The Ministry of Shipping on Friday invited stakeholder comments on the draft Coastal Shipping Bill 2020 — to be sent within a week.
The Bill proposes to exempt Indian flag vessels from the needing trading licence for coastal trade, while imposing additional conditions on foreign ships for being eligible, such as on nationality of crew and requiring whole or part of foreign vessels to be built in India. It also provides for a strategic plan which will recommend ways to integrate inland waterway routes with maritime coastal transport. Coastal shipping refers to carriage of goods by sea from one port to another within India and includes activities like exploration, resource exploitation or research. Coastal shipping is now governed under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.