India is the 20th largest maritime country in the world. It's strategic location of a long coastline that flanks important global shipping routes, makes it a major maritime nation. The maritime sector in India comprises of ports, shipping, shipbuilding and ship repair as well as inland water transport systems. About 95% of the country’s trade by volume and 70% by value is moved through maritime transport. With India’s current share in global merchandise trade at around 0.80%, a sound maritime infrastructure plays an important role in the pace, structure and pattern of our economic development.
Department of Shipping (DOS), under the Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, is the nodal organisation entrusted with the responsibility of formulating and implementing policies and programmes on these sectors. Vision of Department of Shipping is to take Indian maritime sector to commanding heights in order to serve India's trade and security interests in an efficient and economical manner. It has been taking several measures for upgrading and modernizing the maritime infrastructure in the country so as to meet the international standards. One such important step has been the formulated of the 'National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP)' comprising a total of 387 projects which cover the entire gamut of activities in ports, merchant shipping and inland water transport. The objective of the programme is to facilitate focused and accelerated investment in specific infrastructure including port infrastructure, tonnage acquisition and institutional capacity building. It envisages a total investment of Rs. 100,339 crores out of which Rs. 55,804 crores is for major ports and the rest for shipping and inland water transport sectors.
The programme aims at:-
- Creating world-class infrastructure in ports.
- Encouraging Indian tonnage to meet Indian sea/water
- Enhancing share of inland water transportation
of goods in domestic trade.
- Promoting multi modal transportation of goods to
- Protecting marine environment in partnership with
other concerned agencies.
With the above aims and objectives
in view, a development plan upto 2011-12, has been formulated after assessing
the national traffic demand; additional capacity required to meet this
demand; as well as the investment required and the funding pattern. Thus,
through this programme, the Department of Shipping, seeks to fortify Indian
maritime/water transportation system including ports, shipping and inland
waterways in order to serve the economic and strategic needs to the country
in an improved manner.