Mumbai: India’s Shipping Ministry is to phase out its centralised ship chartering wing Transchart that has, for the last half a century, been responsible for making shipping arrangements for government cargo and public sector units.
The department had been set up in 1964 “to ensure the arrival of strategically needed cargoes on time to meet urgent requirements of the country, and also in case of emergency or war-like situations”.
Transchart was also formed because public sector companies lacked the expertise of handling their shipping activities. Its task was to ensure that Indian bottoms were used for carrying public sector companies’ cargo.
Over a period of time, Transchart has lost its relevance, as companies have developed the expertise to handle their shipping activities, and also because there is intense competition in the shipping sector.
“The role of Transchart will have to be re-defined. At the same time, we will have to figure out ways of supporting Indian flag vessels,” said a senior Ministry official.