Indian shipowners are threatening a mass exodus from the national flag if cabotage rules are eased. Indian owners have long been able to make money from having a so-called first refusal on contracts from state owned firms such as utitilities, something New Delhi is considering removing.
The Indian National Shipowners Association (INSA) has responded saying its members could reregister their ships overseas.
INSA claims its members struggle to compete with foreign ships on domestic voyages due to higher taxes, costlier bunker fuel, tax on wages paid by Indian seafarers employed on Indian flag ships, mandatory requirement on employing more crew per voyage.
“We are not asking for more freight or any price preference. Put us on par with global fleet owners,” Ranjith Singh, CEO of Essar Shipping, told the Hindu Business Line newspaper.