Mumbai: Indian National Ship Owners’ Association (Insa) has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking for a cargo reservation policy, which mandates the government to send a certain portion of its cargo through Indian vessels.
“We have requested the government to allow certain portion of public sector unit cargo to be reserved for Indian flag vessels. We have sent the letter to the Prime Minister,” INSA Secretary S. Kulkarni told PTI.
The Indian shipping industry is lobbying, in the face of a slowdown in trade volumes handled by it, because of the global meltdown.
Indian flag vessels carried 40% of the country’s cargo in the 1980s -- which has drastically come down to 12 to 13% now.
According to the chartering guidelines, Indian flag vessels get priority for PSU cargo provided they match the rates quoted by foreign vessels.
“Foreign ship owners have brought their freight rates drastically down,” Kulkarni said.
Indian ship owners are buying new fleet so they are not able to bring down the rates unlike foreign ship owners who run 20-year-old vessels, he said.
In the first nine months of this fiscal, major ports in India handled 391.8 million tonnes against 378.8 million tonnes for the same period last year, growing at a slower pace of 3.3%.
The major commodities India exports and imports are oil, fertilisers, coal and steel.