SORTING OUT LOGISTICS ISSUES

Smart Logistics Summit and Awards made its maiden entry in to Bhubaneswar, one of the fastest growing regions of eastern India. The occasion was to discuss pertaining issues in cargo evacuation, current developments and opportunity to adapt best and contemporary logistics solutions.

Amid announcements of fresh investments worth about `1.10 lakh crore being approved by Naveen Patnaik government in the natural resource rich state of Odisha, the timing couldn’t have been more appropriate to introduce the Smart Logistics Summit (SLS) at the state capital Bhubaneswar. At its maiden edition the summit created lot of buzz among trade and industries, especially those who oversee supply chain and logistics. The occasion was to bring together key players to engage at a podium to evaluate, innovate, share and exchange ideas and adapt the best in logistics across the entire spectrum from road to railways to sea transport. In this backdrop, the summit received a thundering reception from industry participants and registered a footfall of about 200-odd delegates.

After a formal prologue by the host, R. Ramprasad, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Gateway Media, welcomed A.K. Mohapatra, Former Secretary, Ministry of Shipping; K. Raghuramaiah, IRTS (Retd.), Former Chairman, ParadipPort Trust; and Samir J Shah, Chairman, FFFAI onto the dais. In his welcome address, Ramprasad thanked the attendees for their overwhelmed response to the inaugural edition of the event. He appreciated various industry bodies: FFFAI, FIEO, FIMI, NOCCI, SEAI, UCCI, KSAA, and WTC for their support. He stressed that the SLS summit aimed at participation from shippers and cargo generators to understand the issues faced by them in terms of goods movement, and how logistics service providers could address them.

Ramprasad thanked the attendees for their overwhelmed response to the inaugural edition of the event. He appreciated various industry bodies: FFFAI, FIEO, FIMI, NOCCI, SEAI, UCCI, KSAA, and WTC for their support. He stressed that the SLS summit aimed at participation from shippers and cargo generators to understand the issues faced by them in terms of goods movement, and how logistics service providers could address them.

On this occasion K. Raghuramaiah, IRTS (Retd.), Former Chairman, Paradip Port Trust said that Odisha’s mineral based industries apart from other heavy industries have expanded in the recent past but the infrastructure has not developed in equal proportion. Due to which exportimport of goods starting from the point of cargo generation till the port has suffered. Explaining the situation, he said, “In 2005 the port handled 30 million tonnes of cargo per annum and ranked at No. 9 among all major ports. Meanwhile, I took the challenge to increase cargo volume and in the next 5 years cargo volume was 58 million tonnes, almost 100 per cent growth was registered. Now the port handles 89 million tones (FY2016-17) to become the second biggest cargo handling port, after Kandla.”

A.K. Mohapatra, Former Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, said, “Government requires constant feedback from the industry and Maritime Gateway should extend valuable suggestions and feedback to policy makers. It requires long term vision, planning and time to put infrastructure in place. Audacity of imagination is required for the development of the sector.”

Infrastructure Readiness for Growing Cargo:

Speaking on the topic Sushil Mulchandani, COO, Visakha Container Terminal (VCT) stressed on the infrastructure development taken up by his group company. Mulchandani said, “Visakha Container Terminal serves Andhra Pradesh and neighboring states such as Odisha and Chhattisgarh. The group company also serves at Haldia and is also coming up with a terminal at Paradip.” He explained various initiatives taken by Visakha Container Terminal to offer improved connectivity.

 Paresh Agrawal, GM (International Marketing), Concor emphasized on initiatives by the public sector major for the region. Concor has plans to set up a MMLP at Paradip and Kalinganagar, and about `500 crore investment is planned for Odisha alone. Agrawal stressed that imports should be increased in Odisha to balance between export and import volume which is currently inclined toward exports. Due to which empty containers are moved from other parts to Odisha at additional cost.

Capt. S B Mazumder, ED, Seahorse Ship Agencies said, “In the last 20 years government is emphasizing on progress in this region. In the last 5 years all modes of infrastructure, including inland waterways have picked up rapidly. Sharing thoughts about the region, Capt Pankaj Mehrotra, CEO – Shipping Agency, Samsara Group said, “The density of ports on east coast lags behind west coast and new container handling facility at Paradip and Dhamra will help the trade. Coastal Shipping Bill will be a game charger in bringing down logistic cost.”

  1. Balaji Arunkumar, IRTS, Deputy Chairman, Kolkata Port Trust said, “The Kolkata Port has registered growth of 10 per cent in container traffic and even Haldia has crossed 1.35 lakh TEUs in FY2016- 17, and combined together Kolkata Port Trust registered a growth of 16 per cent last year.” Logistic Challenges in Cargo Movement:

The session was moderated by Capt L. K. Panda, Former Nautical Adviser, Directorate General of Shipping, Govt. of India. Giving a prospective on the logistics challenges for steel sector, Shashibhushan Upadhyay, Chief Resident Representative, Jindal Stainless Limited said, “Though logistic infrastructure has improved but not at a rate which the industry expects. Though the mine is located merely 100 km from the plant at Kalinganagar but still the cargo takes 3 days to reach. The state government came out with the notification in 2012 fixing a rate per kilometer but the law was implemented for distance of more than 100 km only last year. Still for short distance the rates are not fixed due to which plants are at the mercy of local associations and logistics cost in Odisha, particular local movement is highest in the world.”

 Pramod K. Thakur, Head Logistics & Despatch, RMHS & Logistics – TSK, TATA Steel Ltd speaking on logistic challenges said, “Moving cargo from Jamshedpur to Kalinganagar by rail is cheaper as road being unorganized sector is expensive. But even getting a rake at Joda to bring iron ore from mine to Kalinganagar is a herculean task.”

Dr Kamalesh Mishra, VP, Sea Food Exporters Association of India (Odisha Chapter) said, “In the last 4-5 years, the seafood exporters from Odisha have lost about `100 crore as they have to ship through ports at Kolkata and Visakhapatnam. Being a perishable good it is even more challenging to deliver cargo on time.”

Sathish Kakumani, Head (Mktg & Sales), The Dharma Port Company explained the latest developments at the port. He said, “The port currently has four berths and has recently started operation at fourth berth. By August the port will handle three new commodities, fertilizer, agro and containers.”

Rajen Padhi, Director General, UCCI said that relaxation of cabotage will ease export. The VCT has registered about 23 per cent growth in reefer containers and a majority of it comes from Odisha. He referred that the road transport cost from Bhubaneswar to Visakhapatnam is almost 80 per cent of the freight cost from Visakhapatnam to Japan for seafood exporters.

On this occasion awards were bestowed upon various industry players for their innovative and contemporary approach to move cargo. The winners were Tata Steel for Smart Exporters (Steel), IMFA for Smart Exporters (Ferro Alloys), Falcon Marine for Smart Exporter (Seafood), Bhushan Steel for Smart Importer (Coking Coal), IFFCO for Smart Importer (fertilizer), Goa Carbon for Smart Importer (Petroleum Coke), Apeejay Logistics Park Kalinaganagar for Smart ICD, JM Baxi and Co. for Smart CHA, Samsara Shipping for Smart Shipping Agent, Dhamara Port for Smart Port (Private), and Paradip Port for Smart Port (Major).