Government is taking all steps to revive 27 shipyards facing severe problems to unlock capital worth over Rs 1 lakh crore, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today. The government is committed to reviving them on lines of stuck road projects where it has rolled out majority of the Rs 3.8 lakh crore stuck projects, Gadkari said. “As road sector companies were facing problems, in the shipping sector also 27 shipyards are facing severe problems.
A huge 1 lakh crore of their capital is stuck. We are trying to revive the sector,” Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Gadkari said at the media launch of upcoming Maritime India summit. The government had said recently that India’s troubled shipping sector is in a dire need to change its fleet, which has as many as 42 percent of the vessels that have crossed 20 years of age.
“The shipping sector has been passing through tumultuous waters in recent years… There is urgent need to increase India’s shipping fleet. With asset prices currently being serendipitously low, the time is right to acquire new generation ships to replace ageing ones,” The Economic Survey has said on February 28.
Gadkari said the government is committed to revive and fast-track the growth of the sector and upcoming Maritime investors meet would prove a shot in the arm for the industry with Rs 1.20 lakh crore investment already lined up. There has been a sharp decline in the share of Indian ships in the carriage of India’s overseas trade from about 40 percent in the late 1980s to 7.45 percent in 2014-15, it cautioned. The significance of the sector can be understood from the fact that about 95 percent of India’s trade by volume and 68 percent in terms of value is transported by sea.
As on 30 November 2015, India had a fleet strength of 1,246 ships with dead weight tonnage (DWT) of 15.37 million. Despite having one of the largest merchant shipping fleets among developing countries, India’s share in total world DWT is only 0.9 percent as on 1 July 2015.