Samsara Newsletter

Week 3, 2020 (Jan 11 - Jan 17)

Policy & Economy News

Amazon India to export $ 10 bn worth of 'Make in India' products by 2025: Bezos

India to come up with S&T Innovation Policy soon

Business News - The India Boom Factor

India's textile and apparel exports to reach $300 bn by FY25: Invest India

India & US making "very good progress" on trade package, says Ambassador

India, Bangladesh hold discussions on joint study for proposed free trade pact

Venezuela oil exports accelerate, India awaits cargoes

India contracts 28 lakh tonnes of sugar exports so far

Shipping News

India to explore northern sea route to source crude oil & LNG through Russia's Arctic, says Dharmendra Pradhan

PIL launches new Transpacific Pendulum Service, America Asia Service (AAS)

Maersk enhances India's agro-produce export trade potential with its integrated cold chain logistics solutions

Logistics News

India pushes rail overhaul to nudge JNPT shippers away from trucking

Digitised dashboards transform customs clearance process

Indian Port News

Ports are gateways to India's prosperity, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi

JNPT and Norway talk opportunities for mutual cooperation

VCTPL to complete expansion by March 2021

Policy & Economy News

Amazon India to export $ 10 bn worth of 'Make in India' products by 2025: Bezos
Exim News Service - New Delhi, Jan. 15 Top
Amazon India is betting big on small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the country and will use its global footprints to export $10 billion worth of 'Make in India' products by 2025, said Amazon Chief, Mr Jeff Bezos, who arrived on a visit to India on Tuesday.

Amazon will invest an incremental $1 billion in digitising SMBs in India, he added, as per a report.

India to come up with S&T Innovation Policy soon
Live Mint - January 16 Top
  • The policy also proposed active role in the National Action Plan for Climate Change
  • The new policy to be helmed by the Department of Science and Technology would highlight various challenges that India needs to address with innovation in the science and technology sector
India in next six months will draft a National Science and Technology Innovation Policy to devise country's strategy to tackle emerging challenges, said Dr K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister on Thursday.

"The last time, we had a policy on science was in 2013, which was drafted by the Science Advisory council, of which I was a member. It was good, but there were some issues which had to be rectified. The new Science and Technology Innovation policy which we plan to bring now, would be more forward looking," said Raghavan.

The new policy to be helmed by the Department of Science and Technology would highlight various challenges that India needs to address with innovation in the science and technology sector.

"We have had some initial discussions, but more deliberations would take place during the next three months," said the senior scientist, highlighting that science and technology sector is extremely crucial in the years going ahead.

India's first draft of National Science and Technology Innovation Policy released in 2013 had aimed to synergise science, technology and innovation and create environment for enhanced participation of private sector in research and development. It also called for setting up a robust innovation system and positioning India among the top five scientific powers by 2020.

The policy also proposed active role in the National Action Plan for Climate Change.

"The major challenges that India and the world face now, are both in sync and India is uniquely placed to provide solutions to some of those challenges - climate change, environment and sustainable development," he said, elaborating on government's plans to transform India into a new-age investment hub.

He said the meetings with the stakeholders would take place at four levels, keeping the changing world scenario. The first level of consultations would include representation from citizens wherein people could highlight their primary issues, like need for more research in treatment of Cancer.

Second level of consultations would be with the state governments and their demands pertaining to making cities world-class, third level would involve various Ministries and fourthly the core of science and technology sector- the research.

"Fundamental research is the core of science. We need that balance on applied and basic research in different fields. This would be at the core of the policy," said Raghavan.

Business News - The India Boom Factor

India's textile and apparel exports to reach $300 bn by FY25: Invest India
Daily Shipping Times - NEW DELHI, Jan 17 Top
India's textile and apparel exports are expected to touch $300 billion by 2024-25, resulting in a tripling of the country's market share globally from 5 per cent to 15 per cent, according Invest India, the national investment promotion and facilitation agency.

The domestic textile and apparel industry including handicrafts stood at $140 billion in 2018, of which $100 billion was domestically consumed while the remaining portion worth $40 billion was exported to the world market. The textile and garments industry in India is expected to reach $223 billion by 2021.

The textiles and apparel industry contributes 2.3 per cent to India's GDP and accounts for 13 per cent of industrial production, and 12 per cent of the Country's export earnings.

It is the second-largest employer in the Country providing employment to 45 million people at present, and this number is expected to rise to 55 million people by the end of 2020.

FDI in the textiles and apparel industry stood at $3.1 billion during 2018-19. India is the largest producer of cotton and jute in the world, and the second largest producer of polyester, silk and fibre. Invest India, set up in 2009, is a non-profit venture under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.

India & US making "very good progress" on trade package, says Ambassador
Exim News Service - Washington, Jan. 15 Top
Mr Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India's outgoing Ambassador to the US, has said that the two countries are making "very good progress" on a trade package and were looking to engage in a long-term framework for preferential or free market access to goods from each other's countries. "We are happy that we are making very good progress on our trade package between our two sides. But, what we are really looking at is to engage in a long-term framework under which our two countries can provide preferential or free market access to goods from each other's countries," said Mr Shringla at a farewell in his honour by the US Chambers of Commerce and US India Business Council, said a report.

It's a strategic, long-term partnership where one must see a mutuality of benefits between the two countries, he added, as per the report.

India, Bangladesh hold discussions on joint study for proposed free trade pact
India Seatrade News - January 17 Top
India and Bangladesh on Thursday held discussions on a joint study for the proposed free trade agreement and harmonisation of standards with a view to boost two-way commerce, the government said on Thursday.

"Both sides held extensive discussions on a variety of issues of mutual interest, like Border Haats, joint study for the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), CEOs" Forum, sharing of trade data, regional connectivity initiatives, harmonization of standards, upgradation of border trading infrastructure and facilitation of business visas," the commerce ministry said in a statement.

The CEPA is a free trade agreement under which two trading partners significantly reduce or eliminate imports duties on maximum number of goods traded between them. They also liberalise norms to promote trade in services sector and boost investments.

Before initiating formal negotiations for such pacts, trading partners undertake a joint study to see the potential benefits of such agreements.

The two-day commerce secretary level meeting between the two sides was concluded here on Thursday.

The meeting, it said, was preceded by the 12th meeting of the Joint Working Group on trade.

In a separate statement, the ministry said that the first session of India-Norway dialogue on trade and investment was convened here.

Both the sides discussed issues of various areas like blue economy, shipping and maritime, ICT, renewable energy and the micro, small and medium enterprises.

"Both the sides exchanged views on investment opportunities available in the respective countries," it said.

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) highlighted various policy initiatives of the government for promoting investment in the country.

Cumulative FDI equity inflows to India from Norway during April 2000 to September 2019 were around USD 257 million.

Venezuela oil exports accelerate, India awaits cargoes
India Seatrade News - January 17 Top
Venezuela kicked off the new year with at least 730,000 b/d of crude exports, led by several India-bound cargoes, according to local and international shipping data obtained by Argus.

In the first half of January, a half dozen tankers loaded at state-owned PdV's Jose terminal, most recently the Maltese-flagged VLCC Lucky Trader carrying heavy sour Merey blend due to arrive at Indian Reliance's 1.36mn b/d Jamnagar refinery on 19 February. The cargo came from the PetroMonagas joint venture between Venezuela's state-owned PdV and Russian state-controlled partner Rosneft.

At least two more VLCCs are heading to the subcontinent from Jose, including the Liberian-flagged Boston carrying diluted Orinoco crude (DCO) lifted by Italy's Eni and due at India's Sikka terminal for Reliance on 8 February, and the Greek-flagged Maran Libra carrying Merey lifted by Rosneft and due in India on 21 February.

Rosneft lifted another 3.9mn bl of Merey aboard the Maran Triton and Maran Cygnus since 1 January. The Russian firm routinely ships Venezuelan cargoes to its 400,000 b/d Vadinar refinery in India, and books the supply as debt payments from PdV.

The outlier in the Venezuelan export roster so far this month is Great Lady, which is currently anchored off Aruba for a likely transshipment of 26°API Hamaca synthetic crude lifted by Chevron. The cargo came from Chevron's PetroPiar joint venture with PdV, which recently resumed its original upgrading function after a blending stint in 2019.

India contracts 28 lakh tonnes of sugar exports so far
India Seatrade News - January 14 Top
Indian sugar mills have benefited from the rise in sugar prices in the international market, as the demand for sugar exports from the country has increased and 28 lakh tonnes of sugar export deals have been sealed so far.

The increased sugar export demand has led to a spurt in sugar prices in the domestic market. The price of sugar have increased by about Rs 100 per quintal.

The National Federation of Co-operative Sugar Factories (NFCSF) estimates that sugar exports will meet the 60 lakh tonnes target this year.

NFCSF Managing Director Prakash Naiknavare said, "The export demand has increased due to the rise in the prices of sugar in the global market. It seems that the sugar exports target fixed by the government will be met this year."

The central government has set a target of 6 million tonnes of sugar exports for domestic sugar mills under the Maximum Admissible Export Quantity (MAEQ) for the 2019-20 season.

Last year, the government had set a target of 5 million tonnes of sugar under Minimum Indicative Export Quotas (MIEQ). However, India managed only 38 lakh tonnes of sugar exports.

"The current season or sugar production and marketing year 2019-20 (October), which started from October 1, has not even completed four months, but 28 lakh tonnes of sugar export deals have been made and the supply will continue to rise further as the supply is less than the demand. Domestic mills will benefit from sugar exports," Naiknavare said.

In the international market, the price of raw sugar has gone up by 18 per cent in the last three months and the price of white sugar has gone up by more than nine per cent, which has helped the Indian sugar mills" exports.

US sugar-11 price was 14 cents per pound higher on Monday. London sugar also closed at $376.80 per ton in the previous session.

"According to the prevailing price of sugar in the international market, sugar mills in India are getting ex-mill price of white sugar at around Rs 2,300 per quintal, while that of raw sugar is around Rs 2,100 per quintal. If we add incentive of Rs 1045 per quintal being given by the government under the MAEQ scheme, then the price of white sugar exceeds Rs 34,00 per quintal, which is higher than the current domestic prices," Naiknavare said.

He said that the price of sugar has gone up by about Rs 80-Rs 100 per quintal this month.

"The government has sought details of exports made by sugar mills till December 31. The government has set a quota of 60 lakh tonnes of sugar for 530 sugar mills. However, few mills did not export or they do not want to export. In such a situation, their quota will be given to the mills who are exporting," he said.

He informed that after the export of 60 lakh tonnes of sugar by September 30 this year, the closing stock will come down to 100 lakh tonnes.

According to NFCSF estimates, sugar production in the current season is 263 lakh tonnes, while last year"s outstanding stock is 145 lakh tonnes. Thus the total supply is 408 lakh tonnes. After extracting 60 lakh tonnes of exports and about 260 lakh tonnes for domestic consumption, the remaining stock will be 88 lakh tonnes. Of this, 40 lakh tonnes of buffer stock will remain.

Sushil Kumar, a Delhi-based sugar trader, said that the ex-mill rate of old sugar in Uttar Pradesh is currently Rs 3,280-3,300 per quintal, while the ex-mill rate of new sugar is Rs 3,250-3,290 per quintal.

Shipping News

India to explore northern sea route to source crude oil & LNG through Russia's Arctic, says Dharmendra Pradhan
Exim News Service - New Delhi, Jan. 15 Top
Mr Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, and Steel, has said that India and Russia are looking at new means to further participation in the energy sector. India is keen to explore the new northern sea route to source crude oil and LNG through Russia's Arctic. The route has the potential to cut the cost and time for transporting LNG from Russia to India. A sea line between Far East Russia and the east coast of India will also facilitate the sourcing of coking coal from the region, said an official statement, as per a report.

India is working on a strategy to diversify its crude oil supply sources and now exploring ways to import crude from Russia as well. There is an 'Energy Bridge' between the two countries. With Russia being one of the largest producers of oil and natural gas and India being the world's third-largest energy consumer, Russia has the potential to become an important source to fulfil India's oil and gas requirements, added the Minister, said the report.

PIL launches new Transpacific Pendulum Service, America Asia Service (AAS)
Daily Shipping Times - Singapore, January 17 Top
PIL is pleased to announce improvements to its USA West Coast and India West Coast service.

The current ACS & CIS service will now be combined into a new pendulum service to offer more competitive transit time between US & India/Pakistan and to provide additional port coverage from SEA into the US.

The pendulum service will be named as America Asia Service (AAS) and will cover America, China, South East Asia and Indian-Subcontinent with effect from end of January.

The rotation of AAS service will be:

(E/B) Nhava Sheva -Karachi - Colombo - Singapore - Laem Chabang - Shanghai - Ningbo - Long Beach.

(W/B) Long Beach -Seattle - Lianyungang - Shanghai - Ningbo - Shekou - Nansha - Singapore - Port Kelang WP - Nhava Sheva.


Advantages of the enhanced service:
  • Direct service between Indian Subcontinent & USA
  • Direct service between Singapore and Laem Chabang & USA
  • Direct service from USA to Shekou & Port Kelang
  • Direct service from Lianyungang to Indian-Subcontinent.
Maersk enhances India's agro-produce export trade potential with its integrated cold chain logistics solutions
Exim News Service - Mumbai, January 15 Top
Maersk, the leading global integrated logistics company, recently successfully delivered its first end-to-end shipment of freshly produced green chillies from Varanasi to Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates (UAE) within 9 days. The company worked closely with Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), the apex organisation under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, responsible for the export promotion of agricultural products, to enable trade opportunities in the state via land and sea routes. The delivery is a testament to Maersk's efforts to unlock the agro-trade potential in Uttar Pradesh and expanding across the country by leveraging end-to-end cold chain logistics solutions, said a release.

The eastern part of Uttar Pradesh (Varanasi region) comprising 5 districts-Ghazipur, Jaunpur, Chandauli, Mirzapur and Sant Ravidas Nagar, which are some of the top producers of fresh fruits and vegetables such as green chillies, okra, bitter gourd, green peas, brinjal, mango, guava, etc. present an immense opportunity for the farmers and entrepreneurs in and around the region to boost agro exports. Considering these enormous trade prospects offered by the region, APEDA is in the process of setting up agri export hubs in these districts along with a soon-to-be set up project office to fast track the coordination and facilitation of all activities.

Mr Steve Felder, Managing Director, Maersk South Asia, said: "The economy of Uttar Pradesh is predominantly agrarian and performance of agriculture and allied activities such as horticulture, animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries are critical in determining the growth rate of the state. Additionally, due to its favourable climatic and geographical conditions, the agricultural produce from the state, especially Varanasi region, enjoys a preferred demand in the global market which is the reason the government has plans to make it an export trade hub. Our initiative to take local produce to global market is in line with our aim to be a global integrator of container logistics connecting and simplifying trade for the farmers and entrepreneurs across the region."

The shipment was loaded at the facility under the supervision of the company's reefer expert and flagged off by the Chief Guest, Mr Paban Kumar Borthakur, Chairman, APEDA. Throughout the journey from Varanasi to Jebel Ali, leveraging the Remote Container Management (RCM) technology, the temperature of the cargo was accurately maintained at the level recommended by the reefer expert with proper tracking of the container movement and spot-on coordination with various stakeholders involved in the project. Sensing the tight schedule of the shipment cycle due to the short shelf life of fresh produce and non-availability of export quality packing material at Varanasi, Maersk ensured the deployment of an additional driver for inland transportation.

By delivering on ensuring that the chillies reached its destination in top quality, ensuring on-time delivery and by taking responsibility of the various phases of logistics, Maersk went all the way in making sure its customers were satisfied by the offering from the company, the release emphasised.

Future opportunities in the region

APEDA had also organised an export promotion programme and buyer-seller meet attended by more than 100 farmers from Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Uttar Pradesh during the first half of 2019, to provide a platform to link farmers to exporters. The platform provided a chance to the exporters to understand the potential of the region, and the quality of the vegetables and fruits produced so that they could facilitate the right infrastructure. Furthermore, the government also facilitated Vegetables And Fruits Exporters Association (VAFA), Mumbai to sign a MoU with four Farmers Producers Organisations (FPOs) for sourcing of fresh vegetables and fruits for exports to international markets. The produce of the first trial shipment consolidated from the FPOs was processed and packed at the CONCOR facility, Rajatalab, Varanasi which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, in July 2018.

As future enquiries are in the pipeline with an additional route (rail) option, the target commodity is wide ranging (green chilies, okra, bitter gourd, green peas, brinjal, mango, guava, etc.) with focused efforts from the company and government to ensure this to be a year-round movement. The company is in touch with the relevant government stakeholders to help realise the true export potential of the region, the release added.

Logistics News

India pushes rail overhaul to nudge JNPT shippers away from trucking
India Seatrade News - January 17 Top
As competition from road haulers intensifies amid sluggish volume growth, Indian rail authorities are linking with Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) to devise new ways to optimize containerized rail capacity and shore up service competitiveness.

Touting it as a game-changing move, the Indian Railways, parent of Container Corporation of India (Concor), has opened consultations with stakeholders to introduce double-stack "dwarf container" train operations.

"The 'dwarf' containers provide a 67 percent increase in volume when double-stacked and can carry a weight of 71 tons, against 40 tons by an ISO container," JNPT said in a trade advisory.

The Indian Railways adopted the use of dwarf containers under its service profile in July 2018 as part of proactive efforts to provide greater value to customers and fend off competitive pressure from over-the-road transport companies.

Typically, dwarf containers have about six feet of lift height - relatively shorter than other conventional boxes that when double-stacked create height issues for train operations on certain routes, particularly while traversing tunnels and bridges. On the other hand, in addition to the ability to maximize freight loads, trains laden with dwarf containers are considered a "one-size-fits-all" solution across electrified rail networks in the country.

"With the use of these double-stack dwarf containers, the cost of the unit will be significantly reduced due to the rail transport being cheaper than the road," the Ministry of Railways said in a prior statement. "At the general freight rate, the double-stack dwarf container trains can generate more than 50 percent of the revenue."

Another factor pushing authorities to reinvent their offerings is the increasing popularity of block train services, which they believe have had a cooling effect on shipper demand for normal rail transport. "Indian Railways lost a considerable amount of traffic to the road sector over the years when end-to-end running of block rakes was introduced. While this step had reduced wagon turnaround significantly, it had also closed avenues for booking of individual wagons," JNPT said.

Dramatic gains for rail not expected

JNPT handles the bulk of India's containerized trade. Currently, the port sends and receives 15 trains per day on average, peaking at up to 20 depending on demand and mostly operated by Concor.

Terminals at JNPT essentially work around an interoperable or mixed intermodal rail method for the movement of freight to and from inland container depots (ICDs). Although an inter-terminal model involves logistics complexities, it helps stakeholders turn around trains at a quicker pace because of cargo aggregation and distribution at a common on-dock yard for multiple terminals.

While a dwarf container-based intermodal solution could prove to be a tailwind in rail lifts, subject to cost competitiveness, it is unlikely to see any dramatic shift away from the traditional trucking mode at the port, which has much to do with end-to-end logistics advantages, according to industry sources. Varied terminal rail charges have also been a pain point for the shipper community.

On the upside, having fixed previous intra-port uneasiness over inter-terminal rail handling through the Aug. 1 implementation of a more collaborative rail arrangement, JNPT's rail loads have seen some traction over the past months. New provisional port statistics put JNPT's ICD volumes at 16.4 percent in August, 16.7 percent in September, 18 percent in October, 18.6 percent in November, and 16.5 percent in December, versus 16.9 percent, 15.3 percent, 15.5 percent, 14.8 percent, and 15 percent, respectively, in the same period in 2018.

But JNPT stakeholders will have to work even harder to reach a government rail target of 25 percent to enhance cargo flow. Toward that goal, all eyes are on the much-delayed opening of a 932-mile western-dedicated freight corridor connecting JNPT to northern hinterlands. PSA International's new Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals (BMCT) will likely have a market edge because of its sophisticated on-dock rail infrastructure designed to align with the speedy connector.

With slowing trade growth, JNPT's combined April-December throughput was flat compared with the same period in 2018, at 3.8 million TEU.

Digitised dashboards transform customs clearance process
India Seatrade News - January 12 Top
Ease of doing business dashboards of the Central government are helping individuals and firms avail faster customs clearance services. The digitised processes also provide the facility of real-time tracking of the shipment under the clearance process.

Information Technology initiatives have made possible faster clearance and real-time assistance. On November last year, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) had launched two dashboards-ICEDASH and ATITHI-for improved monitoring and speed of customs clearance of imported goods and now both of the initiatives have started showing results.

According to the CBIC, ICEDASH is an "ease of doing business (EoDB) monitoring dashboard" of the Indian Customs, helping the public with real-time tracking system for customs clearance of imported cargo at various ports and airports, while the ATITHI, in particular, would give a tech-savvy image to India's customs and encourage tourism and business in India.

Nitin Dahiya, MD of Gold Star Logistics, told The Sunday Guardian: "Many initiatives launched by the CBIC have helped in reducing the time taken in customs clearance. These new IT initiatives have also reduced physical work and have increased the IT-enabled process. Earlier, we were not able to track the customs clearance process and it use to take almost seven days to get one shipment clear, but with the implementation of ICEDASH, the processing time taken has been reduced to 2 to 3 days."

"The introduction of IT-enabled dashboards has also reduced rampant corruption that was going on in the customs offices across the country. However, there may ports that are still not equipped with electronic dashboards and IT facilities, but in metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, IT initiatives have transformed the whole import operation."

Suman Kumar, Superintendent of Customs and Excise, told The Sunday Guardian: "The most important development that has come with ICEDASH is the reduced man-to-man interaction. It has enabled e-paperwork, as from filing paper for clearance to making GST payment and from release to paper submission, all have become online. Now, anyone sitting at home can just import and track their shipment clearance process in one click."

"In terms of passengers' baggage and goods clearance, the ATITHI dashboard is a brilliant IT initiative. It helps travellers get real-time information about the clearance of their baggage and goods as well. We have received thousands of feedback and based on that, I can say that this dashboard has promoted a hassle-free travel experience," Kumar said.

Many foreigners visiting India have praised the CBIC's initiative of providing IT-enabled dashboards. Some travellers have even taken to twitter and other social media platforms to express their feedback on the customs clearance process.

Indian Port News

Ports are gateways to India's prosperity, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Daily Shipping Times - Kolkata, January 14 Top
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here that ports are "gateways to India's prosperity" while emphasising that Government has started the Sagarmala project to improve infrastructure and connectivity of ports.

"India's coastline is 7,500 kilometres and it is a great power for trade and tourism. After 2014, we have tried to re-energise this power of India. The work was started with new energy. Our Government believes that India's ports are the opening gates to India's prosperity," said Prime Minister while speaking at the 150th-anniversary event of Kolkata Port Trust.

"The Government has started the Sagarmala initiative to improve its infrastructure and connectivity," he said.

"Road, rail, interstate waterways and coastal transport are being integrated. About 575 projects worth over Rs 6 lakh crore (Rs.6 trillion) have been earmarked. Over 200 projects worth Rs 3 lakh crore (Rs.3 trillion) are already under development and about 125 projects have already been completed," he said.

Sagarmala programme aims to reduce logistics cost for export-import and domestic trade with minimal infrastructure investment and improving export competitiveness by developing port proximate discrete manufacturing clusters.

The Prime Minister said that the NDA Government wants the entire transport network should be modern and integrated. "The connectivity of North East through waterways will emerge as a golden chapter in India's development," he said.

"With the construction of river waterways facilities, Kolkata Port is not only connected to the industrial centres of eastern India, but trade has also become easier for countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar," Modi said.

Prime Minister Modi said that initiatives like modernising infrastructure facilities and better connectivity have helped to reduce the time taken for cargo clearance and transport on the ports.

"The time taken for cargo clearance and transport has seen a reduction due to better management on the ports.

The turnaround time in the last five years has dropped down to half. This is one of the reasons in India's jump of 79 places on the Ease of Doing Business ranking table," he said.

Modi said that the Government is creating a Multimodal Terminal in Haldia and a navigational lock-in Farakka. He also said that the work of creating the required depth is also in progress so that even larger ships can run in the Ganges.

The Prime Minister said that the Government is working towards increasing the number of cruises from 150 to 1,000 which will also help West Bengal in the State's growth.

Prime Minister Modi, who arrived on Saturday in Kolkata for a two-day visit also announced that Kolkata Port Trust will be renamed as Syama Prasad Mukherjee Port.

JNPT and Norway talk opportunities for mutual cooperation
India Seatrade News - January 16 Top
Ms. Ann Ollestad, Consul General, Norway visited Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, India's premier container port to explore opportunities for mutual cooperation and sustainable development between Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Port of Oslo. The two nations have always maintained strong and pleasant relations. Both countries see each other as important partner for economic development. A collaborative effort from both nations helps each other in knowledge sharing which further strengthens the maritime business.

Shri Sanjay Sethi, IAS, Chairman, JNPT and Consul General of Norway, Ms. Ann Ollestad had a detailed discussion on the key development taken by the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Port of Oslo. They also discussed about the green initiatives, technology advancements taken by the two ports & explore the key avenues for mutual support.

Further the delegation had a brief presentation about JNPT's overall operations, infrastructure developments, especially new initiatives implemented to promote 'Ease of Doing Business' and adoption of technology to improve the efficiency and quality of business at the Port. This was followed by a visit to the Port to look at the scale of operations at JNPT.

VCTPL to complete expansion by March 2021
India Seatrade News - January 14 Top
Visakhapatnam Container Terminal Private Limited, a BOT operator of Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT), which runs the country's deepest container terminal, has set March, 2021 as the deadline for completion of its expansion project.

"We are confident of increasing the capacity from 0.6 million twenty foot equivalent units to 1.5 million TEUs per annum after launching the work on a war footing," a senior official of VCTPL told.

He said they would make VPT's dream to transform the major port into a transhipment hub true by making it a gateway port for several countries in the region. Shipliners like Maersk are also evincing lot of interest to scale up their operations due to locational advantage of Visahapatnam Port.

₹633-crore (Rs.6.3 billion) project

VCTPL is located in the centre of India's east coast and close to the Malacca Straits. It is considered an ideal gateway for container traffic from Andhra Pradesh,Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.

The pre-revised cost for the expansion of VCTPL is put at ?633 crore (Rs.6.3 billion). The container terminal has a natural depth of 17 metres. It has state-of-the-art container-handling infrastructure. The terminal is well equipped with modern infrastructure including post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes, the latest software, over 366 reefer plug points, adequate power back-up and two full-length rail sidings.

VCTPL, at present, is handling containers from Kolkata, Haldia, Paradip, Kakinada, Chittagong and Yangon ports. It has well-established rail and road connectivity to the hinterland, which allows the smooth movement of cargo to the local hinterland and Inland Container Depots at National Capital Region, Nagpur, Hyderabad and Raipur.

Growth rate

Growth at the VCTPL has consistently compounded at an annual growth rate of 22% since inception.

The year-on-year growth from financial year 2015 to 2019 has been put at 16%. Moreover, this fiscal year, VCTPL is set to cross the 0.5 million TEU mark and it will continue to grow at 16% annually, according to VPT officials.

Container movements to and from Nepal has played a pivotal role in the increase in imports. Local volumes have increased too.

Major commodities like ferroalloys, agro products, frozen seafood, aluminium products, manganese ore, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and paper have all contributed to the overall increase in export import movements.