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Friday, 16 September 2011

WTF can we do about improving coastal and inland shipping in India??

Here's a recent post by me on the Merchant Navy group website:-


There is enough of a lobby and interest in reviving the age-old superioriity of shipping that existed in the Indian Ocean environs, especially after the advent of Islam, as Arab sailors have shown for centuries. It is there in the strangest of places, but all the same, it has an effect.

For example, Amitav Ghosh, renowned author and global traveler, in his IBIS trilogy of books as well as other books, makes plenty of references to the subject - and he is widely read by those who matter.

Here, for example, is a blog entry by him on the subject, recent and being widely discussed not just on the internet but in the corridors of power in Delhi and beyond:-


quote:""it will be evident at a glance that many of the vessels in the opium fleet were of great size, fully the equal of  ocean-going sailships. As it made its way downriver, the opium fleet would stop every night at a river-port. Each of these ports was equipped with the infrastructure to deal with a substantial volume of shipping. Some of these ports, like Chhapra, attracted immigrants from far away  . . " unquote.


It requires less than 1/6th of a bhp to transport 1 tonne of ship or boat. With increasing fuel prices, can we leave decision making about shipping in India, seagoing or coastal or river, to people who are still in awe of the caucasian way of things, choosing to give our own Indian ways an inferiority complex born of their own insecurities?

I have been able to put my views across where they matter - how is it that, unlike in aviation, people who are supposed to be technically sound in decision making for sea commerce, have not been to sea for an average of over 22 years? (That's the data for people over a particular rank and level at DGS, incidentally, which I saw in passing . . . on the table of somebody who matters.)

Humbly submitted.


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