Mumbai, Apr 19: Captains of the Shipping industry have called for a renewed government attention to augment development of the shipping and port industry.
The Indian shipping industry attracted 8 billion dollars of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the current year as compared to 5 billion dollars in the past, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) Chairman R S Buddhiraja said.
The shipping traffic is low in the country which has to be increased to 877 million tons by 2011-12 from the current 616 million tons, Mr Buddhiraja said at a seminar organised by All India Association of Industry (AIAI) here yesterday.
Appreciating the National Maritime Development Programme by the Ministry of Shipping, he said the ministry had formulated a comprehensive policy for the shipping industry, which would answer concerns related to water ways and ship building.
Efforts were in progress to modernise and upgrade the Indian Port industry while attempts were being made to develop new ports, ensure transparency, augment capacity for break bulk and encourage common use terminals, he said.
''The shipping industry welcomes 100 per cent FDI along with private-public partnership and joint ventures,'' Mr Buddiraja said.
Speaking on the same lines, Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) Chairman S Hazara said, ''For the first time the Government of India has come out with a policy, which covers the whole gamut of the shipping industy.'' Transport and logistics had mushroomed and National Maritime had become vital for collective development, Mr Hazara stressed.
He added that in the midst of all positive developments, the Indian exporters were losing edge to global operators due to high frieght rates.
Though, India ranks 16th for its raw storage capacity globally, improvements can be made in net export of products category also, he added.
State government representative G S Gill appreciated the ambitious efforts of the shipping industry and admitted that the state was lagging behind in comparison to the progress made by Gujarat in shipping and port business.
''The government explored every alternative inviting bidders for port development. Ultimately, when a MoU was offered, bidders started showing interest and things were under progress,'' Mr Gill said.
The state government was planning three thermal mega projects for generation of electricity with each plant requiring 14,000 tons of imported coal. Hence, the industry should explore and exploit such opportunities, he added.
Taking a different stand, Mr Mark Fernandes, Director of Slyvester&Co, stated that before talking of development and other investments the industry must demand an airport along with regulations and accountability.
He said,'' when a container is offloaded at a port in Dubai within 30 minutes it is flown to its destination in Europe whereas a container in India lies for four days and later taken through several octroi procedures before being flown.'' He strongly advocated regulations in regard to people being employed as customer agents and in logistics adding that India was the only country that had no regulations in these areas.