GANDHINAGAR : Gujarat has been at the forefront of India’s economic and maritime development since decades, well supported by its ports and allied infrastructure. Anchored on robust maritime infrastructure within the state, Gujarat is now focussing on developing an ecosystem of soft services related to the global maritime industry.
Gujarat Maritime Board, through its subsidiary company Gujarat Ports Infrastructure & Development Company Limited has initiated the project of Gujarat Maritime Cluster, India’s first of its kind commercial maritime cluster. Currently, with 22 members on board, the cluster intends to host a wide array of maritime, shipping and logistics services providers, thereby integrating the soft infrastructure related to the maritime and shipping industry under one umbrella. The stakeholders consists of a mix of ship operators, shipping agents, bunker broker, port operators, dredging & engineering companies, maritime legal services providers, marine surveyors, insurance agents, CFS operator, and integrated logistics & shipping services providers and is further endeavouring to expand the membership base.
The first in the series of webinar was held on 21 May, 2021 and it witnessed participation from almost all the members and turned out to be a great interactive platform for the trade. Even though these members belong to various segments and arms of the maritime fraternity, they unanimously agreed that, such networking meets and round table discussions are very much the need of the hour, to foster thought-leadership and innovative solutions which shall indeed turn out to be a game changer for the trade.
Arbitrator, Dr. Srikanth P Parthasarathy, Ph.D- USA, ASEAN, ISDS Expert, CIMA(UK) Merit , CA(Rank) from Chakra Ventures Pvt. LLP said that they were glad to be part of the Gujarat Maritime Cluster family and look forward to support this visionary initiative.
Mr. Rajinish Khandelwal, Sr. Vice President, J M Baxi and Co ,said that With a whole gamut of services in maritime sector, Ship agency, chartering, warehousing they have ages old association with GMB and that we are very much excited about opportunities associated with GMC.
Mr. Manish Bhattacharjee, CEO, Seawings Global Logistics emphasized that GMC in fact is a great initiative and that they look forward to create some sort of innovative solution in all the leading ports of Gujarat through various collaboration.
The purpose of the internal webinar is to enable each of them know more about the others, which would not just build synergies but would also lead to further business opportunities. Compete, cooperate and co-exist is the motto of the cluster. These webinars will offer the members with an opportunity to talk in length about the nature of their business and how they can serve the rest of the membership base. The first presentation was made by Spectra Fuels, which is an agency providing bunker fuel services.
The Development Commissioner, GIFT Special Economic Zone, Government of India had already approved the proposal of setting up the Maritime Cluster’s facilitiation centre and the Alternate Dispute Resolution Centre at the GIFT SEZ. The cluster is now being planned and established on the lines of the ones that exist in various leading maritime nations, and is aimed at enhancing the global competitiveness of the Indian Maritime sector. As a part of the proposed development, the Gujarat International Maritime Arbitration Centre (The GIMAC) which is being developed under the Gujarat Maritime University, shall be housed in the premises of the Gujarat Maritime Cluster. The Directorate General of Shipping is considering opening up their regional office in the same premises.
Another important highlight is that the first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in the country has been set up at the GIFT City and the GMC will be working with very closely with the IFSC Authority to encourage wider participation of stakeholders in maritime and shipping community. The IFSC Authority has included ship leasing as one of the permissible activities and we are in the process of getting it notified by the Ministry of Shipping and the Ministry of Finance. The participating stakeholders at GMC would benefit immensely through this development. Similarly, the cluster would also be taking up other business-oriented issues at an appropriate forum, nationally and internationally, to facilitate the trade and ease of doing business among the stakeholders at GMC.
Gujarat Maritime Cluster has the potential to create a strong maritime base with a globally competitive environment to foster local businesses as well as attracting foreign investments for sustainable development. The members only orientation session turned out to be a great learning and networking opportunity among member companies
Source : GMB