Gujarat Maritime Cluster is India’s first services based maritime cluster project, conceptualized by Government of Gujarat in line with the vision of the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and is also accepted under the Sagarmala program of Ministry of Shipping. Gujarat Maritime Cluster is intended to be an agglomeration of firms, institutions, business and other industry players in the maritime / shipping sector, geographically located close to each other and thereby creating a positive synergy in their business activities.
Gujarat occupies the top position in the list of 21 states and UTs with most investment potential, according to a report by think-tank NCAER. Gujarat is amongst the leading states in crucial areas for ease of doing business like setting up a business, facilitation through single window system, land allotment, registering property, paying taxes amongst others.
Gujarat is gifted with more than 1600 Kms of coastline and equipped with highest number of operational and commercial cargo ports, and it contributes to about 40% of Indian maritime trade and 71% of cargo handled by non-major ports, enabled by proactive policies including ease of port privatization and adoption of integrated port led development model. Recognizing the potential of the State as a centre for the maritime industry, GMC has been formulated in Gujarat to realize the vision of setting up India’s first services based maritime cluster.
It is located in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) at Gandhinagar, the capital city of Gujarat State. The nearest urban centres to GMC are Gandhinagar (6 km) and Ahmedabad (12 km). GMC is located at a distance of just 12 km from Ahmedabad International Airport and is also accessible from National Highway 8. It is situated along the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC).
GMC being a services-based maritime cluster, access to port facilities would not affect its development. Landlocked countries like Luxembourg and Austria have demonstrated the non-dependency on sea access in developing world class maritime clusters. Moreover, all the major ports of Gujarat are within a 400 km radius from GMC, well connected through robust road infrastructure. Furthermore, GMC being the first of its kind in the country, will have the early mover advantage in establishing a service based maritime cluster.
Companies can be a part of multiple clusters across geographies. An entity could avail the benefits of GMC as per its eligibility.
The decision of shifting to GMC has to be considered in light of the various advantages of the project and incentives proposed, the long-term benefits accrued which might outweigh the investment already incurred by the participant elsewhere.
Moreover, GMC’s service offerings / benefits are not only limited to global networking opportunities to advertisements and tax rebates, but to also promote skill development, foster innovation and attract new technology.
GMC’s holistic approach envisages to help boost job creation and encourage youngsters in taking up Maritime as an enriching career option.
The entity and/or individual should be associated with maritime sector and/or trade. However, the final decision to accord membership lies with the GPIDCL / GMC management.
GMC Membership could be renewed annually by making the payment of prescribed rates online on its website or by visiting GPIDCL / GMC’s Administrative Office.
No entity will be eligible to be a participant of GMC or avail the associated benefits, unless the proposal is routed through GPIDCL / Gujarat Maritime Cluster.
GMC is not envisaged as a contiguous parcel of land. Entities setting up anywhere, based on their eligibility, within the geographical boundaries of GIFT City are eligible to be part of GMC.
GIFT City has three distinct physically demarcated sections: IFSC Zone, Services SEZ Zone and Domestic Tariff Area.
The IFSC zone is central to the city, with members requiring approval from SEBI / IRDA / RBI. IFSC members need to be either banks/Financial institutions including NBFCs or insurance providers. They can only carry out ‘offshore transactions’ from IFSC / GIFT city, thus negating the need for overseas ‘offshore’ offices.
The services SEZ zone is for any company that is providing services to overseas clients and has a net positive USD inflow. The development commissioner for Kandla SEZ also presides for GIFT SEZ for approvals.
The domestic section of GIFT city is for those dealing in local economy / currency and providing services to member companies in IFSC/SEZ or those who wish to avail the infrastructure which GIFT offers.
GIFT City has successfully attracted banks, financial institutions and other players from sectors like Insurance and Re-insurance companies in the IFSC zone. An overseas trading exchange managed by BSE and Alternative Investment Funds (AIF) have also developed in IFSC zone. Globally, AIF funds provide substantial capital to international shipping & commodity trading.
An IFSC is a jurisdiction that provides financial services to non-residents and residents, to the extent permissible under the current regulations, in any currency except Indian Rupee.
GIFT SEZ is the only place in India which is designated as International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).
The following entities can set up operation in IFSC
In IFSC, all the transactions should be in foreign currency (other than Rupee). However, IFSC units can carry out administrative and statutory expenses in Indian Rupees.
The maritime sector firms engaged in activities such as (but not limited to), Ship Owning, Ship Finance, Marine Insurance, etc. could set up operations in GIFT IFSC.
Competitive Tax Regime:
The following points describe the procedure to establish a unit in GIFT- IFSC:
GPIDCL / GMC will facilitate eligible participants in securing office space in GIFT IFSC.
The entities engaged in the following activities can be eligible to set up operation in GIFT SEZ
The maritime sector firms engaged in activities such as (but not limited to), Ship / Bunker Broking, Insurance Brokerage, Maritime Law Firms, Maritime Consultants, etc. could set up operations in GIFT SEZ.
The following points describe the procedure to establish a unit in GIFT- SEZ
GPIDCL / GMC will facilitate eligible participants in securing office space in GIFT SEZ.
Gujarat Maritime Cluster is conceived as a dedicated ecosystem of Ports, Maritime / Shipping and Logistics services providers along with pertinent Government Regulators, in the same geographic ensemble (GIFT City), leveraging on their proximity and improved access, thus enhancing the competitiveness and growth of the maritime sector.