The journey of shipping in India started on April 5, 1919 when the SS Loyalty began its voyage from Bombay to London. As for the country's first shipping company, it was founded on March 27, 2919 by four Gujarati businessmen, aiming to antagonize British interests and build India's own mercantile fleet.
Since 1964, India celebrates April 5 as National Maritime Day. Nonetheless, the country has 43 shipping companies, which own 1,401 ships overall. These ships have a total of 12.69 million gross tonnage as of December 2018, the Directorate General of Shipping reported.
These numbers are not considered as impressive, especially for a nation that has a 7,517 km coastline, shipping veteran Captain J C Anand believes. Mr. Anand ran the Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) for many years.
Mr. Anand added that India is low on maritime rankings, as it currently is '15 or 16 among the 20 countries'. He highlighted that even some small maritime nations have more tonnage than India has.