Samsara Newsletter

Week 30, 2018 (Jul 21 - Jul 27)

Policy & Economy News

India's economic growth remains intact; GDP to grow around 7.5%: FICCI

SEZ Rules to be amended to sync them with GST laws

Sea Cargo Manifest and Transshipment Regulations 2018 to come into force from Aug 1st: CBIC

Business News - The India Boom Factor

India's export expected to touch USD 350 bn in current fiscal: Suresh Prabhu

Cotton exports to increase by 20% in 2018: Cotton Advisory Board

Indian imports from US rises 38% in Q1, while exports to China rises 62%: Commerce Ministry Data

China clears 14 Indian rice companies for export amid trade war with US

India to target $400 bn exports in next two years

India driving BRICS trade via economic reforms

Govt removes restrictions on urea import for industrial, non-agriculture grade

4 lakh tonne sugar in process for exports: Govt

Shipping News

Shipping Ministry working on compromise formula to tweak 'right of first refusal'

Logistics News

Multi Modal Terminal on Ganga at Varanasi nearing completion: Shipping Ministry

Five Major Ports to develop waterways in their vicinity

IPRCL jointly implements 18.8 k cr. (Rs.188 billion) of rail projects to reduce logistics costs

Indian Port News

Major Ports see 19% surge in thermal coal imports in April-June: IPA

Cochin Port signs work order for state-of-the-art Cruise Terminal

Tata Steel to invest Rs. 5,000 cr to develop Subarnarekha Port

Policy & Economy News

India's economic growth remains intact; GDP to grow around 7.5%: FICCI
India Seatrade News: July 23 Top
Despite short-term challenges, India's economic growth story remains intact and the country's GDP is expected to grow around 7.5 per cent in the current financial year, industry body FICCI said on Thursday.

According to the body, the slowing down of industrial output growth in May and higher retail inflation in June are "short-term challenges which are being pro-actively acted on by the government and the RBI, and these should not be seen in any way as hurting the signs of revival in the economy significantly".

"While the industrial output growth is expected to rebound in the next few months, the rise in inflation is being watched by the RBI closely, and the apex bank and the government will certainly take necessary measures to keep it at the manageable levels," FICCI President Rashesh Shah was quoted as saying in a statement.

"The Goods and Services Tax (GST) will play the role of a catalyst in this. While the GST collection trends clearly indicate towards a positive sentiment in the economy, the national integrated indirect tax structure will also bring down inflation, going ahead." Shah elaborated that GST Council and the central government have shown willingness to rationalise the GST rate structure, bringing in the excluded items and simplifying the tax administration.

"Equally important is the fact that GST has shown that industry, and the country, on the whole, is ready for adopting big-bang reforms," he said, adding: "there is no doubt now that larger economic reforms involving both the centre and the states are here to stay."

He added that along with GST, reform measures like IBC (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code) and RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority) have already started yielding results and will help in taking the GDP growth beyond 8 per cent.

SEZ Rules to be amended to sync them with GST laws
New rules will be out by the end of the month The Hindu Business Line: New Delhi, July 24
The Centre will come out with amendments to Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Rules, to synchronise them with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) laws by end of this month, a senior government official has said.

"We have been working for a few months on the amendment of SEZ Rules, 2006 to synchronise it with the GST laws. Following due consultation process with the Department of Revenue, I am glad to tell you that this fairly elaborate amendments of the rules is likely to come out now by the end of this month. It is almost at the final stage," said Bidyut Behari Swain, Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, at an Assocham International SEZ Investment Summit on Tuesday.

Swain said while the Department of Commerce consistently looks at facilitating ease of doing business by removing bottlenecks, it was observed that there is a possibility of different authorities handling administrative and financial matters being at slight variance with each other, according to an Assocham release.

Clear guidelines

"We have taken up a project in which we would like to have a very clear set of guidelines regarding how administrative and financial matters by the authorities are carried out and we are hopeful that we will come out with a report in two months which should be implemented in three months," he said. Pranab Kumar Das, Special Secretary and Member Customs, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), said his department will get in touch with the Commerce Ministry to explore possibility of connecting SEZ Online with National Import Database (NIDB) for better uniformity and transparency in operations, the release added.

"We will definitely get in touch with Ministry of Commerce and try to find out whether the SEZ Online can also be housed in our system and with facilities provided to development commissioners and officials posted there so that they get benefit not only from SEZ Online but also the robust facility that is already available within CBIC," said Das.

Sea Cargo Manifest and Transshipment Regulations 2018 to come into force from Aug 1st: CBIC
Daily Shipping Times: New Delhi, July 24
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIT) Notification No. 38 / 2018-Customs (N.T.) has made the Sea Cargo Manifest and Transhipment Regulations 2018, which will come into force on 1 August 2018.

These regulations supersede earlier Legislations of Import Manifest (Vessels) Regulations of 1971, Export Manifest (Vessels) Regulations of 1976 and Transportation of Goods (Through Foreign Territory) Regulations of 1965.

The key highlights of the new regulations is that Shipping Lines have to comply with the timelines and requirements for the Cargo Manifestation for imports arriving in India, as well as for exports out of India.

Imports to India: Shipping lines must submit the Import General Manifest details to India Customs, prior Sailing of Vessel from the Last Port of Call (one before calling India Port), for all containers which are going to discharge at any Indian Port, or are discharged for transshipment, at any of the ports in India.

Exports from India: Shipping lines must submit the Export General Manifest details, to India Customs, prior Sailing of Vessel, from India Port of loading, for all containers, which are loaded on a said Vessel from India.

Business News - The India Boom Factor

India's export expected to touch USD 350 bn in current fiscal: Suresh Prabhu
Daily Shipping Times: New Delhi, July 26 Top
Despite increasing global protectionism, India's export will continue to register healthy growth rates and is expected to touch USD 350 billion in the current fiscal said Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, in New Delhi. The Minister was speaking at the 2nd Services Excellence Awards and Summit – 2018 organised by ASSOCHAM.

The Minister stated that services sector is set to become a dominant driver of the Indian economy and will contribute $ 3 trillion of $ 5 trillion by 2025. In order to give a boost to the services sector Commerce Ministry has identified 12 champion services sectors for which Cabinet has approved a dedicated fund of Rs. 500 crore (Rs.5 billion) to support initiatives for sectoral action.

The Minister further added that the services sector contributes significantly to India's increased productivity & competitiveness and high quality of the champion services sectors will further boost exports of various services from India and give a boost to employment generation.

The Minister added that India is pushing for export of services to countries in Africa and also Latin America. India has a two pronged agenda with its trading partners: allowing professionals from India to travel abroad and trade facilitation in services export. The Minister exhorted ASSOCHAM to maintain high standards of professionals travelling abroad for services so that delivery of services exported will be of a high quality.

During this occasion the Minister released a Knowledge Study Report jointly prepared by ASSOCHAM and its knowledge partner, Resurgent India and gave away Excellence Awards in 28 services categories.

Cotton exports to increase by 20% in 2018: Cotton Advisory Board
Daily Shipping Times: New Delhi, July 27 Top
The Cotton Advisory Board (CAB) has estimated that during the current cotton season of October, 2017 to September, 2018, the export of cotton from India is likely to increase by 20% over last year and is expected to touch 70 lakh bales by September, 2018.

From October, 2017 to April 2018, the total amount of cotton exported from India was 51.21 lakh bales. CAB has estimated that the cotton production for the current cotton season will be 370 lakh bales.

Domestic prices of cotton are ruling below the International cotton prices. Domestic sale prices of the representative variety of S-6 cotton vis-a-vis international prices of its equivalent variety was lower by 7.18% as on July 14.

Indian imports from US rises 38% in Q1, while exports to China rises 62%: Commerce Ministry Data
Daily Shipping Times: New Delhi, July 26 Top
1) India and the US are working on a trade package

2) American market in food, farm, engineering goods, auto and auto parts segments hold promise in the long term

India's imports from the US jumped a massive 38% in the first quarter of this fiscal to $8.53 billion, while those from China dropped 4% from a year before, an outcome contrary to what analysts would have expected at a time when the world's top two economies are engaged in a trade war.

While Washington's protectionist moves are directed at India too, China is widely believed to be looking for alternative markets like India to offset its reduced exports to the US.

Clearly, the Trump administration's insistence on greater market access is yielding results. The US emerged as India's second-biggest goods import destination (after China) in Q1, having improved its position from the fourth-largest exporter to New Delhi a year before. Of course, what made the growth in India's purchases of American goods substantial was also the fact it came off an unfavourable base (imports had grown 33% in Q1FY1, while exports to the world's largest economy grew only 11.7% in the June quarter, showed the latest Commerce Ministry data.

This means India's merchandise trade surplus with the US could shrink for a second straight year - something the Trump administration will cheer. India's overall merchandise exports grew 14.5% in the first quarter, while imports rose 11.6%.

India's exports to China jumped, unusually, by almost 62% in the first quarter of this fiscal to $4.03 billion, albeit on a relatively low base. As for imports, China still remains India's largest destination, having accounted for goods supplies worth $17.36 billion in Q1, against the US' $8.53 billion.

Interestingly, India's exports to Hong Kong - considered a gateway to China - dropped 25% in the April-June period, while imports from Hong Kong rose over 8.8%. This suggests more Indian products are perhaps being shipped to China directly rather than through Hong Kong to bypass the traditional Chinese non-tariff barriers. In fact, at $14.69 billion, India's merchandise exports to Hong Kong beat those to China last fiscal.

While the Trump administration has targeted New Delhi, among others, in a bid to set right the US' trade deficit, New Delhi has been impressing upon Beijing to reduce the massive trade imbalance in the latter's favour.

India's goods trade surplus with the US dropped almost 6% to $22.9 billion in 2017 from the year before, according to US official data. India is one of the few countries with which US' trade deficit has decreased in the last one year.

While China alone accounted for a massive $375 billion, or 46%, of the US goods trade deficit of $810 billion in 2017, India made up for just 2.8% and occupied the ninth spot in the list of nations with which the Trump administration seeks to pursue a trade balance agenda. Meanwhile India and the US are working on a trade package. For India, greater access to the American market in food, farm, engineering goods, auto and auto parts segments hold promise in the long term (over five years), said a Senior Government official. The US sees good prospects for its companies in Indian civil aviation, oil and gas, education service and agriculture segments. India is seeking an exemption from the US' additional tariff on steel and aluminium and has conveyed to the World Trade Organisation its desire for retaliatory action involving $235 million worth of American goods if the US doesn't roll back the "unfair" duties.

China clears 14 Indian rice companies for export amid trade war with US
China allows import of only basmati rice from India, but with this clearance, even non-basmati rice can be exported. Business Standard: New Delhi, July 25
China has agreed to import rice from 14 of the 19 registered rice exporters from India, while the remaining five - mostly of basmati rice sellers - have been asked to improve storage and isolation facilities before applying afresh.

China allows import of only basmati rice from India, but with this clearance, even non-basmati rice can be exported. The clearance comes amid rising tension between the United States and China over trade tariff. China is looking for newer markets to boost its inventories. Export from India has been caught under wraps since it failed to clear Chinese food safety and quality norms.

In an agreement signed on June 9, China agreed to import from India non-basmati rice as well. The shipments had to comply with the Chinese plant quarantine laws and regulations. India has to ensure that processing and storage houses of the rice to be exported to China is free from pests - Trogoderma granarium and Prostephanus truncatus - and live insects. The exported rice will have to be free of soil, seeds of weeds, paddy hull, loose bran and any of plant debris of rice.

Non-basmati rice exports from the country during April-February 2018 stood at $3.26 billion as against $2.53 billion in 2016-17. India wants to increase exports to China with a view to bridging the ballooning trade deficit, which has increased to $63.12 billion in 2017-18 from $51.08 billion in the previous fiscal.

India to target $400 bn exports in next two years
Daily Shipping Times: New Delhi, July 25 Top
Buoyed by a pick-up in exports in April-June quarter this year, the Central Government may target $400 billion annual merchandise exports in two years.

India clocked about $300 billion merchandise exports in 2017-18 after dipping to $275 billion in the 2016-17 - a near 10% annual growth. India achieved $313 billion exports in 2013-14 and in subsequent years, exports have shown a declining trend in the face of global slowdown.

In the first quarter of this fiscal, exports have seen a pick-up, with May witnessing a 20% growth and June 18%.

This has prompted the Union Commerce Ministry to formulate a strategy in consultation with Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) to push annual merchandise exports to $400 billion in two years.

A sustained 20% exports growth from now will easily push India's merchandise exports to a little over $350 billion this year, and $400 billion in the next fiscal should be achievable, according to FIEO President Ganesh Kumar Gupta.

A 20% exports growth is sustainable, Gupta said recently emphasising that the strategy needed to be aimed at high potential markets such as Africa and Latin America. Indian textiles, handicraft, handlooms, leather, engineering goods, pharmaceuticals and automobiles have a huge potential.

"Even China is importing from India a lot of items like handicraft and carpets, and the US-China trade war too has opened up a window of opportunity to push exports to both Beijing and Washington. However, this needed to be worked upon," he said. The Commerce Ministry-FIEO joint strategy will be readied shortly, he said.

Economist H A C Prasad, who recently retired as Senior Economic Advisor in the Finance Ministry, has come out with a study paper on the challenges and policy initiatives needed to take India's merchandise exports to a new high.

Prasad, said in the paper that with green shoots in merchandise exports it is only appropriate to raise India's share in world exports to a 5%.

To reach the 5% share, merchandise exports should hit $882 billion by 2022, which means India's export growth rate needed to be around 27% CAGR for five years. This is not impossible as India has had higher exports growth than this during 2004-09, Prasad said.

To boost trade, India has to make its exports demand based rather than supply based as at present.

India has huge potential in increasing farm exports. The strategy is to raise farm exports from the present $40 billion annually to $100 billion with improved packaging and shelf life through better cold storage facilities.

India farm production cost is the cheapest in the world and with an improved market strategy, India could step up farm exports in no time. Some specific steps were needed to improve Ease of Doing Business for exporters, besides reduction in transaction cost, delay in ports to make Indian exports competitive, Gupta said, adding a lot has been done but some unfinished tasks have to be attended to.

Prasad suggested setting up of an ombudsman to resolve export related problems as there is no clear cut dispute resolution mechanism at the moment.

India driving BRICS trade via economic reforms
JOC: July 25 Top
India is leading container trade growth within the Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) group of emerging market economies, according to a new market analysis by Maersk Line.

Maersk, the world's largest ocean carrier, said India - riding a wave of economic reforms - registered an impressive 14 percent year-over-year increase in its export-import trade with the member countries in the January-to-March quarter.

That strong uptrend for India came even as BRICS' first-quarter worldwide trade growth remained subdued, at 1.5 percent year-over-year. India's exports to Brazil, China, Russia, and South Africa in the first three months increased 7.5 percent, compared with January-March 2017, with the largest demand coming from South Africa. Further, India's imports from the BRICS group increased at a faster rate of 15 percent in the first quarter, with volumes from Russia and South Africa up 37 percent and 28 percent, respectively, year over year. On the other hand, despite being the long-time largest importer among the BRICS nations, China suffered a 4 percent fall in imports in the first quarter, year over year, according to the analysis.

"Last year, the BRICS' joint contribution to the world economy was 23.6 percent, and according to the International Monetary Fund's predictions, this is set to rise to 26.8 percent by 2022," said Steve Felder, Maersk's managing director for India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Maldives. "With these numbers on the table, it is clear that the BRICS will keep on playing an important role in the future of global trade."

By volume, India and China dominated trade moving among the BRICS countries - with Brazil, South Africa, and Russia taking a hit in the January-to-March period, compared with those numbers a year earlier, Maersk stated.

The transport giant said India's average growth rate for exports within the five-member group has been 13 percent over the past five years. The analysis also found that China accounted for about 9 to 10 million FEU during the quarter - representing an 80 percent share of the BRICS' export-import trade, whereas India's total volume was pegged at between 1.5 and 2 million FEU.

"India's bilateral trade relations with China have received much needed impetus in Q1 [first quarter] 2018, with China offering greater access for Indian exports in pharmaceuticals, food grains, cotton, and petrochemicals. As for the western markets, the repercussions of Brexit resulted in [the] US becoming the third largest car importer from India in fiscal year 2018 and affected the Indian exports to [the] UK and Europe," Felder said.

Felder expressed optimism that India's liberalized cabotage policy, announced May 21, will drive competition among ocean carriers and, as a result, the market will create new transshipment opportunities for Indian ports.

The report also highlighted India's rapid progress in the ease-of-doing-business competitiveness, having moved up 30 spots to rank 100 out of 190 nations in the World Bank's latest global index.

"We believe that the change is clear evidence of India's resolve to bring reform to its logistics sector and thereby enhance its ease of doing business and cost competitiveness ratings," Felder added.

The Danish carrier said the upcoming, three-day 10th BRICS summit, scheduled to begin July 25 in Johannesburg, sets the stage for a broader panel discussion among the member nations regarding trade acceleration efforts - within the group and with the rest of the world. Maersk, which handles about 20 percent of India's total containerized freight, has lately shown a keener interest in beefing up its logistics solutions in trades to and from India, and this new market analysis is another testimony to that push.

Govt removes restrictions on urea import for industrial, non-agriculture grade
The Economic Times: July 27 Top
The government today removed restrictions for imports of urea for industrial, non-agriculture and technical grade. "Import Policy of Urea for industrial/non-agriculture/technical grade shall be free with actual user condition," the directorate general of foreign trade said in a notification.

Earlier, these imports were allowed through State Trading Corporation.

4 lakh tonne sugar in process for exports: Govt
PTI: New Delhi, July 25 Top
Nearly 400,000 tonnes of sugar is in the process of being exported from India to countries in the Middle East as also Sri Lanka, a senior government official said today.

Mills are required to export 20 lakh tonnes of sugar in the current 2017-18 marketing year (October-September) to avail of a subsidy of Rs 55 per tonne offered by the government.

"Out of 20 lakh tonnes, 4,00,000 tonnes of sugar has been moved out of the factories for the export purpose," the official, who did asked not be identified, told PTI.

Much of the shipment is being undertaken from states like Maharasthra and Karnataka which are close to ports, the official added. The government is in talks with southeast Asian countries for export of sugar, the official said.

Sugar production of India, the world's second largest producer, is estimated to touch a record 32.25 million tonnes in the current marketing year as against 20.3 million tonnes in the previous year, as per the industry data.

Domestic demand is pegged at 25 million tonnes annually.

To liquidate surplus sugar and help mills clear huge cane arrears, the government has announced a slew of measures to bailout the industry. Export duty on sugar has been scrapped and import duty on it has been doubled to 100 per cent. Moreover, a package of Rs 8,500 crore (Rs.85 billion) has been announced which includes a soft loan of Rs 4,500 crore (Rs.45 billion) to boost ethanol production.

A buffer stock of 3 million tonnes has also been created to tide over the crisis.

According to Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), the country's sugar production is estimated to rise by 10 per cent to touch a new record of 35.5 million tonnes in the 2018-19 marketing year

Shipping News

Shipping Ministry working on compromise formula to tweak 'right of first refusal'
The Hindu Business Line: Mumbai, July 25 Top
The Shipping Ministry is weighing a compromise formula to overhaul the right of first refusal (ROFR) benefit given to local fleet owners for carrying export-import (EXIM) and coastal oil and bulk cargo owned by state-run firms.

The ROFR is expected to be retained when state-run firms finalise their shipping arrangements through a tender. If not, ROFR will not be applicable. Like-wise, if public sector undertakings or government departments opt for hiring of ships on time-charter, ROFR is likely to be retained. But, if they hire ships from the spot market or on voyage charter, ROFR will not apply, according to officials briefed on the plan.

The Ministry's re-think on the ROFR follows a hue and cry from local fleet owners against a blanket withdrawal of the benefit, considered initially.

In time charter, a ship is hired for a specific period wherein the charterer pays for all fuel the vessel consumes, port charges and a daily hire rate to the owner of the vessel. In voyage/spot charter, a ship is hired for a specific voyage for which the charterer pays the vessel owner on a per-tonne or lump-sum basis. The ship owner pays the port costs, fuel costs and crew costs.

"The new formula being considered by the Ministry is a partial relief for us," said an executive with a Mumbai-based private shipping company. The proportion of cargo carried on time charter and voyage/spot charter basis is 50:50.

Currently, local shipping companies get a right to match the lowest rate offered by a foreign flag in tenders issued by state-run firms, or otherwise, for hiring ships under the chartering guidelines framed by the director general of shipping. If Indian shipping companies decline, the foreign flag ship that had quoted the lowest rate is allowed to carry the cargo.

"The aim is to bring Indian charterers on par with Indian ship owners," the government official said.

Lack of government policies and fiscal and financial support has rendered Indian shipping a marginal player on the global stage with a cargo carrying capacity of a meagre 17. 7 million dead weight tonnes (dwt).

This is despite the fact that the country's vast coastline of some 7,517 km dwarfs those of many other smaller maritime nations who are leaders in this industry and that too without the cargo volumes that India have.

Local fleet owners say the government should make Indian shipping competitive compared to foreign peers. "Let us use Indian cargo to incentivise flagging into India rather than permitting foreign flags to access our cargo. This will not only check flight of freight, it will lead to higher tonnage (capacity), taxes and employment to Indian seafarers," according to the Indian National Shipowners Association (INSA), a 42-member strong group.

India paid $52 billion in freight to foreign shipping companies in FY17 who now carry about 92 per cent of India's external trade shipped by sea, according to the Reserve Bank of India. This flight of freight is a loss of foreign exchange to the national exchequer, says INSA. "Of even bigger significance is the need to retain control and secure transportation of critical cargoes, says Anil Devli, CEO of INSA.

Logistics News

Multi Modal Terminal on Ganga at Varanasi nearing completion: Shipping Ministry
Daily Shipping Times: New Delhi, July 23 Top
Updates on status of other Multi Modal Terminals in India

The Rs 169.59 Crore (Rs.1.69 billion) Multi Modal Terminal (MMT) being built at Varanasi by Inland Waterways Authority of India under Jal Marg Vikas project is set to be completed by November this year. This would be a major landmark for the project. While the construction of the Rs 280.90 crore (Rs.2.81 billion) MMT at Sahibganj is to be completed by May, 2019, and the one at Haldia, being constructed at a cost of Rs 517.36 crore (Rs.5.17 billion), is scheduled to be completed by December 2019. In addition to this the work on the Rs 359.20 crore (Rs.3.59 billion) state-of-the-art navigational lock at Farakka is to be completed by June, 2019.

To enable private sector participation, IWAI signed an agreement with Summit Alliance Port East Gateway (India) Pvt. Ltd. on 26-04-2018 under a revenue sharing model (38.3%) for operating and managing IWT terminals at Garden reach in Kolkata and Gaighat and Kalughat terminals in Patna.

Five Major Ports to develop waterways in their vicinity
Exim News Service: New Delhi, July 25 Top
Under Section 111 of the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963, directions have been issued by the government to five Major Port Trusts, viz. Paradip, Mormugao, JNPT, New Mangalore and Deendayal to take up development of the National Waterways (NWs) which are located in their vicinity. Details of the NWs allocated to these five Major Ports is as shown in the box alongside.

The Major Ports will undertake the development of National Waterways through release of grants by the Inland Waterways Authority of India. Among the NWs earmarked for development by the Major Ports, NW-27, 68, 111 in Goa; NW-10 and 85 in Maharashtra and NW-100 in Gujarat are operationalised, and no time frame has been fixed for operationalising the remaining NWs.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways and Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mr Mansukh Mandaviya, in Parliament this week.

IPRCL jointly implements 18.8 k cr. (Rs.188 billion) of rail projects to reduce logistics costs
India Seatrade News: July 25 Top
The Indian Port Rail Corporation Ltd (IPRCL), along with other agencies, is implementing projects worth Rs 18,795 crore (Rs.187.95 billion) for the sole aim of bringing down logistics costs by providing rail connectivity to ports, it is gathered from a Ministry of Shipping report.

Under the government's ambitious initiative Sagarmala, a flagship programme for port-led development, IPCRL, a joint venture between Major Ports and Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL), as a dedicated SPV, is developing railways as a mode of transport in the port sector. "More than 50 per cent of the rail connectivity projects identified under Sagarmala are under implementation through various agencies such as IPRCL," the report adds.

As many as 70 rail connectivity projects, totalling 4,247 km, were identified to be implemented at a cost of about Rs 46,728 crore (Rs.467.28 billion), the report further says.

Of the 70 identified projects, 27 are currently under implementation for 1,967 km at a cost of about Rs 18,795 crore (Rs.187.95 billion), it said. Thirteen projects having a length of 426 km have already been completed at a cost of Rs 2,592 crore (Rs.25.92 billion). The report also said that 30 more projects, entailing an investment of Rs 25,341 crore (Rs.253.41 billion), are in the pre-implementation stage to provide 1,967-km connectivity.

Under the Minstry of Shipping, Sagarmala aims at promoting port-led development along India's 14,500 km long coastline, reports said.

Indian Port News

Major Ports see 19% surge in thermal coal imports in April-June: IPA
Daily Shipping Times: New Delhi, July 24 Top
India's top 12 Major Ports reported a 19.32 per cent surge in imports of thermal coal to 28.28 million tonnes during April-June this year, latest report from Indian Ports Association (IPA) has said. The centre-owned ports had handled 23.70 million tonnes (MT) of the thermal coal in the corresponding period of the previous financial year.

The Indian Ports Association (IPA), which maintains cargo data handled by these 12 ports, in its recent report has said that "percentage variation from previous year" in thermal coal handling was at 19.32 per cent in the first three months of the current fiscal. As far as coking and other coal is concerned, its handling recorded a jump of 6.85 per cent during the first quarter of the current fiscal at 13.03 MT.

Major Ports in India together recorded a growth of 3.91 per cent and together handled 174.02 MT of cargo during the period April to June 2018, as against 167.48 MT handled during the corresponding period of previous year.

Cochin Port signs work order for state-of-the-art Cruise Terminal
Daily Shipping Times: Cochin, July 23 Top
A new Cruise Terminal having facilities to handle 5000 tourists will come up at Ernakulum Wharf of Cochin Port by February 2020. Cochin Port Trust has issued work order to the contractor for commencing the construction of the new Cruise Terminal.

The facilities inside the Terminal, having 2253sq mtrs area, would include passenger lounge, crew lounge, 30 immigration counters, 8 customs clearance counters, 7 security check counters, Wi-Fi, tourist information counter, duty free shopping, souvenir/artefact/curio shops, medical care, book store, mini conference hall, gaming zone, ATM/bank services, foreign exchange counter, cafeteria, luggage counter, toilets, parking area for buses and cars, trolleys, wheel chairs etc.

Being one of the prime cruise tourism destinations in India, Cochin has been getting around 40 cruise liners every year bringing tens of thousands of high net worth international tourists to Kerala. Cochin Port Trust has been promoting cruise tourism in Cochin as it is beneficial for the local tourism trade and economy. It is estimated that every cruise tourist spends on an average 400 US Dollars per day during local visits.

Tata Steel to invest Rs. 5,000 cr to develop Subarnarekha Port
Daily Shipping Times: Mumbai, July 23 Top
In what could emerge as an important port on India's East Coast, Tata Steel plans to develop the Subarnarekha Port at the Northern-most tip of Odisha, where the river Subarnarekha merges with the Bay of Bengal.

The port, with the ability to manage large-sized ships, will be developed at a cost of Rs. 4,000-5,000 crore (Rs. 40-50 billion) in three to four years, said an industry source privy to the matter.

The port is likely to have the potential to handle large ships with 180,000 dead weight tonnage capacity with 18-metre draft that will help Tata Steel lower its transport and product costs.