For the overall development of a country and enhancing trade, safe sea lanes and routes are extremely important. Each year, India celebrates April 5 as the National Maritime Day (NMD), which marks the inevitability of defending, shielding, and preserving our maritime zone.
The theme of the National Maritime Day is “Sustainable Shipping beyond Covid-19’’. The day has been celebrated since 1964 and it is to celebrate the global economy, and to have a safe and sound environmentally responsive approach to transporting goods from one point to another across the globe.
More about the National Maritime Day
The first time the day was celebrated was on April 5, 1964. Since then every year this day is celebrated as the NMD.
On this day ‘NMD Award of Excellence’ is usually given during the celebrations and there is a trophy and citation, given to recognize and honour individuals for their lifetime distinguished and exceptional achievements and performances in the Indian Maritime sector at a senior level.
There has been notable growth in the shipping sector in the post independence era in the country. In Maritime history, the United Kingdom has nominated the International Maritime Organisation for not only maritime protection, but also to control pollution from ships. According to the information available in the public domain, India became an associate of this agency in 1959.
What does this association do?
It organises maritime conferences. It also drafts worldwide maritime conventions on a standard basis.
Why April 5?
In 1919, it was on this day the first Indian commercial vessel had set sail from Mumbai to London — SS Loyalty, of Scindia Steam Navigation Company Ltd. This was also the first ever largest large scale shipping company which was entirely owned by Indians. And once the ship sailed, it was a historic moment for Indian Shipping as at that time the sea routes were under the control of the British.
April 5, 1964, was identified to spread awareness about intercontinental commerce and economy globally. This day is dedicated to the importance of maritime trade in India, as it holds a very strategic location. According to the data of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, the country’s maritime trade is almost 95 percent and 70 percent by value.
Maritime India Vision 2030
In 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 10 year blueprint. And this Maritime India Vision 2030 aims to overhaul the Indian maritime sector. And almost Rs 3 lakh crore investments is planned in various ports projects across the country and will help to generate employment for 20 lakh people.
In the country which has a huge coastline of 7517 kms, and is the 16th largest maritime industry, there are 12 major ports, and 205 notified minor and intermediate ports.