Millennium Post

Indian shipping will sail 20 per cent anually to $80 bn by 2020

The global economic slowdown has not affected the Indian shipping scenario as could be evidenced at the conclusion of the recently-held three-day INMEX India 2013, South Asia’s largest maritime event, in Mumbai. 'INMEX India has unleashed vast maritime business opportunities, even as India’s sector is set to grow 20 per cent annually to reach $80 billion by 2020,’ according to Indian Register of Shipping CMD Capt Arun Sharma.

Termed South Asia’s largest maritime event, INMEX India opened its doors to thousands of maritime professionals who had the opportunity to see the latest products and solutions, network with industry leaders and discuss business opportunities.

‘The Indian maritime sector, which handles 90 per cent of the country’s international trade, facilitates not only transportation of national and international cargo but also provides a variety of other services such as cargo handling services, shipbuilding and ship repairing, freight forwarding,
lighthouse facilities and training of marine personnel etc,' said Informa Exhibitions Group Exhibitions Director Guru Prasath.

The event witnessed over 550 participating companies from 35 countries including seven Country Pavilions from Holland, Norway, Korea, Singapore and China, where products and solutions showcased at the event included dredging, marine equipment, marine offshore technology, ocean engineering, port equipment, port technology, ship repair, marine telecommunications and navigational equipment, shipbuilding and underwater robotics devices.

'Despite challenging market conditions, INMEX India has consolidated its strong position in the global maritime calendar for many companies and consistently continued its growth which underscores the importance of genuine business opportunities gained from the show. This year’s edition hosted more than 500 participating companies from 35 countries, thereby successfully establishing itself as South Asia’s definitive event for the maritime and shipping community,’ said Prasath.

A high-level INMEX technical conference themed One Maritime Voice was held at which over 40 prominent Indian & International speakers comprising of industry leaders, policy makers and experts in the shipping & maritime sector were involved in deliberating issues related to the Indian maritime sector.

The Indian Navy too was present at INMEX 2013. Lt Commander (Engineering) Sai Kumar said the Navy participated in this once-in-two-year event to meet up with product sellers and service supporters for equipment needed by the Navy, which is one of the largest in the world. The Navy’s numerous shipping  vessels include an aircraft carrier, amphibious transport dock, landing ship tanks, destroyers, frigates, nuclear-powered attack submarine and conventionally-powered attack submarines, corvettes, mine countermeasure vessels, patrol vessels and various auxiliary vessels.

INMEX India is supported by the Ministry of Shipping and several key maritime associations from within India and abroad. Prominent among those who visited the show included JNPT Deputy Chairman N N Kumar, Shipyards Association of India Advisor P R Govil,  International Maritime Advisor Henk Lacet, Norwegian Ambassador Eivind S Homme, TAMP Chairman T S Balasubramanyam, MASSA Director Capt Ajay Achuthan, MANSA President K P Unnikrishnan, Shipping Corporation of India CMD B K Mandal, Western Naval Command Flag Officer Commanding-in-Charge Vice-Admiral Shekhar Sinha, DIG A K Dey - CSO Tech, Indian Coast Guard, and Commandant Sanjay Anchalwar, Deputy Director General of Shipping.

Even smaller companies from states as tiny as the erstwhile Portuguese territory of Goa are participating in the show and positive about their activity. Ratnakar Dandekar, Managing Director of Aquarius Fibreglass Pvt. Ltd. In Goa, was all smiles as he spoke to Millennium Post about the business and goodwill generated following the success of his boat circumnavigating the globe. 'This boat is a yacht that was purchased from us by the Indian Navy for Rs four crore and named INSV Mhadei. The yacht took the first solo circumnavigation of the globe in 2009-2010,' he said. 'We are building 15-metre patrol boats for Goa Shipyard – whose business represents 50 per cent of our annual turnover -- and each of these vessels costs Rs three crore. We have built and sold 15 parasailing boats – each costing Rs 60 lakhs – to the tourism industry in Goa,' he said.

The Indian Navy too contributes to 25 per cent of the company’s business turnover and is a buyer of rigid inflatable boats for its activities, says Dandekar while pointing out that his company has been participating in the INMEX since its inception. 'The positive interaction at these events gave us the confidence to be on the international stage to showcase our efforts in manufacturing fiberglass boats and other marine equipment. We started our business with barely Rs 2 crore and today have a turnover of about Rs 20 crore.'

Pirates are still proving costly

Piracy is still a sore issue with the shipping and maritime industry. Pointing out that pirates are operating off the coastline of Somalis, Malacca (in the Indonesian waters) and even Kuala Lumpur, International Maritime Consultant Hendrik Lacet said that different countries following different rules pose a problems in dealing with piracy.

Eivind S. Homme, Ambassador of Norway to India, said that navy groups of various countries were operating around Somalia in keeping the sea waters free from pirates. However, efforts were also on by some countries including Norway to provide aid to the Somalians and wean them away from piracy, he said, adding that Norway had provided 200 million Kronor worth of aid to Somalia last year.
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