I greet you with the happy tidings that Gujarat Maritime University is all set to commence its journey into maritime studies from the Academic Year 2019-20. We have been deliberating on the challenges of diversifying into skill development and we have come to the conclusion that with Gujarat being a frontrunner maritime state in the country, development of human capital for the maritime sector is the need of the hour if India has to be recognized as a maritime nation globally. Talking about the port sector scenario in Gujarat, the State is not just blessed with the country’s long coastline, but we have been living and defending a rich maritime legacy. The 48 non-major ports regulated by Gujarat handles more than 30% of the total national cargo. We have the best in class port infrastructure in the State. Government of India has also taken proactive initiatives for development of the port sector. However, when it comes to maritime services, as a country, we have become a net importer of these services. Let me tell you why. Our focus till now has been more on creating world class ports and in the process, our country has established more than 130 institutes catering to maritime education. The concentration of the majority of these institutes, however, has been on technical education. Resultantly, the prospects of commercial education in this sector has remained largely unexplored unlike developed maritime countries.
This is where the Gujarat Maritime University will be a value differentiator. In the first phase, we plan to launch only commercial courses and later, in the second phase expand more and focus on the technical value chain. We are starting two post graduate courses, one in maritime law and the second in International Trade Law from this year from our transitory campus at Gujarat National Law University. We are also exploring possibilities of collaboration with global institutes of repute to start short term programs for working professionals and later expand into other areas of commercial maritime education in the first year of our launch.
I urge the youngsters to take advantage of these courses and explore the unlimited opportunities the maritime sector has to offer.