Maritime Transport is the main infrastructure for the social and economic development of a country. It influences the pace, structure, and pattern of development. The Department of Shipping encompasses within its fold shipping and ports sectors which cover shipbuilding and ship-repair, major ports, national waterways, and inland water transport. Department of Shipping has been entrusted with the responsibility to make policies and programmes on these subjects and their implementation.
A comprehensive policy package is mandatory to address the diverse issues facing the Maritime transport sector. The capacity of the ports in terms of their berths and cargo managing equipment required to be widely improved to cater to the growing requirements of the overseas trade. The shipping industry needs to be enabled to carry higher shares of the sea-borne trade in indigenous bottoms.
Historically, investment in the transport sector, mainly in the ports, have been made by the State mainly because of the large volume of resources required, long gestation periods, uncertain returns and various externalities, both positive and negative, associated with this infrastructure. However, the galloping resource needs and the concern for managerial efficiency and consumer responsiveness have led to the active involvement of the private sector in infrastructure services in recent times. To promote private participation, Department of Shipping has laid down comprehensive policy guidelines for private sector participation in the Ports sector.
The Ministry of Shipping, a branch of the Government of India, is the main body for formulation and administration of the rules and regulations and laws relating to shipping. Since 2014 this department has been in Transport minister Nitin Gadkari.
The Secretary (Shipping) is assisted by Joint Secretaries (Shipping, Ports), Development Advisor (Ports), Chief Controller of charting and other officers at the level of directors, deputy secretaries, undersecretaries, and other secretariat and technical officers.
The Accounts wing is led by a Chief Controller of Accounts who is inter alia responsible for accounting, payment, budget, internal audit and cash management.
Advisor (Transport Research) renders mandatory data support to various wings of the Ministry for policy planning, transport coordination, economic and statistical analysis of various modes of transport with which the ministry is concerned.
The following are autonomous organizations, societies, and PSUs functioning under the administrative control of the ministry:
- Directorate General of Shipping, Mumbai
- Andaman and Lakshadweep Harbour Works, Port Blair
- Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships, New Delhi
- Minor Ports Survey Organisation, Mumbai
- Chennai Port Trust
- Cochin Port Trust
- Inland Waterways Authority of India, Noida
- Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust
- Kandla Port Trust
- Mumbai Port Trust
- National Shipping Board
- New Mangalore Port Trust
- Paradip Port Trust
- Kolkata Port Trust
- Seamen’s Provident Fund Organisation, Mumbai
- Tariff Authority of Major Ports, Mumbai
- V.O.Chidambarnar Port Trust
- Visakhapatnam Port Trust
Societies and associations
- Indian Maritime University
- Indian Ports Association
- Seafarers Welfare Fund Society
- Central Inland Water Transport Corporation Limited
- Cochin Shipyard Limited, Cochin
- Dredging Corporation of India Limited
- Ennore Port Limited
- Hooghly Dock & Port Engineers Limited
- Sethusamundaram Corporation Limited
- Shipping Corporation of India, Mumbai
The Government has given FDI up to 100% under the projects related to the construction and maintenance of ports and harbors. A 10-year tax exemption has been given to the enterprises busy in the business of developing, maintaining and operating ports, inland waterways, and inland ports.
The Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari said that his ministry will work with other ministries of Environment & Forests, Tourism, Power and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation for development of transport and tourism along the river Ganga.
The Cochin Steamer Agents Association (CSAA) will take the lead to enhance the cargo throughput by managing marketing initiatives in the hinterland in association with the port management, terminal operator and different other stakeholders. The National Maritime Agenda 2010-2020 is an initiative of the Ministry of Shipping to outline the framework for the development of the port area. The agenda also advices policy-related initiatives to improve the operating efficiency and competitiveness of Indian ports.
Sagar Mala project is the new initiative of the ministry.