November 27 - Reports in the Indian shipping media suggest that the Indian Ministry of Shipping is considering a proposal to prevent foreign-flagged ships and foreign-owned vessels from operating in the Indian coastal trade.

The media reports suggest that the objective is to provide national tonnage with better opportunities to overcome the global economic slowdown and develop domestic cargo support. 

MoS is said to be working on a draft Cabinet note to revise cabotage rules, that will prohibit foreign ships from moving domestic cargoes from one port to another along the Indian coastline.

HLPFI understands that the Merchant Shipping Act does provide for a right of first refusal (ROFR) to Indian-owned and Indian-flagged ships for conducting coastal trade. Now, it would appear that the Indian government is planning to enforce this provision by formulating a stringent cabotage law to limit the movement of foreign vessels.

The press reports indicate that the MoS note will be sent to the Ministries of Defence and Home Affairs for their considered views