Indian maritime trade on recovery path: Shipping Secretary
The Shipping Secretary, Mr K. Mohandas, has said that maritime business in the country is recovering from the global economic slowdown, evident from the 6 per cent increase in the cargo throughput registered in major ports in the country during 2009-10. The growth in the cargo throughput indicated a general revival in the maritime business in the country, he said, speaking at the concluding ceremony of the 47th National Maritime Day celebrations here at the Merchant Navy Club.
Sharing with the audience the steps taken by the Government to impart much-needed momentum to national tonnage and coastal shipping, Mr Mohandas said that maritime trade was expected to surge ahead this year, as against the 10 per cent fall witnessed last year. Kochi Port had done even better, with an increase in cargo throughput of 12 per cent during 2009-10 compared to the previous financial year, he pointed out.
Emphasising the need to promote coastal shipping to increase India's tonnage, the Secretary said that there was a need to improve infrastructure facilities at ports. The country would have sufficient port capacity in another five years, he said, adding that the port capacities could be improved with the induction of new technology, including IT.
Year 2010 is being celebrated as the Year of Seafarers. Mr Mohandas reassured the youngsters that seafaring was a satisfying profession that offered tremendous opportunities ? in shipping as well as in hundreds of ancillary industries.
Commodore M. Jitendran, Chairman and Managing Director, Cochin Shipyard Limited, said that Kerala had seen tremendous increase in awareness about maritime activity. India had built its capability in design and ship production and the country had a large resource pool of personnel, he said.
Mr Ramachandran Thekkedath, Vice-Chancellor, Cochin University of Science and Technology, said that the University was in the forefront in providing maritime training and that student intake in the Marine Engineering section would be increased.
The ship-in-campus facility at the University would be commissioned soon, he said.