Indian Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan said no decision has yet been made on allowing foreign-owned and operated ships to move cargo between the country’s ports by changing existing cabotage rules.
The official statement came in the wake of recent reports that the ministry had proposed new legislation calling for a three-year cabotage law waiver to allow foreign carriers to transport containerized cargo to and from the Vallarpadam International Container Transshipment Terminal in the Port of Cochin.
“The ministry has received representations from various groups in favour of and against change in the cabotage policy, which are under review,” Vasan said in New Delhi.
Local trade and shipper groups have been lobbying intensely for the lifting of cabotage restrictions to attract more mainline calls to the Vallarpadam terminal, a DP World facility, which is designed to compete with leading transshipment hubs in the region, particularly Sri Lanka’s Port of Colombo.
At the same time, domestic ocean carriers, including state-owned Shipping Corporation of India, have stepped up pressure on the government to reconsider its plans to ease cabotage rules.