What is the unique Martime Cluster coming up in GIFT city of Gujarat?

While launching Ro-Pax terminal at Hazira and flagging-off Ro-Pax ferry service between Hazira and Ghogha on November 8, 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Gujarat maritime cluster ports, a dedicated system to address Ports to sea-based logistics, will be built in GIFT city.

Maritime Cluster Project

  • While the concept of maritime clusters is new to India, they have been driving some of the most competitive ports of the world like Singapore, Rotterdam, Oslo, Hong Kong, London, and Shanghai.
  • In simple words, a maritime cluster is an assembly of businesses, firms and institutions in the maritime sector which are geographically located close proximity to each other.
  • Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) has been putting efforts to come up with a maritime cluster in Gandhinagar, Gujarat through its subsidiary Gujarat Ports Infrastructure and Development Company Ltd (GPIDCL).
  • Initially, the cluster in Gandhinagar will include Gujarat-based shipping lines, shipping agents, freight forwarders, stevedores, bunker suppliers, and ship brokers with chartering requirements.
  • In the second phase, an attempt will be made to bring Indian ship owners, Indian charterers, ship operators, and technical consultants from cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai, to Gujarat. After this, the aim will be to bring global players in the cluster.

Why Maritime Cluster Project is needed?

  • Maritime clusters are needed in India to bring back businesses that have moved to foreign locations due to lack of ecosystem in the country.
  • Gujarat has a lot of ports and handles 40% of the India’s cargo, but we have still not able to target the entire value-chain.
  • Adani Group has the biggest port in Gujarat, but for its chartering needs, it is based out of Dubai. To provide proper ecosystem to such big players, maritime clusters are needed in India.

Alternate Dispute Resolution Centre

  • For maritime cluster, first Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Centre of the country will be set up under the aegis of the Gujarat Maritime University.
  • This centre will have functions similar centres like the Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre (EMAC) at the Dubai Maritime Cluster.
  • The centre will give an option to Indian players who seek to avoid the services of international alternate dispute resolution hubs which entail huge time, costs as well as travel.

Current Status of Maritime Cluster Project

The maritime cluster project was conceptualized in 2007 and received in-principle approval from the state government in 2015. A high-level committee was also constituted for this project. Last month, it got approval to be based out in the Gujarat’s GIFT city. The cluster will take an area of 8,000 square feet in GIFT City.

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