Samsara Newsletter

Week 52, 2018 (Dec 22 - Dec 28)

Policy & Economy News

Manufacturing sector posts strong sales growth in Q2: RBI

India preparing specific strategy & mulling incentives to boost exports : Suresh Prabhu

India eyes $100-bn FDI in next two years; Plans industrial clusters for some countries: Suresh Prabhu

Business News - The India Boom Factor

India's potential for export to SAARC countries must be tapped: Suresh Prabhu

Textile Ministry highlights exports for last three year

Grape exports commence on a sweet note in current season

Rising shipments to US help Indian pharma exports rebound in H1FY19

Shipping News

Inland water transit the next big thing in India

Logistics News

Logistics start-ups attract $1.89-b investments in 2018

APM Terminals Inland Services to open India's first green warehouse for chemicals in Pune

Indian Port News

Mundra Port concludes import & despatch of 50 US-made GE locomotives for Indian Railways

Maiden vessel berths at Chennai Port's modernised cruise facility

Petronet to invest Rs. 2,100 crore (Rs.21 billion) at Dahej Terminal

Policy & Economy News

Manufacturing sector posts strong sales growth in Q2: RBI
Press Trust of India - Mumbai, December 27 Top
Manufacturing sector, particularly extile and iron and steel segments, maintained its pace of sales growth in the second quarter of 2018-19 as compared to the year-ago period, the RBI said Wednesday.

Demand condition in the manufacturing sector "maintained its pace in the September quarter 2018-19 as reflected in strong sales growth (year-on-year)", as per the RBI analysis of 2,700 listed private sector non-financial companies.

"The manufacturing sector sales growth was mainly supported by robust demand conditions in chemical and chemical products, iron and steel, and petroleum products industries coupled with significant improvement recorded by textile industry," the RBI said.

The central bank said heavy moderation was seen in the sales growth of motor vehicles and other transport equipment, driven in part by a large adverse base effect, and pharmaceutical and medicine industries.

The information technology (IT) sector also recorded further improvement in sales growth over the year-ago period.

The manufacturing sector continued to record strong growth in net profits, which received support from other income.

The RBI said companies in manufacturing sector posted a net profit of Rs 47,100 crore (Rs.471 billion) in the reported quarter, up 29.4 per cent from the same period last year. The data is based on abridged financial results of 1,734 companies in the manufacturing sector.

"Despite continuous contraction in the telecommunication, the services (non-IT) sector posted a turnaround riding on the support from wholesale and retail trade," the RBI said.

The profit of IT sector, based on data of 172 firms, was Rs 17,700 crore (Rs.177 billion) in the second quarter, up 5.8 per cent over the July-September period of 2017-18.

As per the RBI, the combined sales of 2,700 companies was Rs 9,81,800 crore (Rs.9.8 trillion) in the September quarter, up 18.2 per cent from the year-ago period.

Their net profit was Rs 71,900 crore (Rs.719 billion), an increase of 41.7 per cent year-on-year.

On expenditure front, manufacturing companies continued to face rising input cost (cost of raw materials, staff cost) pressures. In case of IT sector, staff costs accelerated in tandem with the improvement in sales growth, the RBI said.

India preparing specific strategy & mulling incentives to boost exports : Suresh Prabhu
Daily Shipping Times -New Delhi, December 27 Top
India is preparing a specific strategy for exports to each geography as part of plans to make 2019 a year when outward shipments would start driving the Country's overall economic growth, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu has said.

The Minister said India's exports performance has been "extremely good" in the past 14 months, but he is not fully satisfied as yet and the plans for 2019 also include a special focus on boosting shipments to the African continent and Latin America given huge growth potential there.

He said the Indian exports are growing at a time when the global trade is witnessing worst ever headwinds, countries are fighting at import duty front and there is increasing protectionism and slowdown in demand.

"(But) I am not fully satisfied. I want exports to drive India's growth. To do that, the situation is very challenging as each Country is trying to put their own borders," Prabhu said recently.

Since 2011-12, India's exports have been hovering at around $300 billion. During 2017-18, the shipments grew by about 10 per cent to $303 billion.

Experts have cautioned that growing trade tensions between the US and China could impact the global trade growth. Imposition of high import duties by the US this year on certain steel and aluminium products have triggered a trade war kind of situation.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) too has stated that escalating trade tensions and tighter credit market conditions in important markets will slow trade growth in 2019.

"In 2019, we would like to ensure that all measures that we initiated earlier and the new measures get consolidated and 2019 should be a new year for exports. So I am preparing a strategy. For each of the geographies, we will prepare a specific strategy," Prabhu said.

Elaborating on his plans, the Minister said African continent holds huge potential for domestic exporters and there is a need to significantly boost shipments to that region.

Prabhu said his Ministry is in process of creating a template for some kind of a free trade agreement with Africa which will take into account the overall difference of level of growth of that continent and the Country specific profiles.

Similar plans are there for other regions as well, including for Latin America, he said. Central America, South East Asia, Central Asia and South Asia hold huge potential for domestic exporters, but "our performance is at sub-optimal level" in these regions, he added.

Emphasised on the need to promote value added exports, Prabhu said his Ministry is trying to bring Japanese and Korean companies on board to increase outbound shipments of marine products.

He also hoped that the recently announced agri-export policy will help boost exports from the sector to $60 billion in the next five years and $100 billion in the next 10 years.

"This is doable because we are the largest producers of milk and the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables," he said. The Ministry would be drawing a strategy to promote shipments of five categories -- plantation crops, meat, fisheries, agriculture and horticulture, he added.

For this, the Minister will be meeting all plantation boards, farmers associations and organisations and discuss issues related to every segment.

"We are asking States for product-specific clusters. For example, in Jalgaon (Maharashtra) we are promoting cluster for bananas, and for grapes in Nashik," he said.

The Ministry is also preparing an incentive package for labour intensive sectors like leather to address issues faced by exporters.

"We are preparing a package which will ensure that exporters' woes are addressed properly. There have been challenges for the export sector over a period of time and one big challenge is credit," he said.

The Ministry is also looking at quality of goods being exported by India as foreign firms are keeping a special tab on this.

"If Government will take all these steps in the coming months, we can register 20 per cent growth in exports," the Federation of Indian Exports Organisation (FIEO) President Ganesh Kumar Gupta said.

Promoting exports helps a Country to create jobs, boost manufacturing and earn more foreign exchange.

India eyes $100-bn FDI in next two years; Plans industrial clusters for some countries: Suresh Prabhu
Daily Shipping Times -New Delhi, December 28 Top
India will aim to receive USD 100 billion in foreign direct investments in the next two years and special industrial clusters are being created for countries like Japan, South Korea, China and Russia where their companies can invest and operate, Union Minister Suresh Prabhu said.

The Commerce and Industry Minister said his Ministry has also identified sectors and countries which holds huge potential for investments in India.

"I have given a target. USD 100 billion of FDI should come from different sectors into India. It will not happen in one year. We have identified companies, sectors and Countries and now we are going for road shows to attract investors," Prabhu said recently.

Similarly, India would be happy to welcome firms from Europe and the US who want to move out of other countries and set up manufacturing bases in India, Prabhu said.

"We will be very happy to give them special status in India," he added.

The comments follow several steps taken during 2018 to further liberalise norms and improve business climate in India to attract greater FDI.

In the World bank's Doing Business report, India's rank has improved to 77th from 130th earlier.

Business News - The India Boom Factor

India's potential for export to SAARC countries must be tapped: Suresh Prabhu
Exim News Service - New Delhi, December 26 Top
In order to incentivise and encourage Indian companies to compete globally by improving their exports, the Commerce Ministry is working on various fronts like creation of new policies, improving Ease of Doing Business, scrapping irrelevant regulations and formulating the concept of growth of GDP in every district of the country. This was stated by the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation, Mr Suresh Prabhu, at a function in New Delhi recently.

He further made the point that India has not realised its full potential of exports and cooperation with neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and must, therefore, strive to work closely with these countries who have managed to become a part of the global value chain in industries like textiles.

As the Indian economy continues its growth trajectory and strives to reach $ 5 trillion by 2025, the manufacturing sector is expected to play a key role by contributing $ 1 trillion to the overall target, requiring the sector to grow 2.5 times in the next 7 years. The country needs to build further momentum and target at maximising local value add, creating scale, capturing global market share and fulfilling India's job creation needs, the Minister added.

Textile Ministry highlights exports for last three year
Daily Shipping Times - New Delhi, December 24 Top
To enhance exports of textile and apparel products, Government has announced the Special Package for garments and made-ups sectors. The package offers enhanced duty drawback coverage under Rebate of State Levies (RoSL) Scheme, labour law reforms, additional incentives under ATUFS, and relaxation of Section 80JJAA of Income Tax Act.

The rates under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) have been enhanced from 2% to 4% for apparel, 5% to 7% for made-ups, handloom and handicrafts w.e.f. 1st November 2017. Products like fibre, yarn and fabric in the textile value chain are being strengthened and made competitive through various schemes, like Powertex for fabric segment, Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS) for all segments except spinning and Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP) for all segments. Assistance is provided to exporters under Market Access Initiative (MAI) Scheme. Further, Government has enhanced interest equalization rate for pre and post shipment credit for certain textile sectors from 3% to 5% from 2.11.2018.

Government has fixed export targets for textile and apparel including handicrafts for 2018-19 at USD 47.287 billion.

Product-wise details of Textile and Apparel exports are as follows:


This information was given by the Minister of State for Textiles, Ajay Tamta, in the Lok Sabha.

Grape exports commence on a sweet note in current season
Daily Shipping Times -Mumbai, December 24 Top
Exports of fresh grapes have begun on a positive note in the current season and the shipments, so far, have been estimated at around 392 tonnes. Exporters see an increase of 10-30 per cent in output aided by favourable climatic conditions in the key producing state of Maharashtra.

Mahindra Agri, a large exporter, expects to ship 10,500-12,000 tonnes of grapes this year, up by about 33 per cent over the last calendar year, said Ashok Sharma, Managing Director and CEO of Mahindra Agri Solutions Ltd. Sharma attributed the positive trend in grape exports to farmers using better practices, improved crop management and nutrition, which resulted in increased productivity.

"Last year, total exports from India to Europe, China and the Far East were over 8,500, 40-ft containers. This year, the exports should increase to over 10,000," felt Ashok Motiani, Managing Director at Freshtrop Fruits Ltd.

Rising shipments to US help Indian pharma exports rebound in H1FY19
India Seatrade News - December 28 Top
Indian pharmaceutical exports grew 12.2 percent to $10.8 billion year-on-year (YoY) in the first half of FY19, riding on generic drug launches, easing of pricing pressure in the key US market and improved regulatory compliance at Indian drug factories.

In the first half of FY19 shipments to the US rose 10.3 percent to $3.2 billion, while exports to other countries grew 13 percent to $7.6 billion.

India pharmaceutical exports had remained flat at $17.3 billion in FY18, as shipments to the US declined 8 percent to $5.1 billion, on account of steep price erosion of generic drugs and regulatory issues at India plants.

The bounceback of pharmaceutical exports comes as music to the government at a time when it's trying to increase exports to bridge the widening current account deficit. Pharmaceutical shipments are among top five export items from India.

Typically, India earns about one-third of its export revenues from the US, and one-fifth each from Europe, Asia and Africa and one-tenth from LatAm region.

However, the share of exports to the US contracted to 29.6 percent in FY18, while exports to other countries rose almost 9 percent.

"If this growth momentum sustains, the $20 billion export target set by the government by FY20 is well within the reach," said an official at Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil), under Minister of Commerce.

Care Ratings expects the exports to increase by 8.5 -9.5 percent YoY during FY19.

"We expect the moderation in price erosion environment to continue and the upward trend in outbound shipments to persist in the remaining months of FY19," said Care Ratings in their recent sector report.

"Moreover, it is likely that the Indian pharma companies will focus on the development of specialty medicines or complex generics to augment their portfolio which will help increase the Indian companies to gain share in world exports," the report added.

One of the reasons is the higher number of abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) approvals. The USFDA under Commissioner Scott Gotlieb has increased the speed of the approval process, as it wants more generic competition in the US market to make prescription drugs more affordable to patients and reduce government spending.

According to Care Rating, the ANDA approval rate for the top 5 Indian pharma companies increased to 67.9 percent for H1FY19 compared to 65.5 percent for H1FY18 and 65% for H1FY17.

In addition to this, the number of approvals received by these top companies during H1FY19 stood at 130 compared to 92 ANDA approvals received during H1FY18.

Shipping News

Inland water transit the next big thing in India
India Seatrade News - December 27 Top
On November 2 in 2018, a vessel RN Tagore departed from mouth of Hooghly, Haldia in West Bengal for Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh (a distance of 1380 km) where it was received by PM Narendra Modi on November 12, 2018. It was carrying snacks and other food items manufactured by Pepsi in a cargo of 16 containers. This is the first time since independence that a container was transported on an inland vessel a huge accomplishment.

Overall waterways account for just about 3% of all freight movement in India. Between 1986 and 2014, India spent only Rs1,456 crore (Rs. 14.5 billion) on its inland waterways. After the NDA government came to power India invested Rs1,605 crore (Rs.16.05 billion)from 2014 to 2018 , while in comparison China invested Rs1,09,000 crore (Rs.1.09 trillion) from 2005 to 2010.

India has 14,500 km of navigable waterways in rivers, canals etc. There are some constraints in transporting men and material regularly on inland waterways due to silt that comes with monsoon, hence periodic dredging is required so that adequate depth is maintained. Many rivers are drying up, many that retain volumes have low bridges that would hinder passage of vessels.

Advantages of transporting man and material through waterways has myriad of advantages viz, it will gradually decongest roads and highways resulting in faster movement of vehicular traffic and less probability of accidents, roads will require less maintenance, there will be less air pollution, it may also be noted transportation through waterways is a lot less expensive. Though what impact it may have on sales of commercial vehicles remains to be seen once this trend catches up.

Thus we observe that IWT (Inland Water Transport) mode is widely recognized as environment friendly and cost effective. In fact according to RITES (Rail India Technical and Economic Service) one litre of fuel moves 24 tonne per km on road, 95 tonne per km by rail and 215 tonne per km on IWT. In India logistics cost are amongst the highest amongst major countries; it is 18 percent of the GDP in India compared to 10 percent in China.

However, keeping biodiversity of rivers in purview it is pertinent to note that barges / vessels should comply with zero discharge standards to prevent solid or liquid waste flowing into river also all vessels should be fitted with noise control devices to ensure aquatic life is not disturbed. There are at present 111 officially notified Inland National Waterways (NWs) in India as per The National Waterways Act 2016. Out of 111 NWs, 106 were created in 2016. The NW network covers around 20,000 km.

There is a huge potential for public private partnership (PPP) led investments in dredging, construction, operation and maintenance of vessels, terminals, storage facilities, and navigation, as well as tourism. It will help in generating millions of job opportunities and boost maritime trade of states and augment their economies. IWT is a capital intensive industry. Significant cost is required in vessels. Operating costs can involve fuel costs, crew costs, maintenance costs and loading unloading costs.

Inland Water Transport is highly economical and will help in generating millions of job opportunities and boost maritime trade of states and augment their economies.

Logistics News

Logistics start-ups attract $1.89-b investments in 2018
India Seatrade News - December 27 Top
Start-ups playing in the digitally-driven logistics and supply chain space in India have attracted investments worth $1.89 billion

Fuelled by growth in sectors such as manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, food delivery and consumer goods, along with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the demand for logistics and supply chain solutions in India is also on an upward trajectory.

Once considered unattractive by the venture capital firms globally, the logistics sector, largely driven by the use of future technology, has become the darling of global investors, including SoftBank, Sequoia and Tiger Global.

The start-ups playing in the digitally-driven logistics and supply chain space in India have attracted investments worth $1.89 billion, till date, in 2018, according to a data provided by start-up research platform Tracxn Labs. This is a major increase from the $77-million funding that the segment received in 2014, which was also the period that witnessed emergence of some currently popular logistics start-ups, such as Rivigo, XpressBees, and Swiggy, among others.

Compared to the last year's funding of $447 million, this year the investments seem to have more than doubled; however, the numbers are not comparable as $1 billion has gone to food delivery start-up Swiggy alone.

The logistics sectors has suddenly picked up pace with a series of big ticket investments this year. BlackBuck raised about $27 million in October, and is in talks to raise another $150 million, according to media reports. Rivigo has raised $50 million in January this year ,and is in talks to raise a bigger round of $400-odd million. Another start-up, ElasticRun raised about $8 million. Tiger Global-backed Delhivery has raised over $257 million so far and there are reports of Japanese conglomerate SoftBank investing another $250 million soon.

According to a recent report by CARE Ratings, the country's largely fragmented logistics sector is likely to be at $215 billion by 2020-21 from approximate size of $160 billion in 2016-17 on back of development of logistics-related infrastructure such as dedicated freight corridors, logistics parks, free trade warehousing zones and container freight stations among other initiatives like GST, investments in road infrastructure, development of inland waterways and coastal shipping.

Ganesh Rewanwar, co-founder of city transportation start-up Freightbazaar said, "After GST implementation, logistics sector is witnessing a significant growth and changing market dynamics. There is a limited use of technology in the segment with a high level of inefficiency. It provides great opportunity for technology driven organisations to create major value. Technology driven start-ups offer good opportunity to VCs. While intra-city road transportation attracted a lot of VC investment, there has been limited investment in inter-city road transportation."

Pushkar Singh, founder of intra-city logistics service provider LetsTransport, said that while the entry of e-commerce has really helped expand the logistics market, the use of technology logistics and supply-chain is becoming very efficient that is helping companies garner more business which is resulting in better sales thus forcing large investors to revisit the sector.

Singh added that in the last five years over hundred-odd start-ups came up in this segment but only a handful have survived. Other players in this space, that helps aggregate small trucks and LCVs, are Porter and BlowHorn.

"Investors were waiting for the consolidation to happen. Now that has happened, a few players like us have emerged with strong financials and business model. We expect, more big ticket-size investments and unicorns to come in this space," Singh said adding that lack of funds, lack of awareness about usage of technology by delivery partners, low margins, delay in turnaround time of trucks and lack among several other inefficiencies. However, technology such as artificial intelligence and data analytics have solved a lot of these problems and helped improve efficiencies.

APM Terminals Inland Services to open India's first green warehouse for chemicals in Pune

Daily Shipping Times - Mumbai, December 28 Top
APM Terminals Inland Services, a unit of Danish transport giant AP Moller Maersk Group, is to open India's first environment approved Inland Container Depot (ICD) for handling chemicals in Pune, its Managing Director for South Asia, Ajit Venkataraman, has said.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has given APM Terminals Inland Services blanket approval to store 35,000 tonnes of chemicals of all types, except explosives and radioactive chemicals, at its facility located 150 km from Mumbai.

The ICD can handle 60,000 containers a year. It has 100,000 sq ft of warehouse space, half bonded and half non-bonded, besides 50,000 sq ft of yard space to store containers.

The move is aimed at supporting India's chemical industry, currently estimated at $200 billion, and accounting for about 3 per cent of the global market. By 2025, the local chemical industry is expected to double to $400 billion, nudging multinational chemical companies to set up base in India, though the lack of compliant facilities was hampering growth.

India is a net importer of chemicals, with imports growing at 17 per cent CAGR in the last 10 years and exports at about 8 per cent, while domestic growth was about 4 per cent.

"Given that there is a huge amount of export-import happening in chemicals, one of the biggest challenges that chemical companies face today is the infrastructure to support the regulatory issues and compliance, because there are not too many compliant facilities in India, and this was hindering growth," Venkataraman said recently.

"We see this as an opportunity not just for us, but also for the chemical industry to take it to the next level," he said.

AP Moller-Maersk Group runs Maersk Line, the World's biggest container shipping company, and APM Terminals, one of the big four global port terminal operators. It also runs Damco, a freight forwarder. This helps the Moller-Maersk Group offer end-to-end services to customers.

"As a group, we transformed into a logistics and transport business a year ago. This stems from the fact that customers are looking for end-to-end solutions, they don't want to deal with multiple entities, they just want to deal with one entity who will take end-to-end responsibility. With Maersk Line, APMT and Damco, there is no other group that can give a complete end-to-end solution," says Venkataraman.

Many of the large chemical players want a single player to deal with in key consumption and production areas. "Since safety, security and compliance is such an important thing for these chemical giants and it fits well with the way we run our operations in a safe and compliant manner, it's a good match in terms of what the customer is looking for and what we can provide," he noted.

"Our industry is going through a transformation. People are moving away from a box-in, box-out concept, a traditional model for a CFS/ICD, to more value-added services," he said.

"The game is in the hinterland, because that is where most of the action is going to be, and with improved connectivity, we expect growth will happen more and more in the interiors of the country," Venkataraman added.

APM Terminals Inland Services runs two ICDs - one each in Pune and Dadri - and five CFSs - two in Mumbai and one each in Chennai, Mundra and Tuticorin.

Venkataraman said the firm would look at setting up more such environment compliant warehouses to store chemicals at its other facilities.

Indian Port News

Mundra Port concludes import & despatch of 50 US-made GE locomotives for Indian Railways
Exim News Service - Ahmedabad, December 26 Top
Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ) successfully concluded the import and despatch of 50 General Electric Transportation (GE) locomotives from Mundra Port for the Indian Railways with full customer satisfaction and 'zero' incident. All 50 locomotives were manufactured by the GE Electromotive Division in the United States and imported at Mundra Port for the Railways, a first for Indian shipping and logistics, as per a APSEZ release. The final locomotive was handed over to the Railways at the Roza Loco Shed (UP) on November 23, 2018. The commissioning of the locomotives was completed between October 2017 to November 2018, which is a record for the logistics and ports sector, the release said.

Mundra Port has the unique distinction of handling consignments critical for the development and defence of the nation. In a short span of time, the port has played an instrumental role in the logistics of wagons for various metro projects pan-India, mining dump truck of 240 MT capacity and heavy duty air-crane (helicopter). Sources say that the port is set to receive the first batch of Boeing Chinook helicopters which is purported to give a decisive edge to India's defence forces during wars and also during times of humanitarian crisis.

APSEZ is India's largest private multi-port operator and a part of the Adani Group, an integrated infrastructure corporation. Since 1962, after the import of WDM2 ALCO locomotives for the Railways, the current import of GE locomotives (WDG4 series 49002) is the biggest import consignment in India. The first GE locomotive was imported to Mundra and successfully handled by Adani Port on October 10, 2017. The loco was despatched from Mundra to the Roza Loco Shed on February 11, 2018, and the 50th loco was despatched on November 23, 2018 within 10 months. For the purpose of the dedicated freight cargo corridor, the selling point for the port was available to facilitate the commissioning of the locos. Also, the strategic location of the port was a huge advantage.

Mr Avinash Rai, Chief Operating Officer, APSEZ, said, "Efficiency in logistical operations is given utmost priority at Adani Ports. Therefore, while handling the logistical operations for the Indian Railways and GE, we made sure the transportation of cargo from the vessel to its destination is seamless and without any incident. This achievement by the team at Mundra takes our standards to another level in India and sets new benchmarks for us to cross. Our aim is to continue leveraging the strategic advantage of our ports along the entire coastline of India to create a vast network of inland logistics in the country. The idea is to give end-to-end logistics solutions to customers using our ports and create new records."

Mundra Port is the second largest port in India in handling container cargo. In 2014-15, it handled 1.75 million TEUs and has the installed terminal capacity to handle 2.3 million TEUs p.a. Adani Ports operates two terminals at Mundra-Adani Mundra Container Terminal (AMCT), which started operations in 2007, and Adani International Container Terminal (AICTPL), which was operationalised in 2013. Jointly both terminals handle 26 services, connecting India to destinations across the world, the release highlighted.

Maiden vessel berths at Chennai Port's modernised cruise facility
Exim News Service - Chennai, December 27 Top
M.V. LE LAPEROUSE, an ultra-modern cruise vessel built in Romania with the latest facilities like floating marina and blue eye underwater lounge where one can see the underwater life, arrived at Chennai Port on December 25, 2018 on her maiden visit with 151 passengers and 113 crew.

The vessel, launched in 2018, arrived from Trincomalee in Sri Lanka and was scheduled to sail to Port Blair on December 27.

This was the first cruise vessel that berthed at the newly-modernised Cruise Passenger Facilitation Centre in Chennai Port. As per the tour operators, the passengers had plans to visit various locations in the city, besides Mamallapuram and Kanchipuram.

Mr P. Raveendran, Chairman, Chennai Port Trust, exchanged a plaque with Capt. Florian Richard, Master of the vessel, welcoming the crew and passengers to the port, in a ceremony held on board the vessel on December 26. The Chairman expressed the hope that the modernised cruise terminal would attract more such vessels in future, said a release.

Petronet to invest Rs. 2,100 crore (Rs.21 billion) at Dahej Terminal
Daily Shipping Times - Mumbai, December 28 Top
Petronet LNG Ltd, India's top gas importer, plans to invest Rs. 2,100 crore (Rs.21 billion) to expand its terminal capacity in Dahej, Gujarat, from 15 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) to 20MTPA in the next two or three years, said two officials close to the development. Of the total, Rs. 1,300 crore (Rs.13 billion) would be used to expand the Dahej terminal, while Rs. 800 crore (Rs.8 billion) will be spent on building LNG storage tanks, they said, requesting anonymity.

Petronet LNG, which built India's first LNG receiving and regasification terminal at Dahej, operates another terminal in Kochi.

The Kochi terminal has a capacity of 5 MTPA. The company is in the process of building a third terminal, at Gangavaram, Andhra Pradesh.

An investment proposal for the expansion in Dahej has been recently submitted to the Gujarat Maritime Board-the regulator for all the Non-Major Ports and maritime activities in Gujarat, confirmed a senior Gujarat Government official.