Mumbai: The Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) is targeting a far greater international path for its future under its chairman and managing director, Arun Sharma.
While India has been the mainstay, in addition to the Asean region, IRClass has adopted a ‘Look To Africa’ policy and the year 2014 will see IRClass grow its activities in this region.
The IRClass fleet size consists of 1,648 ships totalling more than 10m gross tonnes. The staff worldwide reflects its current status as a very India-centric society with just 49 of the 808 staff at IRClass working outside India.
“Until IRClass achieved full member status of the IACS, it was not on the owners’ horizon. IRClass is now able to demonstrate its capabilities to international owners,” says Sharma.
As well as growing geographically, the society is looking to expand into other sectors, with offshore a particular focus.
“Indian shipyards are now positioning themselves as able competitors in the world arena and IRClass will grow along with them by building on the existing relationships,” Sharma says.
On the local shipowning scene Sharma says the availability of competitive finances is a challenge faced by the Indian industry.
Indian shipowners have been in talks with the government of India to ensure greater support to the industry through cargo support and tax benefits, he relates.
“Indian shipowners with footprints internationally will continue to grow, albeit at a slow pace,” he says, while the coastal trade in India is bound to grow in the coming years. “Indian owners will continue to place orders for newbuilds in the traditional trades as well as specialised carriers relating to energy,” Sharma concludes. [19/02/14]