Samsara Newsletter

Week 42, 2018 (Oct 13 - Oct 19)

Policy & Economy News

India ranked 58th most competitive economy in World Economic Forum's Index, rises by 5 places

India attracted USD 22 bn of FDI flows in first half of 2018: UN report

Business News - The India Boom Factor

Surge in export demand for cotton yarn over past few months brings major respite for domestic spinners

India's oil imports surge to $10.91 bn in September

India, UAE discuss ways to increase investments

Exports in first half of the fiscal rose 12.5%: Commerce Ministry

Shipping News

Coastal container line vessel calls at KICT

APL announces Eagle GO Guaranteed expansion to Asia-Middle East and India Subcontinent Networks

Logistics News

Govt formulating policy for integrated development of multimodal logistics parks

Indian Port News

BMCT receives first coastal service call from Shreyas Shipping

India calls upon Bangladesh to use Kolkata & Haldia as transhipment ports

Paradip Port achieves all-time record in vessel movement & single-day cargo handling

Chennai Port Trust inaugurates modernised cruise terminal

V.O.C. Port handles vessel with 14 metre draught for the first time

Policy & Economy News

India ranked 58th most competitive economy in World Economic Forum's Index, rises by 5 places
Daily Shipping Times - New Delhi, October 19 Top
India has been ranked as the 58th most competitive economy on the World Economic Forum's global competitiveness index for 2018, which was topped by the US. India's rank rose by five places from 2017, the largest gain among G20 economies, the WEF said.

On the list of 140 economies, the US is followed by Singapore and Germany at the second and the third positions respectively. India was ranked 58th with a score of 62.0 in the latest Global Competitiveness Report. "This is the largest gain among all G20 economies," WEF said.

Meanwhile, neighbouring China was ranked at the 28th position in the overall list. According to the report, the top performers in the "upper and lower middle-income brackets", such as China and India, are catching up with or even outperforming the average among high-income economies.

Among the BRICS economies, China topped the list at 28th place with a score of 72.6, ahead of the Russian Federation (65.6, 43rd), India (62.0, 58th), South Africa (60.8, 67th), and Brazil (59.5, 72nd).

India, however, remained the "South Asia's main driving force".

India attracted USD 22 bn of FDI flows in first half of 2018: UN report
Press Trust India - New Delhi: October 16, 2018 Top
India attracted USD 22 billion of FDI flows in the first half of 2018, according to a UN report.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said on Monday in its 'Investment Trends Monitor' report that in South Asia, India attracted USD 22 billion of FDI (foreign direct investment) flows, contributing to the subregion's 13 per cent rise in FDI in the first half of the year.

The report, however, said that with the USD 22 billion FDI, India just about managed to make it to the top 10 host economies receiving the most FDI during the period.

China was the largest recipient of FDI, attracting an estimated USD 70 billion in inflows in the first half of the year, followed by the UK with USD 65.5 billion, the US with USD 46.5 billion, The Netherlands at USD 44.8 billion, Australia with USD 36.1 billion, Singapore got USD 34.7 billion and Brazil received USD 25.5 billion, it said.

Global foreign direct investment fell by 41 per cent in the first half of 2018, to an estimated USD 470 billion from USD 794 billion in the same period of 2017, mainly due to large repatriations by the US parent companies of accumulated foreign earnings from their affiliates aboard following tax reforms, the report said.

Overall, the global financial picture is "gloomy", said James Zhan, UNCTAD's Director, Division on Investment and Enterprise.

The decline in global FDI is mainly owing to recent tax reforms implemented by US President Donald Trump's administration that led to big firms in the US to bring home earnings from abroad principally from Western European countries.

Other factors have contributed to this year's "huge difference in repatriation" of overseas profits by US multinationals, Zhan said.

These include uncertainty about the detail and impact of tax reform and the potential impact of unresolved international trade disputes; such as the tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by the US and China, Zhan added.

In contrast to the overall decline in foreign investment, the report highlights a 42 per cent increase in so-called "greenfield" projects to USD 454 billion.

These initiatives can involve building operations in a foreign country from scratch and they are seen an indicator of future trends, Zhan said, adding that investment in this sector had been at "relatively low levels" in the same period last year.

The report noted that while the fall in foreign direct investment had happened mainly in richer nations, including Ireland (down USD 81 billion) and Switzerland (down USD 77 billion), developing economies saw FDI flows declining "only slightly" in the first half of the year by four per cent to USD 310 billion compared with 2017.

This includes developing Asia - down four per cent - to USD 220 billion - in the same period, driven mostly by a 16 per cent decline in investment in East Asia.

Latin America and the Caribbean saw a six per cent drop in investment, amid uncertainty over upcoming elections that were offset by higher commodity prices, the report said.

Business News - The India Boom Factor

Surge in export demand for cotton yarn over past few months brings major respite for domestic spinners
Exim News Service - Chennai, Oct. 15 Top
The surge in export demand for cotton yarn over the past few months has come as a major respite for the domestic spinners, who had earlier reported a multi-year low profitability during FY18 amid multiple headwinds.

The revival in export demand has enabled large spinning companies report a comfortable volumetric growth of 5 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of FY19, which together with a 7 per cent year-on-year increase in average yarn realisations too has translated into a growth of 12 per cent in sales turnover during the quarter, said an ICRA analysis.

India's oil imports surge to $10.91 bn in September
Reuters - Mumbai, October 16 Top
MUMBAI: India's crude oil imports in September touched $10.91 billion, up 33.6 percent from a year ago, Indian government data showed on Monday.

Shipments of gold to India, the world's second-biggest buyer of bullion, rose 51.5 percent last month, the data from India's trade ministry showed.

India last week announced tariff hikes on several electronic items and communication devices, in a bid to rein in imports and bolster a weak rupee, but did not levy additional duties on gold to prevent increased smuggling of the precious metal.

India, UAE discuss ways to increase investments
Economic Times - New Delhi, October 15 Top
India and the UAE Monday discussed ways to increase investments in areas including highways, airports and infrastructure.

The issue was discussed during the meeting of the UAE-India High Level Joint Task Force on Investments.

"Both sides deliberated on opportunities for cooperation and investment in both countries. Also discussed in specific detail a number of potential investment projects in India, in the highways sector; infrastructure corridor projects, Sagar Mala projects and new greenfield airports," Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu said in a series of tweets.

Prabhu also announced a fast track mechanism between India and the UAE to attract investments.

"Announced special, dedicated UAE Plus desk to be constituted under Invest India with Arabic speaking officials to help (facilitate investments)," he said.

He said that both the sides reviewed progress in addressing the agreed actions in the previous meeting at Abu Dhabi in January.

The bilateral trade between the countries stood at USD 49.88 billion in 2017-18, as against USD 52.7 billion in the previous fiscal.

The UAE is the tenth largest investor in India. In 2017-18, India received USD 1.05 billion foreign direct investment from that country.

Exports in first half of the fiscal rose 12.5%: Commerce Ministry
Daily Shipping Times - New Delhi, October 17 Top
Mid-year assessment of the first six months of this financial year shows that exports are growing in a healthy manner to build on the export growth seen in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

In the first six months ( April-September 2018 ), merchandise exports exhibited a positive growth of 19.93 per cent in Rupee terms and 12.54 per cent in US$ terms over same period last year.

Exports of Non-petroleum and Non Gems and Jewellery during April-September 2018 exhibited a positive growth of 17.51 per cent in Rupee terms and 10.32 per cent in US$ terms over same period last year. Thus the growth is robust and not confined to petroleum products alone.

Merchandise Exports in September 2018 exhibited a positive growth of 9.65 per cent in Rupee terms. In dollar terms there was a marginal negative growth in merchandise exports of 2.15 per cent in September 2018.

This decline is entirely due to the base effect resulting from September 2017 being an abnormally high growth month of about 26% in dollar terms due to the imminent cut off then for drawbacks at pre-GST rates. This is a temporary out of trend phenomenon.

Commenting on the fall in good exports, the Commerce Ministry said: "Exporters continue to be resurgent, with their realised incomes having gone up by almost 10%. October 2018 figures promise to be as per the on-going six-month trend again." Goods exports in the first half of the fiscal rose 12.5%; even outbound shipments excluding petroleum and gems and jewellery products gained 10.3%. Thus, the growth is robust and not confined to petroleum products alone.

Shipping News

Coastal container line vessel calls at KICT
Exim News Service - Gandhidham, Oct. 16 Top
The third coastal container line vessel MV TCI Express berthed at KICT, Deendayal Port Trust (DPT) on Monday morning. TCI Seaways is running the DPT-NMPT-CoPT circuit. It plans to induct three vessels in this circuit, said a release.

The vessel arrived at Kandla on October 14, 2018 at around 1800 hours and berthed at KICTPL on October 15 at 0445 hours. Cargo operations commenced at 0536 hours. The vessel had an exchange of 1,500 TEUs on her very first call to Kandla, on this coastal service between Kandla and Cochin.

A plaque was exchanged on board with the vessel Master, the occasion being also graced by Mr R. U. Singh, President and CEO of TCI Seaways. MV TCI Express sailed for Cochin on the evening of October 16, the release said.

APL announces Eagle GO Guaranteed expansion to Asia-Middle East and India Subcontinent Networks
Daily Shipping Times - Singapore, October 17 Top
APL has announced the expansion of Eagle GO Guaranteed for cargoes destined for the Middle East and India Subcontinent from all direct and non-direct loading ports in Asia, in addition to China.

Eagle GO Guaranteed cargoes from non-direct loading ports will be assured of equipment at the origin and vessel space onboard the first leg, as they en-route to the trans-shipment hubs for priority shipping to the Middle East and India Subcontinent. Likewise, Eagle GO Guaranteed cargoes from the direct load ports will be assured of equipment and vessel space onboard seven Asia-Middle East and six India Subcontinent services by APL.

The 13 APL services include the Gulf Asia Express 2 (GA2), Pendulum Gulf Express (PE2), West Asia Express 3 (WA3), West Asia Express 5 (WA5), West Asia Express (WAX), Red Sea Express 2 (RS2), Red Sea Express (RSX), Asia Subcontinent Express (AS1), Asia Subcontinent Express (AS3), Asia Subcontinent Express (AS5), North Asia Subcontinent Express (CI3), China India Express (CIX) and India East Coast Express (IEX).

Each week, the various services pick up cargoes from their rotational Ports of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar. From these Asian origin Ports, the respective services will head for their designated Ports of call in United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Djibouti, Egypt and Jordan in the Middle East; as well as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh in the India Subcontinent.

Booking for this pay-on-demand offering that is expanded across APL's Asia-Middle East and India subcontinent networks is now available, said an APL release.

Logistics News

Govt formulating policy for integrated development of multimodal logistics parks
Exim News Service - NEW DELHI, Oct. 15 Top
With a view to promoting the movement of goods for domestic as well as global trade, the government is formulating a policy for the integrated development of multimodal logistics parks, it is understood.

Currently, there is no specific definition, specification and standardisation of multimodal logistics parks. Due to this, different Ministries as well as the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion are developing these parks.

As many as 35 such parks have been proposed by different Ministries.

The policy would help set up one authority for the approval of these parks and facilitate common standards, fixing time frames, and areas where they can be constructed.

The Commerce Ministry has circulated a note in this regard to take views of different stakeholders, including states and Union Territories, reports said.

Indian Port News

BMCT receives first coastal service call from Shreyas Shipping
Exim News Service - Navi Mumbai, Oct. 18 Top
Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals (BMCT) on Wednesday welcomed Shreyas Shipping and Logistics' M. V. SSL Mumbai, marking the first call of Shreyas' PIX 1 (Pan India Express 1) service at the terminal.

As per a release, the 1,613-TEU vessel is part of the PIX1 service with a sister vessel on the following rotation: BMCT, Cochin, Tuticorin, Mangalore, Mundra, Hazira and BMCT on a fortnightly basis. The call at BMCT offers options for both domestic shipments and international transhipment.

BMCT's General Manager, Mr Sivakumar Kaliannan, said, "We are very pleased to welcome PIX1 to Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals. Before BMCT's start-up, capacity limitations at Nhava Sheva meant there were very few regular coastal service calls. With Shreyas' PIX 1, domestic shippers now have the option of moving their shipments from truck to ship and can enjoy a cheaper and more environmentally friendly transport option. We will also be working closely with Shreyas to develop transhipment options and allow carriers to increase connectivity and rationalise service calls on the West Coast."

The CEO of Shreyas Shipping, Capt. V. K. Singh, said, "Shreyas is pleased to commence its coastal service calls at BMCT in JNPT. We are targeting both ex-im and domestic trades and see these markets as having great potential which, with BMCT's new capacity, we are now able to capture. Shreyas is also playing its part in the Sagarmala initiative by promoting coastal shipping in this way."

India calls upon Bangladesh to use Kolkata & Haldia as transhipment ports
Exim News Service - Kolkata, Oct. 14
India has called upon Bangladesh to use two of its ports, viz. Kolkata and Haldia, for transhipment purposes. The proposal was put forward at a Ministerial meeting in Dhaka last week.

The initiative can make coastal shipping more cost-effective for bilateral trade and shift cargo from the costly land route and create an opportunity for Bangladesh-based garment exporters to reach European and US markets avoiding congestion at the Chittagong port.

The Indian Customs authorities have already cleared the deck for Bangladesh to use Haldia as a transhipment port. However, Bangladesh is yet to accede to India's request.

Keeping in tune with growing trade volumes, the crux of the proposal is the growing need to augment handling capacities on either side.

The Indo-Bangladesh trade grew 38 per cent to $ 9.1 billion over the last four years. On a year-on-year basis, the trade grew 24 per cent in 2017-18. This was followed by nearly 22 per cent growth in April-July 2018.

Keeping in tune with the trend, movement of bilateral cargo through coastal shipping has also been rising. During the first six months of FY19, the port handled approximately 4,000 containers traded between the two nations. This is higher than 3,700 boxes handled in the full year of 2017-18, said a release.

Paradip Port achieves all-time record in vessel movement & single-day cargo handling
Exim News Service - Paradip, Oct. 18 Top
Paradip Port has successfully completed movement of 27 vessels within 20 hours, i.e. from 6 am on October 13 to 2 am on October 14, 2018. In the first shift 12 vessels were handled, followed by 11 in the second shift and 4 in the third. These included 16 berthing, 1 single point mooring, 3 outward movement of vessels, 1 shifting from one berth to another, and 6 smaller vessel movements, highlighted a release.

16 berthing movements is a rare feat as most of the berths were vacant due to the passing of Cyclone Titli during which cargo operations / shipping movements were stopped for two days. The vessel calls scheduled during the stoppage period were recovered in a single day. Despite having no control over impending natural calamities from time to time, the way the port recovered shows the vibrant mindset of its employees to convert challenges into opportunities, the release emphasised.

This also resulted in the highest single day cargo handling of 6,39,000 MT, surpassing the previous record of 5,34,000 MT achieved on September 25, 2018, the release added.

Chennai Port Trust inaugurates modernised cruise terminal
Exim News Service - Chennai, Oct. 14 Top
On October 12, 2018, Mr K.J. Alphons, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism, inaugurated the modernised cruise terminal at West Quay IV in Chennai Port and also participated in the first ever Port Day celebrations.

The Minister of State for Finance and Shipping, Mr Pon. Radhakrishnan, presided over the function.

This modernised cruise terminal at WQ IV has a total area of 2,880 sq. m, with 2,040 sq. m in the first floor area, mezzanine floor area 120 sq.m and ground floor area 720 sq.m.

Chennai Port is one of the oldest ports in India. It has attracted cruise vessels on the east coast. In order to enhance the cruise tourism potential in this part of the country, the passenger facilitation centre in the existing passenger terminal at WQ IV has been modernised with financial assistance of Rs 17.24 crore (Rs.172.4 million) under the scheme "Assistance to Central Agencies for Tourism Infrastructure Development" from the Ministry of Tourism.

The terminal has been upgraded/proposed with the following facilities:-

* 4 escalators for embarking and disembarking passengers

* Heat ventilation air conditioning for the entire terminal

* 10 immigration counters. 10 more planned

* High-end security system such as baggage scanners, handheld metal detectors

* Cafeteria proposed at the mezzanine floor

* International standard rest rooms

* 3 seater chair modules for waiting passengers for 168 passengers at first floor and 132 passengers at ground floor.

South India is a major tourist destination with rich cultural heritage. It is considered as the gateway to Pallava, Chola and Vijayanagara culture. The Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram and Chennai's religious and historical places attracts passengers from all over the world. Hence, a need for the state-of-the-art cruise terminal is felt. This modernised cruise terminal is definitely a great step in attracting passenger traffic with exclusive yacht parking, single window (integrated) clearance of Customs, immigration and security.

Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Victoria, Universe Explorer are some of the important vessels to visit Chennai Port.

A standard operating procedure to facilitate clearance of cruise vessels and passengers through all Indian ports has been prepared in consultation with immigration, Customs, security agencies and other stakeholders.

Vessel charges have been standardised across the country with the introduction of a uniform vessel-related tariff of $ 0.35 per GRT for cruise vessel stay for 12 hours at any Indian port. The Ministry of Home Affairs has waived off the requirement of biometric enrolment for the cruise passengers arriving on e-visa for the period of three years till 31.12.2020 for the Major 5 Ports, viz. Mumbai, Cochin, Chennai, Mormugao and New Mangalore.

At Chennai Port, the upgraded facilities and eased out procedures will ensure quick clearance in and out of the port enabling them maximum time at their disposal.

Port Day at Chennai Port

The maritime history of Chennai started way back in 1639 with the setting up of Fort St. George on the seashore of the erstwhile Madrasapatnam (Madras) from an open roadstead and exposed sandy coast till 1815 with minor port operations. Initial piers were built in 1861, but the storms of 1868 and 1872 made them inoperative which led to the emergence of an artificial harbour. In 1875, work began for the construction of first protected manmade harbour with breakwaters having an eastern entrance and was completed in the year 1881.

By October 1881, both the North and South Piers had been completed to their full length, with a 550 foot entrance on the east: 7,836 lineal feet of breakwater had been constructed, 13,309 concrete blocks set in position. This completion in 1881 is considered the beginning of the modern harbour of Madras that has grown into the Port of Chennai currently with 24 berths and handling more than 20 million tonnes a year. To commemorate this historic occasion, the Board of Trustees of Chennai Port have decided to celebrate Port Day during the second week of October, starting from this year.

During the Port Day celebrations various events like cultural programmes and competitions were organised to create awareness among the employees and stakeholders.

Best Business Awards were given to Port users on the basis of performance like highest number of vessels handled, highest tonnage handled and highest performance among CHAs, record breaking performances by stevedores, etc.

Award of Excellence were given to the best performing employees based on their innovation, achievement and suggestion in saving expenditure.

The Port Day celebrations creates an ideal atmosphere to highlight the glorious past and the future vision of Chennai Port. The celebrations helped in bringing together all officers, employees and the Port community as a whole and rejuvenates cooperation, thereby contributes towards the improvement of the port.

With a sense of pride all the officers and employees participated in these celebrations and with the same vigour continue to contribute towards the development of the port, said a release.

V.O.C. Port handles vessel with 14 metre draught for the first time
Exim News Service - Tuticorin, Oct. 16 Top
On October 15, 2018, V. O. Chidambaranar Port, for the first time in its history, handled a vessel with 14 metre draught. The Panama-flagged vessel, MV Zheng Jun, was docked at the North Cargo Berth-I at 1600 hours. With a length of 229 m and beam of 32.26 m, it had arrived from the port of Samarinda, Indonesia with 74,962 tonnes of coal for Neyveli Thermal Power Ltd (NTPL). GAC Shipping (India) Pvt. Ltd, Tuticorin was the vessel agent, said a release.

Capt. J. Kingston Neel Durai and Capt. N. Venkatesh, Pilots, under the guidance of Capt. Bhabatosh Chand, Deputy Conservator, guided the ship safely to the berth.

Earlier, on June 20, 2018, the port had handled MV Dionysus, a vessel with draught of 13.20 metre, which discharged 60,500 tonnes of rock phosphate for Greenstar Fertilizers, Tuticorin.

Mr Rinkesh Roy, Chairman, V.O. Chidambaranar Port, thanked the entire team which brought this first vessel with 14 metre draught to the port. He said, "With the developmental projects on the horizon, this record-size vessel calling the port will be a game-changer to the port to handle more cargo and the trade to reap the benefits of economies of scale in handling coal, limestone, rock phosphate and other bulk cargo."