Country's sea-borne trade constitutes only 9 per cent of global volume: Vasan

The Central government is executing projects worth Rs.1 lakh crore for infrastructure development of major and minor ports and inland waterways under National Maritime Development programme (NMDP). These projects will be completed by 2011-12, said Union Minister for Shipping G.K. Vasan on Saturday.

Addressing newspersons after performing ‘bhoomi puja' for construction of academic and administrative complex buildings for Indian Maritime University at Semmenjeri near here, Mr. Vasan said for development of Indian ports Rs.55,804 crore was being spent. For this the Ministry had identified 276 projects for implementation, of which 47 projects worth Rs.5,495 crore had been completed. For inland waterways and shipping, the Ministry had earmarked Rs.44,535 crore for implementing 111 identified projects. Participating in the function, the Minister said despite having a long coastal line of 7,500 km with 12 major and 185 minor ports, the country's sea-borne trade constituted only nine per cent of the total volume transported globally, and its share in the value of goods traded was just 1.5 per cent.

In the shipping tonnage needed to carry goods to global market, India registered a 9.3 million GT which formed only 1 per cent.

Similarly, the country's manpower share in the world seafaring was just 6 per cent when a small country such as the Phillipines was meeting 30 per cent of the total global requirement. Besides mariners, there were other manpower requirements for maritime industry.

Right manpower

Institutions and organisations such as ports, shipping companies, stevedoring companies, transportation companies, insurance, manufacturing companies engaged in maritime business required the right type of manpower with knowledge on the maritime section.

The country had intellectual capabilities to turn out workforce to meet the demand and he was confident that Indian Maritime University would play a vital role in meeting the requirement. Already the University had tied up with international maritime universities and Indian universities for faculty development programme.

P. Vijayan, Vice-Chancellor of the university, said that IMU, established by an act of Parliament in 2008, was a unique university with the objective of producing high quality manpower in maritime sector not only for India but also for international requirement. The university had integrated into its fold seven government owned maritime academic institutions, 50 affiliated colleges and 5000 registered students. The Centre had provided 300 acres for the university of which 106 acres would be utilised for construction of administrative and academic complex buildings at a cost of Rs.300 crore. The complex would be ready in another year, he added.