Shipping Ministry Craft New Township Policy to Revitalize Areas Near Major Ports

Shipping Ministry Craft New Township Policy to Revitalize Areas Near Major Ports

The Shipping Ministry is taking proactive steps to breathe new life into regions surrounding key ports by formulating a township policy that will facilitate the construction of townships close to ports. By leveraging the vast amounts of available vacant land, private entities will have the opportunity to bid for the development of real estate, beginning with prominent ports like Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and Vishakapatnam, with plans to expand to all ports in the future.

In a bid to boost maritime infrastructure and encourage the use of cleaner fuels, the government is devising a Rs 5,000-crore package under a viability gap funding (VGF) scheme. This initiative aims to spur the development of inland vessels initially, with future support earmarked for manufacturing sea-bound vessels, including cruise ships, in a bid to modernize the maritime industry and align with global sustainability goals. The shift towards cleaner fuels is underpinned by the government's Harit Nauka scheme, which seeks to introduce more vessels powered by eco-friendly fuels like hydrogen and electricity. The release of the Harit Nauka - Inland Vessels Green Transition Guidelines emphasizes the government's commitment to fostering confidence in stakeholders and transitioning towards greener maritime practices, targeting the complete adoption of low or zero-emission fuel sources with the goal of having 100% green vessels operating in Indian waters by 2047.

Beyond promoting cleaner fuels, the government is also directing its attention towards strengthening India's shipbuilding and repair sector to enhance its presence in the global market. Efforts are underway to expand incentives, potentially increasing the existing 20% capital support and broadening the scope of ships eligible for construction and repair. The aim is to fortify India's position in the shipbuilding market and reduce its lag behind countries like China, South Korea, and Japan, where India currently holds less than a one percent share. Additionally, plans are in motion to launch India's inaugural hydrogen fuel cell vessel in Varanasi, the constituency of Prime Minister Modi, by August, signaling the country's commitment to pioneering green technology in the maritime sector. Indicative of India's growth in the maritime domain, as per ministry statistics, the fleet increased to 1,520 vessels with a gross tonnage of 13.69 million as of December 31, 2022, highlighting a positive trajectory projected to continue with an estimation of around 1,530 vessels and an increase in gross tonnage to approximately 14 million GT by December 2023.