No one in this world can deny that Merchant Navy is the backbone of the world economy. In the absence of shipping, international trade, import and export of affordable food items and manufactured goods and the bulk transportation of raw materials would be impacted beyond measure. Merchant Navy is accountable for conducting almost 70% of world trade. Even imagining a world without merchant navy is beyond comprehension.
Ships are hi-tech, refined, high value holdings. And can cost over US $150 million to build. The ships and their operations are responsible for an approximate annual income of over US $380 billion in freight and cargo rates. This represents about 5% of the total global economy.
The global population of people employed on internationally operating merchant ships is guessed to be around 466,000 Officers and 721,000 ratings. Which means that merchant navy generates quite significant employment opportunities worldwide. Additionally, a career at sea pays much better than a career on shore and therefore, merchant navy further contributes to the global economy by increasing the purchasing power of those employed by it.
The Indian Merchant Navy was born in 1919 prior to independence from the British. Since independence the Indian maritime industry has developed. Today, India holds 15th rank in the world in terms of total Dead Weight Tonnage (DWT).
India & Philippines are major maritime labour supply countries. India at present supplies approximately 12.8% of officers to the world shipping industry. Additionally it also supplies around 14.5% of ratings. Many seafarers from these countries enjoy employment prospects on foreign vessels operated by International shipping companies.
Hence, it is correct to say that merchant navy is an industry whose contribution to the global economy as well as the Indian economy is considerable. Therefore, it should be respected by one and all.
Hence, saying that the merchant navy and its people are the backbone of the world economy is not incorrect. Rather it should be a fact recognised and appreciated by one and all – shipping industry is the backbone of the world economy. Without it the world will cease to exist as we know it.
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