The Ministry of Shipping released the ‘Maritime Agenda 2020’ in Jan 2011. It is a vision document for Indian shipping industry for the next 10 years, and replaces the National Maritime Development Programme. The aims are:
- increase the Indian tonnage four fold to 43 million Gross Tonnage (GT),
- increase the port capacity to around 3200 million tonnes requiring an investment of about Rs 3 lakh crore,
- enhance India's share in global shipbuilding to 5% and
- increase the share of Indian seafarers to at least 10%.
- India is a major maritime nation by virtue of its long coast line of around 7517 Kms (continental coastline and island), with 13 major and 176 non-major ports, strategically located on the world’s shipping routes.
- About 90% by volume and 70% by value of the country’s international trade is carried on through maritime transport.
- Development of India’s ports and trade related infrastructure will continue to be critical to sustain the success of accelerated growth in the Indian economy. For eg: India’s merchandise trade intensity is still below 30% of GDP- as this grows it would make greater demands on the country’s ports and shipping facilities.
- As trade grows, the demand for maritime transport also grows. Technological developments in bulk and container transport have made maritime transport cheaper.
- Maritime transport is a crucial catalyst in the global economy by providing access to new markets and the benefits of international trade.
- Following the 2008 financial crisis traffic volumes collapsed, freight rates plummeted and practically all capital investment programmes were curtailed.
- All ports were hit by the recession, but not all cargo flows were affected to the same extent, and the competitive positioning of ports has changed. There was lower growth in consumption activity and more interest in energy and energy security.
- New global trading patterns have emerged with Asia becoming the new hub of global container trade. The emerging markets of southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Middle East are gaining importance. The lack of port and transportation infrastructure in these regions emphasizes the major role that established container terminal developers and operators will continue to play.
- Generally there is slower growth in world seaborne trade compared to world trade, because of slow growth in volumes. Reasons: use of lightweight metals and lower material intensity in manufacturing processes; increase in transport of electronic items, medicines, jewellery, apparel that may weigh less.
- Environment pollution: caused by increase in the number of plying ships and related shipping activities (towing, mooring, berthing, piloting, marine survey, sea patrolling, deployment of dredgers). World Ports Climate Initiative (WPCI) was initiated by the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH) to address this issue.
Types of transport: Bulk transport involves shipping one homogeneous commodity (e.g. grain, ore etc) at any one time, but in large quantities; in contrast, container transport entails transporting different goods at the same time, but in standard containers that are easy to load and unload.