Monday, November 24, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Good days are ahead for road & port projects in Tamil Nadu: Pon Radhakrishnan

Source:http://www.portwings.in/shipping/good-days-are-ahead-for-road-port-projects-in-tamil-nadu-pon-radhakrishnan/

 “For the sake of speeding up pending projects in the state, I am ready to meet anybody in Tamil Nadu government,” Mr Radhakrishnan.



Port Wings News Network:

I am fully confident that the Tamil Nadu government will extend its support for early completion of Union Government supported road projects in the state, new Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping Mr Pon Radhakrishnan has said.
In an exclusive interview to Port Wings, Mr Radhakrishnan said, “When I met and interacted with the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Mr O Paneerselvam at Secretariat recently, got the sense that state government too understood the importance of Ennore Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP) and Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway, which would not only help the Chennai Port but also the whole Chennai City.”
It is worth recalling here that Port Wings, in its last issue, had carried a news article on Mr Radhakrishnan’s ground-breaking meeting with the Chief Minister Paneerselvam and its possible impact on Centre’s road connectivity projects in the state.
Despite his busy schedule, the Minister spoke to Port Wings on various issues pertaining to his ministry and elaborated his vision for development.

EMRIP & ELEVATED EXPRESSWAY PROJECTS:

On a question about EMRIP and Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway’s future, Mr Radhakrishnan said, “Both the projects are very important road connectivity projects for Chennai Port as well as to the city. During my meeting with the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister recently, I emphasized about the importance of early completion of both the projects. During the course of interaction, I got a sense of feeling that they also understood the need for such projects and I am fully confident that good times are ahead for those projects.”
Reacting to a query about implication on Chennai Port’s future if these projects remains pending for longtime, Mr Radhakrishnan said, “If these projects, especially the Elevated Expressway, remains pending for long time, it will not augur well for Chennai Port’s future. While the Port’s future will be in peril, whole Chennai City, which is growing rapidly, will also face huge congestion problems in coming years.  Once the Elevated Expressway is completed, it will give an opportunity to lessen traffic on city’s arterial roads.”
“There is a misconception in certain section that the Centre’s projects (be it ports or roads) would create revenue source for the Union government alone. That is wrong. All those projects are primarily meant to create infrastructure to support sustained development of state’s various sectors including manufacturing and logistics,” Mr Radhakrishnan said.  

NHAI PROJECTS:

On a question about status of NHAI projects, Mr Radhakrishnan, who is also the MoS for Road Transport & National Highways, said, “During the meeting with the Chief Minister, I also discussed about acquisition of lands for some of the NHAI projects, which are stuck only due to problems in land acquisitions .”

LACK OF COOPERATION BETWEEN STATE AND CENTRE:

Expressing his views on the importance of state and Centre’s partnership, Mr Radhakrishnan said, “Memorandum of Understanding is a concept that is mainly conceived to bring the stakeholders on a platform to move on progressive path. However, there is memorandum between parties sans understanding. And without any understanding, treading on progress path is difficult. Moreover, the delay in completing infrastructure projects not only costs to the exchequer, but also halts the country’s progress. ”
 “For the sake of speeding up pending projects in the state, I am ready to meet anybody in Tamil Nadu government,” added Mr Radhakrishnan.

DEVELOPMENT OF COLACHEL PORT:

On a question about the development of Colachel Port, Mr Radhakrishnan said, “The Colachel Port, located at Kanyakumari District in Tamil Nadu, is close to the international shipping route and has enough draft for establishing an international standard port with all modern facilities.”
“We have requested the Tamil Nadu government, who is maintaining it through its maritime board, to handover the minor port to Centre for developing an ultra-modern mega port. I also instructed the VOC Port Trust to complete a detailed project report (DPR) at the earliest. Since I am also from the same district, would like to see a bustling port at Colachel soon.” Mr Radhakrishnan added.
It may be noted that a fully developed Colachel Port would not only pave way for economic growth of Southern Tamil Nadu as well as parts of Kerala through industrial clusters, but also help to generate job opportunity for thousands.

GRIEVANCES OF TIRUPUR EXPORTERS:

On a question about support for Tirupur knitwear exporters, Mr Radhakrishnan said, “Tirupur Exporters Association team led by its president Mr A Sakthivel met me in New Delhi and aired their grievances including the issue of effluent treatment and shortage of labours. I suggested them to start knitwear exporting clusters in Ramnad District, where they can get vast tracts of land for setting up factories, cheap labour and port facility is also located in short distance at Tuticorin. They promised me to respond positively.”
“Developing such facilities in Ramnad district would not only arrest the exodus of locals seeking greener pastures in Tirupur or Coimbatore, but also help the economic growth of least developed district in Tamil Nadu,” Mr Radhakrishnan added.

Wake-up call: City growth strangulates Chennai Port

Source: http://www.portwings.in/ports/wake-up-call-city-growth-strangulates-chennai-port/

Port Wings News Network:
Chennai Port, one of the oldest ports in the country and known as the “Eastern Gateway Port” by Exim fraternity seems to be passing through turbulent times nowadays.

While the Chennai Port has registered a phenomenal growth in containerized cargo handling over the years, lack of future planning by the Chennai Port Trust for timely cargo evacuation via its gates is hampering its growth.

Officially, Chennai Port has 14 gates for movement of cargoes. When it comes to actual usage, only three gates are in operation now. Though volume of cargo (both breakbulk and containerized) and traffic (both heavy vehicles and container trailers) has grown up several times over the years, only these three gates cater to all the movement.
Gate No.2, which is close to a residential locality called Royapuram, was closed two years ago due to one fatal accident where a whole family on two-wheeler crushed to death.
While Zero Gate alone has round-the-clock movement facility now, other two gates -- 2A and No-14 (opposite to War Memorial) are used for movement only during late night hours.
However, the local police authorities last week imposed a blanket ban on movement of cargo-laden vehicles from Gate No-14 to facilitate Metrorail work.
In other words, the latest order has literally strangulated the port’s growth and forced the management to utilize the already congested Zero Gate for all vehicle movements.
Speaking to Port Wings, a regular user of Chennai Port wishing anonymity said, “If Chennai Port wants to grow in future, more gates has to be opened for the movement of cargoes. Without gates, ChPT would become a worthless facility from a world-class facility in East Coast.”


WHO IS TO BE BLAMED FOR CONGESTION?

According to Exim fraternity, the Chennai Port management should think out of the box to solve the gate puzzle at the earliest.
Mr Kumar, owner of a trailer lorry, said “The Zero Gate is already congested with heavy movement of container trailers. And we don’t know what would happen if all other types of heavy vehicles, carrying steel-coils, cars and other breakbulk cargoes forced to use the same gate.”
While the port management is in the catch22 situation, port users say if the ChPT management rein in on its two container terminals, run by DP World and PSA, they could arrest the internal as well external congestion of trailers.
Speaking to Port Wings, a regular user said, “Both the terminals are aiding to the congestion of trailers by stopping handling of trailer-mounted containers during vessel handling. They stop receiving boxes and in turn, those loaded trailers form a serpentine queue along the internal roads of the port and ultimately affect movement of all vehicles outside the port premises too.”
“Until unless the port management takes some strong measures against the terminals for aiding to traffic congestion, they will continue with their act,” the user added.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

We plan to make Sri City a smart city : Ravindra Sanna Reddy

Source: http://www.portwings.in/articlesinterviews/we-plan-to-make-sri-city-a-smart-city-ravindra-sanna-reddy/

Port Wings News Network:

We plan to make Sri City a smart city and will have around 500 factories when the project is complete, Mr. Ravindra Sanna Reddy, Managing Director, Sri City, has said.
In an exclusive interview to Port Wings, Mr Reddy said, “We anticipate Sri City will become that to India what Shenzhen is to China. Sri City will become a hub for everything.” He also spoke elaborately on Sri City and future plans to emerge as numero uno (the best) SEZ in the Country.

Excerpts…

1.       Tell us the saga of Sri City, from concept to commissioning?

Mr. Ravindra Sanna Reddy, MD, Sri City: After completing my MSE degree in Environmental Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, USA and a successful stint in Information Technology Industry, the experience had allowed me to amalgamate the knowledge gained by living and doing business abroad with my strong roots in the local communities in creating Sri City. As a son-of-the-soil, I had a vision of building a new business city and embarked on a mission of transforming a backward rural area of Andhra Pradesh into a modern industrial economy and thus launched Sri City initiative in 2006.
In the same year, in association with my friends, and Equity funds, Sri City (P) Ltd. was set up. The company invested Rs 1,000 crore to acquire land and develop the infrastructure, funded largely by equity. It has managed to attract PE investments from noted investors.
For setting up the project, we wanted a location that had easy access to rail, roads, airports and ports. After a survey we found the present location. Since I belong to this area, I was also keen to build a new modern city which would benefit people from this area. Proximity to Chennai, availability of supporting industries in Tamil Nadu and the industrial culture influenced us in building a city which is like what Hosur is to Bangalore.
The process of land acquisition was an interesting challenge and we addressed many of the issues for a consent based settlement. These initiatives are now part of the new land acquisition Act. The Ministry of Commerce also recognized these initiatives as the best in India.
Sri City engaged the most experienced master Planners to develop this site. We wanted to bring in people who had practical experience in building the Chinese SEZ’s. The formal ground breaking was done on August 8, 2008 by the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.
 We faced problems during the global melt down in 2009-2010 and investments by units were slow. We continued to invest in infrastructure and when the economy improved, we were ready. We saw the slowdown as an opportunity to develop infrastructure at the lowest cost. We also delivered whatever we promised to customers and helped them start production within 8-10 months of sign up. We also saw opportunities in the Domestic Tariff Area (DTA) and developed this zone next to the SEZ.
The Domestic Tariff Zone has companies like Isuzu, Alstom and VRV etc which have been acting as sources to meet the demands in the Indian market; otherwise those products would have been imported. Eventually, this is adding a considerable amount to the foreign exchange.
Today, Sri City is a vibrant Integrated Business City offering holistic solutions for multiple investment options and lifestyle at its multi-product 'Special Economic Zone' (SEZ) with a contiguous Domestic Tariff Zone (DTZ) and a Free Trade Warehousing Zone (FTWZ).

2.            How many companies (foreign and their subsidiaries) are now located inside Sri City and what is its performance?

RSR: During the past 5 years, over 100 companies from 25 countries have chosen Sri City as the home for their investment. Global companies such as ISUZU, PepsiCo, Cadbury, Colgate Palmolive, Kellogg's, Kobelco, Lavazza, to name a few, have already set up their plants. We have 42 Multi National Companies in Sri City.
In its true sense as an Integrated Business City, Sri City has a global footprint, with units in Automotive, Engineering, Logistics & Warehousing, Apparel & Fashion, Biotech/Pharma, Electronics/Hardware, Renewable Energy, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Food & beverages and other Eco-friendly industries. We have space for 500 companies.
As of now, these companies have proposed to bring in a total investment of over Rs.18,500 crores (approx. $ 3.08 billion) and generate employment for over 20,000 persons.
Till date, exports from Sri City are about Rs 1000 crores, and for this year alone it will exceed Rs. 500 crores. Total Imports till date are around Rs. 700 crores. The net foreign exchange earnings during the past 5 years are over Rs. 300 crores. This will show major increases as soon as large units reach full production.

3. Which are the companies that have signed MoU with Sri City in the recent past? How many are in the pipeline?

RSR: There are several companies who have signed with Sri City in the current financial year. It is a good mix of Indian and MNCs. There are almost over 500 acres in pipeline which is expected to be finalized within the next 2 quarters. The current central government and the state government have been very much encouraging and have promised to improve the industry scenario positively in the coming years. Several companies are waiting for clarity from the government regarding few of their earlier statements.

4.            Union government promised to give special status to Andhra Pradesh to attract investors. What will be its effect on the business prospects of Sri City?

RSR: The industry is looking forward to get incentives from the Central government and  the new electronic policy, which was announced just few days ago is very ‘industry friendly’ and offers incentives across the board, which has hinted towards a positive and progressive industrial policy. It is expected that the special economic status for Andhra Pradesh would become a reality by the next financial year. The overall mood of the industry seems very positive towards Andhra Pradesh and announcement of the expected additional incentive package by Union government would only accelerate the process. This will definitely have a positive effect on Sri City considering the established success and feel good factor of our units.

5.            How is the logistic infrastructure inside the SEZ and what are the plans to improve them in future?

RSR: Sri City has a world class infrastructure with the Master Plan provided by the Jurong Consultants, a leader in this field. Several other players like Jones Lang Lasalle, Mace Studio, CSS etc were involved in framing what Sri City is now. The basic infrastructure like road access, power, water, storm water drains, sewage treatment and telecom is already available and operational. All areas of the SEZ are well connected with the main access road (NH-5). We have 60 Kms of three types of internal road with an average with of 68 meters. There are internal shuttle services which run on scheduled timings. These shuttle services connect the SEZ units with the main access road and also enable workers to reach the unit from NH5.

6.            What are special features of country-specific enclaves that are being created at Sri City?

RSR: Sri City has a Japanese enclave with over 15 companies signed and almost equal numbers in the pipeline. Apart from this, Sri City has plans for other countries-specific enclaves like Korean, Taiwan, etc. These special enclaves are in line with our motto to provide a “work-live-learn-play” kind of atmosphere to the employees and we hope they will make our clients feel at home far from home. Sri City also has an electronic cluster and an auto components cluster that offer the companies special incentives under State and Central schemes.

7.            Sri City lacks a railway siding. Whether you would try for linking Sri City and nearest railway station 'Tada' with a dedicated line?

RSR: Yes, currently we are not encouraging this idea of bulk cargo movements through a dedicated railway line reaching the units, as we are committed to our Green-City policy. Some of the green initiatives undertaken by Sri City are -planted over one million trees with an objective of 10 million, use of solar street lightings, traffic control system, solar powered vehicles and 8 MW of solar power  plant, etc. But, we may have to think about this proposal depending on the demand in the future. Sri City is 800 meters from Tada station, which is well-connected through a broad-gauge railway line to different metro cites in India. Sri City lies in between the Tada station on the North and Arambakkam station on the South, and hence the suburban train services are very useful for quick transportation.

8.            Recently Sri City had organized a trade meet with Chennai Port. Any plans to go to different parts of the country with road shows for attracting more companies and investments?

RSR: Sri City participates in various trade shows, seminars, exhibitions and other industry development activities, organized by different trade associations in India and abroad. Next week, I will be joining the Government Delegation to Japan led by the Honorable Chief Minister Mr. Nara Chandra Babu Naidu to promote the Foreign Industrial Activity in Andhra Pradesh.

9.            As a leading SEZ in the region, what is your unique selling proposition (USP) to attract more companies into Sri City?
•             Strategic Location on the border of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu
•             Excellent Multi-Modal Connectivity
•             World Class Expertise in Design, Function and Maintenance of Infrastructure
•             All Approvals in Place
•             Integrated Business City (SEZ+FTWZ+DTZ)
•             Plug n Play Offices
•             Abundant Talent Pool

10.          What is the social impact of Sri City on the neighboring region?

RSR: Sri City has a socio-economic impact in the neighboring region. When we started, there were hardly any industries in this area. There was no degree college and the area was a notified backward area. Today over 15000 jobs have been provided to locals and there is virtually no unemployment. Even before land acquisition, Sri City started a training centre to retrain locals and give them employment. More than 5000 people have been trained. Prior to the SEZ being set up the people were finding it difficult to make ends meet because the area has only single crop low grade land with very little irrigation facilities.
Socio economic surveys conducted by Sri Venkateswara University every 6 months from the time of acquisition have clearly shown that economic standards have increased by over 200 % after Sri City came in to existence. Villagers have paid off all their loans and have been able to get their daughters married and also send all children to school. Their children will be able to get employment easily when they finish school.
Sri City also started a model welding and other skills training centre at Kalikiri in Chittoor District where class 10 passed students were given free training with board and lodging for 3 months. After training they all got jobs in Multi-National companies and are doing well. The Companies have told us that these students are better than the 2 year ITI pass students. This is because they are allowed unlimited practical training and we got the best trainer and a dedicated team to monitor this programme. The target was 100 % placement and has been achieved in all courses.
Sri City has provided the requisite residential spaces, healthcare facilities, schools, amenities and transport at low costs. These initiatives are already yielding widespread tangible benefits to the people in those villages. They are more mobile and are able to connect easily to the outside world. The exodus to cities has also reduced.
Sri City, in coordination with hospitals set up by Sankara Nethralaya and Dr Cherian’s Frontier Lifeline serves the Health and Medical needs of the employees and people in the surrounding villages. We are also planning to build a Multi-Specialty Hospital to improve our services in order to cater to needs of the growing population.
Sri City also supports 1200 children in all the Govt. Schools in the area. The results are 100 % pass in class 10 exams and the average pass percentage is also increasing each year.

11.          How would you envisage life at Sri City after 20 years?

RSR:  Sri City will be home to over half a million people when completed. The inclusive growth aspect of Sri City makes it a very special integrated business city. Separate zones have been earmarked for SEZ, DTA and social infrastructure in balance. Sri City’s goal is to provide facilities for ‘work – live- learn and play’. The company aims to go beyond leasing land to provide everything that a business needs. We anticipate Sri City will become that to India what Shenzhen is to China. Sri City will become a hub for everything.

12.          What are the future plans lined up by Sri City management to emerge as numero uno (the best) SEZ in the Country?

RSR:  We have been regarded as the best destination for business by various Foreign Ambassadors, Indian ministers and government officials. Moreover, we are awarded as the “Best SEZ” by various trade associations. For future, we plan to make Sri City a smart city and will have around 500 factories when the project is complete and most people will live there, thus saving cost on commuting & time.
India is ranked low when it comes to attracting investment but for Sri City with help of IALA & Single window approval processes, Sri City has simplified the procedure and hence Sri City has become the preferred business destination. Sri City will be one of the leaders in providing employment opportunities and bringing investment into India.



Wakeup call for major ports

Port Wings Editorial, Nov 19, 2014

Source: http://www.portwings.in/editorial/wakeup-call-for-major-ports/


India has 12 major ports, controlled by the Union Government and about 200 non-major ports, developed by private players in agreement with respective state governments.
Cargo traffic, which was 911.5 million metric tonnes (MMT) in 2012 is expected to reach 1,758 MMT by 2017. The Indian ports and shipping industry plays a vital role in sustaining growth in the country’s trade and commerce.
India, with a coastline of about 7,517 km, is currently ranks 16th among maritime countries. According to the Ministry of Shipping, around 95 per cent of India's trade by volume and 70 per cent by value takes place through maritime transport.
India lies in geographical proximity to important shipping routes which gives a natural advantage to the country's shipping. Moreover, shipping is no longer an isolated mode of transport but forms a part of an intermodal transport chain linking other transport modes.
Well, these are the statistics we Indians keep boasting on year after year. But we never bothered to know how these ports, both major and non-major ports, have grown over the years.
While the Centre-controlled major ports, which are located in equidistant on both east and west coasts, have lost so much ground to non-major ports, which were developed near those major ports, over the years.
While these major ports have enjoyed total support from the trade, various rules and regulations pertaining to port developments and tariff imposed by the Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) have literally strangulated their growth.

On the other-hand, non-major ports, which have grown with the blessings of state governments and strong investors, taken the centre-stage of late and a few of them even surpassed other major ports in handling more cargo volume.

The message is clear. Major ports have to wake up and face the challenge thrown at them by the non-major ports.

The Shipping Ministry seems to grasp the impending danger or challenge for survival. The Ministry has proposed a new Act and if the proposed legislation is enacted, both the existing Indian Ports Act, 1908, as well as Major Ports Act, 1963, will stand repealed.

In other words, the new act could give some kind of leverage to the major ports to take swift decisions and capitalize on the emerging trend of Exim business.
The boxing ring is ready and spectators (read investors) are betting on them. On one side, non-major ports, with full support of private players, are standing fully prepared. On the other, major ports are standing frail and ill-equipped. Now decide who will win the match.
Good Luck Major Ports...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Blackmoney Bomb


Port Wings Editorial, Nov 12, 2014:

Though the shadow of blackmoney was growing for the past three decades, only three years ago, the Supreme Court of India delivered a landmark judgment in response to a law suit filed by noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani seeking direction to the Union Government to reveal the names of Indians who had stashed black money in foreign banks.


Since then, the new generation has swallowed the word blackmoney and whenever gets time, simply blames the political class for draining out Indian economy and stashing the looted wealth away in banks located in foreign countries.

While on the campaign trail, Prime Minister Modi assured the people of the country that each of 125 crore Indians would be able to get Rs 3 lakh when he brings back black money stashed away in foreign banks.
However, the BJP government, which had a different view on the issue while in opposition, is following the same-line what the then Congress government had on bringing back blackmoney from foreign banks.
While the issue seems to be more politicized from one angle, tax experts feel that bringing back those stashed money from foreign banks, is not only difficult for the government but very much unlikely.
According to tax experts, it will take decades for the government to establish the stashed away money is indeed blackmoney.
Until unless the Government of India seriously pursue the case with a timeframe, the tax-evaders will feel free to pump in their money into those accounts, as the host countries will develop hostile relationship with India and use every available opportunity to deny any info on their account holders.
Besides, the political class in India is also know that any further revelation on names of those who stashed away money in foreign banks would seriously affect their credibility before the countrymen and mostly it could go counter-productive.
Though the Social Media circle are abuzz with the ‘list of those account holders,’ which the tax experts categorically say a clear-cut case of character assassination, flow of any real information on the account holders in the public domain very much unlikely due to pacts with the respective governments abroad.
The issue of blackmoney, in political parlance, is just a bomb for showcasing before the public, especially the voters, during elections and whenever they need any distraction of countrymen from prevailing issues.
Both the parties, Congress or BJP, are fully aware of the true potential of blackmoney bogey and its dependency during elections and lean political days.
So, until unless these political parties settle on a point of compromise, blackmoney won’t come back to India. But we can hear both the parties shouting “ we will bring back black money” in 2020 too.



   

   

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

World Maritime University proposes to establish “Indian Professorial Chair”

Source: http://www.portwings.in/education/world-maritime-university-proposes-to-establish-indian-professorial-chair/

Port Wings News Network:

World Maritime University, a postgraduate maritime university founded in 1983 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) at Malmö, Sweden, has signed an agreement with India to establish an “Indian Professorial Chair in Port Management” that will support a full professor at WMU for a five-year period.
On behalf of the country, Dr. Vishwapati Trivedi, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping (which looks after the interests of maritime education in India) signed the agreement with the WMU.
Professor Neil Bellefontaine, WMU Acting President, said that the new Professorial Chair will benefit maritime capacity building worldwide through supporting the education of students at WMU.

WORLD MARITIME UNIVERSITY GRADUATION 2014

Mr. Koji Sekimizu, WMU’s Chancellor and Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), conferred postgraduate degrees on the World Maritime University’s Class of 2014 on Nov 2.
In total, 124 students graduated from the Malmö-based M.Sc. programme in Maritime Affairs, 47 from the M.Sc. programme in Dalian, China, 36 from the M.Sc. programme in Shanghai, China, and 19 from the distance-learning Postgraduate Diploma in Marine Insurance. Overall, the graduates represented 49 countries.
In his opening remarks, WMU Acting President, Professor Neil Bellefontaine, noted the inherently international nature of shipping, and that WMU is also inherently international since it was founded by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Each year, students from roughly 50 countries live and study together at WMU to serve the global maritime community in the spirit of the United Nations.
He also noted the ambition of the Class of 2014 which is the largest class in the 31-year history of WMU, and thanked women in the class who took the initiative to establish the WMU Women’s Association (WMUWA) that aims to support the advancement of female maritime professionals worldwide.
Guest of Honour, Dr. Anne Christine Brusendorff, General Secretary for the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, encouraged the graduates to be willing to go the extra mile to obtain results, to be fully engaged in the processes at their places of work, and to accept the outcome of decisions. She emphasized the collective nature of teamwork and the global nature of shipping stating, “individually you are one drop, but together, you are an ocean.”
Guest of Honour, Dr. Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education and Training for the Republic of South Africa was unfortunately able to deliver his address due to illness, therefore Ms. Sindisiwe Chikunga, Deputy Minister of Transport for the Republic of South Africa, spoke on his behalf.
She noted the milestone that the graduation ceremony represented in capacity building for South Africa with 23 students from the Republic of South Africa graduating, all of whom were sponsored by the South African Government.
Malmö Mayor and Chairman of the City Council, Kent Andersson, who also serves as a WMU Governor, addressed the graduates reflecting on the many opportunities they had to meet at various functions throughout the year. He noted the changes that have taken place in Malmö as it has transformed from a traditionally Swedish industrial center to a sustainably-oriented international city, and how WMU continues to transform the maritime sector with increased global influence through nearly 4,000 graduates.
In his remarks, Chancellor Sekimizu noted that the University is entering a new era that is “bolstered by a fresh optimism based on new tools and new capabilities with which to tackle those challenges.”
He noted the move of the University to new facilities in the center of Malmö this coming spring, and urged IMO Member States and shipping industry stakeholders to reach out to WMU to support the important transition and the capacity building goals of the University.
Before the conferring of degrees on the graduates, Mr. Sekimizu conferred the degree of Doctor of Science in Maritime Affairs, honoris causa on Dr. Charles Cushing, President, C.R. Cushing & Co, for his exceptional service to the University since 1986 as a Visiting/Adjunct Professor both in Malmö and Dalian.
Additional awards presented during the graduation ceremony including three Honorary Fellow Awards for distinguished and outstanding service to WMU. The awards were received by Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, Director of the International Labour Standards Department of the International Labour Office; Dr. Bernard Francou, Associate Professor (ret.), WMU; and Mr. Jørgen Rasmussen, Chief Ship Surveyor and Chief Advisor to the Director-General of the Danish Maritime Authority (ret.).
During the ceremony, the annual student awards were announced. The Chancellor's Medal for Academic Excellence for the M.Sc. in Maritime Affairs 2014 in Malmö was awarded to Gareth John Courtois from the Republic of South Africa, and for the Dalian M.Sc. Programme to Shen Jiaqiang from China, and for the Shanghai M.Sc. Programme to Hermann Christoph Schulte from Germany.
The Pierre Léonard Prize for the Best Female Student was awarded to Deniece Melissa Aiken from Jamaica and Aleik Nurwahyudy from Indonesia received the Lloyd´s Maritime Academy Dissertation Prize. The Informa Law Dissertation Prize was awarded to Ronald Raphael Alfred from Trinidad and Tobago, and the C. P. Srivastava Award for International Fellowship, was awarded to Yusuke Mori from Japan. This year’s graduation ceremony brings the number of WMU graduates to 3,889 from 165 countries.
The World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmö, Sweden is a postgraduate maritime university founded in 1983 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. The aim of WMU is to further enhance the objectives and goals of IMO and IMO member states around the world through education, research, and capacity building to ensure safe, secure, and efficient shipping on clean oceans. WMU is truly an organization by and for the international maritime community.
WMU alumni hold positions of prominence around the world. The university has played a significant role in maritime capacity building, economic development, and promoting the roles of women in the maritime sector.
From the original M.Sc. degree offered in Malmö, WMU has evolved to offer M.Sc. programmes in Dalian and Shanghai, China, a flexible Ph.D. programme, distance education, international conferences, and professional development courses. WMU is considered a source of knowledge and support for governments and organizations worldwide.