India to provide subsidies for local shippers to win govt tenders

NEW DELHI, July 14 (Reuters) - India will give financial support to local shippers to help them match the lowest bids offered by foreign carriers in global import tenders floated by Indian state agencies, an official statement said on Wednesday.

The move to provide 16.24 billion rupees ($218.08 million) support over five years is aimed at increasing the number of Indian-flagged vessels and saving outgoing foreign exchange.

The Indian fleet comprises a meagre 1.2% of the world fleet in terms of capacity, the statement said, adding the share of Indian ships carrying the country's foreign trade had dropped from 40.7% in 1987-88 to about 7.8% in 2018-19.

Higher local taxes and cost of capital add to the operating cost of Indian vessels, making them uncompetitive.

The subsidy scheme will not be applicable for vessels older than 20 years.

Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Nick Macfie

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