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Government May Totally Abolish Cabotage Rules
This move will allow foreign registered/flagged ships to do business along the country’s coast without securing a licence from the Directorate General of Shipping.
Dr.G.R.Balakrishnan Sep 13 2023 Shipping News

Government May Totally Abolish Cabotage Rules

The move, aimed at promoting coastal shipping and fulfilling a Budget announcement by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, will roil local fleet owners, who have always opposed easing cabotage restrictions.

The Indian National Shipowners Association (INSA), a lobby group for local fleet owners, will discuss the government proposal at a meeting later this month to chalk out a strategy.

Only Indian registered ships are allowed to ply on local routes for carrying cargo, according to India’s cabotage law. Foreign ships can operate along the coast only when Indian ships are not available after taking a license from the DG Shipping, according to the decades-old law designed to protect domestic ship owners.

In 2018, following strong lobbying mainly from foreign container lines, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and waterways allowed foreign flagged ships to transport export-import (EXIM) laden containers meant for transhipment, empty containers meant for re-positioning, agriculture, horticulture, fisheries, fertiliser and animal husbandry commodities on domestic routes without a license from the DG Shipping.