The Ministry of Shipping has prepared a Vision Document for “Coastal Shipping, Tourism and Regional Development” for optimum utilization of the shipping sector and coastal resources which envisages increasing the share of Coastal/Inland water transportation, development of coastal shipping as part of an end to end logistics supply chain, integration of inland waterways with the coastal routes and development of regional centers to generate cargo for coastal traffic. Further, a National Perspective Plan for comprehensive development of India’s coastline and maritime sector has also been prepared under the Sagarmala Programme. The development of National Waterways will also take place in a phased manner.
As part of Sagarmala Programme, projects have been identified in the areas of port modernization and new port development, port connectivity enhancement, port-linked industrialization and coastal community development. Fourteen Coastal Economic Zones (14) have been identified across all Maritime States and their Perspective Plans have been prepared. Twenty nine (29) potential port-linked industrial clusters have been identified across Energy, Materials, Discrete Manufacturing and Maritime sectors. Draft Master Plans have been prepared for the Maritime Clusters proposed in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Smart Port Industrial Cities are proposed to be developed in Kandla & Paradip.
Government has taken number of initiatives to develop coastal shipping namely; advising major ports to introduce green channel for coastal cargo and priority berthing for coastal vessels; exempting customs and Central Excise duty on bunker fuels used by coastal vessels carrying EXIM cargo or empty containers or domestic cargo between two ports in India; bringing abatement of service tax at 70% for coastal shipping at par with road and rail; financial assistance upto 75% for construction of exclusive berths for coastal vessels; cabotage has been relaxed for Roll-on-Roll-off vessels, Hybrid Roll-On-Roll-Off, RO-RO-cum-Passenger etc.
The Government is also taking steps to fill up the vacant posts of experts in three Technical Wing viz Nautical Wing, Engineering Wing and Naval Architecture Wing of the Directorate General of Shipping The posts include Deputy Chief Surveyor – 08, Engineer & Ship Surveyor- 03, Ship Surveyor – 01, Junior Ship Surveyor- 01, Nautical Advisor – 01, Principal Officer (Nautical) -01, Nautical Surveyor – 12 and Radio Officer – 02 and the selection process is at various stages.