The Government could make domestically manufactured barges mandatory for coastal and inland waterways movement, as part of the plan to promote the ship building industry in India.
A lead time of one to two years is likely to be given before implementation of the rule. Barges are long, flat bottomed boats for movement of bulk goods. The decision is being mooted as part of the shipping Ministry’s exercise to formulate the Maritime Vision 2030.
Development of the shipbuilding industry with special focus on barge building is one of the key agendas of the Government’s move to encourage local manufacturing of ships.
Recently, the shipping Ministry directed all major ports to procure or charter tug boats which are only made in India. All procurements being done by major ports would now need to be carried out as per the revised ‘Make in India’ Order.
The Ministry is looking to reduce the shipbuilding cost of barges to make the industry more competitive for export, besides effectively implementing the ship building subsidy to encourage domestic manufacturing. The Ministry is also looking to accord infrastructure status to ships to this effect. The Ministry has also proposed to formulate a policy for movement of long term cargo on Indian built ships to encourage ship building in India.
The DG Shipping, Mr. Amitabh Kumar, IRS had earlier said that the Government was working on several policies simultaneously to encourage the ship building industry. The Government is taking a cluster-based approach to help small shipbuilders make seaworthy ships of international standards. The plan is to replace old vessels with Indian-built vessels, which will account for 60% of the ships operating in the country five years from now from the present level of less than 10%, Kumar had said.
Most of the shipbuilding industry is concentrated in Asian countries like China, Japan and South Korea. While India remains a leading player in terms of ship recycling globally, its ship building capacity is minuscule.
The Ministry is planning to encourage all PSUs to use coastal and inland waterways to generate demand for Indian built barges.
Source:- Daily Shipping Times