MUMBAI (Dow Jones)–India’s shipping industry should speed up the expansion of its ports, increase dredging facilities and invest in coastal shipping, the country’s prime minister Manmohan Singh said Saturday.
“We need to accelerate the pace of expansion of the port sector, especially through public/private partnerships,” Singh said at an event. “We also need to improve the draught in our ports by increasing the pace of dredging,” he added.
Despite carrying out the majority of export-import trade across its coastlines, India’s total tonnage accounts for only 1.1% of the global cargo carried. India’s current tonnage at ports is about 850 million tons, which is expected to grow to about 2.49 billion tons by 2020.
Singh also said the country needs to urgently deal with growing instances of piracy across coastlines. The increase of sea piracy in the last few months beyond the usual area in the Gulf of Aden, has put increasing number of vessels at risk and increased insurance costs for trading seafarers.
“Our navy, coast guard and shipping companies are putting up a concerted effort in close coordination with other international agencies to deal with the menace,” said Singh.
-By Anirban Chowdhury, Dow Jones Newswires