For the second time in two years a Norwegian trade delegation visited India to participate in the meeting of the ‘Joint Working Group – Maritime’ of the India – Norway Joint Commission and held talks on 16th April 2012. The meeting concluded with the two sides signing a protocol and agreeing to hold the third meeting at a convenient date in Norway in 2013.
Areas for mutual cooperation identified by the ‘Joint Working Group – Maritime’ of the India – Norway Joint Commission
The Joint Working Group Maritime of the India-Norway Joint Commission was chaired by Joint Secretary of the Indian Ministry of Shipping, Munish Chandra Jauhari and Director General of the Maritime Department, Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ida Skard.
The main objective of the JWG Maritime protocol is to combine Indian and Norwegian technology, know-how and experience to make shipbuilding and shipping more efficient and environmentally friendly. In this regard the JWG Maritime will primarily focus on industrial cooperation through initiating and follow up with concrete projects between the Norwegian and Indian maritime industries.
In a day long presentations both sides identified common areas of interests which could serve to foster joint ventures, share technologies and identify projects for mutual development. The negotiations were held in the spirit of mutual understanding and in a friendly atmosphere.
The deliberations on the ‘Small Scale distribution of LNG’ generated immense interest as it offers excellent opportunities. Hakan Werner, V.P. Business Development, I. M. Skaugen described it as a concept for the distribution of clean energy for coastal application. He said that with specialized tankers, LNG could be delivered to far remote places which are inaccessible for transporting gas through pipeline. He added that I. M. Skaugen fleet had the capability for undertaking this task. Dr. A. K. Balyan, Managing Director & CEO of Petronet LNG showed the possible way ahead for India by undertaking LNG delivery with small tankers. “India has three LNG terminals on the coast and a few more under development,” he said. “Hence the small size vessels could play a key role since large vessels are bringing the gas to the terminals and this in turn could be distributed to smaller ports or jetties along the coast or inland waters. Pradeep Bansal, Associate General Manager – LNG Project, Adani Port & Special Economic Zone denounced distribution of LNG by road or rail as this was very expensive and hardly eco-friendly. He advocated use of barges and large bottles as a cheaper and more efficient mode of gas distribution.
Other areas of interests that were identified for mutual cooperation included training, education and R&D, ship handling simulators, ship management & logistics education, training and the Norwegian Maritime Research Program and initiatives and Energy Efficient Shipping.
Deliberations also centered round the new India Coastal Shipping Policy, sharing of Norwegian expertise on coastal and short sea shipping, the Norwegian Sea Watch System, Norwegian Ro-Ro Products and expertise, Multi Modal transport in India and the use of fast ferries in coastal and short sea shipping.