The first Maritime India Summit was held from the 14th to 16th April at the Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre in Mumbai. The Ministry of Shipping organized the event to attract potential investors from the maritime sector and to address current projects and developments in India. For the development of India`s ports, hinterland and coastal infrastructure investments are needed e.g. in shipbuilding, ship repair, inland water transportation, coastal shipping, logistics handling facilities.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the summit on the Birth Anniversary of the visionary Ambedkar by honoring him and calling him “the architect of the water and river navigation policy in India”.
In his opening speech the Minister of Shipping Nitin Gadkari emphasized the fact that the port-led development has the highest priority. Furthermore he pointed out India´s maritime development potential, with sea borne trade growing twice at the global rate and its more than 7500km long coastline and the vast navigable inland waterways. Prime Minister Narendra Modi added that increasing maritime activity can support the overall economy and generate new jobs for the youth. Furthermore 100% FDI´s for port development projects are supposed to be allowed under the automatic route by liberalizing the licensing system. The Sagarmala initiative by the Indian government was presented, which seeks to modernize the port´s infrastructure and to interconnect ports with the mainstream economy in the inland.
The Republic of Korea was the partner country of the first Maritime India Summit, with the Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Kim Young-Suk heading a delegation of more than 50 people of the industry. In total approximately 200 companies showcased their products in the exhibition with a special South Korean and a Norwegian Pavilion.
Simultaneously to the exhibition, thematic sessions took place covering Port-led development, ship building, ship repair and ship breaking, skill development through maritime education and training, inland water transportation and coastal shipping, hinterland connectivity and multi-modal logistics, opportunities in international shipping and maritime financing, opportunities in maritime states, cruise shipping and lighthouse tourism, island development and aquatic resources, maritime security and counter-piracy. Furthermore a Maritime Heritage Museum in the form of a former container ship was opened, which showed India´s maritime history and heritage and presented India´s first trade routes.
Overall the Summit resulted in the signing of over 120 business and concession agreements and EPC, 20 Letter of Intents and a Memorandum of Understanding with South Korea on Port Development and Operations.
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