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Govt working on setting up Maritime Development Fund akin to Power Finance Corp, REC

Published 26-04-2024, 10:00 pm
© Reuters.  Govt working on setting up Maritime Development Fund akin to Power Finance Corp, REC
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New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) is actively working on establishing a dedicated Maritime Development Fund akin to established sectoral financial institutions such as Power Finance (NS:PWFC) Corporation, REC (NS:RECM) and IRFC, a senior ministry official has confirmed.R. Lakshmanan, Joint Secretary, MoPSW said that the fund will cater to the unique and substantial funding requirements of the maritime sector, enabling the implementation of specific initiatives such as shipbuilding, decarbonisation, green energy adoption, technology innovation, and manpower training and development.

The proposed fund is considered an important step forward as India’s shipping sector does not have sufficient access to finance sources such as bank credit and foreign investment, despite its crucial role to support the country's projected trade and economic expansion.

The Government of India, along with Cochin Shipyard (NS:COCH) Limited (CSL) and Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) organised a two-day conference in Kochi this week (April 23-24) on ‘Challenges and Prospective Solutions in Inland Waterways and Shipbuilding.” These challenges include the non-availability of long-term funding, which is crucial for sustainable growth, along with lower interest rates.

Lakshmanan on Friday said, “The two-day conference at Kochi successfully facilitated enriching discussions encompassing India’s key priorities including Green Transition of Inland Waterways, the establishment of a dedicated Sectoral Maritime Development Fund, promoting domestic shipbuilding, etc. This is one among many such meetings being conducted by the ministry to identify and address the key challenges faced by the maritime stakeholders in achieving the targets set forth in Maritime Amrit Kaal Vision 2047.”

MoPSW is making decarbonisation efforts in the Inland Waterways sector being spearheaded by IWAI and CSL by the deployment of Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell Inland Vessels, aligning with the ministry’s Harit Nauka Guidelines. Varanasi has been selected as the pilot location for immediate deployment on NW-1, with expansion plans informed by pilot learnings. Discussions are going on with potential players for facilities such as bunkering.

Methanol is also considered as one of the key green fuels for EXIM Vessels globally as seen in the recent case of Maersk’s deployment of Methanol Powered Ships. Going forward, it was suggested to explore mechanisms of developing indigenous development of methanol marine engines in the country as a progressive step towards the green transition of inland vessels.

--IANS

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