India’s Shipping Minister, G K Vasan, who is leading a delegation of senior government officials and business leaders from the India maritime sector to Singapore, last week invited Singapore to participate in India’s port development programme.
He outlined the opportunities for foreign investors in India’s USD 20.8 billion port upgradation and modernisation programme involving 276 ports, many of which are Public-Private Partnership projects in various stages of implementation or bidding.
Minister Vasan was speaking at a seminar on the Ports and Maritime Industry of India organised by the Indian High Commission and CII.
Similarly, India is also surging ahead in shipping and ship-building, the Minister said. India is currently ranked 16th among the maritime countries in terms of the size of its merchant shipping fleet and tonnage has grown from 6.94 million GT in 2004 to cross the 10 million GT mark last month for the first time. Shipbuilding has high growth potential owing to certain inherent strengths, especially low labour cost, strong domestic demand, well-established steel and manufacturing industry and availability of technically qualified manpower, and an investment of USD 4 billion is envisaged in Indian shipyards in the near future.
Apart from investments, India also looks to Singapore for expertise, given Singapore’s impressive and world-class port and maritime industry, the Minister added. Many Singaporean companies have already invested in India’s ports, maritime and logistics sector and also entered into joint ventures with Indian companies, but given the expected healthy growth of the Indian economy, there is tremendous potential for Singaporean companies. Minister Vasan outlined some of the key investor friendly policy initiatives taken by the Ministry and assured the Government of India’s complete support to Singaporean companies investing in the sector.
The seminar featured session on Ports and Shipping sectors, and was attended by around 200 representatives of industry from Singapore. Well known ports and shipping companies from India including Mundra Port, Bharati Shipyard, Jindal Saw, Pipavav Shipyard, Essar Shipping, IL&FS, Shipping Corporation and Chairmen of ports of Chennai, Cochin, Kandla, Kakinada and Mumbai were part of the delegation that travelled to Singapore from India.