Samsara Newsletter

Week 33, 2018 (Aug 11 - Aug 17)

Policy & Economy News

India to be engine of world growth for 3 decades: PM Modi

India's GDP Expected To Grow At 7.4% in FY19 According To FICCI Economic Outlook

Commerce Ministry makes fresh review of free trade pacts

New Export oriented Industrial Policy to focus on Textile & Leather sectors

Industrial output jumps 7% in June to 5-month high; manufacturing up 6.9%

Business News - The India Boom Factor

India to bring together 8-10 WTO Countries to work on future Trade Agenda: Commerce Ministry

Coal import in first quarter rises 4% to 58 MT

Cotton exports for season estimated at 70 lakh bales

Exports up 14.32 pc in July to USD 25.77 bn

Pharma exports to cross USD 19 bn in FY19: Pharmexcil

Shipping News

CMA CGM to call Zanzibar on Swahili Express (SWAX)

Europe Pakistan India Consortium 1 (EPIC 1) will temporarily not call Port of Felixstowe & Dunkirk

Logistics News

Govt facilitating freight infrastructure development at railway yards

Railways to propose Rs 40,000 crore (Rs.400 billion) Kharagpur-Vijayawada freight corridor for Budget 2019

Indian Port News

India reduces cargo diversion to Foreign Ports for transhipment says Shipping Secretary

Haldia Port aims for 60m tonne in FY 2019 as it completes 50 years

Five Major Ports to have dedicated cruise terminals

Traffic movement directive at JN Port

EIL to invest Rs 700 crore (Rs.7 billion) for LPG terminal at Okha

Policy & Economy News

India to be engine of world growth for 3 decades: PM Modi
PTI: New Delhi, August 16 Top
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said India will be the engine of growth for the world economy for the next three decades as the "sleeping elephant" has started to run on the back of structural reforms like GST.

Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of 72nd Independence Day, he listed out the pace of reforms in the last four years of his government that pulled out the country from being considered a "fragile and risky" economy to being the fastest in the world.

Prior to 2014, India was likened to policy paralysis and delayed reforms. "India was considered among 'fragile five' but today the world is seeing it as a destination of multi-billion dollar investment. The narrative has changed," he said.

The government's motto, he said, is reform, perform and transform.

Red tape has been replaced with 'red carpet', propelling India on the ease of doing business ranking, he said. Bottlenecks were a topic of discussions among international institutions and experts prior to 2014 but "today they are saying the sleeping elephant has woken up and has started running".

The comment was an apparent reference to International Monetary Fund's commentary on India last week in which it said the country is on track to hold its position as one of the world's fastest-growing economies as reforms start to pay off.

Stating that India is now the sixth largest economy in the world, Modi said international institutions are saying that "India will give strength to the world economy for the next three decades. India will be the engine of growth".

"We have the potential to take tough decisions. We are not partisan," he said. "Prior to 2014, global institutions used to say the Indian economy is risky. Today the same institutions and people are saying that reform momentum is giving strength to fundamentals," the PM said. He went on to list structural reforms like Goods and Services Tax (GST), bankruptcy and insolvency law and benami property law that helped transform the economy.

Electrifying all villages, providing 5 crore (Rs.50 million) cleaner cooking gas to poor women, doubling the pace of highway construction, record foodgrain production, record mobile phone manufacturing, and building four-time more new houses in villages were some of the achievements of his government, he said.

If the work continued at the pace that was prevalent in 2013, it would have taken one or two more decades to electrify all villages, 100 years to provide LPG gas connections to all and generations to take optic fibre to villages.

Modi said the government fulfilled the promise to provide 50 per cent more than the cost of production for kharif crops to farmers and is on the way to achieve the target of doubling farm income by 2022.

India's GDP Expected To Grow At 7.4% in FY19 According To FICCI Economic Outlook
Business Standard: Aug 16
The latest round of FICCI's Economic Outlook Survey forecasts an annual median GDP growth at 7.4% for 2018-19, with a minimum and maximum range of 7.1% and 7.5%, respectively. The projection is in line with the estimates put out by the Reserve Bank earlier this month.

The median growth forecast for agriculture and allied activities has been put at 3.0% for 2018-19, with a minimum and maximum range of 2.4% and 4.3%, respectively. The favourable monsoons are expected to bode well for the sector. Although there has been some slippage in the monsoons during the months of June and July, updated forecast for August and September indicate a pick-up in rainfall. Further, industry and services sector are expected to grow by 6.9% and 8.3%, respectively in 2018-19.

The survey was conducted during the month of July 2018 amongst economists representing industry, banking and financial services sector. The quarterly median forecasts indicate a GDP growth of 7.1% in the first quarter of 2018-19. The growth numbers for the first quarter are expected to be released by Central Statistical Organisation later this month.

With regard to inflation, the latest official numbers report prices edging up once again on the back of elevated fuel prices. However, the outlook of the economists on inflation seems benign. The median forecast for Wholesale Price Index based inflation rate for 2018-19 has been put at 4.8%, with a minimum and maximum range of 4.1% and 5.0%, respectively. The Consumer Price Index also has a median forecast of 4.8% for 2018-19, with a minimum and maximum range of 3.0% and 5.5% respectively.

On the external front, concerns remain with median current account deficit forecast pegged at 2.5% of GDP for 2018-19. Merchandise exports are expected to grow by 9.8% while imports are expected to grow by 14.2% during the year. The sharp increase in oil prices over the past year is likely to have repercussions on current account and fiscal account deficits. Also, trade tensions have escalated over the past few months with a whole host of countries undertaking retaliatory measures (China, Mexico, Canada etc.) in response to measures announced by the US. This has emerged as a key concern going ahead.

A majority of participating economists believe that an extension of the trade war beyond the short term can significantly impact India. It was mentioned that as inflation levels rise in the US on the back of higher domestic prices of imported goods, it may lead to a further increase in interest rates causing even greater outflow of foreign capital from emerging economies including India. Furthermore, an increase in tariffs by the US will make Indian goods less competitive and more so if India also plans to increase import tariffs.

Economists expressed fears that if countries fail to reach a consensus, the world risks a breakdown of a rule-based multilateral trade system which would greatly harm India's interests. Nonetheless, some of economists felt that the US-driven trade war is temporary. It was felt that that the US would reconsider the new tariff structure and might, in fact, revoke many of the new tariffs in the medium term (by early 2020) before entering the general elections.

Moreover, the Rupee has been facing several headwinds and the Rupee-USD exchange rate depreciated to an all-time low in June 2018. The participating economist were asked to share their prognosis about the movement of Rupee in the near term and the likelihood of Re-USD exchange rate breaching the 70 mark.

The economists unanimously felt that Rupee will continue to be under pressure in 2018-19. It was felt that movement in oil prices and domestic as well as global economic developments will remain the two key swing factors for the Rupee.

Commerce Ministry makes fresh review of free trade pacts
Daily Shipping Times: New Delhi, Aug 16
The Commerce Ministry is carrying out a fresh review of all free trade agreements entered into by the Country so far to analyse the impact of such agreements on various sectors, a Government official said.

"While similar studies have been carried out before, we felt that there is a need to find out how things stand at present. The idea is to examine each FTA and see where the Indian industry has gained and what challenges have cropped up due to the pacts," the official said. The review is being carried out at a time when the Government is struggling to figure out whether India will benefit from the ambitious Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) being negotiated between 16 nations, including India, China and the 10-member ASEAN Countries.

While the Centre sees the strategic merit of being part of the biggest free trade zone, the Indian industry is apprehensive of increased competition from the other member-Countries, especially China.

"The Indian industry and farmers have always been wary of free trade pacts. There have been complaints of cheap imports from countries with which India has signed FTAs rendering the domestic products uncompetitive. However, there are also instances where Indian exports have increased due to import duties lowered by FTA partner countries," the official said.

India has already implemented a plethora of free trade pacts with a number of countries including Sri Lanka, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and regions such as the ASEAN and SAARC.

"Different sectors have had issues with different FTAs. For instance, the textile industry is not happy with concessions given to South Asia, especially Bangladesh, the electronic goods industry is not happy with concessions to South-East Asia, Japan and South Korea, the spices sector is concerned about imports from Sri Lanka," the official said, adding that these were a few instances.

While it is not unusual for domestic industry to take a hit in the local market due to cheap imports when FTAs are signed, the bigger issue with India is that utilisation of FTA by Indian exporters to send their goods to partner countries is very low.

New Export oriented Industrial Policy to focus on Textile & Leather sectors
Daily Shipping Times: New Delhi, Aug 13
The proposed Industrial Policy by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) will have special provisions for manufacturing in the textile, leather sectors to boost growth as well as focus on a diffusion of overall export hubs across the Country which are currently getting concentrated in few States. It will also tie in existing Government initiatives and serve as a focal point for various industry wise policies.

Export-led growth

The policy is also expected to reaffirm the Government's belief in export-led growth and as a result will have an extensive impact on overall trade norms, with ease in trade and diffusion of export hubs among the Governments' top priorities. Earlier this year, the Economic Survey pointed out that the five States Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana account for a whopping 70 per cent of India's exports. "The Center plans to stop this restriction of exports through incentives as well as channel digital technology to extend exports from rural and traditionally backward areas" a Commerce Department official said.

Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu has reiterated multiple times that the policy will be forward-looking and take into account the current global realities.

The New Industrial Policy will absorb the 2011 national manufacturing policy and focus on technological issues of 'industry 4.0', apart from furthering the Government's push of the Digital India initiative.

It will also have a special focus for sectors such as apparel and footwear in which India maintains a manufacturing edge, albeit, one that is slipping. "Despite India being one of the largest exporters in both sectors, manufacturing jobs in Bangladesh, Indonesia and several African Countries are seeing an increase while in we are seeing a slowdown in growth. So, the policy will have special provisions to boost these sectors, " a senior DIPP official said.

The $36 billion textile export sector, the third largest foreign exchange earner for the Country after petroleum products and gems and jewellery, clocked only 0.75 per cent growth in 2017-18, after a contraction in the past two years.

Industrial output jumps 7% in June to 5-month high; manufacturing up 6.9%
Business Standard: New Delhi, August 13
The country's industrial output jumped seven per cent in June to a five-month high, due to a boost in manufacturing growth as well as an uptick in capital goods production.

In June, the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) grew at almost double the pace of May when it had risen 3.92 per cent. This can be attributed mainly to the manufacturing segment - constituting the bulk of the index at 77.6 per cent - growing by 6.9 per cent, up from only 2.8 per cent in May.

Among the 23 sub-sectors within manufacturing, only four recorded a year-on-year contraction, down from 10 in May. Industries such as electronics, auto, pharma, food, metals, non-metallic products etc, continued to do well. Economists said that higher growth rates within manufacturing resulted due to favourable base effect of negative growth in 2017 for manufacturing and the overall industry. "While the progress is very good, it needs to be seen if this can be sustained, as this growth in June comes on top of major destocking and production cuts undertaken last year due to GST. If these rates are sustained over the next 2-3 quarters, we can hope to get to the 5-6 per cent mark for the year, which will be a significant recovery. We can expect a slack in consumption during July and August, which should bounce back subsequently once the festival season begins from late august," said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at CARE Ratings. On the other hand, mining output rose 6.6 per cent in June, in line with expectations. Subsequently, growth in electricity generation was at 8.5 per cent, more than double the 4.2 per cent in May. The sensitive capital goods segment, which connotes investments, saw output rise 9.6 per cent. This was a departure from the declining pace of growth in capital goods production.

In May, the sector had seen a 7.56 per cent rise, down from the 11.9 per cent in April.

Similarly, growth in the infrastructure/construction goods segment also picked up in June at 8.5 per cent, much ahead of the 4.9 per cent seen in the previous month when cement and steel production had taken a dip.

"The encouraging news is the jump in production of capital goods and infrastructure/construction goods" said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industry.

Even on a low base of last year, this could be the reflection of the positive investment trend, in sectors such as roads, railways and affordable housing. What is also noteworthy is the spike in consumer durables demand," said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industry.

In June, the consumer durables segment showed signs of firmly escaping the spell of low growth and contraction seen over the past few months, with growth jumping more than 13 per cent, up from only 4 per cent in May. A sharp contraction in gold jewellery output had contributed to the subdued growth in the greater part of 2018, economists had earlier pointed out.

However, growth estimates in the medium term were not clear. "Primary goods - one of the lead indicators of industrial growth - is exhibiting good growth and gives confidence of sustained industrial recovery. But intermediate goods - the other lead indicator - does not give much confidence on sustainability of industrial growth. Nonetheless, a second consecutive year of near-normal monsoon, higher MSP, and government focus towards infrastructure and housing is likely to keep demand momentum strong," said Devendra Kumar Pant, chief economist at India Ratings & Research.

Business News - The India Boom Factor

India to bring together 8-10 WTO Countries to work on future Trade Agenda: Commerce Ministry
Daily Shipping Times: New Delhi, Aug 13
India is considering to bring together a group of 8-10 member countries of the WTO to prepare an agenda for creation of a conducive atmosphere in Geneva to ensure smooth functioning of the global trade body, a top Government official said.

It would be an informal group within the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which may also include countries like Brazil, China, South Africa, China, Indonesia and Columbia.

"We are thinking about taking 8-10 countries together to look at a way forward for the global trading system. Nobody is suggesting anything, only attacking each other. We will take the initiative within the WTO. We will prepare an agenda," the official said.

The official added that the main idea would be to create a proper structured agenda forward which will be acceptable to all countries to reduce the tension today.

The Commerce Ministry would be discussing the issue internally and work on the structure.

"The main objective is to create a conducive atmosphere so that global trading system works well," the official said.

The initiative assumes significance as trade tensions have escalated after the US imposed high customs duties on certain steel and aluminium products. Other WTO members too have retaliated, which is leading to trade war-like situation.

In trade wars, Countries try to restrict imports by resorting to tariff and non-tax related barriers.

Increase in customs duties on a product makes that item less competitive in the importing nation.

Coal import in first quarter rises 4% to 58 MT
Daily Shipping Times: New Delhi, Aug 16 Top
India imported 57.99 million tonne (MT) of coal in April-June, registering an increase of 4.1 per cent from the same quarter of 2017-18. Coal import in the year-ago period stood at 55.69 MT, as per the latest data from mjunction services, an online procurement and sales entity jointly floated by state-owned SAIL and Tata Steel.

"Overall, coal and coke imports during the first 3 months (April-June) of 2018-19 stood at 57.99 MT, about 4.1 per cent higher than 55.69 MT recorded for the same period last year," it said.

Steam coal import was up 3.6 per cent at 39.98 MT as compared to the same quarter of the previous year. "Coal import (all types of coal) in June 2018 stood at 18.75 MT (provisional), lower than 20.98 MT (revised) in May 2018," it said.

Import in June declined mainly due to a slump in coking and non-coking coal shipments.mjunction CEO Vinaya Varma said : "Even as the power plants continued to face coal shortage, the multi-year-high prices in spot steam coal market restricted import volumes. The numbers may go up in coming months if there is a correction in prices, going forward." Coal Minister Piyush Goyal recently in a reply to question in Rajya Sabha said during 2017-18, coal imports increased to 208.27 MT due to rise in demand from consuming sectors.

Coal import has fallen from 217.7 MT in 2014-15 to 190.9 MT in 2016-17, he had said.

Cotton exports for season estimated at 70 lakh bales
Exim News Service - MUMBAI, Aug. 12 Top
The Cotton Association of India (CAI), in its July estimate of the cotton crop for the season 2017-18 beginning October 1, 2017, has maintained the crop estimate for the ongoing crop year 2017-18 at 365 lakh bales of 170 kg each, i.e. at the same level as in the estimates made by it during the last two months.

The CAI has, however, revised the state-wise crop estimate for the North Zone compared to the estimate made during last month, based on the arrival figures up to July 31, 2018 reported by the respective states. In Punjab and Haryana, the crop estimates for the season have been reduced by 2 lakh bales and 50,000 bales, respectively, compared to the estimate made during last month.

However, the crop estimates for Upper Rajasthan and Lower Rajasthan have been increased by 1 lakh bales and 1.50 lakh bales, respectively, compared to the last month based on the arrival figures.

The CAI has projected total cotton supply up to July 31, 2018 at 400.45 lakh bales which consists the arrival of 353.45 lakh bales up to July 31, 2018, imports the Committee has estimated at 11 lakh bales, and the opening stock of 36 lakh bales at the beginning of the season as on October 1, 2017.

Further, the Committee has estimated cotton consumption for 10 months, i.e. from October 2017 to July 2018, at 270 lakh bales @ 27 lakh bales per month, while the shipment of cotton till July 31, 2018 has been estimated at 67 lakh bales. The stock at the end of July 2018 is estimated at 63.45 lakh bales, including 42.65 lakh bales with textile mills, while the remaining 20.80 lakh bales are estimated to be held by CCI and others (MNCs, traders, ginners, etc.).

The projected yearly balance sheet for the season 2017-18 drawn by the CAI has estimated total cotton supply till the end of the season, i.e. up to September 30, 2018 at 416 lakh bales of 170 kg each, which includes opening stock of 36 lakh bales at the beginning of the season. The CAI has estimated domestic consumption for the season at 324 lakh bales while the exports are estimated to be 70 lakh bales. The carry-over stock at the end of the 2017-18 season is estimated by the CAI at 22 lakh bales, said a release.

Exports up 14.32 pc in July to USD 25.77 bn
PTI: New Delhi, August 16 Top
India's exports rose by 14.32 per cent to USD 25.77 billion in July compared to USD 22.54 billion in the year-ago month mainly on account of better performance of gems and jewellery sector as well as petroleum products.

The trade data released by the commerce ministry today also revealed that merchandise imports during July were valued at USD 43.79 billion, a growth of 28.81 per cent compared to USD 33.99 billion in the year ago period.

The sharp surge in imports led to worsening of trade deficit to USD 18.02 billion in the reporting month as against a deficit of USD 11.45 billion during July 2017.

Gold imports surged by 40.94 per cent in July to USD 2.96 billion compared to USD 2.102 billion in July 2017.

As regards exports, the outward shipments of petroleum products surged from USD 3 billion in July last year to USD 3.9 billion, showing a growth of about 30 per cent.

Export of gems and jewellery was up 24.62 per cent to USD 3.18 billion

Pharma exports to cross USD 19 bn in FY19: Pharmexcil
PTI: Hyderabad, August 13 Top
Pharmaceutical exports from the country are expected to cross USD 19 billion in worth during the current fiscal despite muted growth in the North American markets, according to Pharmexcil, a body under Union Commerce Ministry.

Pharma exports fetched USD 17.27 billion in the previous fiscal and this year it was expected to be between USD 19 billion and USD 20 billion, Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil), Director General Uday Bhaskar said.

During the first quarter of the current fiscal, pharma exports clocked an increase of 17.76 per cent to USD 4.6 billion against USD 3.9 billion during the corresponding quarter a year ago, he said.

"Last year we had 2.92 per cent growth in Pharma exports.

We are expecting that we may reach USD 19 billion to USD 20 billion in the year 2018-19. Old markets are getting revived and we are also entering into new markets," Bhaskar told PTI.

He said most of the issues with regards to the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), which had impacted exports from India in the first five months of last fiscal, were getting resolved.

"Chinese market is also opening up. We are working on that. China has removed tariff on certain cancer drugs. All these create conducive atmosphere for Indian drug exporters," he said.

Bhaskar said Pharmexil had been advising drug manufacturers in the country to look for emerging markets to offset the US impact. North America, the largest market for Indian Pharma exporters, witnessed a negative growth of 7.35 per cent to USD 5.35 billion in FY 18 against USD 5.77 billion in the previous year.

It constitutes over 30 per cent of Indian pharma exports followed by Africa and the European Union with 19.37 per cent and 15.92 per cent respectively.

However, during the first quarter ending June 30, exports to North America registered 17.67 per cent growth to USD 1.40 billion, Bhaskar added.

The Pharmexil was also taking a business delegation to China later this month to tap the potential of the Asias largest economy following some regulatory changes in the neighbouring country, he said. "China made zero duty on anti-cancer drugs. They also simplified product registration procedures... there are some proactive steps by the Chinese Government," he said.

Pharma exports to China during the last fiscal registered a growth of over 37 per cent to USD 200 million against USD 145.5 million in 2016-17, according to Pharmexil statistics.

Shipping News

CMA CGM to call Zanzibar on Swahili Express (SWAX)
Daily Shipping Times: Marseille / Mumbai, Aug 14
CMA CGM Group has informed that from MV CMA CGM LA TOUR/02S0RS1MA the routing has been updated to Zanzibar.

All Export Cargo from India to Zanzibar (TZZNZ) will now be routed via Mombasa (KEMBA) instead of Khor Al Fakhan (AEKLF).

This is with an improved transit time to Zanzibar with a weekly Feeder service from Mombasa.

New Transit time to Zanzibar is as below Nhava Sheva (INNSA) To Zanzibar (Via Mombasa) 18 Days.

Mundra (INMUN) To Zanzibar (Via Mombasa) 15 Days.

Europe Pakistan India Consortium 1 (EPIC 1) will temporarily not call Port of Felixstowe & Dunkirk
Daily Shipping Times: Marseille, Aug 14 Top
CMA CGM Group has informed that Europe Pakistan India Consortium 1 (EPIC 1) will temporarily not call Port of Felixstowe and Dunkirk with immediate effect until further notice, according to its Trade Advisory for August 10th.

Further export cargo booking for Felixstowe and Dunkirk will now be done under following routing:

Port of Discharge: Felixstowe
Routing: North West India-Rotterdam-Felixstowe
Transit time: 28 days
USD 100/TEU additional to be billed on current prevailing filed rates.
Port of Discharge: Dunkrik
Routing: North West India- Southampton - Dunkirk
Transit time: 32 days
USD 100/TEU additional to be billed on current prevailing filed rates.

Logistics News

Govt facilitating freight infrastructure development at railway yards
Exim News Service - New Delhi, Aug. 12 Top
Parliament was informed last week that with a view to develop freight terminals through private investment, the Ministry of Railways has launched following schemes:

Private Siding - The private siding policy enables rail connectivity at the party's doorstep, i.e. factory premises and raw material producing areas, and also connects manufacturing hubs with markets across the country.

Private Freight Terminal (PFT) Scheme - The scheme facilitates rapid development of a network of freight terminals with private investment to provide efficient and cost-effective logistics services with warehousing solution to end-users.

These schemes are aimed to increase the freight loading and revenue generation on the Railways. The growth in volume of traffic and revenue is dependent on factors like originating-destination station pairs, customer requirement, growth in the number of such terminals, transportation requirement in the prevailing economic conditions, etc., said a release.

Railways to propose Rs 40,000 crore (Rs.400 billion) Kharagpur-Vijayawada freight corridor for Budget 2019
Livemint: New Delhi, August 16 Top
The Indian Railways is going to propose inclusion of India's third freight corridor between Kharagpur and Vijaywada section to be built at the cost of Rs 40,000 crore (Rs.400 billion) in the Budget 2019-20. The project also called East Coast Corridor will be 1,114 km in length and is a part of the Golden Quadrilateral project of Indian Railways.

Dedicated Freight Corridor Corp. of India Ltd (DFCC) managing director A.K. Sachan said, "Just few days back DFCC has sent the proposal to Indian Railways to undertake the third dedicated freight corridor project. Indian Railways is going to take the project with finance ministry for its inclusion in Budget 2019-20." He added the project will be funded using equity from Indian Railways and rest through loans. The decision was taken as Kharagpur-Vijaywada section is one of the busiest routes in East Coast.

The Indian Railways, through its arm DFCC, is already undertaking construction of two freight corridors called Eastern Freight Corridor from Ludhiana to Dankuni (1,856 km) and Western Freight Corridor from Dadri to Jawaharlal Nehru Port (1,504 km) being built at cost of Rs 81,000 crore (Rs.810 billion).

On August 15, DFCC conducted successful train run on the newly build Ateli-Phulera section of Western Corridor. The 190 km route in states of Haryana and Rajasthan has ability to run trains at a speed of 100 km per hour as against the current maximum speed of 75 km per hour on Indian Railways track.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget Speech 2016-17, had proposed to take up three more freight corridors—East-West Corridor (2,328 kms) between Kolkata and Mumbai, North-South Corridor (2,343 km) between Delhi and Chennai and East Coast Corridor (1,114 km) between Kharagpur and Vijaywada.

The Railways in its Preliminary Engineering Cum Traffic Survey (PETS) Reports of these three corridors had said that the corridors will run parallel to the existing alignment and will be designed for no surface crossing and rail flyovers. The freight traffic projections in the three new corridors as per PETS reports indicate a level of approximately 1300 million tonnes by 2026-27.

According to a Parliament response by the minister of state for railways Manoj Sinha, the completion costs for the projects are estimated to be Rs 110,529 crore (Rs.1.1 trillion) for East-West Corridor, Rs 104,471 crore (Rs.1.04 trillion) for the North-South and Rs 56,749 crore (Rs.567.49 billion) for the East Coast Corridors.

Indian Port News

India reduces cargo diversion to Foreign Ports for transhipment says Shipping Secretary
Daily Shipping Times: New Delhi, Aug 14 Top
Government's relaxing of norms for transshipment has not only helped India arrest a sizeable chunk of its container cargo going to ports like Colombo, Singapore, and Jebel Ali but also forced a few foreign ports to cut rates, according to a top official.

India has been trying hard to arrest diversion of container cargo to transshipment hubs at foreign ports.

In May, the Centre relaxed cabotage norms allowing foreign ships, chartered by Indian citizens or companies, to ply on local routes for transshipment purposes.

After the relaxation, India is witnessing an upswing in transshipment volumes and if the trend continues it would emerge as a transshipment hub, Shipping Secretary Gopal Krishna said recently.

"Diversion of Indian cargo for transshipment to neighboring foreign ports has definitely come down and its impact will be visible by the end of the fiscal and it is bound to substantially come down in the next fiscal," he said.

The figure is likely to reach 2 million tonnes, from about 0.8 MT and the trends have started showing, he said.

"The transshipment volumes in India has risen to 16,543 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) in July from 11,589 TEUs in June. This is a 43 percent jump in a month," said Container Shipping Lines Association (CSLA) that represents 31 Container Ship Lines.

CSLA Chairman Capt. Deepak Tewari said, "The policy reform has been very encouraging for container ship lines and we are confident to take the 16,543 TEU volumes recorded in July to 200,000 TEUs within six to eight months time."

The figures of transshipment within India are as low as 3,583 TEUs.

Had there been no cabotage relaxation, of the 16,543 TEUs, India would have lost 41 percent to Colombo, 22 percent to Singapore, 11 percent to Port Klang and 26 percent to others, CSLA estimates.

Various shipping lines are in the process of repositioning their routes which are decided annually, Krishna said, adding that once it is done the major impact will be visible.

A Shipping Association official said Colombo Port was forced to cut transshipment rates by 9.5 percent post-India doing away with cabotage restrictions in May.

Credit rating agency ICRA has said that the Government moves to relax cabotage restrictions will create a level playing field for foreign-flagged ships and is a long-term positive for ports.

The relaxations are positive from a transshipment perspective for the Indian Ports, it said.

The Government move was aimed at the not only arresting diversion of Indian container cargo to foreign ports but to create entrepreneurship in shipping operations while unfurling opportunities for citizens including former army and navy personnel with desired silks and knowledge to charter smaller feeder vessels and participate in the fast-growing container trade.

At present transshipment hubs at Singapore, Malaysia, Colombo and Jebel Ali near Indian coastline get about 33 percent of Indian container cargo which is aggregated there before being shipped to final destinations.

Krishna said the policy in the first year, as per conservative approach, will result in at least 10 percent reduction of the Indian container cargo transshipment to foreign ports.

Ports like Visakhapatnam, Kandla, Cochin, Tuticorin, Ennore, and Chennai are likely to benefit most initially.

As per estimates, Indian Ports are likely to get an additional income of about Rs 200 crore (Rs.2 billion) on account of this.

Haldia Port aims for 60m tonne in FY 2019 as it completes 50 years
Daily Shipping Times: Aug 16 Top
It all started on August 13, 1968, with the loading of about 6,500 tonnes of motor spirit on the MT Ampuria by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd at an oil jetty here in East Midnapore. Fifty years later, the Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) under Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) is eyeing a figure of 43-45 million tonnes for the 2018-19 fiscal. On 13th August, while HDC celebrated 50 years of cargo handling at Haldia, KoPT chairman Vinit Kumar spoke on future plans to augment capacity and take cargo handling figures to nearly 60 million tonnes in the next 2-3 years.

"We had a study conducted and it shows that HDC's capacity is 65 million tonnes. The maximum utilisation level for a port is 80-85% and the maximum that we can handle under present circumstances is 55 million tonnes.

To augment capacity, we are going in for mechanisation of Berth 3. This berth used to handle iron ore earlier. We are now introducing silo-loading at this berth. It is also known as rapid wagon loading system and the cost will be Rs 311 crore (Rs.3.11 billion). The capacity of the berth will increase and there would be reduction in turnaround time. This berth will handle coal and doubling of railway tracks by the end of next year will help in quicker dispersal," Kumar said.

HDC is also planning to start operations at its Outer Terminal 2 soon. This is augment capacity by 2.5 million tonnes. Environmental clearance for this project is at its last stage. A Letter of Intent has already been issued for a liquid jetty at Shalukkhali. This facility will have a capacity of four million tonne.

"These additional facilities will hopefully take us to 60 million tonnes in the next 2-2.5 years. We believe that there is sufficient cargo to be handled. There is a 20-25% growth in LPG and oil companies are looking forward to more loading arms. LNG and POL are also in demand. There are also plans to send cargo to Bangladesh in smaller vessels after bringing it in bulk to Haldia.

Our growth will take place due to the increased demand for coal. Tata and SAIL are the primary customers. There is also demand for clinker for cement plants," Kumar added.

Five Major Ports to have dedicated cruise terminals
Exim News Service - New Delhi, Aug. 12 Top
The Minister of State for Shipping and Finance, Mr Pon. Radhakrishnan, in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, has informed that the five Major Ports of Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Mormugao (Goa), New Mangalore (Karnataka), Cochin (Kerala) and Mumbai (Maharashtra) have been developed to attract cruise ships with dedicated cruise terminals and other related infrastructure for berthing of cruise vessels and embarking and disembarking of cruise passengers, said a release.

Traffic movement directive at JN Port
Cargo flow reportedly not impacted much
Exim News Service - Navi Mumbai, Aug. 12 Top
As per advisories from the terminals and the trade, the Navi Mumbai Traffic Police has sent a directive stopping traffic movements of the terminals in Nhava Sheva during the period 17:00 to 23:00 hrs of the day, effective August 10, 2018. This is to be implemented for a month and, accordingly, all vehicles will be stopped at the PUB - Y junction, it is learnt.

According to reports, a Traffic Control Circular issued said that the control is for facilitating repairs of Mumbra-Kausa bypass road, repairs of Flyover Bridge on same road, strengthening of bridge and change of bearing of same bridge, which has led to growing traffic congestion towards nearby areas.

However, trade sources have said that representatives from the terminals and other trade bodies have met with, and will continue meeting, the traffic police officials to apprise them of the major disruption that this will cause. It is also learnt from sources, at the time of going to press, that traffic to and from the terminals has not been seriously disrupted as a result of this directive and that senior traffic police officials will be visiting the area early this week to take stock of the situation.

EIL to invest Rs 700 crore (Rs.7 billion) for LPG terminal at Okha
Livemint: Gandhinagar, August 14 Top
Energy Infrastructure (India) Ltd (EIL), a 100% subsidiary of the Netherlands-based Energy Infrastructure Butano (Asia) BV has been recently selected by Gujarat government to set up a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) terminal project at Okha for an investment of Rs700 crore (Rs.7 billion), according to two senior state government officials.

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) has given the much needed boost to revive the project in Gujarat that was stuck for some time, they said.

The Okha LPG project has been held for about two decades due to various reasons including technical challenges and site related issues and unfavourable market condition for private companies.

EIL in its bid has proposed to set up permanently moored LPG Floating Storage & Off-loading (FSO), Single Point Mooring (SPM) and necessary pipeline infrastructure.

"Presently, the LPG import terminals in the country are less than what is needed to cater to the demand that is growing at a fast pace. To enhance the import capacity of LPG, Gujarat Maritime Board had invited bids from private investors to develop port facilities to handle petroleum products near Okha," said Mukesh Kumar, vice-chairman and CEO of Gujarat Maritime Board – the regulator for ports and shipping activity in the state.

After evaluation of bids, the state government has recently approved the bid of EIL for setting up an LPG terminal project within 3 years at Okha in Gujarat for a licence period of 15 years, he said while adding that the project will go a long way in fulfilling the LPG requirements of India.

India is the world's second largest importer of LPG after China and remains ahead of Japan. In FY17, India imported close to 12 million tonnes while China imported about 18.5 MT.

India's LPG demand is expected to grow by 3 MT in FY19 and reach 27 MT. In Gujarat, LPG is imported at Sikka, Porbandar, Dahej and Kandla. EIL has been awarded on build operate and transfer (BOT) basis. The company has said in its projects to GMB that it aims to tap the LPG-deficient north Indian market by importing close to 800,000 tonnes a year at Okha.

A senior executive of EIL did not respond to calls and text message sent to his phone.

An established supplier of LPG in North and North-West India since 2002, EIL under the brand name Maxgas EIIL offers bulk supply and installation for industrial consumers and cylinders with LPG capacity of 4kg, 12kg, 17kg and 33kg to suit domestic, commercial and industrial consumers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to citizens to give up LPG subsidy that was followed by a countrywide door-to-door campaign launched by the oil marketers has seen lakhs of people giving up LPG subsidy.

Launched in 2016, the Rs 8,000-crore (Rs.80 billion) PMUY aims to provide 5 crore (50 million) LPG connections to families living below poverty line (BPL) with a support of Rs 1600 per connection over the next 3 years. The scheme is likely to generate additional employment of around 1 lakh and provide business opportunities of at least Rs 10,000 crore (Rs.100 billion) over the next 3 years to Indian industries.

EIL had conceptualized the LPG project way back in 1997-98 but had to change the site a couple of times due to its proximity to an eco-sensitive zone. Also, the company, which has already invested close to Rs 150 crore (Rs.1.5 billion) in the project, had earlier planned to set up a LPG jetty but due to technical challenges it changed its plans to set up an FSO.

In mid-2009, EIL had approached the government and sought extension till 2010. The company had told the regulator that an economic slowdown and extension of subsidy by the UPA led Centre were the reasons for the delay. Among several reasons cited over the years, land acquisition problem is something the company has faced for many years.

LPG is produced from natural gas or refining of petroleum. Once at a terminal, LPG is transferred to a bulk transport truck or rail car for short-haul transport to a retail plant. From there, it is distributed in cylinders or bulk trucks for delivery to the retail customer. The Okha Port lies on the main maritime trade route on the northwest coast of Saurashtra at the mouth of the Gulf of Kutch, Gujarat. The port is located about 500km from Ahmedabad, the principal city of Gujarat.