India’s maritime connectivity will strengthen with the Thai shipping line –Regional Container Lines (RCL) deciding to elevate its service, connecting major hubs in Southeast Asia, India and the Gulf countries.
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Port will now be a major part of the route for the shipping line, which originates from Cai Mep Port in Vietnam. It will then connect Laem Chabang in Thailand, Port Klang in Malaysia, Nhava Sheva in Mumbai, Jebel Ali just off Dubai, and Sohar in Oman besides the Saudi port. With this new trade lane, the economic activities in the entire stretch are expected to surge. However, the service will extend from the current 35 days to 42 days. At present, only one vessel is deployed by RCL in this trade lane, but there are plans to add more vessels to this route.
This route is beneficial for India, as it integrates more with the Southeast Asian countries as well as the Gulf. This trade lane connects India with both worlds and improves trade activities.
After India and the UAE agreed on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, India is likely to ink the proposed free trade agreement at the earliest with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Saudi Arabia and UAE are also part of the BRICS bloc next year and India is strengthening trade with these countries in its rupee.
Meanwhile, India and ASEAN have an FTA but both are keen to review the existing treaty to make it more effective for both.
India shares maritime borders with many countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Indonesia among other nations. Therefore, New Delhi wants to boost maritime transport facilities.