Adderss by Governor at the inauguration of the State Level Merchant Navy Week at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai
Adderss by Shri Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the inauguration of the State Level Merchant Navy Week at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai at 11.00 am on Monday, 3 April 2017
Dr Smt Malini Shankar, Director General of Shipping and Managing Director, Shipping Corporation of India, captains of industry, officials, representatives of Shipowners’ Association, Seafarers’ association, Port Trusts and all other stakeholders in shipping industry, ladies and gentlemen…
First of all, I extend a warm welcome to each one of you representing India’s Shipping Sector, to Raj Bhavan.
The National Maritime Day Celebrations and the Merchant Navy Week offer us an opportunity to meet at least once in a year ! In turn, this day, offers me an opportunity to get fresh insights into your vast world and to know more about various issues pertaining to the maritime sector in India.
I understand that this year the Merchant Navy Week is being observed from 29th March to 5th April 2017, while the 54th National Maritime Day will be celebrated on 5th April 2017.
The theme chosen for this year’s National Maritime Day Celebrations is “Connecting India through Shipping”.
India is a maritime nation with rich traditions dating back to the Harappan and Mohenjodaro civilization.
India was having sea trade with several far off nations of the world.
History of Mumbai informs us that after the shifting of the base by the East India company from Surat to Mumbai, the island of Mumbai became a major ship building town.
I read that from the year 1736 to 1849, the Wadias built a total of 334 world class vessels for a variety of owners such as East India Company, private merchants, Nizam of Hyderabad, Imam of Muscat and the British Navy.
Even today, Mazgaon Dock, the Ship Builders to the Nation, manufactures warships and submarines for the nation.
In this connection, I do feel that thought should be given to building a grand museum of shipping and maritime activities in Mumbai. It will educate and inform citizens about the rich maritime heritage of Mumbai, especially in shipping and shipbuilding.
The contribution of the maritime sector to the nation’s economy is mind-boggling. About 90% of world trade is carried by the international shipping industry. Today shipping is rightly regarded as the engine of growth for national economies and in turn the world economy. Throughout the last century the shipping industry has seen a general trend of increases in total trade volume. Increasing industrialization and the liberalization of national economies have fuelled free trade and a growing demand for consumer products. Thanks to the growing efficiency of shipping as a mode of transport, there is more and more integration of economies of the world.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Port, which is the biggest container handling Port in India, is handling around 55% of the country’s containerized cargo. Alongwith other ports, it is playing a critical role in India’s economy and progress.
The maritime sector generates large number of employment opportunities. However except perhaps for the youths living in coastal states, many youths and university students are not aware of the employment and business opportunities that exist in the Marine and maritime sectors.
I do feel that the Merchant Navy Week should be used to create awareness about the numerous education, training, employment and business opportunities offered by the sector. Teams of experts from this sector should visit universities and colleges across the country and through talks and exhibitions, make students aware of the opportunities in the sector.
I wish to see greater cooperation between maritime training institutions and traditional universities in Maharashtra. I also wish to see greater participation of women in the maritime sector.
The National Maritime Day also recognises the services of seafarers and persons and organisations connected with promotion and development of national shipping.
Seafaring is the backbone of shipping and it is a matter of pride that though Indian tonnage is a small percentage of the world tonnage, India supplies over 6% of seafarers to the global shipping. It is a matter of tremendous satisfaction that Indian seafarers have made their mark internationally as highly efficient and skilled professionals – a fact that is reflected in the high demand for Indian seafarers the world over.
Mumbai’s infrastructure – roads and rail is under tremendous strain because of the population burden. I wish to see water transport becoming a reality in Mumbai soon.
Like all great world cities, Mumbai urgently needs water transport to decongest roads and reduce burden on its trains. We need your guidance and cooperation in this regard.
I congratulate the National Maritime Day Celebrations Committee for organizing the Merchant Navy Week and wish you all success in your future endeavours.