Torm chief executive Jacob Meldgaard has met Indian prime minister Narendra Modi as part of a Danish trade delegation.

The chairman of shipowners’ organisation Danish Shipping was part of a mission to India aimed at emphasising Denmark’s close relationship.

Modi’s administration has come under pressure from western nations to take a stronger stance against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Instead, Indian charterers have been buying up Russian oil and products, changing tanker trading patterns.

Meldgaard called it an “honour” to meet the PM together with other Danish business leaders on Tuesday.

“It was a great honour to meet prime minister Modi as India is a very important partner for Danish shipping,” the Torm boss said.

“First and foremost because Danish shipping companies employ many skilled Indian seafarers who are indispensable to us. And moreover because India is a large export market and Danish ships have more than 4,000 port calls in India per year,” he added.

Meldgaard also said that during the Covid-19 pandemic, Denmark set up a hub for crew changes at Copenhagen Airport.

More than 4,000 seafarers used this and many of them were Indians, he explained.

“It was good way to give back something to a nation that means so much to Danish shipping,” the Danish Shipping chairman said.

Green commitment

“And I had the opportunity to thank PM Modi for India’s commitment to the zero-emissions shipping mission and emphasise the importance of the green strategic partnership between Denmark and India,” he added.

In addition to Indian seafarers, many Danish shipping companies have offices in India and therefore also many Indian land-based employees.

In 2021, Danish shipping companies exported more than DKK 16bn ($209.5m) of goods to India, which makes it Danish shipping’s third largest single export market.