New Delhi, Dec 30 (PTI) Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) has urged the government to set up a shipping regulator with a view to rationalise freight charges to boost products’ competitiveness and outbound shipments. Also Read - Monsoon Session Day 2: Lok Sabha Passes Essential Commodities Bill to Raise Farmer Income, Boost Agri Sector | Highlights

In a communication to the commerce and shipping ministries, the EEPC India has stated that reduction in ocean freight is important to increase competitiveness of engineering exporters in the global market. Also Read - International Flights: Air India Closes 5 Stations in Europe Over Losses Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

“Shipping companies are compelling domestic exporters to pay higher rates of exchange value for payment of ocean freights that in turn are making Indian exported products uncompetitive in the international market as prices for the same are going up,” EEPC India Executive Director Suranjan Gupta said. Also Read - 'Jammu And Kashmir to Reopen For Tourism Soon', Says J&K Administration

He said that the regulator can formulate guidelines with regard to exchange rate charged, and cap the prices so that exporting community is not at the mercy of shipping liners and freight forwarders.

A “shipping regulator” be formed so that competitive freight charges can be established in India, Gupta added.

The demand assumed significance as the sector contributes about 26 per cent in the country’s total merchandise exports.

Engineering exports were USD 76 billion in 2017-18 and is expected to touch USD 80 billion this fiscal on account of healthy growth in key markets, including the US and Europe.

During April-October 2018-19, these exports stood at USD 48 billion as against USD 43.11 billion in the same period previous fiscal.

Shipments to the US and Europe account for about 40 per cent of the total exports from the sector.

Since 2011-12, India’s overall exports have been hovering at around USD 300 billion. During 2017-18, the shipments grew by about 10 per cent to USD 303 billion.

Promoting exports helps a country to create jobs, boost manufacturing and earn more foreign exchange.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.