MUMBAI : Less than a year after it introduced age norms for ships, both Indian registered and foreign flagged, from calling at the country’s ports to load and unload cargo, the Directorate General of Shipping has decided to undertake a sweeping review of its order with a holistic approach, encompassing the entire maritime sector.
The Directorate General of Shipping, India’s maritime administration, has called price offers to pick a consultant to carry out the study.
The 24 February 2023 order issued by the D G Shipping on ‘Age Norms and Other Qualitative Parameters with Respect to Vessels’ set an age limit of 25 years for oil tankers, bulk carriers, and general cargo vessels, triggering concerns among stakeholders. This led the administration to partly amend the order on 1 July 2023.
The age norms were designed to encourage a younger fleet to improve safety, meet global rules on ship emissions and protect the marine environment from pollution during mishaps.
“Recognizing the absence of a thorough cost-benefit analysis or statistical data, as required for a significant policy initiative by the Administration, the Committee (read internal committee of D G Shipping) acknowledges the necessity of validating the Order. This validation should be accomplished through a comprehensive study conducted by a third-party professional agency. The study should examine the technical, social, and economic impacts of the Order on the country’s mercantile marine activities over the next three years of its implementation. It is imperative that the study’s terms of reference encompass a holistic approach, encompassing the maritime sector in its entirety. This entails duly considering the concerns not only of ship owners/operators but also shipbuilders, repairers, ancillary sectors and including ship recyclers,” D G Shipping said while inviting price proposals for the study.
The consultant picked for the task should “review the DG Shipping Order on age norm thoroughly, understanding its provisions, intentions, and implications on shipping industry as whole and suggest modifications, if any”.
The objective of the study, according to India’s shipping regulator, is to “assess the potential benefits and drawbacks of implementing age restrictions on Indian tonnage as envisaged” last year and to “evaluate the economic, safety, environmental, and operational implications of the proposed Order”.
The study should identify potential challenges and opportunities for ship owners, shipyards, repairers, and recyclers within the context of the proposed policy and provide evidence-based recommendations on related policy decisions and suggest amendments required, if any, to the Order, such as modifying the age at which ships can exit service, implementing quality standards, or granting exemptions to specific categories of ships like River-Sea Vessels (RSV) or Indian Coastal Vessels (ICV).