India Sets Ambitious Goal to Expand Domestically Flagged Fleet 10X


In response to global supply chain disruptions and an intensified focus on international trade, India sets an ambitious goal to increase its fleet of domestically flagged ships tenfold. The move aims to establish India as a formidable player in global maritime trade, leveraging the strategic advantage of flagged ships during international disputes. Plans for this expansion are underway and expected to be finalized after the upcoming general election, scheduled for April-May. Currently, India has 1,500 registered vessels, with over two-thirds engaged in coastal trade, and the rest operating on overseas routes. To bolster this initiative, the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), the country’s largest shipping company, is expected to play a key role by increasing its fleet size and global presence.

India’s vision for expanding its fleet of domestically flagged ships reflects a strategic response to current global dynamics, emphasizing the importance of maritime strength in trade. With 1,500 registered vessels and plans to increase their number tenfold, India aims to significantly enhance its role in global shipping. The decision to defer the disinvestment of the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) underscores the government’s commitment to maintaining a strategic presence in the sector. SCI, with its 57 vessels and 2.85 million GT, is positioned as a key player in aligning with India’s goal of increasing maritime influence.

While India embarks on this ambitious maritime expansion, it faces a contrast with China, which already boasts over 5,000 flagged ships and orders for 1,500 large ships in the pipeline. China’s substantial fleet, engaged in overseas trade, holds significant sway over global trade. In contrast, most of India’s flagged vessels currently operate in local trade, and a considerable number of its overseas vessels are aging, with 184 out of 486 being more than 20 years old. Despite these challenges, India’s strategic vision aligns with the anticipation of growing exports and increased participation in global trade.

The Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), being the largest Indian shipping company, takes center stage in India’s maritime expansion plans. With 57 vessels and 2.85 million GT, SCI leads the way, followed by Great Eastern Shipping Co. Ltd., which has 46 vessels with 2.06 million GT. The decision to encourage SCI to increase its fleet size and expand its global presence underscores the recognition of the company’s strategic importance in the sector. As India positions itself for maritime growth, the government’s commitment to SCI signals a proactive approach to building a robust and influential presence in the global shipping arena.

Source: Logistics Insider

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