The Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, T.R. Baalu, and The Netherlands Minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, Camiel Eurlings, signed the pact. The MoU envisages cooperation in the fields of port planning and development; maritime transport and logistics; shipbuilding; research and development; safety and security and stimulation of cargo flows between the two countries. The MoU will help to boost ties between the two countries in the maritime sector.
Baalu lauded the close trade and technical cooperation ties between the two countries, and highlighted the fact that two-way trade between India and Netherlands has reached Euro 2.77 billion in 2006 from Euro 1 billion in 1997. However, Indian share in overall Dutch trade continues to be small, he added and said that it needs to be enhanced.
Baalu also informed the visiting Dutch delegation about the National Maritime Development programme under which an investment of about 1000 billion rupees is envisaged.
He said that India is also in the process of setting up of two international size shipyards one each at the eastern and western coast, adding that India and Netherlands can cooperate in all these areas.
Dredging is another area in which the Netherlands can share their expertise, he said. Similarly Inland Water Transport which is in a nascent stage in India with lot of potential, can be another area of cooperation. India plans to setup an International Maritime University at Chennai with campuses at Mumbai, Kolkata, Visakhapatnam and expertise of Netherlands in this area would be welcome, Baalu added.
On this occasion, the Netherlands side announced twelve scholarships for Indian Martime officers and engineers. It was also decided that a study would be conducted for supply chain management for carriage of goods form Indian hinterland to Netherlands Ports.