India, Netherlands sign MoU in shipping sector

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New Delhi, Feb 12 (UNI) India and the Netherlands signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) here today in the shipping and port sectors which would give a fillip to maritime transport, logistics and stimulate cargo flows between the two countries.

The MoU was signed by Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister T R Baalu and Dutch Minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management Camiel Eurlings.

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 considerably help in boosting ties between the two countries in the area of maritime sector,'' a ministry official said.

Mr Baalu said India and the Netherlands had in recent times come very close through trade and technical cooperation, which was evident from the fact that the bilateral trade was now pegged at 2.77 billion dollars in 2006 as compared to one billion dollars in 1997.

''However, Indian share in overall Dutch trade continues to be small,'' he said, adding that it needed to be enhanced.

Mr Baalu informed the Dutch delegation about the National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP) under which an investment of about Rs 1000 billion rupees is envisaged.

He said India is also in the process of setting up of two international-size shipyards -- one each at the eastern and western coast -- and the country's ambitious maritime projects offered an opportunity for India and the Netherlands to cooperate.

Mr Baalu said dredging is another area in which the Netherlands can share its expertise. Similarly, inland water transport, which is in a nascent stage in India with massive potential, can also a major area of bilateral cooperation.

The minister said India plans to set up an International Maritime University at Chennai with campuses at Mumbai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam and expertise of the Netherlands in this area would be welcome.

On the occasion, the Netherlands announced twelve scholarships for Indian marine 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 the ports in the Netherlands.

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