Samsara Newsletter

Week 1, 2019 (Dec 29 - Jan 04)

Policy & Economy News

Indian economy on track to maintain high growth rate: Finance Ministry

India is expected to witness strong economic growth in 2019, says CII

Business News - The India Boom Factor

Cotton imports to India in current fiscal may grow over 80 percent: Trade experts

Gujarat's export grew by 22%, higher than national average

Govt increases MEIS incentive for Onions to 10% to boost exports

Russian-Indian trade turnover to rise three-fold by 2025, says Chamber of Commerce

Shipping News

National Waterway-4 being further developed

Logistics News

Gujarat Ports' Freight traffic will shift to Dedicated Freight Corridor in current year

New air cargo facility in Assam to boost farm exports

Indian Port News

IOC to commission Ennore LNG Terminal this month

JNPT creates history by record handling of 5.04 Million TEUs, cargo throughput in 2018

Krishnapatnam port added to the list of 10 existing ports to allow import & export of 'Sawn timber': DGFT

Policy & Economy News

Indian economy on track to maintain high growth rate: Finance Ministry
Daily Shipping Times: New Delhi, Jan 04 Top
The Indian economy is projected to be the fastest-growing major economy in the current and upcoming fiscal 2019-20, the Finance Ministry said while emphasising that the Government has taken several steps to boost investors' confidence.

According to a recent World Bank report, India has improved its ranking in the Ease of Doing Business to 77th in 2018. The average growth of the Indian economy between 2014-15 and 2017-18 was 7.3 per cent, fastest among the major economies in the world, the Ministry said in Year End Review 2018.

"Indian economy is projected to be the fastest-growing major economy in 2018-19 and 2019-20 (International Monetary Fund October 2018 database). This is borne by GDP growth of 7.6 per cent in the first half of 2018-19," it said.

The Indian economy is on track to maintain a high growth rate in the current global environment, it added. Highlighting various initiatives taken to improve the confidence and boost the growth of the Indian economy, it said there were measures to boost manufacturing, comprehensive reforms in the foreign direct investment policy, special package for the textile industry, push to infrastructure development by giving infrastructure status to affordable housing and focus on coastal connectivity.

India is expected to witness strong economic growth in 2019, says CII
Daily Shipping Times: New Delhi, Jan 02 Top
The country is expected to witness strong economic growth in 2019, after it emerged as the fastest growing major world economy this year despite growing global vulnerabilities, industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said.

The positive outlook is buttressed by strong drivers emanating from services sector and better demand conditions arising out of poll spend, with the general elections slated next year, according to the chamber.

"Better demand conditions, settled GST implementation, capacity expansion from growing investments in infrastructure, continuing positive effects of reform policies and improved credit offtake especially in the services sector at 24 per cent will sustain the robust GDP growth in the range of 7.5 per cent in 2019," CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said.

The industry body observed that despite 2018 being filled with external vulnerabilities arising out of rising oil prices, trade wars between major global trading partners and US monetary tightening, India outshined as the world's fastest growing major economy.

It has identified seven key drivers for growth that need to be fostered and suggested policy actions for robust GDP growth to continue in 2019. Among key growth drivers, CII hopes the GST Council will consider extending the tax to currently exempted sectors such as fuel, real estate, electricity and alcohol. The chamber outlined that credit availability has been a challenge, particularly for the micro, small and medium enterprises, as credit flow to industry grew by a mere 2.3 per cent in first half of the current fiscal year.

"CII submits that the RBI should introduce measures such as revisiting lending restrictions of Prompt Corrective Action banks, opening of a limited special liquidity window to meet emergencies of financial institutions, including Mutual Funds besides others to improve liquidity in the system," it said.

Besides, the process of insolvency resolution has taken shape, the chamber feels the government should consider setting up additional benches of the NCLT to strengthen the judicial infrastructure for easier and faster exit of distressed businesses. The chamber believes the Government will continue to place high priority on simplifying business procedures in 2019, especially in terms of working with states for grassroots improvements.

On agriculture reforms, CII suggested that it is important to persuade states to implement the Agriculture Produce and Livestock Marketing Model Act, which has been implemented in just four states, to strengthen agriculture produce marketing.

Business News - The India Boom Factor

Cotton imports to India in current fiscal may grow over 80 percent: Trade experts
Daily Shipping Times: Ahmedabad, Jan 04 Top
Uncertain crop conditions, a stronger rupee and weak international prices are some of the factors that are set to push India's cotton imports for the year 2018-19 to a record in recent years.

Trade estimates suggest India may end-up importing cotton in excess of 27 lakh bales (each of 170 kg) on the dismal crop outlook following water scarcity in the growing regions of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka. "This year, we will see more imports than we saw in recent years. But the trend will depend on multiple factors. Even if imports are higher than last year, they will face quality limitations. All the good quality cotton of the US, Australia and Brazil has already been sold. For the remaining cotton, not all the Indian mills can consume that," said Atul Ganatra, President of the Cotton Association of India.

As far as India's cotton exports are concerned it is likely to be lower by about 30 per cent owing to the unfavourable currency exchange rate and availability of cheaper alternative sources.

Amid the trade war with the US, the world's largest buyer, China, has focussed cotton purchases more on Australia and Brazil due to the cost advantage offered by those countries.

Gujarat's export grew by 22%, higher than national average
Daily Shipping Times: Ahmedabad, Jan 03 Top
The Gujarat Government has been boasting its achievement in increase of exports from State that remained 22% in 2017-18. With this, Gujarat recorded hike in export at almost double the rate of that of national average that was 10.1% in the same year. The Government released the details on exports from State recently. The Industries Commissioner Mamta Verma, talking to media persons said that Gujarat also stood at second position among all the States, so far the exports concerned.

"Exports from Gujarat increased from $54 billion in 2016-17 to $66 billion in 2017-18 that reflects 22% growth. While, exports from India increased from $275 billion in 2016-17 to $303 billion in 2017-18 that shows 10.1% growth," Verma said.

"If we look at a state-wise scenario, Gujarat's share in India's exports increased from 20% in 2016-17 to 22% in 2017-18 that is second among all the States after Maharashtra," Verma said.

The basic products that are exported from Gujarat comprise petroleum, organic chemicals, plastic raw materials, semi precious stones, gems and pearls, yarns, castor oil and ceramic products to the US, the UAE, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Turkey, the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia.

Verma, informing on the event at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit to be held at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, also said a seminar dedicated to Trade and Exports - Making India a Trillion Dollar Exports Economy will be organised on January 19. Union Minister of Industry and Commerce, Suresh Prabhu will deliver the key note address here.

Govt increases MEIS incentive for Onions to 10% to boost exports
Daily Shipping Times: New Delhi, Jan 31 Top
Central Government has increased the incentives given under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) from 5% to 10% to boost domestic prices.

A delegation representing various stake holders onion trade had met union cabinet minister Nitin Gadkari in the national capital on December 28 requesting increase in MEIS incentives.

The decision is expected to boost domestic prices by increasing exports, which are already continuing in full swing as Indian onion is available at competitive price.

India's exports of fresh and chilled onion were $256 million in the April-October period of 2018-19 compared with $511.5 million in 2017-18.

Russian-Indian trade turnover to rise three-fold by 2025, says Chamber of Commerce
India Seatrade News: Dec 31 Top
The task of Russia and India is to boost mutual trade turnover over three-fold from the current $8-10 bln to $30 bln by 2025, Vice President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vladimir Padalko told.

"According to Russia's Federal Customs Service, the trade turnover between Russia and India has been hovering between $8 bln and $10 bln over the past several years. Machines and equipment, mineral commodities, oil and oil refining products, precious stones and metals account for the bulk of Russian exports," he said. "Heads of Russia and India have set a reasonable task of bringing the trade turnover between the two countries to $30 bln, and mutual investments to $15 bln by 2025," he said.

Padalko considers it possible to expand Russia's exports to India, particularly by increasing supplies of energy, transport, metals and mining equipment, brown goods, water purification and waste incineration equipment, oil, gas and coal, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, timber and newsprint, chemical products and fertilizers.

"Agriculture equipment, equipment for processing agriculture products can be considered one of promising items of Russian exports to India," he added.

Vice President also noted that it is necessary to devote special attention to transregional ties in expansion of trade relations with India.

Shipping News

National Waterway-4 being further developed
Exim News Service - New Delhi, Jan. 1 Top
Mr Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping, informed Rajya Sabha in reply to a question that the Kakinada-Puducherry stretch of canals and the Kaluvelly tank, Bhadrachalam-Rajahmundry stretch of river Godavari and Wazirabad - Vijayawada stretch of river Krishna with a total length of 1,078 km was declared as National Waterway-4 (NW-4) in 2008. The stretch was further extended up to Nashik in case of Godavari and up to Galagali in case of river Krishna, in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry under the National Waterways Act, 2016. The length of NW-4 is 2,890 km and it is planned to be developed in three phases:-

i. Phase-I: - Vijayawada to Muktyala stretch of Krishna River.

ii. Phase-II: - Kakinada to Vijayawada and Rajahmundry to Polavaram after completion of Phase-I

iii. Phase-III :- Remaining stretches of NW-4 after completion of Phase-I and Phase-II

Development work of Phase-I of NW-4 at a cost of Rs 96 crore (Rs.0.96 billion) has already commenced. The status of work for development of fairway and terminals is as shown in the table.


RoRo services between Ibrahimpatnam and Lingayapalam, for transportation of construction materials on NW-4 (river Krishna) is already under operation, which is on similar lines to that of Dhubri and Hatsingimari, said a release.

Logistics News

'Gujarat Ports' Freight traffic will shift to Dedicated Freight Corridor in current year
Daily Shipping Times: Ahmedabad, Jan 04 Top
Freight traffic from Gujarat ports will be shifted to dedicated freight corridor after September next year, with the completion of works on the Dadri (Uttar Pradesh) to Palanpur stretch. The work on Madar (Ajmer) to Marwar junction (Pali) is scheduled to be completed by March 2019, and under the next phase, by September 2019, Palanpur (Gujarat) will be connected, said Anurag Sachan, MD of the Dedicated Fright Corridor Corporation of India.

"When the work till Palanpur will be completed by September 2019, freight from ports like Mundra will be shifted to the dedicated corridor and the entire traffic of ports will move through the corridor," Sachan said.

The work on the mega project having two -- Eastern and Western --dedicated freight corridors is going on and 99 per cent of land acquisition has been completed.

The project running in 3,300 km and passing through nine States and 64 district had a big issue of land acquisition but 99 per cent land has been acquired and we are moving on the right track. In order to push the work, we are completing different sections in phase manner," he said at New Sakhun railway station near Jaipur after flagging off a trial train on Madar - New Rewari - Kishangarh Balawas (Haryana) stretch.

After the commissioning of the project by 2020, nearly 400 MT of the goods will move through the corridor which will reduce the time of transportation and enhance the punctuality of passenger trains as the goods train will run on the dedicated lines.

Not only the Railway's goods trains, he said, private operators would also be allowed to operate their rolling stock on the paths in the dedicated freight corridor.

The trial train ran on 306-km long section in the first phase of the Western corridor. This section is provided with 9 newly built freight stations consisting of six crossing stations and three Junction stations.

Earlier, DFCCIL had completed the 194 Km section from Bhadan to Khurja (Uttar Pradesh) of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) last month.

New air cargo facility in Assam to boost farm exports
India Seatrade News: Jan 03 Top
The first consignment of fresh vegetables that were sent off via air from the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati, Assam, to Dubai last month were seen as a historic moment for the state and the region.

Experts say this development will come as a boon for farmers in Northeast India, who will now get a ready international market for their agricultural products. At present, most of their produce get wasted due to low consumption within the states and the lack of proper cold storage facilities.

The direct customs clearance of air cargo that was launched by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) at Guwahati airport recently will also help farmers, who will now be able to export their agricultural products directly.

Given Guwahati airport's strategic location, the entire north-eastern region can benefit from the facility. As per AAI officials, the facility will soon be replicated at four other airports of the region including Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Imphal and Agartala.

The Northeast has at least 22 agricultural products which can be exported to international markets. The demand for these products is always high in countries such as the UAE, Qatar, Singapore and Hong Kong, besides Myanmar, and Bangladesh.

APEDA research - According to the a research commissioned by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), the north-eastern states produce 60,92,225 metric tons (MT) of marketable surplus of these 22 products against their consumption of 90,37,492 MT.

The findings of the research published in 2017, listed maize as having a marketable surplus of up to 97.1% of the total production of 350,000 MT; pineapple with a 95% marketable surplus against total production of 777,144 MT and litchi with a 95.4% surplus against total production 78,847 MT, all of which can be exported.

Apart from these three crops, honey, orange, ginger, lemon, jackfruit, guava and peas also have over 80% marketable surplus production against their consumption demand internally.

On the other hand, cabbage had 74.2% export capacity, okra 72.6%, cauliflower 69.3% and tomato 67.7% against their total production of 912,387 MT, 203,083 MT, 479,245 MT and 517,365 MT, respectively.

Indian Port News

IOC to commission Ennore LNG Terminal this month
Daily Shipping Times: Tuticorin, Jan 04 Top
Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the nation's biggest oil firm, has said it will commission its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal at Ennore in Tamil Nadu this month.

IOC Chairman Sanjiv Singh said the Rs 5,151-crore (Rs.51.51 billion) terminal is complete and would be commissioned after completion of dredging of the channel that will bring cryogenic ships carrying natural gas in its liquid form to the port.

"We hope to commission the facility this month," he said here.

Once dredging is complete, IOC will bring a cargo or shipload of LNG to commission the terminal.

This is the first LNG import terminal IOC has built on its own. The company holds 12.5 per cent stake in Petronet LNG Ltd, which operates import facilities at Dahej in Gujarat and Kochi in Kerala. It has also booked capacities in upcoming terminals on both East and West coast. The dredging is being carried out by Ennore Port Trust. IOC holds 95 per cent stake in the Ennore LNG import terminal. Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) has 5 per cent.

In August last year, the IOC board had given in-principle approval to acquire up to 50 per cent stake in Adani Group-backed Mundra LNG import terminal in Gujarat for an estimated Rs 750 crore (Rs.7.5 billion).

JNPT creates history by record handling of 5.04 Million TEUs, cargo throughput in 2018
Daily Shipping Times: Mumbai, Jan 02 Top
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), India's No.1 Container Port, created history by handling 5.04 million TEUs for the calendar year 2018, (figures upto 31st December 2018). This is the highest record achieved by JNPT in a calendar year till now.

JNPCT, Port owned Container Terminal, handled 1.17 million TEUs in current calendar year. APM Terminals Mumbai (GTI) handled 2.07 million TEUs.

DP World operated Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal (NSICT) handled 0.56 million TEUs in 2018 while Nhava Sheva International Gateway Terminal (NSIGT) handled 0.89 million TEUs.

The PSA Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals (BMCT) handled 0.33 million TEUs since its commencement from Feb. 2018.

Krishnapatnam port added to the list of 10 existing ports to allow import & export of 'Sawn timber': DGFT
India Seatrade News: Jan 02 Top
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has added Krishnapatnam port to the existing list of 10 ports through which import and export of 'Sawn timber' is permitted.

In a notification, DGFT said "Krishnapatnam port is being added to the list of the 10 existing ports, thereby taking the total number of ports to 11, to allow export of 'Sawn timber' made exclusively out of imported wood logs."

For this, Central government has made amendments in the classification of export and import items, said DGFT.

It said "All the existing policy conditions as applicable to other ports shall be applicable to Krishnapatnam port."