NEWS & VIEWS









New guide lines for eco-friendly marine paints

Paint companies have now to put eco-friendly tag on their packing. The basic raw material TBT (tributyltin) used in the manufacture of marine paints is said to have polluting effect and is likely to be banned by International Maritime Organization (IMO) by 2003. The paints are to be manufactured as per specifications laid down by Bureau of Industrial Standards BIS) before getting eco-label.

This appears to be a long haul for Indian paint manufacturers. Marine paints constitute only 5% of the Indian paint production.  

Indian Navy set to design new Aircraft Carrier to be constructed in India.

Who says we cannot design ships? Indian Navy has developed major design capabilities since Godavari Class frigates were designed and built in India in 1980. Since then many ships like patrol boats, corvettes and various other types of ships and crafts have been successfully designed and built in Indian shipyards. The real challenge now lies ahead in the new project of the millenium and we wish them all success in this new venture.

Shipping Industry and Budget 2000-01

Though India has a vast coastline and the shipping industry thrived in distant past, presently it is passing through a lean phase. Its mention in the all-important Finance Bill 2000 is exactly inversely proportional to that of the length of the coastline and the rich coastal economic zone, which lies within our grasp for exploitation.

The Finance Bill now exempts 100% tax on profits of shipping companies and from shipping operations for non-shipping companies also, if they are appropriated in a special reserve for acquisition of new ships. This is nothing new since a similar benefit was available until 1996 but was slashed to 50%, probably because shipping was in good trim at that time. The golden goose was killed before laying any egg.

Mr. P.K.Srivastave, Chairman and Managing Director of Shipping Corporation of India, the largest shipping company in India and one of the largest in the world, stated that the move will not make any major impact on the industry, though it will definitely help marginally, how much it is difficult to quantify. The Government recognition of the fact that the industry needs support is appreciated.

However in order to avail this concession, the shipping has to first generate enough surplus, which appears unlikely in the present cash strapped environment. Also there are many ifs and buts in the small print, like special deposits can only be used to buy new ships in a short span of 5 years, which has been reduced from 8 years available earlier. Also one cannot sell the ship within a period of 8 years of purchase. The ship owner in such an eventuality will be saddled with blocked money in case of severe depression. Shipping which is a highly cyclic business, needs free hand in buying and selling of ships otherwise it may be left with huge non-performing assets. It is a historical fact that giant shipping companies were wiped out in depression, in not so distant a past, because they could not change the ships and with it their trading pattern fast enough. Those who could, survived.

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