Approval Sought for Allowing Domestic Containers on Exim Routes | CORPORATE ETHOS

Approval Sought for Allowing Domestic Containers on Exim Routes

By: | October 31, 2018
containerized cargo

Oct 31: The Union Shipping Ministry is awaiting Revenue Department’s response on allowing domesticated containers to carry exim cargo for exim routes, a top official said at an ASSOCHAM event held yesterday evening in New Delhi.

“We have taken this issue with Department of Revenue, generally they feel that they would also require to consult transportation stakeholders because lot of transporters use built-in containers and there could be an issue vis-à-vis that mode,” said Mr Gopal Krishna, secretary, Ministry of Shipping while addressing an ASSOCHAM meeting with high level official delegation from Shipping Ministries of India and Bangladesh

He added, “We have already flagged the issue with customs, Department of Revenue and we are awaiting a response from them.”

On the issue of Indian barges facing delays in customs clearance at Bangladesh ports, Mr Krishna said, “Let me place on record that we had flagged this issue very prominently with Bangladesh side and also mentioned that it being a very huge exporter of garments but when we are visiting our ports, the constant demand is that delays in exports is costing Bangladesh economy orders.”

He informed that Bangladesh had shown a very positive frame of mind on resolving this issue which is to the benefit of both, largely Bangladesh exporters and the spinoff would be to ship lines and to Indian ports.

“So we had flagged the issue, they have agreed to further discuss in the director general (DG) level talks on 4th December,” further said the shipping secretary.

In her address at the ASSOCHAM conference, the director general of shipping, Dr Malini V. Shankar said that while India’s trade with Bangladesh has grown rapidly in the past few years, there are issues that need to be discussed so that participation of Indian ships in the coastal trade can be enhanced.

“The possibility of allowing transportation of exim and transhipment cargo under the coastal shipping agreement needs to be explored,” she said.

“Similarly, the removal of limit of 6,000 GT (gross tonnage) for operation of vessels under the agreement also needs to be explored in order to encourage more and more number of vessels to engage in coastal shipping between the two countries,” added the DG Shipping.

She further informed that aforementioned issues along with issues like inclusion of certain Indian ports on protocol route will be deliberated by both the countries in the joint shipping committee which is expected to be convened in the near future.

Addressing the conference, the chairman, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), Mr Pravir Pandey said that inland waterways has been a lost opportunity in this region.

“Perhaps, it is time that due importance is given to the development of inland waterways as a viable and sustainable mode of transport and to become a part of wider transport narrative not only in the two countries separately but also as linking the two countries that have historical ties,” said Mr Pandey who is also the chairman of ASSOCHAM’s National Inland Waterways Council.

He added that development of inland waterways connectivity would further strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

On engagement with industry from both countries, the IWAI chief informed, “It has been decided that on 3rd December 2018, a seminar will be held in Kolkata along with ASSOCHAM where industry and trade partners from both India and Bangladesh would be invited for a day long discussion and they would be requested to raise any doubts they have whereby clarifications would be given and an improved transaction will be arrived at.”

Md. Abdus Samad, secretary, Ministry of Shipping, Government of Bangladesh who led a strong delegation comprising Cmde Syed Ariful Islam, DG Shipping and other top officials expressed hope for fruitful discussions to streamline policies for shipping sector in the joint shipping community meeting to be held by the end of next month.

On behalf of ASSOCHAM, its secretary general, Mr Uday Kumar Varma expressed gratitude towards delegation from both sides and said that the conference provided a wonderful opportunity to shipping industry to put across their concerns, queries and suggestions.