INDIAN shipping companies have posted post better operating profits and improved net earnings for the year to March, despite rising operating costs and fluctuating freight markets.
'The gross foreign exchange earnings during the year registered a record of 42.85 billion rupees [about HK$10.43 billion], against 42.85 billion rupees in 1992-93,' said L Pai, outgoing president of the Indian National Shipowners' Association (INSA).
'The net foreign exchange savings were significantly higher at 28.49 billion rupees, against 18.09 billion rupees in the previous year.' At the INSA annual general meeting in Bombay recently, Deepak Chowgule, joint managing director of Chowgule Steamships, was elected as 1994-95 president.
The new vice-president is S P Mohile, director of Shipping Corp of India.
During the year, the Indian fleet increased marginally, from 440 ships of 10.28 million deadweight tonnes (dwt), to 442 ships of 10.31 million dwt.
'With the addition of younger vessels and the deletion of older ships, the age profile for Indian ships has improved from 14 years to 13 years, against the world average of 17 years,' said Mr Pai.
He said INSA had reiterated the need to evaluate the relevance and role of Indian shipping in the national economy, it being one of the country's largest contributors of foreign exchange.