective along with the bilateral agreements.

Responding to a question of the Sethusamundaram project, the Shipping secretary said the committee of eminent persons, constituted by the Union government to go into the Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project on the directions of the Apex Court, was examining the issue and once it tables its report, the Government will file a fresh affidavit in the court.

Calling for a level-playing field, Shipping Coprporation of India chairman-cum-managing director S Hajra said the exodus of seafaring talent was a cause of concern and the need is to tide over the problem.

He urged the industry to look beyond the Indian shores and go for more and more acqusitions as has been the trend with other industries, particularly, at a time when Indian economy was booming at a tremendous pace.

Stating that the Indian shipping industry has grown by 33 per cent over the last two years, Yudhistir Khatau, Managing Director of Varun Shipping said the government's LNG supply policy had disappointed the industry and it needs to be given a re-look.

The three-day summit, orgainised by Seatrade and Trade Winds, is being attended by major industry leaders from across the world.

UNI

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