Friday, February 28, 2014

Deltamarin designs world’s largest civilian hospital ship


Deltamarin, well-known service provider for shipping, shipbuilding, naval, marine and offshore industry worldwide, has announced a design contract awarded by China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) for the new 37,000 GRT (Gross Register Tonnage) hospital ship to be built for Mercy Ships at Tianjin Xingang Shipyard.

Deltamarin’s contract includes approval, procurement and detail design for the vessel, which will be the world’s largest civilian hospital ship, and the first of its kind in Deltamarin’s history. Deltamarin has earlier developed, for yard tendering purposes, the concept design of the vessel together with Stena RoRo, who will manage the actual construction of the hospital ship. The shipbuilding contract was successfully negotiated by shipbrokers Barry Rogliano Salles (BRS). The delivery of the ship is planned for July 2017.
Excited about this unique project, Director of Deltamarin’s Marine business, Mr Jarmo Valtonen, commented: “When developing the new vessel concept together with Stena and Mercy Ships, we have learnt a lot about the goals and visions of Mercy Ships, and it gives us great pleasure to be part of this very special project to help the underprivileged in the developing nations”.
The vessel will be certified as a passenger ship for long international voyages and will be registered under the flag of Malta with Lloyd’s Register classification. The main dimensions are 174 metres in overall length and 28.6 metres in breadth. The design service speed will be 12.0 knots. The vessel will have two hospital decks and can carry 500 persons on board when sailing; when in port, the capacity will be 950 persons. There will be a total of 641 beds in the 277 cabins. The vessel will even house a school for children of the staff.
The total value of this contract awarded to Deltamarin by CSIC is around 4.2 M€, and the work is to be carried out over an estimated period of 15 months. Deltamarin is a subsidiary to AVIC International Maritime Holdings Limited.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Steps on to tide over sea-time crisis: DGS


Mr. Gautam Chatterjee, Director General of Shipping, has announced that necessary steps are taken to tide over the sea-time shortage for trainees. In his address at the Shipping, Marine and Ports International Conference 2014, organised by Chemtech in Mumbai, he said that the Government, stakeholders and Maritime Training Institutes are coming together to resolve the issue.
Former Director General and Secretary of Shipping M. P. Pinto rued that scores of seminars and conferences are being held and reams of reports have been churned out, but the share of coastal shipping in the multi-modal transportation is not as impressive as it should be. There are benefits galore in promoting coastal shipping including environmental and economic takeaways that surprisingly prompt one to pose the question why the sector that promises on all accounts needs to be pampered with tax breaks to make deep inroads.

Presumably, the ‘why subsidy’ poser may not go well down with the shipping fraternity and “my friends in the shipping industry may even dub me as anti-coastal”, but one needs to address the fundamental fault lines in the land legs that connect with sea legs. Land legs are shorter than sea legs and the rub lies in evacuating cargo via land legs to the port to be apparently handled by the coastal vessel. Much of the problem of congestion in the land legs is also due to dispersal of Container Freight Stations away from port locations, he said.

What would catalyze the coastal shipping growth is replicating the European Marcopolo model of development in setting apart certain percentage of cargo to be transported by coastal shipping. The cargo volume can be incrementally expanded year-on-year in a phased manner till it reaches the desired levels on par with rail and road. Of course there would be customs problem, berth issues and dedicated barge problems that could be overcome with persistence, he added.
The other major contentions are tax treatment to seafarers sailing coastal vessels and allocation of capital on par with road and rail. The quantum of budgetary allocation in developing road and rail infrastructure is sadly not extended towards the development of 7, 517 km of coast. No tax to foreign-going sailors and tax applicability to coastal shipping sailors are brazenly biased and there should be a waiver of IT to inland vessel staff too, he opined.

Mr. Pinto also demurred the drawing of comparison between Singapore ports and Indian ports. One often hears that Singapore ports have 7-8 hours Turn Around Time (TAT) vis-à-vis 62 hours of Indian ports. The Singapore port as common standard of reference cannot be made with all the 13 Major Ports in the country.
Say for instance, Mumbai Port cannot handle large vessels obviating the need for RMQCs where comparison of crane movements is untenable.

Similarly, comparison cannot be made on New Mangalore Port that handles less than 50, 000 TEUs  objectively not in need of modern equipment that are deemed unwarranted at the current point of time. The proper comparison would be matching of Singapore ports efficiency with terminals in JNPT, Vallarpadam, Mundra terminals, DP World, Pipavav Port, etc.

Logistics cost a daunting challenge

Quite against the global benchmark of 8.5%, the Indian logistic cost is calculated to be at 13.5% of the country’s GDP.  
The tertiary sector or the service sector that comprise 60% of GDP does not avail the logistics sector, where as the cost arises mostly from the secondary sector that currently contributes around 20% to the GDP. The multimodal logistic bottleneck challenges and cost are set to mount when the secondary sector or the industrial sector gallops to 35% to 40% of GDP.

Mr. Eivind S Homme, Ambassador, Norwegian Embassy, underscored the win-win cooperation between India and Norway in the maritime sector especially in research and innovation. He divulged how Norwegian machinery and parts are used in the Indian shipping sector besides Norwegian ship owners employing close to 6, 000 Indian shipping staff.

Capt. J. C. Anand, Chairman Emeritus, Indian Register of Shipping, highlighted the plight of Indian Maritime University students with no sea time. Mr. Noboru Ueda, Chairman and President, Class NK, underlined the potential of classification services business in India. Mr. M. V. Ramamurthy, President (Shipping), Reliance Industries Ltd., summed up the session and reiterated on the various projects and technological innovations in the maritime industry.
Earlier, Mr. Maulik Jasubhai, Group Chief Executive, Chemtech Foundation, delivered the welcome address.  Mr. Navpreet Singh, Joint Managing Director, Dolphin Offshore Enterprises (India) Ltd., proposed a vote of thanks.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway gets HC green signal


Giving the much awaited relief to the Chennai Port management, the Madras High Court on Feb. 20 gave its nod to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to restart the 19-km long Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway project, which was stalled by the Tamil Nadu Government’s Public Works Department (PWD) for almost two years.

Setting aside the orders of the PWD, which had in March 2012 asked the NHAI to suspend the work immediately as it did not approve the alignment of the elevated structure along the Cooum River, a Division Bench comprising Justices N. Paul Vasanthakumar and P. Devadass  in High Court directed the State Government and all the contesting respondents to extend full co-operation for continuance of the project which has been already commenced after obtaining proper clearance from Coastal Regulatory Zone Authority.

Furthermore, the Bench also directed the PWD to co-ordinate and monitor free flow of water of Cooum River along with authorities. The State authorities should work in tandem with NHAI for the completion of the project, the order further said.
HC observed: “From the narration of the facts as well as study of the Project, no one can deny that the Elevated Expressway from Chennai Port to Maduravoyal is an imminent necessity and the decision was mooted during 2004-2005. The need for decongestion of traffic and to create alternate connectivity, the Elevated Expressway is required in order to mitigate the traffic congestion and for the movement of containers to the port. Therefore, a decision to have an Elevated Expressway from Maduravoyal to Chennai Port at a distance of 19 km was conceived and accepted as a viable project by the Central Government and State Government at the instance of the Chennai Port Trust in consultation with NHAI, which is an expert body.”


The Government of India, Department of Road Transport and Highways accorded approval for implementation of the project on Build Operate Transfer (Toll) basis under Phase VII of the National Highways Development Project, out of which 40% of the project cost will be borne by the Central Government.
Based on the decision, NHAI invited bids and after evaluation, the proposal of M/s. Soma Enterprise Ltd., Hyderabad, was accepted by NHAI. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs also accorded approval for the project on Dec. 26, 2008. Letter of acceptance was also issued to the said agency on Jan 6, 2009 and thereafter the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, laid the foundation stone for the project on Jan. 8, 2009 near Maduravoyal.

Concession Agreement with M/s.Chennai Elevated Tollway Ltd. was also made on May 18, 2009 with a concession period of 15 years, including the construction period of three years.
Prior to the commencement of the work in Section-I (along river Cooum), Project Director, NHAI, in his letter dated Oct. 16, 2009 requested the Chief Engineer, PWD, to accord “Enter Upon Permission” for the stretch from Napier Bridge to Koyambedu along Cooum River for the project, duly enclosing the copy of the alignment drawings, right of way details.

Having satisfied with the project alignment along the Cooum River, the Executive Engineer, Water Resources Department, Araniyar Basin Division, Chennai, accorded permission on Nov. 12, 2009.
Meanwhile, the concessionaire commenced the work in Section-II at Koyambedu on Sept. 14, 2010 and Section-I work could not be commenced (then) because of non-receipt of Coastal Regulatory Zone Clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forest for the stretch from Nappier Bridge to Chetpet Bridge. After getting CRZ clearance on Feb. 25, 2011, Section-I work along the Cooum River was commenced and work to the value of Rs.500-crore was completed up to March 29, 2012.


At this stage, on Feb. 1, 2012 the Chief Engineer, PWD, issued stop work order in Cooum River until further orders, for which a reply was given by the Ministry of Road Transport, Highways, to the Chief Secretary of the Government of Tamil Nadu on March 7, 2012 and requested to convene a high-level committee meeting to sort out the issues on priority basis in the larger interest of the State and the nation.  
However, no high-level committee meeting was convened and the Chief Engineer again passed an order on March 29, 2012 directing to seek approval for alignment of Cooum River and until such time, all the construction activities in Cooum River should be stopped.


The said order dated March 29, 2012 was challenged in the Madras High Court via a writ petition and the matter was entertained by the court with a direction to the State Government and all the respondents, to file their counter affidavits.
During pendency of a writ, the Project Director, NHAI, by his letter dated April 2, 2012 gave a reply and requested to allow the concessionaire to carry out the work as there is no violation in the condition stipulated and also explained the necessity for early completion of the project and also requested to convene the high-level committee meeting.

As there was no response, the Secretary, Road Transport Department, along with Finance Member, NHAI, came to Chennai on Nov. 24, 2012 for a discussion with the Chief Secretary and during the said discussion it was suggested by the Chief Secretary that NHAI may explain all the facts to PWD along with technical justification and the alignments.

Accordingly an Independent Consultant Study Report regarding alignment etc. was obtained regarding free flow along River Cooum for ensuring maximum discharge of 25, 000 cusecs and the said report was submitted on July 16 (before the PWD) and requested to withdraw the stop work order to resume the work.
Since no action being taken, the issue was again taken up with the highest level viz., the Prime Minister of India. Consequently, the Advisor to the Prime Minister came to Chennai and met the Chief Secretary on Nov. 9, 2012 and requested to convene a meeting with technical experts of NHAI and officials of the Government of Tamil Nadu and after about six months the Chief Engineer, PWD, passed an order on Jan. 28, 2013 directing the Chief General Manager (Technical), Regional Office, NHAI, to obtain necessary permission from the Government of Tamil Nadu after fulfilling corrective measures pointed out and to get revised clearance of CRZ.

Irked over the latest action, the said order was challenged by the NHAI in High Court and told the judges that all the apprehensions expressed by the Chief Engineer were clarified and also reiterated that the Government of Tamil Nadu had earlier assured full support for implementation of the project in the past.


According to EXIM fraternity in the region, the HC order gives the Chennai Port management an immense relief as the facility was facing huge problem in supporting movement of containers and other heavy cargo vehicles round-the-clock to and from the port.
“If the project is restarted and completed as per the court order, it would help the Chennai Port to regain its position of being an important port in East Coast with regular mainline services to different parts of the world,” a leading EXIM player told Sagar Sandesh.

Overwhelming response to Ennore Port’s Rs. 500-cr. Bond


With the view to smoothening execution of its ambitious expansion plans, Ennore Port, country’s only Corporate Major Port controlled by the Union Government and located in Tamil Nadu, hit the market with a tax-free bond issue of face value Rs 1, 000 each to raise up to Rs. 500 crores.
“Within two days since the offer has began Ennore Port has pooled in about Rs. 200 crores and we are hopeful that we could touch the total expectation before the deadline – March 14,” a senior port official told Sagar Sandesh.
According to official sources, the port is offering a coupon rate of 8.36% p.a. for 10 years, 8.75% p.a. for 15 years and 8.75% p.a for 20 years for Qualified institutional buyers, corporate and high networth Individuals.
For retail individual investors, the coupon rate would be 8.61% p.a. for 10 years and 9% p.a. for 15-20 years, an official of the port added.
The funds raised through this issue will primarily be used for capital dredging projects, augmenting rail and road connectivity to the port and construction of third coal berth for captive use of Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd (TANGEDCO).
It may be worth recalled here that the port plans to double its capacity to 65 million tonnes over the next few years. As a next plan to achieve the capacity augmentation project, the port has decided to award the last of the four expansion projects, envisaging an investment of Rs. 150 crores to build three million tonne per annum multi-cargo berth, to the lone bidder by the end of February.
According to Mr. M. A. Bhaskarachar, CMD of Ennore Port, it has a capacity to do 30 mt at present and has well-analyzed projects to add 35 mt more in the next few years.

UPDATE: Rs. 210 crores as on Feb 21, 2014 / 10.45 am

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

DP World Chennai hosts launch of direct service


Mr.T Johnson, MD, Greenways Shipping Agency Pvt.Ltd. Capt.Arul Lawrance, Chairman, CHENSAA, Mr.P S Krishnan, President, CCHAA, Mr.Ennarasu Karunesan, Director & CEO., D P World, Chennai, Mr.Atulya Misra, IAS. Chairman, Chennai Port Trust and Mr.N Vaiyapuri, Traffic Manager, Chennai Port Trust (L to R), during the launch of service in Chennai.

DP World Chennai has hosted the launch of Simatech Shipping L.L.C’s Chennai Colombo Gulf service (CCG Service) which will link South & East India to Arabian Gulf & East Africa trans-shipping at Jebel Ali. The service commenced on Feb. 14 with MV Sima Perfect making the maiden call.
The CCG service is a milestone for both DP World Chennai & Simatech Shipping. This service is a unique service to Gulf.
Simatech owns and operates three vessels namely Sima Perfect, Sima Prestige and Sima Sapphire by offering a weekly fixed sailing from Chennai. The weekly service will be calling Chennai every Friday and sailing out on Saturday.
On the inaugural service, Sima Perfect carried export boxes to Colombo & Jebel Ali. The major commodities carried by this service comprise garments, granite, food-stuff, seafood and general cargo.
The new service will have a direct, dedicated and fast coverage from Chennai to Arabian Gulf. The CCG service will deploy 3 x 1200 TEU capacity vessels and operate with the following port rotation: Chennai – Colombo – Cochin – Jebel Ali – Cochin – Colombo – Chennai.

This service also offers an efficient and fast feeder link via Jebel Ali into the entire Arabian Gulf region and China, Bangladesh and Pakistan via Colombo. Customers in Arabian Gulf have a reliable connection for importing fruit pulp, minerals, granite products, garments and general cargo and for East African customers automobiles, pharma goods and chemicals. 
On the return leg chemicals, scrap and boards from Gulf region and from East Africa groundnuts, coffee and machinery spares would be carried.
To commemorate the launch of this service, a function was held on board the vessel. The function was graced by Mr. Atulya Misra, Chairman, Chennai Port Trust; Mr. Ennarasu Karunesan, CEO & Director, DP World Chennai; Mr. T. Johnson, Managing Director, Greenways Shipping (Agents for Simatech Shipping LLC); Capt. Arul Lawrance, Chairman, the Chennai and Ennore Ports Steamer Agent’s Association; Mr. P. S. Krishnan, President, Chennai Custom House Agent’s Association; Mr. N. Vaiyapuri, Traffic Manager, Chennai Port; officials from Greenways Shipping and the DP World Chennai team.

The customary plaque exchange was carried out during the function. Mr. Atulya Misra greeted the master of the vessel, officials of DP World Chennai and Greenways Shipping. The Chennai Port would extend all the required support, he said and added that with the expected revival of economic scenario in India we can look forward to much more activity and additional services.
Capt. Anil Singh, Senior VP & Managing Director, DP World Indian Sub-continent, declared that it is a great pride for the CCT team to herald the new service being launched and would complement the existing product portfolio being offered to the EXIM trade.
Mr. Ennarasu Karunesan thanked Simatech Shipping and Greenways Shipping for having reposed faith and confidence in the services offered by DP World Chennai by calling this service at CCT. He further assured global productivity benchmarks will be matched in servicing this new product consistent with DP World’s philosophy of being the leader amongst terminal operators.
Mr. Mike Hilton, General Manager, Sima Marine, stated that the volume of trade between South India and Gulf countries is ever increasing and this service will create synergy between the two countries’ EXIM trade through direct link with the reduced transaction time.
Mr. T. Johnson, Managing Director, Greenways Shipping Agency Pvt. Ltd. said: “With the continued evolution of the shipping industry in the region and the consistent demand for reliable service products this new service would suitably address customer needs in the Indo – Gulf region.” This is a unique service and we hope that it would help the regional EXIM fraternity to a great extent in reaching out to the Middle East counterparts, he told Sagar Sandesh.

Capt. Arul Lawrance, Chairman, CHENSAA, complimented Chennai Port Trust, DP World, Simatech and Greenways Shipping for the continued growth of EXIM trade and adding ever more services to call at Chennai.
Mr. P. S. Krishnan expressed his delight on board the maiden visit of Sima Perfect, and sought the support of all attendees to bring more services for the EXIM Trade. DP World Chennai thanked all the stakeholders for their unstinted support which has enabled them to attract such direct services. “This will enhance the position of Chennai on the EXIM trade map”, said a Media statement from CCT.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Poor show by Major Ports causes concern


The Union Shipping Secretary, Dr. Vishwapati Trivedi, has expressed concern over the sluggish performance by the Major Ports of the country in the past two years, while attributing the slowdown to global recession, which has affected world trade as a whole.

“The Shipping Ministry has prepared a vision document for 2020 which is also called ‘Maritime Agenda’. It provides a benchmark on what we need to do,” he said, while attending the inaugural session of Portlore-2014, an event on ports, logistics and resources, here on Feb. 15.
The Secretary lauded the State Government for being proactive in terms of ensuring better connectivity for ports, while observing that his Ministry has benefitted in terms of decision making.
Stressing on the need to expedite waterways projects in the State, Dr. Trivedi stated: “I am sure the NW-5 (Brahmani, Paradip and Dhamra) will start operations soon”. Highlighting the potential of coastal traffic, he added that the Central Government is keen to develop the sector. He appreciated Paradip Port Trust (PPT), saying it has done a great job to resolve logistics issues with the help of railways. 
In spite of sluggish performance by the Major Ports of India, PPT has done exceedingly well in all aspects”, he stated.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Secretary Jugal Kishore Mohapatra said that the State Government has offered un-stinted support to the Inland Waterways Authority of India to develop inland waterways.
”The State Government can go beyond the conventional role it plays to support projects,” he noted. Observing that the port sector witnessed some growth only after the economy of the country was liberalised in the 90s, he observed: “Trade is expanding globally and India is expanding through focus on trade as an instrument and driver of growth. So both these aspects need to be focussed upon to ensure development of ports and logistics.”
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman S. S. Mishra highlighted the performances and achievements of Paradip Port. “Paradip port, the only Major Port of Odisha, has its own successful dream run in the recent past. Among all the Major Ports of India, PPT ranked second position with a growth rate of more than 21 per cent and we have broken all our own records as on date, we are 59 million tonne in terms of cargo handling. The last record was 57.1 million tonne in 2008-09,” he said.
Mr. Mishra exuded confidence that PPT will not only achieve the 63 MT target but also cross it by at least 2 MT with the guidance of the Union Shipping Ministry and support of the State Government. 
”We have surplus capacity, that is why, unlike other ports, we fundamentally believe that supply must change the demand but demand must not change the supply. Considering the bottlenecks in the infrastructure sector, we are further going ahead with various projects,” he added.
Mr. Amitabh Verma, Chairman, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI); Mr. Santosh Kumar Mohapatra, CEO, Dhamra Port; Mr. V. C. Sati, General Manager, IOCL Project at Paradip; Mr. G. Mohanty, President, Seafood Exporters Association of India: Mr. Dilip Samantray, Managing Director, Angul-Sukinda Railways Limited; Mr. S. Dandpat, IWAI; Mr. P. K. Srivastav, IWAI; Mr. Jayant Lapsia, Chairman, All India Liquid Bulk Import and Export Association: Mr. B. Mishra, Chairman Bait Logistics; Capt. K. K. Chanda; Dr. Subrat K Behera, Senior Research Analyst, Drewry, and Mr. Omkar Mohanty, former Vice-chancellor, BPUT, also participated.

At Arctic archipelago, the heat is on


The average temperature at Svalbard is so far this year almost 15 degrees above normal.

By Atle Staalesen
February 14, 2014

Usually, February is a freezing month at the far Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. But this year is different. Over the last 30 days, the average temperature has been only 1,6 degrees Celsius, almost 15 degrees above normal.

Normally, the average February temperature at Svalbard is minus 16,2 degrees.
“We are talking about temperatures and temperature variations, which we normally never encounter”, Trond Lien from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute says to NRK. The reason for the abnormal temperatures is a long-lasting low pressure over the southern parts of the Norwegian Sea and the Northern parts of the Atlantic.
As previously reported by Barents Observer, there have over the last years been several cases of extreme weather changes at Svalbard. On the 30th January 2012 , the town of Ny-Ålesund got an unprecedented 116 mm of rains, while the average temperature for the month was as much as 11,9 degrees above normal.
Researchers conclude that key parts of the Arctic is facing more rains and warmer temperatures.

Svalbard is experiencing extreme temperature changes (Photo: Thomas Nilsen)

The changes are affecting wildlife in the area. Along with the temperature increase, the number of reindeers at the archipelago has almost doubled. Since 1994, the average temperature at Longyerbyen, the local administrative center, has increased by 2 degrees.
The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations forecasts an average temperature rise in the Arctic of around 7 degrees this century. The ministry warns of potential dramatic natural disasters caused by global warming in Russia’s northern territories. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Globalisation & Shipping – a critical analysis

Master Mariner

Transportation is said to be the fourth cornerstone of globalization along with telecommunication, trade liberalisation and international standardisation. In transportation, it is the maritime transport that dominates this sector with 80% of share by volume. Matter of fact, the growth rate of world trade and consequently the seaborne trade is exceeding the growth rate of world GDP. It stands to reason that it is the reducing cost of marine transportation that facilitates growth of trade thereby contributing positively to the growth of economy.

The efficient port operations, economies of scale achieved on size of ships and importantly the economic advantages drawn out of globalisation have all contributed to this lowering of cost.

Shipping is today an integrated constituent of global supply chains, so marine transportation is constantly under pressure to contribute to its nuances of cost, time compression, reliability, standardisation, just-in-time delivery, information system support, flexibility, customization, etc.

However, it also needs to be noted that maritime transport is a safety-critical industry. Hence concerns for human safety and environmentally safe operations co-exist with service quality that includes operations and management efficiency. Shipping produces its service with the ship as its core constituent unit that operates geographically remotely and in a high risk environment and the unknown – out of sight – seafarer lies at the heart of it.

The phenomenon of globalisation

Extant literature is rife with arguments that globalisation is a form of capitalist expansion that entails the integration of local and national economies into a global, unregulated market. Although economic in its structure, globalisation is equally a political phenomenon, shaped by negotiations and interactions between institutions of transnational capital, nation states and international institutions. Its main driving forces are institutions of global capitalism, but it also needs the firm hand of States to create enabling environments for it to take root.

Globalisation is always accompanied by liberal democracy, which facilitates the establishment of a neo-liberal state and policies that permit globalisation to flourish. Contrary to the development theories that conceived development as ‘national development’, present notions underlying neo-liberal economic development being pushed through globalisation re-conceives development as global competitiveness within the global market place.

The neo-liberal freedom as a concept gets tied down to free markets where people are free so long as they submit to the dictates of deregulated free markets.  Significantly, the race to the bottom hypothesis argues that states in their competition to attract mobile capital must converge to the lowest common denominator.

Economic globalisation thus underpins the state-capital-labour relationship. The increasing dependence of national economies on the global economic flow of investments sees financial capital play off one territorial jurisdiction against another to gain optimum return including labour that is cheaper, more flexible and more easily subjected to hard work.

As nations compete amongst themselves the content of their labour laws are watered down to the detriment of their workers including those that protect their rights. Even ILO has conceded that while there is improvement in global production systems, globalisation has impacted work and worker relations, compromising the observance of core labour standards.

A growing amount of literature on social dimensions of globalization shows that many are wary of the so-called benefits of globalisation. Labour fortunes are undermined by an ideological discourse that upholds profit as a sign of efficiency that will generate the required levels of productivity to sustain economic growth for national development. To succumb to labour demands or interests would render an economy inefficient and directed towards failure, thus making out labour ‘standing in the way’ of national progress if it insists that its interests should be considered.

In this way, while globalisation is about removing State restrictions on capital, it seeks also to control labour by making believe that social protection and job security are uneconomic and inimical to economic growth. Such economic policies that purport to separate efficiency issues from equity treat labour as a commodity and runs counter to the interest of workers.

‘Labour market flexibility’ and ‘capital market flexibility’ appear as symmetric policies but they have very asymmetric consequences – and both serve to enhance the welfare of capital at the expense of workers.

Globalisation & Shipping

The maritime business is no exception to these pervasive forces of globalisation. The extra-ordinary element for the shipping industry is the fact that the law of the seas is grounded in the notions of freedom of the seas with underlying principles of navigation of the oceans freely, a ship’s national State having exclusive dominion over that ship and no other nation can exercise dominion over that ship.
The Flag of Convenience (FoC) phenomenon and later mimicked by the international registries that is encouraged in such an environment shows the veracity of de-regulation of the marine industry. This conforms to the notion of globalisation theory put forth earlier and explains the minimalistic attitude adopted by the industry regulators.

The fact that an international regulation is enacted upon a nation by nation basis which remains keen to make its States an attractive choice as regulators, the sovereign privilege creates an unregulated environment where capital is free to act as it pleases.

The ‘low road’ globalisation of employment relations is in sharp contrast to what was historically an icon of national identity involving citizen employer and citizen seafarer. The appeal of ‘open registers’ to ship owners lay in the offer of low wages, lower taxes and less rigorous regulatory environment unlike traditional national fleets.

There is widespread laissez-faire approach which has resulted in significant restructuring of its labour market to the detriment of the seafarer where ineffective regulatory infrastructure, weak employment practices, the absence of trade union support and lack of organisational trust in the shipping context manifest deeper sociological issues and organisational weaknesses in the shipping industry.

Contractual appointments, fluid labour markets and high crew turnover result in lack of commitment by a transient workforce in as much as employers being indifferent to them. With the special conditions of seafarers’ occupation and employment relations the seafarers consider the agent or the third party manager who intervenes to secure his employment as employer rather than the principal that employs him.

Ship management companies engage the services of specialist crewing agents who offer competitive services by engaging labour from the new labour supply countries and intensify their use through reduced crewing levels and extended working hours afforded by registering vessels under FoCs associated with lower regulatory cost, weak labour rights and lower wage levels.

Today the world’s largest fleets are attached to FoCs and over the last 25 years, 80% of the world merchant fleet has been manned with multicultural crew, i.e. one ship having crew from different countries and different cultural backgrounds thus throwing up its own challenges.

Under the influence of forces of globalisation the industry structure becomes fragmented giving rise to ‘split incentives’. It is seen that in the international shipping environment there are myriad of actors in a common enterprise. This starts with the ship owner himself who has become a mere asset player. This creates failures and barriers in its holistic and well founded development of the industry.

In summation, while the seafarers’ commitment to the industry remains unequivocal, the economic short-sightedness of the split-incentivised industry is seen to totally ignore him, when he is the keystone to the industry and on whose performance the fortunes of all hinge.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

New Land Policy comes as a breather for Chennai Port


The new Land Policy unveiled by the Shipping Ministry could bring the much needed relief to the Chennai Port, which was struggling with its idle plots after the Madras High Court banned handling of dusty cargoes like coal and iron ore here, Port Trust Chairman Atulya Misra has said.

Speaking to reporters after explaining about the advantages of the Shipping Ministry’s new policy on land utilization here, he said: “The new policy guidelines provide us a great opportunity to make up the losses incurred after High Court-effected ban on handling of coal and iron ore in 2011. After the court order, both the plots remain vacant and not generating the revenue it had generated over the years.”

With the new land utilization policy in place now, Chennai Port can go for a long term lease of those idle plots (iron ore and coal yards) and if we succeed in getting a best offer in the process, it would help us make up the Rs. 150 to Rs. 200-crore loss incurred due to ban on handling dusty cargo, Mr. Misra told reporters.

It may be noted here that the new policy brings in a transparent mechanism for leasing and licensing of land in possession of Major Ports (operated by the Ministry of Shipping) inside the Custom bonded area for short term licences (from the existing 11-month period up to five years now) and outside the Custom bonded area on long term leases for a maximum of 30 years.

“For any investor, who wanted to pump in a huge sum to develop infrastructure facilities at the plot he was allotted by the port management for handling cargo, the 11-month period brought uncertainty on renewal of lease and hence it proved detrimental in convincing the investor. Under the new policy, the period of five years would definitely help the investor as the plot has to remain under his custody for a longer period,” Mr. Atulya Misra added.

Mr. Misra stated: “With the approval of the Union Cabinet, a major hurdle that prevented the growth of Major Ports has been removed. Till recently, Major Ports were not permitted to allot lands on long term leases, whereas the minor ports (across the country) were not having such problems. The new policy would enable us to become competitive. Even those who do not have exposure to port activities can take part in port projects.”

Mr. M. A. Bhaskarachar, CMD, Ennore Port, said that the new land policy would also help the port in a great way. “Though most of our existing land has been allocated for different players already, the new policy would come as handy when we acquire about 735 acres of land from the Salt Department for expansion activities in future.”

Besides HoDs of the Chennai Port Trust, Mr. P. C. Parida, Deputy Chairman, Chennai Port Trust, attended the event and made a presentation to Media persons on the new land policy.

Chennai hosts Customs Preventive Service Federation conference

(From Left) Mr.D Srinivas - President(CCPSA), Mr.Venugopal Nair - President(AICPSF), Mr.S Ramesh - Chief Commissioner of Customs, Mr.Sanjay Kumar Agarwal - Commissioner of Customs(Air Cargo & Airports), Ms.Jane K Nanthaniel - Commissioner of Customs(Imports), Mr.Mayank Kumar - Commissioner of Customs(Exports) and Mr.I B Mishra - General Sectary(AICPSF) during the meeting.

The All India Customs Preventive Service Federation, which is the apex organization representing the Preventive Officers and Superintendents of Customs of Kolkata, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Cochin, Goa and Mumbai organised its 43rd Annual General conference for two days in Chennai from Jan. 24.

According to official sources, the main focus area at the meeting was the proposed restructuring of the cadre departments and detailed deliberation on issues relating to the welfare of the officers and evolving a consensus approach to the future challenges.

Inaugurating the conference, Mr. S. Ramesh, Chief Commissioner of Customs, Chennai Customs Zone, said: “When I joined in 1981, this was a much admired profession. The Customs was a highly sought after posting and we had achieved so much that several movies were made portraying some of our success stories.”

Mr. Ramesh stated: “The Customs Preventive Wing is the face of the department and your job is critical. I hope you will carry on your stellar performance. I do accept there are several issues that the department faces and we are taking this up seriously.

According to a Media statement, some of the major issues that were discussed in the conference include stagnation in promotions, shortage of man power and suitable pay package for the officers and removal anomalies by the 7th Central Pay Commission.

It may be noted here that the Federation has been battling the issue of acute stagnation in the promotion to the grade of Assistant Commissioners from the Superintendents for the past more than two decades. The officers with more than 35 years of service are yet to get their second promotion. By raking up the issue at the meet, the Federation expects the Government of India (Ministry of Finance) to find a lasting solution to the problem.

Besides, shortage of man power is another issue which is haunting the organization, as the officers are put under unreasonable work pressure which is affecting their health as also the efficiency of the department. Every officer is made to work extra hours on a day-to-day basis.

Cadre restructuring is underway in the department and we look forward to the Central Board of Excise and Customs to allot adequate manpower to the field formations and re-organise them in such a way that the manpower is utilized to its optimal potential,” said one of the participants in the conference.

Since the Preventive Officers and the Superintendents form the backbone of the Customs service and they are in the forefront of anti-smuggling work and are often victims of backlashes, the department is looking towards the Central Board to offer them support when faced with such issues, he further appealed.

Monday, February 3, 2014

'Miracle Man of the Pacific'

EXCLUSIVE: First picture of the 'Miracle Man of the Pacific' who survived 14 MONTHS adrift. Fisherman stumbles ashore, saying 'I can't remember much, it is all one thought - the sea, the sea'


PUBLISHED: 02:22 GMT, 3 February 2014 | UPDATED: 05:02 GMT, 3 February 2014
This is the first picture of the 'Miracle Man of the Pacific' - the fisherman who survived on turtle blood, raw fish and seagull flesh for more than a year as he drifted helplessly across the world's largest ocean.
Stumbling ashore today at a dock in the Marshall Islands from a naval boat that picked him up on an outlying atoll, Jose Ivan managed a smile before telling MailOnline: 'I'm alive - I'm alive and I can't believe it.'
He had drifted in his 24ft boat for 14 months across 8,000 miles of treacherous seas, finally dragging himself ashore on the remote Ebon atoll with a long beard and tangled hair, his skin scorched dry by the unforgiving sun, his shorts in tatters from decaying sea salt.

Speaking through a Spanish-speaking interpreter on the waterfront of Majuro, the Marshall Islands capital, before boarding an ambulance to take him for a check up at the local hospital, he told MailOnline: 'I thank God that I am here.' He raised his hands together in prayer and looked to the heavens.
But through an interpreter, he said: 'I cannot remember much about my journey. It has all gone into one thought - the sea, the sea.
'We were fishing for sharks when the North Winds took us out to sea,' he said today as he struggled to recall elements of his ordeal.
Jose Ivan told MailOnline that he was not Mexican but was from the central American country of El Salvador.
But he had been living and working in Mexico for 15 years, shrimp and shark fishing, and was making his way to El Salvador when his fibreglass boat ran into trouble.

'I wish I could remember more about what happened to me out there,' he said. 'I think I need time to remember. It has been so long. 
'I know I thought about my family all the time. I know they would have been worried about me, thinking that I was dead. Yes, I know I am so lucky to be here, alive.'
When the naval ship arrived from the outlying atoll today it was immediately boarded by the American Ambassador to the Marshall Islands, Tom Armbruster.
He asked Jose about his health and said after that visit that he was surprised at how well the survivor looked, although his blood pressure was low.
He walked down the gangplank from the naval ship looking plumper than many expected, but a doctor said it was because his body had probably swollen from the conditions he had experienced.
As he boarded an ambulance, he was asked: 'Did you pray a lot?'
Through the window he raised his hands in an attitude of prayer. 'Always,' he said.
Jose still wore the beard that had grown during his sea ordeal as he today stepped ashore from the naval patrol boat which picked him up.

He walked a little unsteadily as he stepped from a gangplank, clutching a can of soft drink, his hair still tangled.
He was wearing a brown jacket and black shorts supplied to him by villagers on Ebon atoll and he wore flip flops.
Jose managed a brief wave to a small crowd - some of whom clapped - who had gathered at the dock for a glimpse of the survivor who was now being referred to as 'The Miracle Man of the Pacific'.
He was fishing with a friend whose name, said the interpreter, was something like Exvikele, but without water or enough food to survive, the second man died after four weeks. 'I am sad for him,' was all he was able to say about his friend.
Ambassador Armbruster said later that while speaking to the survivor, he was not in a position to reveal the dead man's family name and home town because that would have to come from the Marshall Islands' government.
However, Mr Armbruster said he had established from Jose that his companion was a 'young man' aged between 15 and 18.
A local Marshallese woman said that from her experience of other people who had died in remote locations it was because they had not been able to consume raw food - they kept vomiting it up - and this might have been why the fisherman had died.
Mr Armbruster, who speaks Spanish, said that in his brief conversation with Jose, the survivor had spoken of the north winds and a storm that had led to them drifting out into the vast Pacific.
The two fishermen had set out from the town of Tapachula, near the border of Guatamala on their ill-fated expedition for sharks.
Mr Armbruster said: 'This is an incredible sea story of a man who went fishing for a day and ended up many months later on an atoll in the middle of the Pacific.'
During an earlier radio conversation with MailOnline, Jose said he was 'tired and sad' after a drifting helplessly through the treacherous waters of the Pacific.
Despite earlier reports that he had left his port in September 2012 to sail to El Salvador, he said over the crackly radio transmission from ship-to-ship that he had in fact set out to sea December 21 of that year.
It is understood his small boat encountered engine trouble and the currents carried them out into the ocean. 
Despite their attempts to attract other vessels, they continued to drift further out to sea - and it was then that their desperate struggle to survive took up every minute and every ounce of energy.
Jose has told islanders who found him emaciated on an outlying atoll and he had struggled to survive by drinking turtle blood when there was no rain and had eaten raw fish.

He did manage to show a trace of humour despite his terrible ordeal, however.
'If someone gets me home, I'm sure my boss will pay,' he said in that first radio transmission. 'I'm desperate and I want to get back to Mexico, but I don't know how.'
His words were evidence of his state of mind - a man who appeared bewildered at reaching land and falling into the arms of kindly villagers on Ebon atoll. He was fed and given water and given a bed to rest his emaciated body.          
Officials in Majuro were told that despite the care he had been given by the people of Ebon atoll and the fact that he had been able to walk around the village, he was still in poor health and preparations were made for an ambulance to meet him when the patrol vessel docked.
As word spread around the Marshalls about the miracle survivor of the Pacific, no group of people were more excited at having encountered him than the villagers on Ebon, the most southern of the island group's atolls. 
With a population of just over 700 people, it lies about 230 miles from Majuro - and it is believed that it was just 'the luck of the currents' that resulted in the fisherman being cast ashore in his battered fiberglass boat with propellerless engines on the thin strip of land that makes up the atoll.
It was by chance that two villagers saw the man and answered his desperate waving. Before them, hardly able to stand, was a figure with long beard and unkempt hair.           
Jose was taken by small boat to another part of the atoll group where a young Norweigian anthropology student, Ola Fjeldstad, managed to have a broken conversation with him and learn something of his amazing story of survival. 
It was then that the local mayor, Ione deBrum, used the atoll group's only phone to put a call through to the Marshall Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and his existence became known.             
His words over the radio today made it clear, however, that his immediate plan, once his health had returned, was to return home to his family in Mexico.
Stories of survival in the vast Pacific are not uncommon. In 2006, three Mexicans made international headlines when they were discovered drifting, also in a small fiberglass boat near the Marshall Islands, in the middle of the ocean in their stricken boat, nine months after setting out on a shark-fishing expedition.
They survived on a diet of rainwater, raw fish and seabirds, with their hope kept alive by reading the bible.
And in 1992, two fishermen from Kiribati were at sea for 177 days before coming ashore in Samoa.