India launches first shipping service to Myanmar under ‘look east’ policy

Monday, 6 October 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: India on Friday launched its first shipping service to Myanmar connecting both the countries under the concept of ‘look east’ policy to boost bilateral ties. The shipping corporation of India and the ministry of shipping have launched a direct service to Myanmar for the first time with the help of foreign ministry and commerce ministry. The commencement of the service the ‘transit time’ for Indian exports and imports to Myanmar stand to reduce considerably. Secretary, Ministry Of Shipping, Vishwapati Trivedi said beyond commercial trade it will strengthen trade relationship between both countries. “It’s not merely a setting of a ship from India to Myanmar on what they call, now days, business as usual. There is a lot of value into what we are doing besides the commercial value,” he said after the launch of the shipping service. Trivedi also said they were trying to sign up new agreement with Bangladesh in trade and it’s under process considering various restrictions. The regular coastal shipping between Bangladesh ports and India’s eastern ports such as Paradip and Haldia may commence by this year-end. Trivedi added that initiatives are been taken to connect with several islands and other countries and the agreement between Bangladesh and India will be signed and the work towards building up trade with Bangladesh will be commencing soon. “Our country and our policy has been to move and start looking east, more and more,” Trivedi said. SCI, India’s largest shipping line, currently has a total fleet of 72 vessels with a total cargo-carrying capacity of around 5.8 million deadweight tons. Reportedly, at present, there are no liner services between India and Myanmar. So, ships ply between the two countries only when there is full cargo. India and Myanmar have agreed to enhance their trade to $ 3 billion by 2015. Launching of the regular coastal shipping service will not only reduce burden on road network but will also increase trade between the two countries. As of now, there is only riverine protocol between the two countries for movement of small vessels on rivers flowing in both the countries.