Ashok Janakiram re-elected President for 9th consecutive term
The Association of Shipping Interests in Calcutta (ASIC), which would be completing its Golden Jubilee in 2020, elected its new Managing Committee for the next two year (2020-21) terms at its recently held Annual General Meeting at the Bengal Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Mr Ashok Janakiram, Director, Pennon Shipping Pvt. Ltd, was unanimously re-elected as President for the 9th consecutive term, along with two Vice-Presidents, Mr Pinaki Shankar Ghosh from Sea Freight & Logistics Solution and Capt. B. K. Khambatta from Interocean Shipping.
In addition, 5 Executive Committee members were inducted—Mr Debanjan Nandi from SCI, Mr Subrata Chowdhury from ONE Line, Mr Probir Chakraborty from PIL, Mr M. Rajendran from TLPL Shipping and Mr Tapan Debnath from Deb Lines.
The meeting was attended by a cross-section of ASIC’s constituents from liner, bulk and break-bulk segments.
In his welcome address Mr Janakiram, who is also the Chairman of FEDSAI, presented a detailed account of the regional, national and international shipping scenario, identified issues of slack growth and priority areas to focus on. While he touched upon all identified issues, viz. overcapacity, low customer demand and trade rift, he also mentioned about the growing trend of consolidation globally, pointing out that the 5 largest players accounted for 70 per cent of the market share in container trade.
The further realignment among global shipping companies to form alliances has led to the major 3 alliances controlling 91 per cent of the global market share, it was pointed out.
Analysing the non-liner trade, Mr Janakiram said freight rates remained volatile across bulk, while other segment like tankers witnessed subdued freights due to excess capacity and low demand. He also mentioned that the domestic shipping industry has a share of 7-7.5 per cent of India’s overseas trade. According to him, weak freight rates have led to fewer domestic companies making investments to buy new vessels.
He also highlighted that the government of India is targeting to make the country the first in the world to operate all 12 Major domestic government ports on renewable energy and plans to install almost 200 MW wind and solar power generation capacity at the ports, which may kick off new employment generation and is also a bold step towards less carbon footprint. Energy capacity could be ramped up to 500 MW in future years, he opined. He also informed that the Ministry has initiated NMDP to develop the maritime sector, with a planned outlay of $ 11.8 billion to create port capacity of around 3,200 MMT to handle the expected traffic of about 2,500 MMT by 2020.
Mr Janakiram mentioned that Kolkata Port and Haldia Dock have registered a growth of around 10 per cent in total cargo handling and 4 per cent in container handling during 2018-19 as compared to 2017-18.
However, he felt that competition from neighbouring ports is intensifying with regard to handling third country cargo of Nepal.
As regards transaction cost and delivery time, he felt that a holistic and more integrated approach is required. Merely choosing one segment of the industry may prove to be an oversimplified approach.
He appealed to the industry to work in tandem as trade partners and seek efficiency in every possible way, right from cost of production to last mile delivery besides handling, packaging and clearance, as freight is just one component to a product that is shipped out. Mr Janakiram also lamented the continuous slide in demand, leading to a weak freight market which ultimately has impacted the bottomlines of companies.
IMO 2020 shall be another acid test when all liners globally have to shell out $15 billion, up from the earlier estimate of $10 billion, towards clean oil purchase and scrubber fitting to adhere to the international commitment for a safer and cleaner environment.
Therefore, he said he appreciated an inclusive approach to wither the crisis as world business and commerce have been going through turbulence for a while and India plays a crucial role being a country of 1 billion plus.