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Friday, July 23, 2021

Explained: India’s first maritime arbitration centre, coming up in Gandhinagar

This will be the first centre of its kind in the country that will manage arbitration and mediation proceedings with disputes related to the maritime and shipping sector.

Written by Avinash Nair , Edited by Explained Desk | Ahmedabad |
June 24, 2021 3:38:23 pm
Containers are unloaded at a port in India (Express Photo: Prashant Nadkar, File)

The Gujarat Maritime University signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Financial Services Centres Authority in GIFT City on June 21 to promote the Gujarat International Maritime Arbitration Centre (GIMAC).

This will be the first centre of its kind in the country that will manage arbitration and mediation proceedings with disputes related to the maritime and shipping sector.

Where is the GIMAC being set up?

The GIMAC will be part of a maritime cluster that the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) is setting up in GIFT City at Gandhinagar. The Maritime Board has rented about 10,000 square feet at GIFT House which is part of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) area with the clearance from the development commissioner.

The centre is expected to be ready by the end of August.

Why is such a centre needed?

There are over 35 arbitration centres in India. However, none of them exclusively deals with the maritime sector.

The arbitration involving Indian players is now heard at the Singapore Arbitration Centre. The idea is to create a world-class arbitration centre focused on maritime and shipping disputes that can help resolve commercial and financial conflicts between entities having operations in India.

Globally, London is the preferred centre for arbitration for the maritime and shipping sector.

“The maritime cluster consisting of ship leasing and brokering services is being set up with the intention of drawing back all the maritime and shipping business which is located offshore like Dubai and Singapore. Arbitration is an add-on maritime service which we are trying to provide within the Gujarat Maritime cluster that is being created within GIFT City.

“It is required because, for instance, the ship owners belong to a different country and the person leasing the ship is from another country. Any dispute arising between them can be resolved within this centre,” Avantika Singh, vice chairman and CEO of GMB, said.

What is the current status of the project?

The process of recruiting staff for the arbitration centre is currently underway.

A panel of arbitrators will also be selected in the next couple of months. A 10-member advisory board for GIMAC, consisting of international experts and professionals, has been created, which will help in the framing of rules for the arbitration centre and in empanelling arbitrators.

Prof S Shanthakumar, who is the director of Gujarat Maritime University, has been appointed director of GIMAC.

GMB has written to various global alternate dispute resolution centres, including the Hong Kong Maritime Arbitration Group, seeking foreign collaboration for setting up the GIMAC. No formal tie-up has happened so far.

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