NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
official media partner of national maritime foundation
By Amit Kumar | 04/04/2021

Q1. The MTIs providing Marine Engineering and Nautical Studies education have been shut since March. How are the institutions going to ensure hands-on training of the cadets?

1.     Before being eligible to appear for a competency examination for getting certified as a seagoing professional, any new entrant to Maritime Profession has to go through following three components of education and training:

-       Theoretical Training Conducted at MTI

-       Practical Training Conducted at MTI &

-       Shipboard Training, that is instructional and practical training under actual conditions.

2.     However, the International Convention for Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping or the STCW Convention which is the main International Convention defining Seafarer Certification does not specify any particular order in which the above components of training is required to be conducted. 

3.     Due to COVID-19 Pandemic all Maritime Institutes were closed with effect from 23.03.2020 vide DGS Order 05 of 2020; however, to ensure that students enrolled at MTI do not suffer, the Directorate permitted completion of theoretical training via the on-line mode.

4.     Further since the MTI were closed, the Directorate permitted candidates to join ships for ship-board training as early as in the last week of May 2020, that is just within 2-months of lock down, while the remaining practical training was allowed to be completed after completion of ship-board training. In this way the Directorate devised a way out to ensure that while hands-on practical training required by the candidates either at ship or ashore is not exempted or compromised, yet the loss of training time caused by closure of MTI due to Covid 19 pandemic is kept to the minimum.

Further in-line with GOI directives related to reopening after a lock-down due to COVID-19, the Directorate issued a Standard Operating Procedures for re-start of practical training at MTI as early as on 1st October 2020. 

Q2. We are witnessing humongous efforts for harnessing the great potential of Inland Waterways of India. Are the progressions in line with occupying Marine Engineering and Nautical Science graduates in the sector?

1.     The Sagarmala Programme encompasses the idea of optimizing the potential of inland waterways to transport cargo. The idea of allowing transportation of EXIM cargo through the inland waterways is in line with the vision of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways. The Sagarmala programme aims to double the share of domestic waterways (inland & coastal) in the modal mix from 6% to 12%. The projected volume of cargo transported on domestic waterways by 2025 is expected to be 370 MTPA, which includes 220 MTPA of coastal shipping and 150 MTPA of inland water transport.

The modal shift of in-land and coastal cargo to sea will not only increase number of ships plying on Indian coast but also generate numerous employment opportunities for Indian Maritime Professional whether it is in seafaring jobs, or shore jobs such as ship-building, ship management, suppliers of equipment, equipment service suppliers, bunker suppliers 1.     and related other fields.

2.     Maritime clusters are vital for the growth of the ship building & repair industry as they provide ancillary services, manufacturing of ancillary products, maritime services and financial services for the industry. The maritime clusters are being set-up in places like Tamil Nadu, Gujrat and Goa where enabling conditions like existing shipyards, major ports, steel clusters, automotive and engineering industry, universities and colleges are in existence. Given the manufacturing strength, size of the ports with high traffic and synergies with other steel ancillaries, the identified locations for maritime clusters can provide positive synergistic effect by attracting business for the maritime industry and improving the economics for the cluster participants.

All the above will generate various shore based employment opportunities for Marine Engineering and Nautical graduates.

Q3. The World Bank has a primary involvement in the progression of IW. What are the collaborative long-term goals?

1.     Through the ages, rivers have served as effective waterways, carrying people and goods over long distances.  Even today, many countries depend heavily on inland water transport, especially for large and bulky cargo, as it is cheaper, more reliable and less polluting than transporting goods by road or rail.

2.     India has yet to develop this cheaper and greener mode of transportation. Goods still travel by congested road and rail networks, slowing the movement of cargo, adding to uncertainties, and increasing the costs of trade. So much so that logistics costs in India are estimated to account for as much as 18 percent of the country’s GDP.

3.     Until about a hundred years ago, the Ganga river, too, was a busy waterway. But with the coming of the railways, this watercourse fell into disuse. The Government of India is now reviving the Ganga watercourse – known as National Waterway 1 or NW1- to ferry cargo from the eastern seaport of Haldia to Varanasi, some 1,360 km inland.  The waterway has the potential to emerge as the leading logistics artery for northern India.

4.     The waterway’s stretch between Kolkata and Delhi passes through one of India’s most densely populated areas.  A sizable forty percent of all India’s traded goods either originate from this resource-rich region or are destined for its teeming markets.  While the region is estimated to generate about 370 million tonnes of freight annually, only a tiny fraction of this - about 5 million tonnes - currently travels by water.

Currently, cargo from the Gangetic states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh takes circuitous land routes to reach the sea ports of Mumbai in Maharashtra and Kandla in Gujarat, rather than going to the much-closer port at Kolkata.  The development of NW1 will help these states direct some of their freight to the Kolkata-Haldia complex, making the movement of freight more reliable and reducing logistics costs significantly.

5.     The World Bank is financing the development of the Ganga waterway with a loan of $ 375 million.  The Capacity Augmentation of National Waterway 1 Project will help put in place the infrastructure and services needed to ensure that NW1 emerges as an efficient transport artery in this important economic region.

6.     Once operational, the waterway will form part of the larger multi-modal transport network being planned along the river.  It will link up with the Eastern Dedicated Rail Freight Corridor, as well as with the area’s existing network of highways.  This web of water, road and rail arteries will help the region’s industries and manufacturing units switch seamlessly between different modes of transport as they send their goods to markets in India and abroad. Farmers in the agriculturally-rich Gangetic plain will also benefit, as the waterway opens up markets further afield. 

Q4. There has also been a boom in the CAGR of the shipbuilding sector of India. How this sector is going to be pivotal for employment generation?

1.     Ship-building is a manufacturing industry endowed with the unique feature of having nearly 65 percent value addition coming from other technology/ancillary industries such as steel, electronics, engineering and electrical equipment, port infrastructure as well as trade and shipping services.

2.     Shipbuilding acts as a catalyst for overall industrial growth due to spin offs to other industries, including steel, engineering equipment, port infrastructure, trade and shipping. The potential of the shipbuilding industry in employment generation and contribution to GDP is therefore tremendous.

3.     Indian shipyards employ around 30,000 people at present which will substantially go up once this sector is revitalized. Among manufacturing activities, shipbuilding has one of the highest employment multipliers, which is 6.4. It is capable of generating mass employment in remote, coastal and rural areas, thereby absorbing the labor migrating from farm fields into manufacturing facilities which are set up by shipyards and their ancillaries. With revitalization of this sector and with consistent orders on shipyards, more manpower will be required and it is expected to increase employment.

4.     The dynamics of India’s economic growth has created and will continue to create a demand for new ships. On the other hand, the benefits to Indian industry and potential for employment generation from shipbuilding and the associated ancillary industry would grow manifold if India just builds ships for meeting its entire tonnage requirements.

Q5. Shipbuilding in India is prevalent from the primitive times, dating back to the Indus Valley era. What are the measures taken to establish India's shipbuilding sector as a global competitor?

1.    A characteristic feature of ship-building is that unlike other manufacturing industries which predominantly follow a make-to-stock inventory model, shipbuilding is an order driven industry where each vessel is custom built on receipt of the ship-building order. Thus, building an order book is essential for growth and sustenance of the shipbuilding industry. Order book growth for commercial ships is largely driven by the growth in world trade and commerce, which spurs demand for new ships. The evolving environment friendly international regulations also trigger demands for replacement of old ships.

2.     The likely growth in demand for shipbuilding in India is expected to emerge from the 106 new National Waterways (NWs) declared under the National Waterways Act, 2016.

3.     The Indian shipbuilding industry, however, continues to be driven primarily by the defence requirements. As per a published report, the Indian Navy’s perspective plan aims to increase the Navy’s fleet from the present 137 to 200 nos. by 2027. This is expected to provide a spurt in the indigenous shipbuilding. Besides, the Indian Navy’s indigenization plan is also expected to give a fillip to the growth of ancillaries and generally improve the shipbuilding environment in the country. In the commercial shipbuilding, the requirements envisaged in Coastal and Inland Waterways transportation present the most promising segment.

4.     As part of the Ministry initiative, Shipbuilding Financial Assistance Policy for Indian shipyards to provide them a level playing field vis-à-vis foreign shipyards. Financial assistance @20% of the “Contract Price” or the “Fair Price” as determined by international valuers, whichever is lower, is to be granted to shipyards for shipbuilding contracts signed during April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2026 including the said dates. The 20% financial assistance would be provided for ten years reducing @3% every 3 years.

5.     Further in pursuance of ‘Make in India’ policy of the Government of India, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has reviewed the ROFR (Right of First Refusal) licensing conditions for chartering of vessels/Ships through tender process for all types of requirements. To promote the demand of the ships built in India, priority in chartering of vessels is given to vessels built in India, flagged in India and owned by Indians under the amendments in the guidelines of ROFR (Right of First Refusal). Now it has been decided that for any kind of charter of a vessel undertaken through a tender process, the Right of First Refusal would be exerted in the following manner: Indian built, Indian flagged and Indian owned followed by Foreign built, Indian flagged and Indian owned and finally Indian built, foreign flagged and foreign owned.

               6.  The Department of Economic Affairs has notified the inclusion of standalone ‘Shipyards’ in the Harmonized Master List of Infrastructure Sub-sectors on 13.04.2016. With this inclusion, shipyards will be able to avail flexible structuring of long term project loans, long term funding from Infrastructure funds at lower rates of interest and for a longer tenure equivalent to the economic life of their assets, relaxed ECB norms, issuance of infrastructure bonds for meeting working capital requirements. Standalone shipyard is defined as a floating or land-based facility with the essential features of waterfront, turning basin, berthing and docking facility, slipways and/or ship lifts which is self-sufficient for carrying on shipbuilding/repair/ breaking activities.

Q6. Recently we have achieved a milestone of having the largest modern Electrical ferries' network. How is DG Shipping approaching using inland waterways as a common mode of transportation?

1.     The world’s largest fleet of electric ferries is to go into operation in India. India’s largest shipyard, Cochin Shipyard, has now commissioned Siemens Energy to supply the drive and battery components for the first 23 of a total of 78 planned electric ferries. The electric ferries are to be used in the mass transit system of the coastal metropolis of Kochi in southwest India. Their task will be to connect the city and its ten islands via 38 different terminals. The talk is of launching India’s first water metro service. Each ferry will be 24 meters long and capable of carrying around 100 passengers. No timetable for the launch of the ferry system has yet been revealed.

2.     Passenger movement has increased all along the rivers and also on the coast. New ro-ro vessels, ro-pax vessels, mainland-island and inter island vessels and ferry vessels are being ordered all across the country.

3.     In the last two-years, there is a many fold increase in the High Speed Passenger Vessels operating in A&N islands carrying locals and visitors to various islands.

4.     Cargo movement is expected to increase substantially with 500 to 5,000 dwt steel self-propelled vessels being procured for movement in NW 1 to 5 and along the coast. Design know-how is available in the country. Modern design tools including CFD analysis of vessel shapes for optimized operation in shallow water have been used for vessel design by IIT Kharagpur as well as by private designers. IWAI has embarked on developing standard designs for NW1 with help of IIT kharagpur. Propeller designs for low draft vessels have also been developed. A series of model tests for surface piercing propellers have been conducted and data is available for design.

5.     The laws permit Inland Vessels to carry goods either within a state or from one state to another only on Inland Waters (IW). However, there are many cases where-in carriage of goods from IW of one state to another is not feasible unless part of voyage through seas is permitted. This is a hindrance in the modal shift of cargo from rail/road to waters. The Directorate created a 5 Nautical Mile corridor on Indian coast permitting IV to move through this corridor for carriage of goods provided the IV fulfilled certain safety requirements thus ensuring safety and low transportation cost at the same time.

Q7. What is your message to young marine engineers and nautical science graduates?

Quality has been the hallmark of Indian seafarers which kept them  in demand around the world. The quality and competence of the existing seafarers not only opens job opportunities for them, but also helps the country create additional jobs for the coming generations. My message for them is therefore, simple. Do whatever necessary to prove to the world that you continue to be the best in terms of training, quality, attitude and temperament. If you manage to do that, then you will be the best brand ambassador for Indian maritime industry.

Q8. There have been huge concerns afloat regarding GHG emissions. How India sees the run to de-carbonization as an opportunity being one of the biggest solar powers and  possessing great research and innovation potential?

1.     India is already in the process of development of a National Action Plan for Green Shipping.

2.     India has already given permission to two Indian coastal ships to operate on Biodiesel blends on a trial basis and once the data from trials are available, the usage of biodiesel blends on Indian coastal shipping can be further propagated.

3.     The efforts are on to ensure all ships visiting Indian major ports are provided with shore power by 2023. This will not only help decarbonize Indian GDP but also reduce pollution in Indian coastal cities.

4.     India has been selected as a pioneering lead country among the three countries selected by IMO for IMO-Norway Green Voyage 2050 project aimed at de-carbonization of shipping and financing such de-carbonization. GreenVoyage2050 is promoting international partnerships for technology innovation, deployment and cooperation towards energy efficient and clean shipping and ports, via creation of public-private, North-South and industry-shipping-port-hinterland transport alliances at regional and global levels. This component aims to demonstrate a number of specific GHG emissions mitigation actions (in particular real trial of state-of-the-art technologies and innovative operational practices), with significant replicable and scalable features, in the continuum of maritime logistics chain including shipping and ports.

5.     India has and is actively participating in negotiations at IMO Maritime Environmental Protection Committee with regards to de-carbonization of shipping and is part of various correspondence groups set up for designing such de-carbonization regulations.

             6.   Solar power is at present being considered a good option for short sea shipping such as passenger ferries requiring low power and research is on to utilize solar power on big ships. However, in India a solar powered ferry named Aditya is already operational between Vaikkom and Thavanakkadav in the Indian state of Kerala.

Q9. What are your opinions on Sea and Coast Marine Magazine? Your message to our subscribers and readers.

Keep up the good work. India needed a magazine which covered the entire gamut of Indian maritime sector and catered to the requirements of the ship owners, charterers, seafarers, academia and the administrators. Sea and Coast has managed to do the same.