Exploring New Horizons: Minister Sonowal Takes Charge of Steering Maritime Sector’s Future at 19th MSDC Meeting | Mint

Maritime sector Exploring New Horizons: Minister Sonowal Takes Charge of Steering Maritime Sector
Exploring New Horizons: Minister Sonowal Takes Charge of Steering Maritime Sector’s Future at 19th MSDC Meeting | Mint

Exploring New Horizons: Minister Sonowal Takes Charge of Steering Maritime Sector’s Future at 19th MSDC Meeting


The maritime sector plays a crucial role in the global economy, facilitating international trade and transportation. In India, the sector has immense potential for growth and development. Recognizing this, Minister Sonowal recently took charge of steering the future of the maritime sector at the 19th Maritime State Development Council (MSDC) meeting. This article delves into the key discussions and decisions made during the meeting, highlighting Minister Sonowal’s vision for exploring new horizons in the maritime domain.

The Importance of the Maritime Sector

The maritime sector has always been a critical component of global trade, connecting nations and facilitating the movement of goods and services. With advancements in technology and increased globalization, the maritime sector has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years. India, with its extensive coastline and strategic geographical location, has the potential to emerge as a major maritime power.

India’s Maritime Potential

India’s vast coastline spanning over 7,500 kilometers provides a significant advantage for the development of the maritime sector. The country is home to 13 major ports and about 200 non-major ports, handling a substantial volume of cargo each year. With the government’s focus on port-led development and the Sagarmala initiative, India aims to harness its maritime potential to drive economic growth.

Minister Sonowal’s Vision for the Maritime Sector

Promoting Coastal Shipping

One of the key areas that Minister Sonowal highlighted during the 19th MSDC meeting is the promotion of coastal shipping. Coastal shipping refers to the transportation of goods and passengers between domestic ports along the coastline. It not only reduces dependency on road and rail transport but also provides a cost-effective and environment-friendly alternative.

Improving Infrastructure

To promote coastal shipping, the minister emphasized the need for improving infrastructure at ports and ensuring seamless connectivity with road and rail networks. This would enable efficient movement of goods and passengers, reducing logistics costs and enhancing overall trade competitiveness.

Enhancing Port Efficiency

Minister Sonowal identified port efficiency as a crucial factor in boosting the maritime sector. With increasing competition from neighboring countries, it becomes imperative for India to enhance its port operations and provide world-class facilities. This includes streamlining administrative processes, reducing turnaround time, and adopting digital technologies for efficient operations.

Investment in Technology

To enhance port efficiency, the minister stressed the importance of investing in technology and automation. This includes the adoption of smart port solutions, such as automated cargo handling systems, digitized documentation, and real-time tracking of shipments. These technological advancements would not only improve operational efficiency but also enhance the overall customer experience.

Key Discussions at the 19th MSDC Meeting

Maritime Skill Development

Recognizing the need for a skilled workforce in the maritime sector, Minister Sonowal emphasized the importance of maritime skill development. This includes providing adequate training and certification programs to equip individuals with the necessary skills for careers in the maritime industry.

Collaboration with Educational Institutions

To promote maritime skill development, the minister proposed greater collaboration between educational institutions and industry bodies. This would ensure that the curriculum caters to the evolving needs of the maritime sector and aligns with industry requirements. Additionally, it would provide students with hands-on training and practical exposure, making them job-ready upon graduation.

Promoting Maritime Tourism

Another area of discussion at the meeting was the promotion of maritime tourism. India’s rich maritime history and diverse coastal landscapes offer immense potential for attracting tourists. Minister Sonowal highlighted the need for developing tourist-friendly infrastructure, promoting coastal cruises, and leveraging digital platforms for marketing and promotion.

Heritage Conservation

In promoting maritime tourism, the minister emphasized the importance of heritage conservation. Preserving and showcasing historical maritime sites, such as lighthouses, shipbuilding yards, and sea forts, would not only attract tourists but also contribute to the nation’s cultural heritage.


Minister Sonowal’s appointment as the helm of the maritime sector at the 19th MSDC meeting marks the beginning of a new era. His vision for exploring new horizons and driving the growth of the maritime sector signals promising developments for India. Through a focus on promoting coastal shipping, enhancing port efficiency, and investing in maritime skill development and tourism, Minister Sonowal aims to position India as a global maritime powerhouse. With concerted efforts and strategic initiatives, the maritime sector has the potential to become a catalyst for economic growth and prosperity.


1. What is the Maritime State Development Council (MSDC)?

The Maritime State Development Council (MSDC) is a committee that oversees the development and regulation of the maritime sector in India. It comprises representatives from the central and state governments, as well as industry stakeholders. The council meets periodically to discuss and make decisions on various aspects related to the maritime sector.

2. What is coastal shipping?

Coastal shipping refers to the transportation of goods and passengers between domestic ports along the coastline. It is an important mode of transport that offers cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternatives to road and rail transport. Coastal shipping plays a significant role in reducing congestion on highways, promoting regional development, and enhancing trade connectivity.

3. How does maritime tourism contribute to the economy?

Maritime tourism, also known as nautical tourism, involves travel and leisure activities that take place on or near the water. It encompasses activities such as coastal cruises, water sports, beach tourism, and heritage exploration. Maritime tourism has the potential to attract both domestic and international tourists, contributing to local economies through tourist spending, job creation, and infrastructure development. It also helps in promoting cultural exchange and showcasing a country’s maritime heritage.[3]

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