24 Sep

Maritime in India

In the context of Maritime and India, the most recognized incident is usually that of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama and his exploration across the Indian Ocean. His discovery of a sea route to India via Kozhikode is considered landmark to opening India to the Europeans.

However, Indian Maritime history started much before when the Indus Valley civilization initiated maritime trading with Mesopotamia back in 3rd millennium BCE taking silk and spices to the world. Long before the arrival of the Europeans, like numerous crafts that originated in India, shipbuilding was well-established. Indian maritime, back then, was a highly active sector and was sustained by the numerous ship-building establishments across the Indian coastline. Local craftsmen used Indian hardwood to construct these indigenous vessels which were considered to be far superior to vessels built elsewhere in the world.

From then to now, India has seen a sea change in the sector. In its current form, the industry is highly complicated and capital intensive. Due to the additional requirement of harbours with large space, shipbuilding in India has been restricted to four main centres, namely, Vishakhapatnam, Kolkata, Kochi and Mumbai. However, the Indian shipping industry is a significant contributor, both for defence as well as commerce.

In celebration of India’s maritime history, the National Maritime Day is observed on 5th April with the aim to support intercontinental commerce and the global economy as the most well-organized, safe and sound environmentally responsive approach of transporting goods from one to another corner of the world. On this day in 1919, navigation history was created when SS Loyalty, the first ship of The Scindia Steam Navigation Company Ltd, journeyed to the United Kingdom. This was a crucial step in Indian shipping history when sea routes were controlled by the British.

In 1959 India became an associate of IMO which convenes maritime conferences and conventions on a standard global basis. Sea route maturity and preservation is extremely essential for an all-round development of the country and being part if IMO Council enables India to engage with the international maritime community and maintain global industry standards.

With a large fleet of vessels, both on foreign going and coastal operations, Indian has seen nearly 5.13% growth year on year. This combined with increasing investments as well as favourable government policies continues to pave the way for a brighter future.

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