ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Shipping : Slipping Tonnage

Slipping Tonnage S D Naik writes: The National Shipping Board (NSB) at its 101st meeting last month has expressed concern over the stagnating of Indian shipping tonnage. It has pointed out that while the target for the Ninth Five-Year Plan was 9 million gross registered tonnage (GRT), the actual tonnage position as on April 1, 2001 was only 6.81 million GRT, down from 7.1 million GRT four years ago.

The National Shipping Board (NSB) at its 101st meeting last month has expressed concern over the stagnating of Indian shipping tonnage. It has pointed out that while the target for the Ninth Five-Year Plan was 9 million gross registered tonnage (GRT), the actual tonnage position as on April 1, 2001 was only 6.81 million GRT, down from 7.1 million GRT four years ago.

For want of adequate policy support, including the availability of low-cost funds, the country’s overseas shipping tonnage has stagnated for more than two decades. The target of 7 million GRT originally fixed for the Sixth Five-Year Plan (1980-85) was achieved ten years later in 1995. But it stagnated again and in fact slipped below the 7 million GRT mark this year. A Planning Commission Working Group had initially proposed a target of 14 million GRT for the terminal year of the Ninth Plan so as to raise the country’s share in the movement of its foreign trade to at least 40 per cent. However, it had to subsequently prune this target drastically in view of the severe constraint on resources and other adverse factors. However, with practically no addition to the fleet during the first four years of the Ninth Plan period, even the achievement of the lowered target of 9 million GRT (with replacement of 1.7 million GRT) by 2002 now appears beyond reach.

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