Minister of State for Shipping (Independent Charge) Mr Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday e-launched the development of indigenous software solution for Vessel traffic Services (VTS) and Vessels Traffic Monitoring Systems (VTMS) in New Delhi.

In his inaugural address, Mr Mandaviya emphasised on the development of indigenous systems as per the requirement of the country instead of relying on high-cost foreign-made software solutions for traffic management at Indian ports.

He said that aligning with the vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ of Prime Minster Mr Narendra Modi, ‘Made in India’ VTS and VTMS software will pave the way for ‘Make for the World’ vessel traffic management systems.

VTS and VTMS are software that determine vessel positions, position of other traffic or meteorological hazard warnings, and extensive management of traffic within a port or waterway. Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) contribute to safety of life at sea, safety and efficiency of navigation, and protection of the marine environment, adjacent shore areas, work sites and offshore installations from possible adverse effects of maritime traffic. Vessels Traffic Management Systems are installed in some of the busiest waters in the world, and are making valuable contribution to safer navigation, more efficient traffic flow, and protection of the environment. Traffic flow in busy approach routes, access channels and harbours can be coordinated safely, in the best interest of port and its users. Incidents and emergency situations can be dealt with quickly. Data from traffic movements can be stored and used as reference information for port administration, port authorities, coast guards and search and rescue services, explained a release.

VTMS is mandatory under IMO Convention SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea). The VTMS traffic image is compiled and collected by means of advanced sensors such as radar, AIS, direction finding, CCTV and VHF or other cooperative systems and services. A modern VTMS integrates all of the information into a single-operator working environment for ease of use and in order to allow for effective traffic organisation and communication.  

Presently, India has approximately 15 VTS systems operational along the coast and there is no uniformity of VTS software as each system has its own software. With indigenous software development in progress, it will benefit the port sector, both in India and the region. It is expected that a prototype system will be developed in 10 months for testing and to operate as a parallel system until it is robust for day-to-day operations.

Development of indigenous VTS software will reduce foreign exchange expenditure and also minimise dependence on foreign support for VTS software. Some of its benefits are:

* Saving of foreign exchange for VTSs in India.

* VTS software can be provided to trade-friendly countries such as Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Gulf countries.

* Will minimise cost of future upgradation of software.

* Shall be easier to interconnect with MIS/ERP softwares of ports.

* Availability of Indian VTS software will make Indian companies competitive commercially in global bids.

* Implementation of National Maritime Domain Awareness programme of Indian Navy and NCVTS by DGLL, a real-time, interactive aid to the navigation system for coastal shipping, shall become feasible with Indian VTS software at low cost.  

The Ministry of Shipping has sanctioned an amount of Rs 10 crore to IIT, Chennai for development of indigenous VTS software, the release added.