India Loosens Cabotage Laws


Published Sep 14, 2015 3:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

India has announced plans to relax its cabotage laws for five years in hopes of boosting trade and decongesting its roads and railways.

The loosened cabotage laws will allow foreign operators piloting Roll-On Roll-Off (RoRo), Hybrid RoRo, Roll-On Roll-Off Passenger (Ro-Pax), Pure Car Carriers, Pure Car and Truck Carriers, LNG vessels and Over-Dimensional cargo or Project Cargo Carriers to transport cargo between ports along the Indian coast.

"Such special vessels are in short supply in the country but since they cater to specific classes of cargo, their availability will make it possible to shift cargo movement for these commodities from road and rail to coastal shipping," the Indian Union Shipping Ministry said in a statement. “As an example, large automobile clusters exist at Manesar and around Chennai. Large numbers of cars are transported from north to south and vice-versa. It is possible to shift a major part of this transportation to coastal shipping."

India also expects the availability of RoRo vessels to reduce carbon emissions and provide a green mode of transportation. The new cabotage laws will affect 12 major Indian ports and about 200 non-major ports.