Global shipping major Maersk Tankers is ramping up its presence in the country and is also in talks for an intra-country coastal movement of oil products courtesy the relaxations in rules, a top official has said.
Maersk Tankers opened a subsidiary in the country only this year, its sixth office globally, and already employees over 650, including 500 seafarers, which is a fifth of its global staffage, managing director Mehul Bhatt told PTI.
He said the company has definite plans to grow the size of the organisation by 10 per cent over the next year based on achievement of milestones.
Welcoming the relaxation in the cabotage rules, which now makes it possible for a foreign-flagged vessel to ferry cargo between two domestic ports, he said the company is also in talks to cater to the demand.
“Certainly I would say that the talks are on,” he said, adding this will be a movement from oil refineries on the West coast to the East coast for consumption.
He, however, did not give a timeline by when it hopes for such a movement to start, but stressed that the fast clipping economic growth creates demand for such movement.
Bhatt said the company or its partners has the necessary types of vessels to cater to such a demand.
The company has been catering to the domestic market for the last eight years, typically ferrying in imported vegetable oils and taking out oil products from refineries.
In 2017, its vessels made 160 port calls in the country and India contributed up to 3 per cent of the company’s overall revenue, he said.
“We are a global company and we are using the Indian office to support our global operations,” he said, adding within a short while, the 150 employees in India now account for over a third of the office staff for the group globally.
The Copenhagen-headquartered company also has a presence in Singapore, the Philippines, Japan and the US.
The ongoing volatility in oil prices has not impacted business for the company, Bhatt said, attributing it to the nature of the commodity (oil) which is necessary for economic activity.
Following the sanctions against Iran, he said the company has decided to stay away from business with the Persian nation.