Samsara Newsletter
Week 21, 2023 (May 20 – May 26)

Policy & Economy News

Union Shipping Minister announces five initiatives to make India global leader in maritime sector

India witnessing 'snowball effect' set to see exponential growth in coming years WEF President Borge Brende

Business News - The India Boom Factor

Walmart plans to export toys, shoes, and bicycles worth US$ 10 billion from India

India's engineering exports to Russia jump 11 times in April: EEPC

Onion exports surge 64 pc

PM invites Australian businesses to invest in logistics

Spice exports doubled in the last nine years, tweets

Shipping News

Hapag-Lloyd updates MIAX service port rotation

Hamad Port in direct service connecting gateways in Indian Subcontinent, Red Sea & West Med region

FESCO added Mundra port to its deep sea service

Logistics News

Logistics and warehouse policy primes Goa to draw investments

Northeast to get a multi-modal logistics park soon: Nitin Gadkari

Indian Port News

India's port sector scaling new heights; international shipments surge

Visakhapatnam Port to upgrade with world-class facilities


Policy & Economy News

Union Shipping Minister announces five initiatives to make India global leader in maritime sector

India Seatrade News - May 23 Top
Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday announced five major initiatives, focusing on green shipping and digitisation of the ports, by his Ministry to make India a global leader in the maritime sector. The five initiatives or 'Panch Karma Sankalp', as termed by the Minister, were announced after the conclusion of his Ministry's second Chintan Shivir held at Munnar here, a government statement said.

The 'Panch Karma Sankalp' include 30 per cent financial support from the Ministry for promoting green shipping, procuring two tugs each for the Jawaharlal Nehru, VO Chidambaranar, Paradip and Deendayal ports under the green tug transition programme and developing hydrogen hubs at some of these ports, it said.

"Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we affirm our commitment to make a solid attempt at green shipping and digitising operations for maximum efficiency with an aim to become world leader in the maritime sector," Sonowal said, according to the statement.

The other two initiatives are — setting up a single window portal to facilitate and monitor river and sea cruises and turning Jawaharlal Nehru, VO Chidambaranar and Tuticorin into smart ports by next year, it said.

The Minister, after the Chintan Shivir concluded, said that these initiatives will help to bring in more sustainable development in the maritime sector.

"By bringing in the sustainable element in a robust manner, we are aiming at achieving a transformational transportation which is effective, efficient and energetic," he said.

The Minister also said that he will review the progress with respect to these targets in a mid-year Chintan Shivir after a few months and warned of strict action in-case of any delay in completion of the projects, according to the statement.

During the Chintan Shivir, there were in-depth analysis and discussions on improving port administration, standardisation and share of cargo handling in major ports and how to enhance cargo, VGF, PPP in inland waterways and coastal shipping, the statement said.

India witnessing 'snowball effect' set to see exponential growth in coming years WEF President Borge Brende

Press Trust of India - May 26 Top
India is expected to clock the highest growth among the world's big economies this year and the country's economy is witnessing the "famous snowball effect" that will lead to more investments and more jobs, according to World Economic Forum (WEF) President Borge Brende.

"There have been reforms that have led to less red tape, better climate for investments and also the digital revolution is really happening in India," Brende said and stressed that he is "very bullish and optimistic" about the country's growth trajectory but not so optimistic about global growth.

India, which currently holds the G20 presidency, is one of the fastest growing key economies in the world and WEF has had close collaborations with the country for the past many years.

"When the snowball starts to roll, it gets bigger and bigger, and that is what is happening with the Indian economy.

"The growth will lead to more investments, more jobs... it will be an exponential growth in the coming years and you will see a situation where more poverty is eradicated and more opportunities are there for young people," Brende told PTI in an interview in the national capital.

Brende, who was on a short visit to India, had discussions about ongoing collaborations as well as India's G20 presidency with stakeholders. He met various Union ministers and company executives, among others.

"I think that nations in the developing world have something to learn from India. India is the largest democracy in the world and it is also an open society with entrepreneurs and innovators and free speech," he said.

Further, Brende highlighted that India has more of a broad ecosystem of startups than in any other developing country and that is growing. This is something that other countries can also be inspired by, he added.

Geneva-headquartered WEF is an international organisation for public private cooperation, and is known for its annual Davos meeting, often described as the biggest congregation of the global elite.

The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

This year, WEF expects almost 6 per cent economic growth for India and will be the highest growth for any big economies of the world, he said.

"We, at WEF, see the growth path forward for India that is also strong... Overall, I am optimistic, provided there are no external factors that will influence negatively. We have no time for wars, conflicts and we have no time to be complacent," he said.

Earlier this month, the United Nations in a report said that India's economy -- the largest in the South Asia region -- is expected to expand by 5.8 per cent in 2023 and 6.7 per cent in 2024 (calendar year basis), supported by resilient domestic demand.

However, higher interest rates and weaker external demand will continue to weigh on investment and exports in 2023, it had said in the World Economic Situation and Prospects Mid-Year Update.

On what India needs to do in the short-term, Brende said the country is already seeing and capitalising on the yield from the reforms that have taken place.

"That should be the inspiration to continue with the reform agenda. Investing more in infrastructure, connecting different regions even better and India needs more investment in education, upskilling, reskilling and right skilling in the years to come," he said.

Brende, also a former Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industry, highlighted that during the coronavirus pandemic, India did something very right.

"Some countries overspent on stimulus, that there is no ammunition left. India was not in debt itself, of course, it came up with stimulus but Prime Minister Narendra Modi was able to hold back whereas some countries are in debt trap," he noted.

Business News – The India Boom Factor

Walmart plans to export toys, shoes, and bicycles worth US$ 10 billion from India

IBEF - May 23 Top
Walmart wants to attain toys, shoes, and bicycles from Indian vendors as part of its aim to grow exports to that country to US$ 10 billion by 2027. According to a Press Trust Report (PTI) report, the corporation is also thinking about finding new suppliers in industries like food, pharmaceuticals, consumables, health & wellness, fashion, and home textiles.

Walmart stated in 2020 that by 2027, it will increase the amount of items it exports from India, reaching US$ 10 billion annually. Walmart exported US$ 3 billion worth of goods from India that year.

President and Chief Executive Officer of Walmart Inc. Mr. Doug McMillon stated that by accelerating the annual India exports in the coming years, the company is supporting the 'Make in India' initiative and helping more local businesses reach international customers while creating jobs and prosperity at home in India. Additionally, it allows Walmart to provide millions of customers throughout the world with more high-quality products created in India.

Walmart is committed to doing business in India and committed to improving the lives of customers, suppliers, and sellers. The Flipkart Group, which has over 350 million customers and provides upwards of 150 million products across more than 80 categories, Flipkart Wholesale, which focuses on enabling growth and prosperity for kiranas and MSMEs throughout India's retail ecosystem, Myntra, which provides consumers with fashion and lifestyle products, and Phonepe, a payments platform with over 300 million registered users, are all part of Walmart's operations in India.

In contrast, Walmart's global sourcing allows Indian manufacturers a method to sell their goods in foreign markets like the US, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the United Kingdom, as well as clothing, home goods, jewellery, and other products. Additionally, Walmart Global Tech India is where the business is developing technical and product development solutions to suit Walmart's business objective of providing customers with a convenient, anytime shopping experience.

Not just Walmart, but other major multinational retailers like IKEA already source toys from India for their operations abroad. India used to be a net importer of toys, but recent actions show that the country is becoming more competitive in the toy market. Toy import duties were hiked from 20-60% in February 2020, and this year they have been raised to 70%. The administration is also thinking of establishing a Production Linked Incentive (PLI) style fiscal incentive programme for toys. The government published a Toys (Quality Control) Order earlier in 2020. Toys must follow the applicable Indian standard's requirements and be licenced to use the standard mark, according to the directive.

India's engineering exports to Russia jump 11 times in April: EEPC

IBEF - May 22 Top
According to the Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC), exports of engineering goods to Russia increased by 11 times to US$ 133.6 million in April 2023, as compared to the same month last year, while the US and Chinese markets continued to decline.

Engineering exports to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries totalled US$ 11.7 million in April 2022. Exports to Oman more than doubled during the month to US$ 153.9 million, compared to the same month in April 2022.

During the month under review, 15 of the 25 main destinations for Indian engineering goods experienced positive year-on-year growth, while 10 countries experienced regrowth.

The top 25 nations, which include the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Indonesia, and Singapore, account for over 76% of total engineering exports from India.

Engineering products that experienced growth include copper metal products, industrial boilers, IC engines, pumps and valves, air conditioning machinery, car parts, electrical machinery, and other construction machinery.

Onion exports surge 64 pc

Exim News Service: New Delhi, May 24 Top
On strong overseas demand and higher supplies, India's onion exports surged 64 per cent in volumes to hit a six-year high at 25.25 lakh tonnes during 2022-23. In value terms, shipments were up 22 per cent at $561 million over the previous year. Exports rose on higher purchases by large buyers such as Bangladesh, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka. Exporters say that adequate domestic supplies because of bumper production and robust global demand have pushed up onion shipments this fiscal so far.

Also, since the beginning of 2021, the government has not imposed any ban on onion exports. The extant export policy of onions is free and only the export of onion seed is restricted; that too is permitted under authorisation from DGFT, as per a report.

PM invites Australian businesses to invest in logistics

Exim News Service: Sydney, May 25 Top
Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi has invited Australian businesses to invest in logistics, green hydrogen and other areas, and discussed India's initiatives to enhance ease of doing business at a business roundtable with industry leaders here during his visit to Australia.

The PM shared how Mission Gati Shakti is expected to boost connectivity through ports and shipping projects. The National Green Hydrogen Mission envisages India's transition to clean energy and meet its zero-emission goals.

The PLI Scheme has fostered a manufacturing ecosystem that has attracted industry leaders from across the world to diversify their production and supply chains to India, he added, as per a report.

Spice exports doubled in the last nine years, tweets

India Seatrade News - May 25 Top
Spice exports from India have doubled in the last nine years, reaching the value of Rs 3,995 crore (Rs.39.9 billion) in the fiscal year 2022-23 from Rs 1,778 crore (Rs.17.7 billion) in 2013-14. The Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal took to Twitter to share the achievement of the spice industry.

The data from the Ministry of Commerce reveals that spices from India were exported to over 165 countries in the fiscal year 2022-23. Among the top export destinations of Indian spices are Bangladesh, UAE, Morocco, Netherlands, Germany and the USA amongst others.

India is the world's leading producer of spices, producing 15.31 lakh tons of spices in the years 2021-22 and 2022-23. The data is sourced from the Spice Board of India, the statutory body under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Viren Khona, Secretary of the All India Spices Exporter Forum, an association of more than 170 spice exporters based in Ernakulam, Kerala, said, "Over the years, export promotion activities from the government's end have benefitted the exporters. During the Covid phase, demand for immunity-building spices like turmeric and ginger witnessed a great surge. Also, people at home were trying different cuisines, and that helped in the demand for spices, both in the domestic as well as in international markets."

However, Khona added that the surge in demand post the pandemic has cooled down as a result export value has remained the same for the last two years at $4 billion.

The spice industry in India mainly comprises a large number of rural MSMEs primarily located in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Assam, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal.

Siby Chacko, a Kerala-based exporter who deals in cardamom and cloves, said there are several barriers impeding the growth of the micro-enterprises in the spices sector. These include finding demand in the international market, managing fraudulent customers, high interest on packing credit by banks (loan to an exporter for financing the purchase, manufacturing or packing of goods prior to shipping) and reluctance to pay pre-shipping charges.

Shipping News

Hapag-Lloyd updates MIAX service port rotation

India Seatrade News - May 23 Top
Hapag-Lloyd has announced the addition of the Indian port of Hazira to the rotation of the Middle East India Africa Express (MIAX) service.

The German ocean carrier said the updated port rotation is expected to kick off on 14 June with the 4,616 TEU vessel Bea Schulte.

The new rotation of Hapag-Lloyd's MIAX service will be Jebel Ali (UAE) – Mundra (India) – Hazira, (India) – Nhava Sheva, (India) – Colombo, (Sri Lanka) – Durban (South Africa) – Tema, (Ghana) – Tincan/Apapa, (Nigeria) – Durban – Jebel Ali.

Hamad Port in direct service connecting gateways in Indian Subcontinent, Red Sea & West Med region

Exim News Service: Doha, May 24 Top
Mwani Qatar has in a tweet intimated the commencement of a new weekly shipping line (INDIA TO WEST MED) that connects Hamad Port directly with the ports in Indian Subcontinent, Red Sea, and West Med region.

MSC's new line will contribute to enhancing trade exchange and offer fast and cost-effective transit, it said.

FESCO added Mundra port to its deep sea service

India Seatrade News - May 24 Top
FESCO Transportation Group expands the geography of its Deep Sea service with the call at the Indian port of Mundra, FESCO says in its press release.

Now, FESCO Baltorient Line (FBOL) connects China, India and the North-West Region of Russia.

The first call of the service from China to the port of Mundra was on 21 May 2023. Then, FESCO's ship left for Saint-Petersburg. Transit time is 25 days. At the first phase, the frequency is once a month in both directions with a plan to increase the frequency to one call every fortnight.

The bulk of cargo carried by the line is made by consumer goods, products of the chemical and metallurgical industries.

FESCO Transportation Group is one of the leading public transportation and logistics companies in Russia with operations in ports, rail, integrated logistics and shipping business. Diversified but integrated asset portfolio enables FESCO to provide door-to-door logistics solutions and control almost all steps of the intermodal transportation value chain. FESCO controls the Commercial Port of Vladivostok, rail operators Transgarant and Dalreftrans, operator of container platforms Russkaya Troyka, dry terminal facilities in Novosibirsk, Khabarovsk and Tomsk. FESCO operates over 135,000 containers and about 10,000 container platforms. FESCO's fleet numbers 33 vessels deployed primarily on its own sea service lines.

Logistics News

Logistics and warehouse policy primes Goa to draw investments

India Seatrade News - May 25 Top
The state cabinet on Wednesday granted approval to the Goa Logistics and Warehouse Policy, 2023, which aims to boost logistics-led investments.

The policy seeks to promote environment-friendly commercial carriers through decarbonisation in transportation.

Through the policy, the state government will provide up to 15% interest and capital subsidies on the annual interest payable by companies on loans taken for the construction of projects. Incentives will also be offered on fixed capital invested through loans on buildings, plants, and machinery for integrated logistics parks, large warehouses, cold storage facilities, and testing centres in backward talukas.

The core objectives of the policy include the development of the logistics sector as a common goal among different government departments and the creation of an ecosystem for logistics players by creating opportunities in warehousing and container logistics.

Institutional and regulatory frameworks will provide time-bound clearances to logisticsled investments in the state. The policy is also designed to strengthen the existing logistics blocks of the state by granting the industry status to the logistics and warehousing sectors.

The other objectives of the policy include promoting accessibility to agricultural produce by increasing the mobility from fields to markets, boosting the growth of waterborne cargo movement by modernising the existing jetties, and developing key inland river routes.

The policy aspires to enhance skill development in the logistics and warehousing sector, increase employment, generate revenue for the state, and establish a common interface for data sharing. Automation will enable performance monitoring and network planning.

Developers of logistics units and warehouses can get a 50% concession on land conversion charges.

The Government of Goa will strive to subsidise costs such as stamp duty and registration charges on a case-tocase basis for the development of such facilities as dry ports and for initiatives not falling under the Mega Project Category (rail-based).

The Government of Goa will reimburse 50% of the cost involved in skill upgrades and training local workers per business unit limited to Rs 5,000 per person, up to a maximum of 1,000 persons for the initial two years.

The Town and Country Planning Department shall come up with specific guidelines to increase the FSI up to 200% for logistics and warehousing units and expand the ground coverage for such units. Depending on the capacity of the fire department and the availability of road width, the limit of maximum height for buildings of logistics and warehousing units will be increased up to 24 metres.

The TCP department will also come up with other guidelines to allow logistic parks and warehouses to work 24X7.

The state may institute a special innovation fund of Rs 1 crore (Rs.10 million) for supporting startups in logistics (for the first two years), and for incentivising the adoption of green practices in the logistics sector such as the use of solarpowered vessels. The procedure laid out in the Goa Industrial Growth and Investment Promotion Policy, 2022, will be followed for offering some incentives.

Northeast to get a multi-modal logistics park soon: Nitin Gadkari

India Seatrade News - May 25 Top
A multi-modal logistics hub coming up in Jogighopa, Assam, in the next couple of months would be "a gamechanger for the Northeast", Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday.

"The Brahmaputra is there. We will have an airport, there's the national highway network and the railways. It will be completed within two-three months," Gadkari said.

The logistics park is being developed as part of the ambitious Bharatmala Pariyojana. Located along the Brahmaputra river, it will facilitate transportation via water, road, rail and air.

Spread over 300 acres, the Multi-Modal Logistics Park at Jogighopa near the under-development Inland Waterways Terminal will see a capital outlay of Rs 764 crore (Rs.7.6 billion). Strategically located 154 km to the west of Guwahati, it can connect to Bhutan in the north and Bangladesh in the south through road and waterways, too.

The logistics park will be equipped with several facilities such as warehouse, railway siding, cold storage, customs clearance house, yard facility, workshops, petrol pumps, truck parking, administrative building, boarding lodging, food joints, water treatment plant, etc., according to a report.

A four-lane road will connect Jogighopa and Guwahati. A 3 km-long rail line will connect it to the Inland Waterways Terminal while another road will connect it to the state's newly developed Rupsi airport near Dhubri.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has played a crucial role in the development of the Northeast.

Besides the multi-modal logistics hub project, the ministry is in the process of carrying out 260 proposals of ropeways, cable cars, and funicular railways costing Rs 1,30,000 crore (Rs.1.3 trillion)

"We are making roads worth Rs 3 lakh crore (Rs.3 trillion) in the Northeast. This infrastructure is going to be very useful for accelerating the socio-economic transformation of the area. We are changing the parameters… and I feel it is going to be a game-changer which will develop the Northeast," Gadkari said, adding that this will create more employment opportunities in the region.

Among the 26 "roads as airstrips" projects in India where emergency landing of aircraft will be possible, many are located in the Northeast.

"Talk to the people there and they will tell the success story of road infrastructure in the Northeast. As it's a hill area, there are a lot of problems," the Road Transport and Highways Minister stated.

Indian Port News

India's port sector scaling new heights; international shipments surge

Exim News Service: New Delhi, May 21 Top
The last 9 years of this government have seen Indian ports rising & cementing their position as one of the strongest in the world. Under the Sagarmala program, Major Ports have taken up a number of modernisation initiatives resulting in capacity augmentation to the tune of 230 mtpa.

89 port modernisation projects worth Rs 31,000 crore (Rs.310 billion) have been completed.

India has also risen to 22nd place for international shipments in 2023 from 44 in 2018, with initiatives like Sagarmala & PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan for multimodal connectivity powering the growth.

The maritime sector is thus steering the economy to greater heights, emphasised a communique.

Visakhapatnam Port to upgrade with world-class facilities

India Seatrade News - May 25 Top
As part of preparation to face competition and prevent diversion of cargo to neighbouring ports, Visakhapatnam Port Authority (VPA) is fully gearing up with world-class facilities and becoming a landlord port as part of a directive given by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.

To achieve its objectives, three PPP projects have been awarded envisaging an investment of Rs 655 crore (Rs.6.5 billion) and another two projects are in the advanced stage of award.

Encouraged by retaining fourth rank during 2022-23 by handling 73.73 million tonnes and achieving significant milestones in handling volume of cargo and also actively contributed its own share in the nation's economic growth, it is now focusing on further improving techno-economic parameters for faster turnaround.

The port is also strategising its priorities due to increased competition from Gangavaram Port, which has been acquired by Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone (APSEZ), the significant improvement in cargo handling by Paradip Port in Odisha and the future competition is is likely face when Mulapeta, Kakinada Gateway, Ramayapatnam and Machilipatnam Port, being developed under the aegis of AP Maritime Development Board with private investment of over Rs 16,000 crore (Rs.160 billion) become operational in next two to three years.

According to VPA Chairman Dr Madhaiyaan Angamuthu, as part of strengthening its facilities, they are developing an EQ-1A berth in Inner Harbour for handling thermal/steam coal at an estimated cost of Rs 366.4 crore (Rs.3.6 billion) with a capacity of 5 MTPA. Other ongoing projects include installation of mechanized fertilizer handling facility at EQ-7 berth at an estimated cost of Rs 200.99 crore (Rs.2 billion) with a capacity of 3.61 MTPA and development of WQ-7 & 8 berth in Inner Harbour at an estimated cost of Rs 288.47 crore (Rs.2.8 billion)with a capacity of 6.3 MTPA.

Work is also in progress for revamping of existing WQ-6 on DBFOT for handling of dry bulk cargo at a projected cost of Rs 250 crore (Rs.2.5 billion) with a capacity of 5.5 MTPA and development and mechanisation of existing EQ-6 berth for handling all types of cargoes at a projected cost Rs 250 crore (Rs.2.5 billion) with a capacity of 5 MTPA.

VPA has earmarked Rs 150 crore (Rs.1.5 billion) for construction of covered storage sheds in port area at an estimated cost of Rs 150 crore (Rs.1.5 trillion) in an area of 12 acres, Rs 36 crore (Rs.360 million) for development of Truck Parking Terminal in 20 acres in order to ease traffic congestion on roads and to reduce time in reaching the destination point.

Electrification of railway lines in VPA area for a length of 38 TKM at cost of Rs 21.30 crore (Rs.213 million) to reduce pollution and effective handling of cargo is also progressing.

The port achieved a major feat by handling bigger vessels into the Inner Harbour by allowing Baby Cape vessels with an overall length of 260m and beam of 43m from this year. Modernisation work of the fishing harbour launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a cost of Rs 151 crore (Rs.1.5 billion) is progressing as per schedule.