Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What I will be remembered for.. my memory of the last day with the great Kalam sir...


It has been eight hours since we last talked – sleep eludes me and memories keep flushing down, sometimes as tears. Our day, 27th July, began at 12 noon, when we took our seats in the flight to Guhawati. Dr. Kalam was 1A and I was IC. He was wearing a dark colored “Kalam suit”, and I started off complimenting, “Nice color!” Little did I know this was going to be the last color I will see on him.
Long, 2.5 hours of flying in the monsoon weather. I hate turbulence, and he had mastered over them. Whenever he would see me go cold in shaking plane, he would just pull down the window pane and saw, “Now you don’t see any fear!”.
That was followed by another 2.5 hours of car drive to IIM Shillong. For these two legged trip of five hours we talked, discussed and debated. These were amongsthundreds of the long flights and longer drives we have been together over the last six years. 
As each of them, this was as special too. Three incidents/discussions in particular will be “lasting memories of our last trip”. 
First, Dr. Kalam was absolutely worried about the attacks in Punjab. The loss of innocent lives left him filledwith sorrow. The topic of lecture at IIM Shillong was Creating a Livable Planet Earth. He related the incident to the topic and said, “it seems the man made forces are as big a threat to the livability of earth as pollution”. We discussed on how, if this trend of violence, pollution and reckless human action continues we will forced to leave earth. “Thirty years, at this rate, maybe”, he said. “You guys must do something about it… it is going to be your future world”
Our second discussion was more national. For the past two days, Dr. Kalam was worried that time and again Parliament, the supreme institution of democracy, was dysfunctional. He said, “I have seen two different governments in my tenure. I have seen more after that. This disruption just keeps happening. It is not right. I really need to find out a way to ensure that the parliament works on developmental politics.” He then asked me to prepare a surprise assignment question for the students at IIM Shillong, which he would give them only at the end of the lecture. He wanted to them to suggest three innovative ways to make the Parliament more productive and vibrant. Then, after a while he returned on it. “But how can ask them to give solutions if I don’t have any myself”. For the next one hour, we thwarted options after options, who come up with his recommendation over the issue. We wanted to include this discussion in our upcoming book, Advantage India. 
Third, was an experience from the beauty of his humility. We were in a convoy of 6-7 cars. Dr. Kalam and I were in the second car. Ahead us was an open gypsy with three soldiers in it. Two of them were sitting on either side and one lean guy was standing atop, holding his gun. One hour into the road journey, Dr. Kalam said, “Why is he standing? He will get tired. This is like punishment. Can you ask a wireless message to given that he may sit?” I had to convince him, he has been probably instructed to keep standing for better security. He did not relent. We tried radio messaging, that did not work. For the next 1.5 hours of the journey, he reminded me thrice to see if I can hand signal him to sit down. Finally, realizing there is little we can do – he told me, “I want to meet him and thank him”. Later, when we landed in IIM Shillong, I went inquiring through security people and got hold of the standing guy. I took him inside and Dr. Kalam greeted him. He shook his hand, said thank you buddy. “Are you tired? Would you like something to eat? I am sorry you had to stand so long because of me”. The young lean guard, draped in black cloth, was surprised at the treatment. He lost words, just said, “Sir, aapkeliye to 6 ghantebhikhaderahenge”. 
After this, we went to the lecture hall. He did not want to be late for the lecture. “Students should never be made to wait”, he always said. I quickly set up his mike, briefed on final lecture and took position on the computers. As I pinned his mike, he smiled and said, “Funny guy! Are you doing well?” ‘Funny guy’, when said by Kalam could mean a variety of things, depending on the tone and your own assessment. It could mean, you have done well, you have messed up something, you should listen to him or just that you have been plain na├»ve or he was just being jovial. Over six years I had learnt to interpret Funny Guy like the back of my palm. This time it was the last case. 

“Funny guy! Are you doing well?” he said. I smiled back, “Yes”. Those were the last words he said. Two minutes into the speech, sitting behind him, I heard a long pause after completing one sentence. I looked at him, he fell down. 

We picked him up. As the doctor rushed, we tried whatever we could. I will never forget the look in his three-quarter closed eyes and I held his head with one hand and tried reviving with whatever I could. His hands clenched, curled onto my finger. There was stillness on his face and those wise eyes were motionlessly radiating wisdom. He never said a word. He did not show pain, only purpose was visible. 
In five minutes we were in the nearest hospital. In another few minutes the they indicated the missile man had flown away, forever. I touched his feet, one last time. Adieu old friend! Grand mentor! See you in my thoughts and meet in the next birth. 
As turned back, a closet of thoughts opened. 
Often he would ask me, “You are young, decide what will like to be remembered for?” I kept thinking of new impressive answers, till one day I gave up and resorted to tit-for-tat. I asked him back, “First you tell me, what will you like to be remembered for? President, Scientist, Writer, Missile man, India 2020, Target 3 billion…. What?” I thought I had made the question easier by giving options, but he sprang on me a surprise. “Teacher”, he said. 
Then something he said two weeks back when we were discussing about his missile time friends. He said, “Children need to take care of their parents. It is sad that sometimes this is not happening”. He paused and said, “Two things. Elders must also do. Never leave wealth at your deathbed – that leaves a fighting family. Second, one is blessed is one can die working, standing tall without any long drawn ailing. Goodbyes should be short, really short”. 
Today, I look back – he took the final journey, teaching, what he always wanted to be remembered doing. And, till his final moment he was standing, working and lecturing. He left us, as a great teacher, standing tall. He leaves the world with nothing accumulated in his account but loads of wishes and love of people. He was a successful, even in his end. 
Will miss all the lunches and dinners we had together, will miss all the times you surprised me with your humility and startled me with your curiosity, will miss the lessons of life you taught in action and words, will miss our struggles to race to make into flights, our trips, our long debates. You gave me dreams, you showed me dreams need to be impossible, for anything else is a compromise to my own ability. The man is gone, the mission lives on. Long live Kalam.
Your indebted student,
Srijan Pal Singh
(pic .. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam meeting the jawan who stood in the gypsy)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Adani Group to Take Over L&T's Kattupalli Terminal by September?

Source: http://www.portwings.in/ports/adani-group-to-take-over-lts-kattupalli-terminal/

Port Wings News Network:

Adani Group, headed by Mr Gautam Adani and one of India’s leading business houses with revenue of over $10 billion, is all set to take over the Kattupalli International Container Terminal (KICT), promoted by engineering major Larsen & Toubro at Kattupalli Port in Tamil Nadu, it is reliably learnt.
In what could be an early indication of possible takeover of the terminal, said to be from the first week of September this year, officials of Adani Group and KICT have jointly organized a trade meet with the prominent seafood exporters in the region in Chennai on July 24 and sought the trade’s support.

Speaking to Port Wings, one of the exporters (who attended the trade meet), seeking anonymity said that they (Adani Group) were very eager to ascertain the potential of seafood trade from the region and also gave assurance to the trade that they can walk an extra mile to ensure hassle-free exports from Kattupalli.
The news of possible takeover could not be verified from either side, as they were reluctant to share any information pertaining to the development citing different reasons.


Kattupalli Port is promoted by L&T Ports, a division of L&T Shipbuilding Limited, a joint venture company formed by Larsen & Toubro Limited and Government of Tamil Nadu’s trade arm Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation Limited (TIDCO). While the L&T holds 97 % in the shipyard cum port complex project, Tamil Nadu Government (through TIDCO) holds 3 % share.


Though rumours of Adani Group taking over the Kattupalli Container Terminal were flying for the past few weeks, no one from both the listed companies gave any concrete information about it in the public domain.

However, developments like a joint trade meet by Adani Group and L&T few days ago has clearly hinted that there are some concrete developments happening behind the scene on the possible taking over of the terminal.


For Adani Group, which wants to strengthen its presence in the East Coast, the possible taking over of L&T’s container terminal, located within a few kilometers distance from its own project, a container terminal (now in construction phase) at Kamarajar Port (erstwhile Ennore Port), could help to secure calling of vessels (mainline, feeder and coastal) from the day one of its operation.
Besides, maritime analysts suggest that it could further help the Adani Group to project both the terminals as a largest hub for containers in East Coast.
Furthermore, sources monitoring the growing port landscape in the country clearly pointed out that the Adani Group plans to project both the terminals as “Mundra of East Coast.”
It may be noted that Adani Group recently got the Vizhinjam port project in Kerala and in 2014, Adanis acquired Dhamra Port in Odisha from Tata Steel and L&T for an estimated Rs 5,500 crore.


According to sources, the possible handing over of Kattupalli Container Terminal to Adani by September would also augur well for the L&T management, which intends to focus more on defence projects at its shipyard located in the Kattupalli port complex.


Even though the managements of Adani and L&T may have discussed about the critical points involved in the possible take over from the legal point of view, experts feel that the “transition” may not be that easy. The Tamil Nadu Government roped in the L&T to develop the port complex and initially there were no reference about operation of container terminal. 
Besides, it is not clear, whether the L&T management handover “absolute right” on container terminal to Adani Group. If the L&T management intends to give to total control, then it needs the concurrence of the Tamil Nadu Government, another stakeholder in the port project. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dairy segment in Tamil Nadu presents opportunity for investments

Port Wings is bringing out series of articles on the major issues pertaining to the EXIM sector every week till the Tamil Nadu Government’s Global Investors Meet (GIM). This week, we analyse about the dairy segment in attracting investments.

Source: http://www.portwings.in/articlesinterviews/dairy-segment-in-tamil-nadu-presents-opportunity-for-investments/

Port Wings News Network:

The transition of the Indian milk industry from a situation of net import to that of surplus has been led by the efforts of National Dairy Development Board's Operation Flood programme under the aegis of the former Chairman of the board Dr. Kurien.
Launched in 1970, Operation Flood has led to the modernization of India's dairy sector and created a strong network for procurement processing and distribution of milk by the co-operative sector. Per capita availability of milk has increased from 132 gm per day in 1950 to over 220 gm per day in 1998. The main thrust of Operation Flood was to organize dairy cooperatives in the milkshed areas of the village, and to link them to the four Metro cities, which are the main markets for milk. The efforts undertaken by NDDB have not only led to enhanced production, improvement in methods of processing and development of a strong marketing network, but have also led to the emergence of dairying as an important source of employment and income generation in the rural areas.


Operation Flood has been one of the world's largest dairy development programme and looking at the success achieved in India by adopting the co-operative route, a few other countries have also replicated the model of India's White Revolution.
And the revolution has largely helped the state like Tamil Nadu to understand its true potential in the segment.
According to information available, nearly 70 lakh litres of milk being handled daily by cooperatives linked to Tamil Nadu Co-operative Milk Producers' Federation Limited and the organised players in the private sector. And it has helped the state to emerge as the second largest dairy player in the country after Gujarat.


Amul, an Rs 30,000-crore company, is completely managed and controlled by farmers from village collection to administrative set up. Due to systematic efforts, they gained a global brand and it helps Gujarat to market in dairy products in many countries.
On the other hand, though the Tamil Nadu state ranks second in dairy segment, its flawed policies curtailed the growth and made the Tamil Nadu Co-operative Milk Producers' Federation Limited (AAVIN) just a state player in dairy segment.


In an agricultural fair organised jointly by the Coimbatore District Small Industries Association (Codissia) and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University at the Codissia Trade Fair Complex recently, Mr K Rathnam, Managing Director, Amul Dairy, was very categorical in emphasizing that technology is the key for improving the dairy sector in Tamil Nadu.
According to Mr Rathnam, the potential is huge, but what we need is well-channelised system besides a stress on the need for improvements in infrastructure and imbibing technological advancements at the farm (primary level) itself.
In his opinion, commercial dairy farms have not been successful in India as 90 per cent of the dairy farms are with the poor and marginal farmers. To break the jinx, you will need to set up a processing plant at the farm itself and brand the product.


According to experts, the dairy segment in Tamil Nadu throws huge opportunity for investment both in technology upgradation as well as in processing and value-addition. If the investments started pouring in, it could help the coastal state, which has been blessed with three major ports and a few aircargo-handling airports, to attain a new status in export of value-added milk-related products.
With the availability of milk from rural areas, Global Investors Meet could help the Tamil Nadu government to brand it as leading player in dairy segment from the region and attract investments for the dairy sector, added experts. 

With special focus, Tamil Nadu can become food processing capital of India

Source: http://www.portwings.in/articlesinterviews/with-special-focus-tamil-nadu-can-become-food-processing-capital-of-india/

Port Wings News Network:
India is the world's second largest producer of food net to China, and has the potential of being the biggest with the food and agricultural sector. The food processing industry is one of the largest industries in India-it is ranked fifth in terms of production, consumption, export and expected growth. The food industry is on a high as Indians continue to have a feast.
Accounting for about 32 per cent of the country's total food market, the food processing industry is one of the largest industries in India and is ranked fifth in terms of production, consumption, export and expected growth.
The total food production in India is likely to double in the next 10 years with the country's domestic food market estimated to reach US$ 258 billion by 2015. The food processing industry forms an important segment of the Indian economy in terms of contribution to GDP, employment and investment, and is a major driver in the country's growth in the near future. This industry contributes as much as 9-10 per cent of GDP in agriculture and manufacturing sector.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has estimated that the foods processing sectors has the potential of attracting US$ 33 billion of investment in 10 years and generate employment of 9 million person-days.
Food processing is a large sector that covers activities such as agriculture, horticulture, plantation, animal husbandry and fisheries. It also includes other industries that use agriculture inputs for manufacturing of edible products. The Ministry of Food Processing, Government of India indicates the following segments within the Food Processing industry.

Tamil Nadu is a strong player in agro food processing industry:

Agricultural output has grown at CAGR of 5% as compared to the CAGR of 3% of the Indian agricultural sector from 2008-12. According to details available, while the state is numero uno producer of banana in the country, it is the second largest producer of poultry and dairy products as well as the third largest producer of tea and coffee in India.

Tamil Nadu’s Competitive Advantage:

Tamil Nadu has diverse soil and climatic conditions across seven agro climatic zones which provides ample opportunity to grow a variety of horticulture crops. Besides, 74.66 Acres of Land is available (as on 28.02.2015) for allotment in DTA (Domestic TariffArea) and opportunities are on for new industrial parks for Food Processing Industries at Dindigul, Theni, Virudhunagar Districts with common facilities like cold storage and warehouse.
Furthermore, marine based industries at Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari could also become a game-changer for the state gifted with three major ports and numerous non-major ports for export of processed products to global markets.
It may be noted that the Ministry of Food Processing Industries has so far sanctioned three cold-chain projects.

Opportunities for Investment in Tamil Nadu:

The segments like, Beverages Meat and poultry processing, Agriculture/horticulture, Food and Agri business parks and export oriented processing holds the key in attracting more investments in the state.
The food processing sector has undoubtedly the potential to be an industry driver that can transform India's rural economy, but there are a number of constraints both in the forward and backward linkages in the sector.
According to Mr Ravindra Sannareddy, Chairman, Southern Regional Council, ASSOCHAM, the agro-climatic condition in the State made it suitable for growing almost all kinds of agricultural and horticultural crops and setting up of food processing industries.
According to experts, if the constraints in the backward and forward linkages in the food processing sector are dealt accordingly, Tamil Nadu can play an important as well as catalytic role for the country and could become the food processing capital of India.
Task Before the Tamil Nadu Govt:

During the Global Investors Meet (GIM), if the Tamil Nadu government is able to attract more investments in the agro and food processing segment, it would augur well for the sustained growth of the industries in the state.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Tap the opportunities in Granite sector in Tamil Nadu

Port Wings is bringing out series of articles on major opportunities pertaining to the EXIM sector every week in connection with the Tamil Nadu Govt’s Global Investors Meet (GIM). This week, we analyze about the opportunities in Granites sector in attracting investments.
Port Wings News Network:
The main mineral wealth of the Tamil Nadu state is granite, limestone and lignite. The availability of different varieties of granite in different parts of the state’s quarries located in Krishnagiri, Madurai, Tirunelveli and Vellore areas, has resulted in a booming granite industry in the region. Over the years, the granite industry has grown from strength to strength and reports suggest that it contributing more than 35% of the country's exports.

Granite is an igneous rock with at least 20% quartz in it. Granite is a kind of igneous rock and is formed from magma emitted during a volcanic eruption.
According to information available, the rock has been used to add aesthetic value in buildings as well as used for making monuments in countries like China and Japan. An estimate shows that during 2013-14, exports of granite blocks were about Rs.12,000 crore. For the raw granites originating from southern states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka, ports in the state like Chennai and Tuticorin (VOC Port) serves as the gateway.
Tamil Nadu Minerals Limited, popularly known as TAMIN, is a wholly owned blue chip company of the Government of Tamil Nadu started in 1978.TAMIN is engaged in the exploitation, processing and marketing of Granite and other minerals such as Limestone, Vermiculite, Quartz, Feldspar, Indian Standard Sand and Graphite.
Exports of granite rough blocks from the state’s various quarries to different countries, mainly to China, has been growing steadily over the past several years.
While China is the global leader in finished granite exports, India is the no.1 supplier of raw granite blocks to China. Estimates show that more than 53% rough granite blocks from India are being exported to China alone every year.
According to experts, exporting rough blocks is not fetching much foreign exchange revenue for the government. Besides, the same stone re-enters India with a value addition in Chinese factories, which in turn give more revenue to the country than the actual producer of those granite stones.
The experts also feel that the time has come for the Government of Tamil through its arm TAMIN to seriously think of setting up a state-of-the-art facility for granite cutting, polishing and for monuments in the state’s granite nerve centres like Hosur, Vellore, Madurai and Tirunelveli in a joint venture with globally leading companies.
By setting up such facilities, the Tamil Nadu state government could become a leading player in the country in supply of finished products from granites, added the experts. Furthermore, it will also help the ports in the Tamil Nadu to flourish their business further;
TAMIN, though exports polished granite slabs, building slabs and tiles in several attractive colours, wall panels and monuments of various designs conforming to International Standards, was unable to break grounds due to stiff competition in the international market.
TAMIN entered the international granite market in the year 1979 and has secured a steady market for dimensional blocks of black and other colour materials in countries like China, Japan, Germany, Italy, Australia, UK, Switzerland, Holland, USA etc. However, their stride to export finished as well as value-added products in Granites is stuck in re-tapism and inconsistent policies on the exports by the state as well as union government.
Speaking to Port Wings, Mr G Natarajan, an expert in granites, said “The trade in the Tamil Nadu state was flourishing once when there were very few players. However, regular change in policies in exports, entry of middlemen, and other issues compounded the whole trade into a troublesome affair of late. Due to the shift, many small quarry owners vanished from the trade and it has led to export of mostly rough granite blocks to China.”
If the Tamil Nadu government forms a JV with leading Granite companies from China during the GIM for setting up advanced plants for cutting, polishing and for monuments making, it will not only help the state to attain a status of hub for granite products, it will also generate huge number of employment opportunities for the youth in the state,” Mr Natarajan added.
Hence, experts feel that the Tamil Nadu government should understand the potential of granite segment in generating revenue as well as employment and finalize JV with Chinese or any other willing companies during GIM.

Editorial: Negative Growth Rings in Alarm Bells for Modi Govt

Port Wings Editorial:
July 08, 2015:

Few months back, OECD has downwardly revised its forecast for global economic growth for 2015 from 4% to 3.1%, which would be less than the 3.3% growth the world witnessed in 2014.
Since, US economy has contracted in the first quarter, China clocked a moderate 7% growth, emerging economies slowed down and If Greece fails to reach an agreement with its creditors, Europe will feel the strain again which may further lower the forecast for 2015.
In the globalised world, even a small action on the economic front even in a remote place of the globe, could send signals upto India.
First, it was the RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan who spoke about the impending signs of Great Depression of 1930s few weeks ago. Though he had completely denied of saying such thing during a media interaction in Chennai on July 2, it has opened Pandora ’s Box and reactions are pouring in from various quarters.
The FIEO has went a step above the Rajan’s forecast and its president Mr Ralhan said that global economy, which hitherto was in challenging phase, is entering into a dangerous stage which will have ominous implications for India and the World.
President FIEO further apprehended that if exports continue to move in negative territory, it will sooner or later put pressure on CAD also and may derail the rebuilding of economy which the new Government is keen to do as Forex reserves will not provide the cushion which the exports provide.
And more came from the DGFT. Its chief during a meeting with the trade in Kolkata on July 3 openly advised the Indian exporters to look for opportunities in new markets as European Zone is feeling the heat from Greece crisis, which is still in the unfolding stage.
The statements from three different people this week, directly linked to the EXIM trade, have opened a new front before the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tackle the situation on war-footing.
Even though the Government of India is taking measures to help improve exports from the country, there has been a sense of confusion among the trade and the new Foreign Trade Policy has put question mark over the implications of the government’s plan for recovery.
First and foremost, the Government of India should immediately initiate the dialogue with the industry to understand the challenges and revisit its strategy to support the exports sectors as consecutive six months decline in exports indicate that current support level for exports is not enough.
Indications are very clear for the government led by Narendra Modi to act fast. The time for some real action has begun. If the declining phase in exports further extends to another quarter, then it would be very hard for the Trade to manage the lost ground in next fiscal. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Ocean freight logistics is a highly complex task: Raghav Himatsingka

Source: http://www.portwings.in/articlesinterviews/ocean-freight-logistics-is-a-highly-complex-task-raghav-himatsingka/

Port Wings News Network:
Ocean freight logistics is a highly complex task which requires tremendous amount of experience as well as knowledge, Mr.Raghav Himatsingka, Director, Ideal Movers Pvt Ltd, has said.
In an exclusive interview to Port Wings, Mr Raghav said, “We need experience as well as knowledge to determine the most cost economical routes to transport the cargo in the least amount of time without any handling damage to the consignment.”

Q. Tell us about the background of Ideal Movers, its growth over the years?

Mr.Raghav Himatsingka: Ideal Group started in the year 1982 in Kolkata. Ideal Movers – the logistics arm of the group - was started in the year 2000 with only 10 trucks. In 15 years’ time, we have expanded into a wide range of logistics solutions with more than 40 offices across India and a global agency network in all major countries. We today own close to 2000 vehicles, 70 heavy lift cranes, Goldhofer hydraulic axles, forklifts, excavators, etc. and are the preferred logistics partners of the largest corporates in the country including the Tata Group, Reliance, Essar Group, Adani, Mahindra, Larsen & Toubro, Jindal Group, Posco, Vedanta Group, etc.

Q. What is Ideal Movers’ USP to attract EXIM trade in East and West Coast?
RH: Ideal has several strong reasons why clients prefer to work with them. Firstly, we have a large fleet of vehicles and equipment with a pan-India presence. Secondly, we have a large global network of partners. These two factors allow us to offer our clients door-to-door solutions from anywhere in India to anywhere globally and vice versa. We have a solid reputation for maintaining our commitment with the largest corporates in the country and lastly we have a supremely talented team comprising of the best logistics professionals in the industry.

Q. Tell us about the ongoing upgradation projects in Ideal Movers to meet the growing demand in Ocean Freight segment?

RH: Ocean freight logistics is a highly complex task which requires tremendous amount of experience as well as knowledge to determine the most cost economical routes to transport the cargo in the least amount of time without any handling damage to the consignment. Since it is an asset light business for logistics players like us, the differentiation is usually in assembling the best team who can carry out the job. We are currently expanding our team and we also make sure to train our people from time to time so that they are aware of the latest trends in the industry.

Q. Ocean Freight has been the important segment in logistics chain. How do you see the prospects of Ideal Movers in the segment?

RH: We are very confident of becoming the market leaders in the segment in the time to come just like the way we are the market leaders in all our other service offerings: road transportation, heavy lifts and projects transportation.

Q. Since your focus is solely on heavy and odd-shaped cargo as well as break bulk cargo, how do you see the opportunity in the segment?

RH: We expect this segment to grow rapidly in the near future. With a stable government that appears to be keen to increase infrastructure investments in the country, we should see huge projects being imported in the country in the next few years. On the exports side Prime Minister Modi’s government has a tremendous push for Make In India which should help increase the cargo going out of the country as well.

Q. Movement of ODC cargo is often termed as a herculean task based on its size. What is your expectation from ports in easing out the task?

RH: We don’t know whether much can be done about it. Most large ports in India are extremely congested which lead to higher shipping costs due to detention of ships berthing there. India is blessed with a long coastline on half of its border so it is unfortunate that we don’t have better port facilities in the country. There are a few private ports coming in; if the ship traffic and facilities at these ports become better, they could potentially be game changers in the sector.

Q. Tell us about the future plans of Ideal Movers?

RH: We are bullish about industrial growth in the next few years and we will continue to invest and expand in all our service offerings.

Q. Ideal Movers is a seasoned one in logistics sector in the country. What are the challenged the logistics sector faces nowadays?

RH: The biggest challenges today in the logistics sector are liquidity of cash, driver availability, increasing toll taxes and harassment of our drivers by various entities on the road. We talk of wanting to become a world-class developed nation but we are probably amongst the bottom of the list in logistics. Unless some of these fundamental issues are solved, we will struggle to achieve the growth that we hope to achieve since the logistics sector contributes almost 15% to our total GDP.

Q.Do you agree with the notion that there is a dearth of skilled drivers in the country?

RH: There is a severe dearth of drivers in the country because few people are keen on becoming a driver in today’s time. Primary reasons for the same are the rising alternate job opportunities, the extreme risk to life and health of the driver while on job, lack of respect in society for the driver community and the extreme living conditions of the driver away from home and family.

Q. In your view, how come we overcome the drivers’ shortage?

RH: This is a very difficult task. We need to encourage more people to become drivers. Governments and large manufacturers like Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland should lead the way by opening mass scale driver training schools for truckers. This will make the driver job aspirational as well as reduce safety hazards on the roads in general. Toll taxes should be automated/reduced and unwanted elements that harass drivers on the roads should be removed. This will reduce the cash transactions required en-route thus reducing the chances of burglary on the road. Today commercial vehicle driving is a 365 days, 24x7 job that it need not be. The drivers should be able to work from hub to hub handing off the vehicle to the next driver just like a relay. Drivers can have proper resting places at these hubs and they can spend every alternate day with their families. This is only possible however if the government does away with its one-chassis-one-trolley rule. Incidentally, these things are all already working in developed countries where driving is as respectable a job as any other if not more.