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
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.