India, US agree to enhance cooperation in maritime sector

Los Angeles: American Ports have evinced a keen interest in a comprehensive port-led development, especially the ambitious Sagarmala programme, Indian officials said as the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari concluded his week-long trip here.

Gadkari had a tour of the Port of Long Beach.

During his meeting with officials, Gadkari explored joint venture opportunities with India's flagship container handling Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) to promote transfer of technology and enhance bilateral commerce.

The Union Minister offered investment opportunities in building and developing new ports, construction of new berths/terminals in existing ports, coastal economic zones, dredging, ship building, ship repairing, ship recycling, development of inland waterways and coastal and cruise shipping, he said.

The Sagarmala project with 150 projects have potential of mobilising USD 50-60 Billion of infrastructure investment and another USD 100 Billion of promoting industrial growth.

Gadkari said, the government has agreed to provide maritime clusters for ancillary industrial support and design centres, as well as financial assistance to meet the challenge of lack of competitive advantage due to heavy subsidies provided by major shipbuilding countries to their shipbuilding

industry.

He also highlighted the vision of Sagarmala, envisaging reduction of logistics cost for EXIM and domestic trade with minimal infrastructure investment, aimed at creating four million new direct jobs and another six million indirect jobs.

Gadkari told the US maritime sector that thematic studies and action plans have been developed across sector for implementation, prominent elements of which include coastal shipping revolution, coastal industrial Greenfield plants, reduced time to export container by five days and reducing cost to export by USD 50 per container.

Lalit K Jha