Kochi's Maritime Growth Mirrors India's Resurgence, Paving the Way for a Transformative Future" – Shri Sarbananda Sonowal
Kochi, 28thSeptember2023: In a concerted effort to drive cooperative and sustainable growth in the maritime sector, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways of the Government of India (MoPSW), in partnership with the Cochin Port Authority and Cochin Shipyard Ltd.,organised a roadshow at Hotel Le Meridian in Kochi as a precursor to the 3rd Global Maritime India Summit 2023.
Anchored by the Cochin Port Authority and Cochin Shipyard Ltd, the roadshow brought together industry veterans and government officials, sparking dynamic discussions on critical opportunities within the Indian Maritime sector. This event served as a precursor to the 3rd Global Maritime India Summit, 2023 (GMIS), slated for October 17th to October 19th, 2023, at MMRDA Ground, BKC, Mumbai. In an exclusive partnership with FICCI, the summit is dedicated to fostering connections, driving collaborative initiatives, and igniting innovation, all encapsulated under the overarching theme of 'Connect, Collaborate & Create'.
In a special video message, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, Hon’ble Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways (MoPSW) & AYUSH, highlighted the significance of Kochi during India's Amrit Kaal. He said, “Kerala envisions a future rooted in the port-led development and strives to become a gateway to economic prosperity by harnessing its coastal assets. Kerala’s all-weather seaport in Cochin hosts significant liquid bulk and container terminals, thriving within its port-based Special Economic Zones. Kerala is also home to the world-renowned Cochin Shipyard Ltd., serving as India's primary shipbuilding and repair hub. Cochin's maritime potential is, thus, boundless, exemplified by its remarkable 21.8% growth in the liner connectivity index in the second quarter of 2023.
The Minister further elaborated, “In harmony with this vision and under the dynamic and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government has spearheaded impactful initiatives, including the development of upcoming mega ports such as Vizhinjam and the Free Trade Warehousing Zone at Vallarpadam, promising significant enhancements in infrastructure, investments, and overall industry expansion. Additionally, the ongoing Kochi Water Metro project is committed to promoting coastal community development, thereby transforming local livelihoods by providing metro connectivity to 10 islands through a 78-kilometer network, benefiting over 1 lakh islanders. Our shipbuilding and repair industry, driven by Cochin Shipyard Ltd, is also revolutionising the shipping ecosystem with cutting-edge technology vessels, including hybrid electric ferries for the Kochi Water Metro, Battery Electric Autonomous-Zero Emission Vessels, and Hydrogen fuel ferries, all aligned with our sustainability goals. I am confident that the upcoming Global Maritime India Summit 2023 will indeed become a historic milestone, impacting our maritime sector and overall economic development.”
During his virtual address, Shri Shantanu Thakur, Hon'ble Minister of State for Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Government of India, said, "In our pursuit of transforming India's waterways into thriving hubs of commerce and tourism, we have witnessed remarkable growth in cruise tourism and economic development of our hinterland regions. Through infrastructure development, legislative reforms, and innovative projects, we are revitalising India's maritime heritage, and Kerala, with its scenic backwaters, leads the way in this transformation, attracting tourists and investments alike. The state is blessed with varied geographical features that have made it one of the most sought-after maritime tourism destinations in Asia, and supporting this is Kochi, by being India's first city with a water metro project that is setting the standard for eco-friendly transportation. In addition, through our other initiatives, like the community jetties, we are determined to create more job opportunities, stimulate microeconomies, and showcase our maritime heritage along with the West Coast Canal System and National Waterway 3,which further testify to our dedication to realising the potential of waterways.”
During her welcome address,Dr. M. Beena, IAS, Chairperson of the Cochin Port Authority, said, "Over the years, the state of Kerala has undergone a remarkable transformation, propelled by the collaborative efforts of the state and central government, industry stakeholders, and the unwavering support of the maritime community. It is emerging as a leader in maritime infrastructure, with Cochin Port being one of the 12 major ports, contributing over 35 million metric tons per annum to national maritime traffic.”She continued, "With sustainability being our core vision, we are fully committed to adopting green technologies and practices and lead the way in sustainable transportation by reducing our carbon footprint. We have, thus, focused our efforts on revolutionizing logistics through transformative initiatives like Vizhinjam Port, India's first mega transshipment container terminal, and Cochin Port's LNG bunkering facilities, which showcase our commitment to a resilient future, driving economic growth and preserving our transport heritage.”
Through a detailed presentation, Shri Vikas Narwal, IAS, Dy. Chairperson, Cochin Port Authority, shed light on India’s 12 major ports and 200+ non-major ports and focused on Kerala ports' contribution to the Indian Maritime ecosystem. He said, “With 28 shipbuilding yards in the country, with Kerala boasting the largest, 14 million GRT ship carrying capacity and over 2.5 lakh seafarers navigating worldwide, the Indian maritime community is robust where Kerala stands as a pillar of strength. India is trading with more than 100 nations across the world today and 1.3% of our merchandise trade goes through Cochin Port.”
Shri Narwal further added, highlighting the maritime sector's progress in India, “Our two ports, JNP and Mundra, rank among the top 40 global ports and India is among the top five in trained manpower as by 2021 data. We are ranked 2nd in global ship recycling and 38th in logistics performance index as per the recently released data in 2023.”
Virtually addressing the audience, Shri K.S. Srinivas, IAS, Principal Secretary to Govt. of Kerala, Fisheries and Ports Department, said, “We're honored to be the inaugural participant and sponsor state for GMIS 2023 in Mumbai. Leveraging our extensive network and expertise, we aim to expand our global shipping presence within the next year and GMIS 2023 will serve as a catalyst for this endeavor, facilitating national and international collaborations to drive Kerala's growth and showcase our potential to the world. The transshipment terminal being established in Vizhinjam as well as the development of Water Metro in Kerala will further highlight Kerala’s maritime potential.”
Expressing his gratitude, Shri Madhu S. Nair, Chairman & Managing Director Cochin Shipyard Ltd. stated "Following our successful participation in the Global Maritime India Summit 2021, Kerala's transformative journey, powered by government collaboration, industry innovation, and unwavering maritime community support, underscores our commitment to progress. With technology adoption, infrastructure enhancements, and sustainability at our core, we've become a leading maritime player. The GMIS 2023 will play to ‘connect, collaborate and create’ for all stakeholders for shaping a greener and more connected maritime future.”