Thursday, May 29, 2014

"Demand for well trained Maritime professionals is growing"


Demand for well trained Maritime professionals is growing; especially for the technically skilled manpower, we are planning to launch new courses on ship building and electro-technical area soon, Mrs. Usha Srinivas, chairperson of Sri Chakra Maritime College, observed.
Outlining  the college’s terrific track record of seven times consecutive cent percent result, which is unprecedented , she spoke on  future plans to take the institute to new level , which will be making Sri Chakra Maritime College set global standards in Maritime Education and Training.

Mrs Usha Srinivas, chairperson of Sri Chakra Maritime College, was very expressive in a free-wheeling interview/interaction with Sagar Sandesh.

Excerpts of the interview:

Q. Tell us about the Sri Chakra Maritime College and its vision for skilled Manpower in Maritime sector?

ANS:    Sri Chakra Maritime College has already set bench mark in G P Rating Course in India. The College has turned out 100% results, seven times consecutively in the Exit Exam of GP Rating conducted by Board of Sea Farer Trust [A Unit of DGS]. It is a history of Maritime Education and training Institutes in the private sector in India,.

Our vision is to become a globally acclaimed Maritime Training Institute, offering Maritime basic courses to advanced level courses to senior cadre. We want to produce of Captains and Chief Engineers of calibre that world will look at Indian Maritime Education and Training very seriously.

Q. Tell us about the mission of the college?

ANS:    Our mission is to provide a full range of Maritime Education and Training courses  to meet the current and future needs of the Maritime industries- both national and International.

SMC endeavours to provide a quality Maritime education and training conforming to International standards. Knowing well the economic status of the aspiring students, we want to make the courses affordable to them. Our aim is to produce leaders.

Q. What is the future for maritime education and logistics sector in India?

ANS:    As of now, the Industry is short of right manpower. Demand for Skilled, trained Manpower is growing, by 2017; we will need additional 30,000 officers. So, to meet the growing demand, we are gearing ourselves by improving our facilities .We see plenty of opportunity for us.

Q. How is the response for SMC since it is in a union territory of Puducherry?

ANS:    We are actually in the best part of India. We started in 1993 with the aim of catering to the local people. We have turned the heads of people with our great results, apart from best of the facilities that a student can get from anywhere in India. We are now attracting students from, corners of the country. With the natural setting of Puducherry and excellent cooperation from the local authorities, we are able to provide excellent learning experience for the students.

The local students also join in our courses and getting benefitted immensely. Especially, coastal area, lower-middle class family from Cuddalore and the UT, are most benefited out of our college’s short-term as well as long term courses.

Q. What are the future plans Sri Chakra Maritime College has to create new heights in inculcating maritime education?

ANS:    We have proved ourselves with our results not one time but seven times, our commitment and dedication to take Maritime Education and Training India to a level; to be among the best, globally.

Now, we are planning new job oriented courses like B Sc in ship repair and ship building, which has become attractive to students who are interested in Shore jobs. I must tell you that we are one of the best when it comes to Industry connectivity. Ship building and Maintenance industry and shipyards offer plenty of scope for the trained and skilled manpower.

Any course we start we ensure, our boys will be preferred by the Industry. We give thrust to Placements.

Q. Tell us about the students studying at Sri Chakra?

ANS:    Our boys are regularly participating in national-level competitions and make their presence felt among the top maritime training institutions in the country. In one such event was in Cochin recently, our cadets, who were just 10th pass education, gave good competition to engineering students and reached up to the semi-final levels.

Q. Shed some light on key challenges as well as opportunities available for the budding seafarers in India?

ANS:    Our Indian seafarers are having proven track record for the last many decades in international maritime domain. Now with the technology advancements are coming in a big way, we have to update ourselves to stay in the ring. We are famous for two reasons, for our professional work culture and social culture.. To meet the challenges in the International Maritime Industry we give the best that they can though our Personality development, communication skills modules, which prepare them to meet the unexpected situation, when they go to work with people from other culture.

Q. What are the anomalies with the Government of India that need to be cleaned up to improve quality of maritime education?

ANS:    As for as government is concerned, what we expect is if they come out with a training ship like Japan and other countries, and allot the slots to training institutes then the problem which we are now facing due to recession, could be solved to an extent.

We have requested about the need for training ship in various forums. But otherwise, regulation wise, we appreciate DG Shipping as they made stringent guidelines in many areas. The recent grading system by DG Shipping is really an eye opener for many in the field.

Q. What about forming an alliance among private institutes for buying a training ship?

ANS:    It is an expensive exercise to go for a training ship by private institutions. But still, it is not a bad idea. Buying a ship is not everything, we have to run it. We have to see its commercial viability, port handling charges and other such expenses to run it smoothly. If government comes out with a subsidy or like, then only we could think of moving towards buying a training ship

 Q. What is the future of Indian seafarers?

ANS:    Internationally it is very competitive, especially from from seafarers of Philippines, as well as from the upcoming nations like Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

We are preparing our students to meet the challenges and prove themselves better than the best through dedicated professional work culture and continuous Learning and development. We believe Leaders have their place every where. 

Q. What are the advantages of IT sector in improving maritime education, shipping and logistics sector in future?

ANS:    IT sector is a very important sector in the maritime field and the latest developments are pointing towards total domination of IT on shipping and logistics sector in coming years.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Cochin Port Day

steamships berthed at busy Mattanncherry wharf 1950

The Cochin port trust is observing the ‘Cochin Port Day’ on May 26, to commemorate the entry of the first ship into the inner harbour. 
The construction of the inner harbour from 1921 is deemed as the transformation of Cochin as a modern and safe Port. The first ship – S.S. PADMA- entered the inner harbour through widened and deepened Cochin Gut on 26th May, 1928.
The objective of the observance will be to instill a sense of oneness and inspire collective morale among the Port fraternity. The observance will be also towards reaching out to the society.
The observance commences with a business seminar from 2 PM in Samudrika  convention centre of the Port Trust. Sri V J Kurien IAS Chief Secretary Govt of Kerala & MD CIAL will deliver the key note address in the seminar. Awards will be given in the seminar toport users forbest EXIM business achievements through Cochin Port in the FY 2013-14.
The business seminar will be followed by the commemorative meeting in which outstanding performance by the Port personnel during the previous financial year will be recognized. This will befollowed by music programme by talented port personnel.
A ship will be kept open for visit to the general public at the BTP berth near Samudrika from 2 pm to 5 pm.
Highlight of this year’s celebration will be commencement of a ‘Cochin Maritime heritage Museum’ which houses a collection of photographs on various stages of construction and developments during the Bristow period.
The museum has a rich display of navigational instruments used in the early decades of twentieth century.
The museum is functioning under the ‘Bristow Memorial Society’ with support from the port trust. The museum will be open from 10 am to 5 pm on working days.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Cochin Port organizes Bunker Business meet, asserts its increasing role

Mr. Gautam Chatterjee, Director General of Shipping, lighting the traditional lamp to mark the inaugurating of the bunker business meet in Cochin on May 15.

The National Level Bunker Business Meet, a platform of all major stakeholders in the bunker trade in India was organized on May 15 in Cochin, hosted by the Cochin Port.

The business meet, well attended by the who’s who of Indian Bunker Industry provided a forum for information interchange and interaction with the leading players of the bunker trade in India.
Cochin has been in the forefront in promoting all spheres of the maritime trade. Leveraging on its geo-strategic location, Cochin Port has made earnest efforts in putting in place simplified procedures, liberalized tax regime, concessional tariff and a conducive business environment to promote bunker trade from Cochin In a big way.
Coupled with the availability of all quality grades bunkers and in sufficient quantity due to the presence of all the leading oil majors, tank farms and adequate berthing facilities, Cochin Port has also been actively supported by the Customs, Central Excise, MMD, and the State Government in this endeavour.

The conference was inaugurated by Mr. Gautam Chatterjee, Director General of Shipping.
Doyens of the industries, which included Mr. Chandan Samaiyar of Glander International, Mr. D.K.Basu of Indian Oil, Mr. Ashish Khanna of HPCL, Mr. Richard D’Souza of Matrix Bharat, Mr. Manoj Tandon of Chemoil Adani and Mr. Sajith Kumar of JM Baxi, spoke on different aspects like marketing, infrastructure and competitiveness of pricing and quality, to enrich the bunker trade with the latest developments in the business and the way forward.
In his address, Mr.Gautam Chatterjee, Director General of Shipping, appreciated the concerted efforts taken by Cochin Port, State Government and Customs to provide streamlined trade friendly procedures and invoked the bunker suppliers and, bunker traders, to avail of the facilities at Cochin Port to boost the bunker trade.
The event was attended by all the leading ship owners, vessel agents, bunker suppliers, bunker traders, barge operators and all other allied service providers from the Indian Bunker Industry. Dr.K.N.Raghavan, IRS, Commissioner-Customs, Mr Sharat C Meshram, Executive Director, IOC, Mr.S.Jeyakrishnan, Executive Director, HPCL also spoke on the occasion.

Six conference papers covering varied topics ranging from international bunkering trends, bunkering scenario in India, initiatives taken by Oil Majors and the potentials of Cochin Port to emerge as the leading bunker destination, were presented.
The speakers exuded confidence that with the given infrastructure and system at Cochin, within next three years, Cochin would easily touch 4 million tons of annual bunker sales and emerge as a prominent bunker hub. 
The price competitiveness of bunker supplies from Cochin, which is comparable to major bunker ports such as Fujairah and Singapore augurs well for Cochin to firmly etch its position as a major bunker point.
The speakers noted that the proactive measures taken by the Cochin Port in providing world class infrastructure and trade friendly procedures makes Cochin the most promising port in the region and the initiative taken by the port was aptly timed.
This event acted as a precursor to the large scale bunker trade that is intended to follow with the setting up of the proposed Multi User Liquid Bulk Terminal at the port’s land at Puthuvypeen.
The focused thrust given by the Port Trust Management and the proactive support from the bunker suppliers, bunker traders and barge operators would go a long way in establishing Cochin Port as the leading bunker point of advantage in the South Asian Region.
Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Matrix Bharat are the lead sponsors of the event which is being co-sponsored by HHA, Chemoil Adani, SKS Logistics, OW Bunkers, Gulf Petrochem, Mark Associates, and Global Fuels & Lubricants Inc.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

INDEV plans centre of excellence for logistics sector

My vision is to have a world class campus for logistics studies in India, Mr. S.Xavier Britto, the Chairman and the Founder of INDEV group of companies, St. Britto's Group of schools, St Britto’s College of Arts and Logistics and Esthell Continental Hotels and Resorts, has said.

In an exclusive interview to Sagar Sandesh, Mr Britto said that he has plans to develop the St Britto’s College of Arts and Logistics as a centre of excellence for logistics sector.

Excerpts of the interview;

Q: Tell us about the INDEV Group and its vision for skilled hands in logistics sector?

ANS: Back in 1984, I started the institution in a small-way with five staff and an investment of Rs 20,000 in Linghi Chetty Street, Chennai. I have started as customs broker. Then, I had the vision that India will one day require all shipping services from one service provider. That’s the reason why from a customs broker, then I started transportation,& then warehousing, airfreight, Project logistics, CFS, ICD, international freight forwarding, Shipping agency, Supply Chain Management warehouses, free trade zone warehousing and NVOCC operations. So the group now has all services under one roof. Now the group employs more than 2000 people with an annual turnover of around Rs 1000 crores.

Q. What inspired you to start a dedicated college for logistics & shipping sector?

ANS: I have 30 years of experience in this industry and have hands-on-experience in all the spheres of shipping & logistics. In this growing industry, the biggest challenge has been getting skilled professionals.
Since I myself started my career as a professor in Loyola College and my mother was a teacher for 35 years, starting an educational institution has been there with me for a long time. In this context, in 1997, I started St Britto’s CBSE School in a small way, & now we have 2 schools with more than 3,000 students.
Because of this, I thought I should start a college specializing in shipping and logistics. This will also give the opportunity to provide skilled professionals to this industry.

Q. Tell us about the background of St Britto’s College and its vision?

ANS: Basically, St Britto’s College was started two years back with BBM-Logistics, MBA logistics. The syllabus for the graduation (UG) and for PG has been entirely framed by me. And we do not follow any other syllabus of any other institution. The important vision is that the students should go through more than 50 percent practical training in this education. Hence the syllabus has been formed to provide both practical and theoretical orientation.
As INDEV has all the shipping and logistics services under its roof, it becomes easy to offer on- the-job training. The students of St Britto’s college should take-up the job and start working from day one, without going through any inhibition period. Moreover, so far, many institutions are offering mainly diploma courses whereas St Britto’s College with the recognition from Bharathiyar University offers full-fledged graduation and PG course. This will definitely help the students to pursue the shipping and logistics career fully.

Q. What is the future for the logistics sector in India?

ANS: Logistics industry is growing at the rate of more than 10 % every year. It is expected to reach by 2015 more than 200 Billon Dollars with high employment potential. Many Multinational companies (MNCs) have come into India and they require professional logistics services. They want to outsource many activities concentrating mainly on their core activities of manufacturing or trading.
After China, India is expected to be a major manufacturing hub. Because of the fact that we have quality, low labour cost and better engineering skills, the professionalization of logistics sector in India will have a large impact on our GDP levels. It can also bring down overall production cost, which can control ultimate pricing of the product.

Q. Tell us about the honours Indev Group has received over the years?

ANS: Besides numerous recognitions in India as well as overseas, INDEV has been awarded best logistics player of India, best CHA in South and East, Best ICD, Newsmaker Award and award for social responsibility etc.

Q. What are the expectations the shipping sector has from the budding logistic professionals?

ANS: First of all, logistics professionals should be focused and should possess marketing, communication and human management skills. They should be in a position to execute any related job in shipping and logistics with high proficiency. Industry also wants less turnover of the employee and also operational efficiency. What is mainly expected from the budding logistics professionals is creativity and innovativeness.

Q. Though India is surrounded by water on three sides, the seaborne trade in the country hasn’t flourished the way it has gained in European countries. What is your take on it?

ANS: Though India has got 7,517 kms of coastline, sufficient encouragement or incentives have not been given for coastal shipping. In India, the waterborne trade is less than 5 percent. Our major movement takes place by road transport. India has to concentrate on coastal trade as it could lead to cost effectiveness, eco-friendliness, better delivery time and avoiding multi-handling, damage and pilferage etc.
In the case of International trade, compared to the European or other countries, the volumes are very much less. For example, in the case of container trade, the total volume allover India handled by all the ports is less than 10 million, which is actually less than Singapore’s volume. India need to concentrate on manufacturing like China & should get export oriented. Our balance of trade is not in good position. The seaborne trade will certainly help to boost the economy.

Q. What are the anomalies that need to be cleaned up to increase the contribution of Indian shipping sector to country’s growth?

ANS: There must be a single window clearance system for all the projects, less regulatory controls, special incentives and rebates to promote the sector. Proper infrastructure is not available. The last mile connectivity (LMC) is still questionable. India needs to develop more minor ports.

Q. Since your association with the EXIM trade dates back to years, how do you see the role of shipping sector s’ role in shaping up Indian logistics sector?

ANS: In general, what we need is the GST implementation immediately and also Direct Tax Code to simplify the procedures. If this is implemented, we can create huge warehousing hubs anywhere in India. And distribution channels have to be established. This will increase the EXIM trade & also give a boost to shipping sector. These warehouses, with appropriate technology upgradation, will provide transparency to all the end-users.

Q. What are the advantages of IT sector in improving shipping and logistics sector in future?

ANS: IT sector is the backbone. We need EDI, ERP, WMS and RFID etc. Today, we need to have clear track and trace system, which can be provided only by IT sector. The entire shipping and logistics industry, due to the volume, nature and the demand of the customers, require IT services.
The inventory system and value added benefits shall be backed by a comprehensive IT system only.

Q. Tell us about some new technologies that are re-shaping logistics education sector?

ANS: St Britto’s College is trying to have affiliation with certain international colleges, for example Hull University, and certain other university in USA. That is mainly to have exchange programme for students & constant improvement of skills. Since logistics education is reaching to different levels, for example, 4PL & 5PL logistics, we need to make the education tailor-made. We have to cope up with the latest developments in the international shipping & logistics sector. We need to improve online education, more and more internet information to provide the students all round information about the sector.