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BCCI’s conference discusses facilitative role of ports, shipping & logistics in "Make in India"


Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) organised the 9th Biennial International Conference on Ports, Shipping and Logistics on the topic of "Make in India - Role of Maritime Industry", at the Taj Mahal Palace here on January 22, 2016 for converting the PM’s vision of "Make in India" into a practical level of reality within the community of trade and commerce. According to the Chamber, the world’s participation in the idea of "Make in India" could only take place through a vibrant shipping and logistics infrastructure.


The event began with the introductory remarks by Mr N. N. Kumar, IRS, Conference Chairman and former Chairman of JNPT, and the theme setting by Mr Anil Radhakrishnan, Conference Co-Chairman and CEO of Adani Logistics.


Mr Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, Government of India was the Chief Guest at the inaugural session of the conference. He started his message underlining the link between efficiency of the logistics sector and social welfare in terms of poverty eradication. He highlighted the importance of coastal shipping, Sagarmala project, employment opportunities for local youth and its economic implications. He appealed to the corporate world for a more direct and continuous interaction with the government for improving the share of coastal shipping. He also insisted that "shipping" should get status of "infrastructure" and, accordingly, should receive fiscal incentives.


Ease of Doing Business Index for Trading Across Borders from India has worsened in the last few years. This conference explored the maritime factors which may improve "Ease of Doing Business in India".


Ms Mireille Romboni-Lasserre, French Regional Customs Counsellor, Asia/Pacific, mentioned that French Customs has implemented single window systems, integrating 17 agencies, and it was observed that 93 per cent Customs clearances were done in less than 5 minutes. She informed the audience that France is ranked No. 1 by the World Bank in Ease of Doing Business for "trading across borders" based on extensive simplification of procedures.


Mr Pascal Ollivier, Director - Corporate Development, SOGET S.A, made a presentation on "Next Generation Port Community Systems". He demonstrated that optimisation, collaboration and automation are three pillars of PCS for enhancing logistics performance.


The first panel discussion on "Ease of Doing Business" was chaired by Mr Tushar Jani, Chairman, CSC Group, and the panel members were: Ms Mireille Romboni-Lasserre, French Regional Customs Counsellor, Asia/Pacific; Mr Pascal Ollivier, Director - Corporate Development, SOGET S.A; Mr Kevin D’Souza, Director, Comm. and Business Development, DP World, Subcontinent; Mr Jomy Jacob, Deputy Commissioner of Customs, JNCH; Ms Audrey Dolhen, Managing Director, CMA CGM India and Ms Poroma Rebello, Head Commercial, North and Central Region, APL (India) Pvt. Ltd.


Regarding Model Concession Agreement (MCA), it was opined that the current versions are from the landlord perspective. Instead, it should have a partnership perspective. Absence of rail and coastal shipping forces people to use roads. But there is an atmosphere of change and good initiatives from the government such as Sagarmala and Delhi-Mumbai Freight Corridor. Participants also noted that the Customs is making a lot of efforts to enhance ease of doing business, such as facilitation meetings with the presence of high ranking officials, which is also leading to inter-ministerial coordination.


Connectivity from the ports to hinterland and coordination between multiple modes of transport are the vital issues. The conference deliberated on smooth connectivity strategies.


Mr Rajeeva Sinha, Director, Adani Ports & SEZ Ltd, chaired the second panel discussion, on "Connectivity". The panel members were Mr Neeraj Bansal, IRS, Deputy Chairman, JNPT; Capt. A. K. Singh, CEO, Adani Dahej & Hazira Ports; Mr Umesh Grover, Advisor, Allcargo Logistics Ltd; Mr Farhad Sorabjee, Partner, J. Sagar Associates; Mr Vineet Malhotra, Director, Kale Logistics Solutions and Mr Kamal Jain, IRTS, CGM - Western Region, CONCOR.


The panelists highlighted various issues such as: Level playing field for all ports by providing equal connectivity frameworks. Rather, it could be a part of the concession agreement. They opined that longer, double stack and high-speed trains would be the game changer in future. However, mid-stream policy changes in rail tariff are not good for business.


Regarding information systems, they stressed that Cargo Community System has been proved effective in many countries for tracking containers and India should certainly look at the same. Regarding litigation, participants said that the liability regime is very important in the context of multimodal transport operators and cargo owners.


Additionally, the conference discussed the impact of emerging trends in logistics and showcased specific success stories from other parts of the world. Mr Ainārs Šlesers, former Vice Prime Minister of Latvia, made a presentation on "Port of Riga - Your Gateway to Baltic Region and CIS". Mr S. V. Anchan, Chairman, Safesea Group, spoke about US-India trade and how North Americans view India’s shipping infrastructure. Mr Aditya Vikram Somani, Chairman, Everest Industries Ltd, made a presentation about "Building with Speed for Faster Project Completion". Capt. Shailesh Karmarkar, BDM, RINA India, made a presentation on Sustainability Trends.


The Guest of Honour at the Valedictory Session was Dr Vishwapati Trivedi, IAS, Chairman of National Shipping Board, Ministry of Shipping. He insisted that stakeholders should be persistent with the regulatory bodies for conflict resolution and smooth functioning. He also suggested that Indian flag vessels need to be promoted along with shipbuilding in the country. "Ease of Doing Business" is a necessary prerequisite for "Make in India", he pointed out.


Mr S. Hajara, ex-CMD, SCI, summarised the conference proceedings. He said that "Make in India" is not only applicable to manufacturing but also to the service industry. He noted that a lot of capacity addition is required in the Indian flag to manage the existing ex-im cargo. He reiterated the importance of coastal shipping and transparency.


The event was attended by maritime professionals, manufacturers, exporters and investors. A large number of bureaucrats, representatives of foreign embassies and senior representatives of global logistics players also participated.


Deloitte India, the Knowledge Partner, made strategic recommendations based on industry survey at the beginning of the conference.


Source: Our Correspondent - MUMBAI