Norwegian Consul General offers to cater to Goa’s maritime needs

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PANAJI: Goa is a small state but it is of strategic importance in India’s maritime sector, said Ann Ollestad, Consul General of Norway in Mumbai.

The Consul General, who is in Goa on a three-day visit with a 22-member trade delegation to promote mutual business, said that Goa’s marine requirements in water transport, shipbuilding, port infrastructure and skilling can be supplied by Norway which is strong in ocean-based industries.

“Norway is looking to strengthen business ties with Goa because of its strategic position in the maritime sector. Your requirements match what we have to offer,” said Ollestad, soon after a meeting with the Chief Secretary Dharmesh Sharma on Monday.

Speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’, the Consul General said that Goa government has expressed interest in collaborating in skilling and logistics for Mopa airport and coastal shipping. She said that the trade delegation would be visiting Goa Shipyard Ltd, MPT, Captain of Ports and the Institute of Maritime Studies, Vasco.

Norwegian companies are keen to bid for Rs 32,000-crore worth MCMV project of Goa Shipyard Ltd, said the Consul General.  “We are not into combat vessels but are eager to bid for support services, including design and equipment supplies,” she said.

India is the second largest supplier of sea farers to Norway and significant percentage among them are Goans. The delegation will be visiting the Institute of Maritime Studies, Vasco, to check out the prospects of tie-up in training and apprenticeships.

“Skill development is very important in the maritime sector because it is an industry that is modernising very quickly. The current needs in the sector are of digital technology. Most of Indian seafarers are officers. They are educated and at high level but feel the need to upgrade skills. By participating in skilling of seafarers, we will provide employment and support the ‘Make in India’ programme of the government,” said the Consul General.

Besides skilling, the delegation will also look into furthering relationship in sea food exports and ocean waste management. Of the 22-member trade delegation, about 16 members are from Norwegian companies.

Officials accompanying the Consul General pointed out that there are several Norwegian companies in Goa. “Most of our presence is in services and undocumented but there are several Norwegian companies who are in India for decades,” the official pointed out.

The delegation during its meeting with the Chief Secretary presented a white paper on ‘The place of oceans in Norway’s foreign and development policy.’ Members of the delegation are planning to meet the Chief Minister on Wednesday.