India toys with giving domestic shipping a sulphur cap pass

The Hindu Business Line, one of India’s premier financial newspapers, is reporting New Delhi is contemplating not imposing the global sulphur cap – due to start in 117 days – for ships plying domestic waters.

A similar mooted move was floated by Indonesian authorities six weeks ago, before Jakarta stepped back into line with the global regulation.

“We will not insist on implementing the IMO norms for ships that ply in domestic waters — in inland waterways or only along the Indian coast – in order to keep a check on the total logistics cost,” a shipping ministry official told the Chennai-based newspaper.

New Delhi has been trying to foster greater use of domestic cargo shipping around its coastline and along its rivers in recent years to relieve pressure on the nation’s choked road and rail systems.

The comment has yet to be backed up however by any official announcement from India’s shipping ministry in Mumbai. If correct, it would represent a quick volte-face given that the minister of state for shipping, Mansukh Mandaviya, speaking at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry at the end of July, said India was committed to complying with the sulphur cap.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. If India tries to pull this stunt (with the danger that other countries may follow suit, such as China, USA, Brazil, Russia, etc) then the IMO should clearly and categorically state that ALL Indian flag and beneficially owned ships will be black-listed around the world.
    The 2020 rule applies to a worldwide operation affecting the lives of all on the planet. It is unacceptable to exclude one country to say that they have control of their own domestic agenda.

    1. And all people who disagree should be burnt at the stake. After all, we are saving the world. What are a few million lives? And don’t forget the polar bears.

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