The Shipping Ministry supports the move by the Department of Economic Affairs move to divest government equity in the state-run Cochin Shipyard, India’s the largest shipping and ship-repair yard , a top ministry official said today.

Shipping Secretary A. P. V. N. Sarma also said that 20 public private partnership schemes would be signed this year for port projects, while the Ministry is also working on a better taxation regime for Shipping companies to boost maritime trade.

“We have broadly agreed to the recommendation by the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA). The DEA is likely to ask for 10 per cent disinvestment in PSUs. This includes Cochin Shipyard,” Mr. Sarma told reporters on the sidelines of an Assocham event here.

Cochin Shipyard, which attained the category-1 `miniratna’ status in July 2008, posted a 70 per cent increase in net profit at Rs 160 crore for 2008-09 financial year.

The company declared a dividend of Rs 19.66 crore for 2008-09. The continued profit of the yard had resulted in an increase in net worth from Rs 429.42 crore in 2007-08 to Rs 566.49 crore in 2008-09.

The company had achieved a total shipbuilding income of Rs 986 crore during 2008-09 against Rs 582 crore during 2007-08. Ship repair turnover during the year was Rs 270 crore.