Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Shipping
04-February-2011 16:25 IST
Speech of The Shipping Minister at The Ports and Maritime Investment and Business Conclave

          Following is the speech of Shri G.K. Vasan,  Minister for  Shipping at Ports and Maritime Investment and Business Conclave held in Chennai today:


“Let me begin by thanking you all, on behalf of the Ministry of Shipping, for your presence at this important conclave.


Mr. Mohandas has already presented to you the emerging scenario in ports and maritime sector and the efforts being made by the Ministry of Shipping to meet the challenges.


I carefully heard the perspectives of the Panel members and welcome the suggestions made by them.  I want to assure you that the UPA Government is seized of the issues raised and we are open to new ideas and suggestions to further strengthen the partnership with the private sector to realise the true potential of the Maritime sector.


Ladies and Gentlemen, Indian economy is at the threshold of a golden age of growth and development.  This was very clear when the Indian economy was not affected much by the global recession and maintained a growth rate above 7%.  This year, the GDP is expected to grow at a healthy 9%.


The good news is that the global economy has also started showing signs of recovery.  The World Bank has projected that the global economy will grow by 2.7% this year.


All this will entail increasing demand for port and maritime infrastructure and services.  We have witnessed unprecedented growth, as high as 23.8% in exports from 2004-05 to 2008-09.  Though 2009-10 was not good due to global recession, this year we are expecting a huge jump in India’s trade.


India’s external trade, as a proportion of GDP has more than doubled in the last 10 years and is close to 40%.  Bulk of this international trade is carried through shipping.


One can imagine the importance of the ports and maritime sector for India, when 40% of the GDP is linked to external trade.  We also expect that in future, high demand for energy will result in increased import of coal and oil.  Similarly the container volumes in India are expected to witness very high growth in the years to come.


My Ministry has been taking various initiatives to rapidly modernise and develop the ports and maritime sector so that it can sustain and accelerate the current growth momentum.


In the last 2 years, nearly 22 PPP projects have been awarded at a total investment of about Rs.9077 crores.  To facilitate private sector investment, we have put in place a favourable and investor friendly policy framework which includes:


-                     100% FDI allowed in Shipping and Port sector.


-                     Standardised RFQ, RFP and model concession agreements.


-                     Upfront tariff fixation by TAMP for PPP projects.


There has been tremendous growth in non-major ports as well and the Shipping Ministry is proactively facilitating this development.  Since this Conclave is taking place in Chennai, I would like to mention that we are proposing to develop Colachel Port which has a deep draft and is strategically located close to the International maritime routes.  We will do this in collaboration with the Government of Tamilnadu.


I am very pleased to inform this forum that due to the significant growth in capacity in major and non-major ports in the last 2 years, the Indian Port capacity has crossed 1 billion tonnes last week.


Similarly, four months ago, the Indian tonnage crossed 10 million GT.  Shipping Corporation of India which accounts for one third of the Indian tonnage has acquired many new vessels and has successfully raised resources through an FPO to fund future expansion.


We have also brought out a new land policy and a policy to prevent monopoly in ports.  We have formulated a package to promote Indian shipbuilding which will be taken to the Cabinet very soon.  The Ministry is also working on a new policy to promote coastal shipping.


All of you must be aware that recently we have released the Maritime Agenda, 2020 which is a vision document for the next 10 years.  We have set some important goals to strive for:


-                     To increase the port capacity to around 3200 million tonnes which will require an investment of about Rs.3 lakh crore.


-                     To increase the Indian tonnage four fold to 43 million GT by 2020.


-                     To enhance India’s share in global shipbuilding to 5%.

-                     To increase the share of Indian seafarers to atleast 10%.


To achieve these goals, the Government will need the full co-operation of all stakeholders particularly the private sector.  Bulk of the resources needed to achieve the capacity targets is expected to come through PPP mode.


In this context, this conclave is very useful and appropriate.  I want to commend the Confederation of Indian Industry for taking the lead in highlighting the vast potential for investment in Ports and maritime sector.


Ladies and Gentlemen, let me conclude by stressing that we need concerted efforts to take this sector forward and I urge you to participate in India’s Port and Maritime development programme as active partners of the Government.  I assure you of all support.”