Cargo throughput at major ports in the country has gone up six per cent during 2009-10 on an average, indicating a general revival in the maritime business in the country, said K. Mohandas, Union Secretary for Shipping here on Monday.

He was speaking at conclusion of the 47th National Maritime Day celebrations here. He said that 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 said that maritime business was booming as the world had seen a revival in business after coming out of the global economic recession during the previous year.

Mr. Mohandas said that the Union Ministry for Shipping had laid emphasis on coastal shipping and thereby increasing India's tonnage.

He also said that infrastructure at the ports would be improved and that in another five years time the country would have sufficient port capacity.

He said that maritime trade was looking up from the 10 per cent fall it experienced during 2009.

Port capacities can be increased through induction of new technology, including information technology.

He said that 2010 was being celebrated as the year of the seafarers.

Cmde M. Jitendran, Chairman and Managing Director of Cochin Shipyard Limited said that Kerala had seen a tremendous increase in awareness about maritime activities though this was lacking in the country as a whole.

He said that India had built its capacity in design and ship production and that it had a huge resource of personnel to fall back upon as indicated by the building of its first indigenous aircraft carrier in Kochi.

Ramachandran Thekkedath, Vice-Chancellor of the Cochin University of Science and Technology said that the University has been in the forefront of providing maritime training and that student intake in Marine Engineering section would be increased.

He also said that the ship in campus facility at the University would be commissioned soon.

M. P. John, Principal Officer, Mercantile Marine Department, Kochi, welcomed the gathering.

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