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Shipping industry: Ready to take the next leap

Shipping industry:  Ready to take the next leap
Good days are here for the shipping industry with the Union government having an open door policy for the stakeholders, even as the country is heading to be No. 2 globally by 2030, and No. 1 by 2050, according to Deepak Shetty, Director-General of Shipping. Shetty was speaking at the inauguration of INMEX SMM India, South Asia’s largest maritime event, that was held in Mumbai for three days in September 2015 with over 200 exhibitors from India and abroad including France, UK, Norway, Denmark, Germany, China, Sultanate of Oman and Taiwan participating in the event. Norway and China have come again, while newcomers Taiwan, Denmark and France sought to tap into India’s burgeoning maritime sector.

“The Union government has an open door policy for stakeholders and, with this change in policy, all eyes are set on India. By 2030, India will be No. 2 globally in the shipping sector. If everything moves as per plan; no doubt, by 2050, India would emerge as the global No. 1,” Shetty said while addressing a conference on the vital Sagar Mala: India’s new strategic, customer-oriented ports initiative. Highlighting how Indian coastlines will be reinterpreted with more efficient and connected ports, and what opportunities to expect from the Sagar Mala project, he said: “Red-tapism has been removed in the shipping sector, thus enabling the stakeholders to get a one-time license and ensuring that they will not have to run to the DG office any more. Out of 67 rules, 14 have been repealed – thus making the trade smoother. In the coming six months, we are going completely online as well as it will enable the stakeholders to carry their work from their office itself, instead of running to our offices.”

“The Indian government’s Sagar Mala customer-oriented ports initiative is expected to interconnect the country’s coastal areas with road, rail and water – thus enabling movement of goods from one place to another at a rapid pace, while cutting down all costs drastically,” Shetty said, adding that this project will provide a further boost to the economy by connecting all coastal areas to the mainland.

Global maritime event organisers – Hamburg Messe and Informa Exhibitions – merged their largest shipping events into a single consolidated show, to host South Asia’s largest maritime exhibition in 
Mumbai, INMEX SMM India from September 23 to 25, 2015. INMEX SMM India received support from India’s apex shipping chamber – the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India, apart from other key government associations including the Indian National Ship owners Association, Shipyards Association of India and the Indian Register of Shipping. 

INMEX SMM India hosted a plethora of international country pavilions, with Norway and China returning again this year and newcomers Taiwan, Denmark, France and Germany hoping to tap into India’s burgeoning maritime sector. The event showcased over 600 exhibitors from 40 countries over a period of three days and had government-supported international pavilions at the show. A few Indian companies like Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd, Elcome Integrated Systems Pvt. Ltd, Marine Electricals (I) Pvt. Ltd, Larsen & Toubro, Man Diesel & Turbo India Ltd, Chowgule & Company Pvt Ltd among other big names were part of INMEX SMM India, 2015. As the industry’s meeting place, INMEX SMM India also hosted product launches from new players such as US-based American Chemical Technologies, Canadian firm Exact Earth and Rockwin Flowmeter from India, among others. The event also hosted a B2B programme across the three days to connect key buyers and sellers in a conducive environment for meaningful business transactions. The exhibition also featured technical services by the UK’s Hydrographic Office, which focused on navigational benefits of electronic chart display and information systems, and the Danish Marine Group who featured a Denmark seminar with Maersk Line on Environmental and Efficient Shipping.

“India’s maritime sector is set to grow to a size of $80 billion by 2020. The growing representation of companies looking to India for growth, and the large audiences from the maritime and shipping sector that attended INMEX 2015 only further prove that the industry is rapidly growing rather than remaining moribund,” said Anita Mathews, Director, INMEX SMM India. “Ministry of Shipping figures indicate that almost 95 per cent of India’s trade by volume – and 70 per cent by value – is conducted by sea and we have the largest merchant shipping fleet in the developing world. India is currently the 16th largest maritime country in the world with a coastline of about 7,517 kms. It is welcome news for the industry that the Government of India has announced massive investments in the country’s ports and roads sector, where plans are in place for development of 10 coastal economic regions to revive the country’s Sagarmala (String of Ports) project.”

“INMEX India has firmly established its position as the main platform for the maritime industry. SMMs reputation for their maritime shows in Hamburg, Istanbul and India precedes the brands itself. With these two giants combining forces, this trade show becomes the largest South Asia has seen till date not only in size but also in volume of exhibitors, international representation and visitors to the show. The strong brand of INMEX SMM India, coupled with strength of the Indian Economy, put the show in an unparalleled position for both exhibitors and visitors to meet their commercial objectives. This is the place they get to network with their peers and build solid business relationships. It is where the shipping industry congregates. Mumbai is also the shipping capital of India and exhibitors get to meet port authorities and other maritime professionals – all under one roof. With our understanding and knowledge of the Indian market and SMMs strong international reputation, we are confident that the collaboration of the events will be `welcomed by this industry.”

“We would like the government to take immediate steps to revitalise public sector shipyards by providing them greater financial support (like subsidies). Increased public transport and tourism through waterways will also promote shipbuilding,” said Anand Saraiya, general manager, Aries Technical Sales & Service Pvt Ltd, Mumbai. “The Indian marine industry is still recovering from a prolonged recession. The global meltdown of 2008, the Greek crisis, crash in crude oil prices, ban on mining etc all have exacerbated the slowdown. Three of India’s biggest shipyards going through CDR do not help either.. according to my understanding, smaller shipyards are now quoting prices just to win orders and keep their shipyards running. That affects companies such as us, who are trying to promote technologically-advanced equipments which normally demand a premium in the international markets.” “However, we see big opportunities in the defence market. Faster, stealthier boats is the order of the day. Gone are the days when we could patrol effectively with boats that do not go faster than 25 knots. One area that really looks interesting is inland waterways, which traditionally had problems of shallow draft, lack of infrastructure etc. we see a huge opportunity for hydraulic deck mounted propulsion there, which can effectively address most of the problems currently being experienced by vessel-owners,” Saraiya added.

“Due to the economic/shipping slowdown, shipbuilding has evolved to sustainable methods of construction and optimum designs for desired operations on coast,” noted J Dialani, Proprietor, Vijai Marine Services, Goa. “Also, each design is now being built to have multipurpose functions and jobs the vessel can cater to in logistics. For example, a landing craft is being designed and built by us to carry bulk cargo, passengers, bunker, containers, fore fighting for UAE coastal operations and it can render any of the services mentioned, in time of demand, in its area of operation. Lamenting the lack of human capital for the shipping industry, he said “Skilled manpower is limited, while the unskilled are unaware of shipbuilding/repairs and need to be trained. Casual labour cannot be used as they do not have any awareness on personal safety and being unpredictable in nature – are not reliable team members. The business landscape in India however looks promising as money is there. It is just that shipping is not the industry that seems to be the best sector for investment – keeping ROI in consideration.  
Dominick Rodrigues

Dominick Rodrigues

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