The Union Shipping Ministry is awaiting Revenue Department’s response on allowing domesticated containers to carry exim cargo for exim routes, a top official said at an ASSOCHAM event. “We have taken this issue with Department of Revenue, generally they feel that they would also require to consult transportation stakeholders because lot of transporters use built-in containers and there could be an issue vis-à-vis that mode,” said Gopal Krishna, secretary, Ministry of Shipping while addressing an ASSOCHAM meeting with high level official delegation from Shipping Ministries of India and Bangladesh He added, “We have already flagged the issue with customs, Department of Revenue and we are awaiting a response from them.”
On the issue of Indian barges facing delays in customs clearance at Bangladesh ports, Mr Krishna said, “Let me place on record that we had flagged this issue very prominently with Bangladesh side and also mentioned that it being a very huge exporter of garments but when we are visiting our ports, the constant demand is that delays in exports is costing Bangladesh economy orders.”
He informed that Bangladesh had shown a very positive frame of mind on resolving this issue which is to the benefit of both, largely Bangladesh exporters and the spinoff would be to ship lines and to Indian ports. “So we had flagged the issue, they have agreed to further discuss in the director general (DG) level talks on 4th December,” further said the shipping secretary.
In her address at the ASSOCHAM conference, the director general of shipping, Dr Malini V. Shankar said that while India’s trade with Bangladesh has grown rapidly in the past few years, there are issues that need to be discussed so that participation of Indian ships in the coastal trade can be enhanced. “The possibility of allowing transportation of exim and transhipment cargo under the coastal shipping agreement needs to be explored,” she said.
“Similarly, the removal of limit of 6,000 GT (gross tonnage) for operation of vessels under the agreement also needs to be explored in order to encourage more and more number of vessels to engage in coastal shipping between the two countries,” added the DG Shipping. She further informed that aforementioned issues along with issues like inclusion of certain Indian ports on protocol route will be deliberated by both the countries in the joint shipping committee which is expected to be convened in the near future.