Indian owners up in arms over possible cabotage changes

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.

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.
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