Samsara Newsletter

Week 7, 2020 (Feb 8 - Feb 14)

Policy & Economy News

Importers, exporters to mandatorily declare GSTIN in documents from February 15

FDI increasing annually & rose to $34.90 bn till Nov. of this fiscal, says Minister

India Inc's foreign investment jumps 40 per cent to US$ 2.10 billion in January

Business News - The India Boom Factor

India sets seafood export target at $10 billion by 2020

Kolkata government to boost MSME export

US is India's preferred trade partner in journey to be $5 tn economy: Sandhu

India has potential to increase exports to US$ 15 billion by 2025

Shipping News

AAL launches Europe - Middle East / India - Asia Monthly Liner Service

BPCL starts export of very low sulphur oil from Kochi Port

Concor to start shipping service linking Chennai and Dhaka this month

Inland waterways & coastal transport in India projected to see exponential growth

Logistics News

Indian Railways to develop refrigerated services

The rise of logistics and warehousing

Indian Port News

Adani to expand Dhamra Port

VOC Port Trust to seek bids for conversion of bulk berth into container terminal

Major Ports record 1.14 pc growth in cargo volume during April-Jan.

Pact signed to set up floating LNG import unit at Karaikal Port

Policy & Economy News

Importers, exporters to mandatorily declare GSTIN in documents from February 15
India Seatrade News - February 10 Top
Importers and exporters will have to mandatory declare GSTIN in documents from February 15 as the revenue department moves to crackdown on evaders and plug Goods and Services Tax revenue leakage.

In a circular, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said certain cases have come to notice where the importer or exporter did not declare their GSTIN in the Bill of Entry/Shipping Bill despite being registered with GSTN.

GSTIN is a 15-digit PAN-based unique identification number allotted to every registered person under GST. While importers have to fill Bill of Entry with Customs department while importing goods, exporters have to file Shipping Bill.

"With effect from February 15, 2020, the declaration of GSTIN shall also be mandatory in import/export documents for the importers and exporters registered as GST taxpayers," the circular said.

Data analytics by the revenue authorities have detected rampant tax evasion through black market and under-valuing of imports. It has come to light that although importers are paying GST, they are supplying the goods without bill.

Importers typically pay integrated goods and services tax or IGST on goods they bring into the country. This tax is supposed to be set-off against the actual GST paid by the final consumer, or claimed as refund.

While importers are paying IGST on imports but not claiming credit for the same. This essentially means that the supply of imported goods to domestic channels is being done without a bill.

A similar situation has been witnessed on cess charged on luxury and sin goods with companies paying it at the time of imports but not claiming credit or setting it off from final GST paid by consumers.

"Compulsory capturing of GSTIN by importers and exporters would give an adrenaline rush to the data analytics especially in relation to cross-border transactions. This will push the tax authorities to arrest the massive tax evasion practices on the borders in the form of under-valuation, clandestine removal and under re-reporting," AMRG & Associates Partner Rajat Mohan said.

EY Tax Partner Abhishek Jain said the requirement to provide GSTIN in bill of entry/shipping bill will help plug GST revenue leakage and ensure that imports/export data is reconciled with GST data.

FDI increasing annually & rose to $34.90 bn till Nov. of this fiscal, says Minister
Exim News Service: New Delhi, Feb. 9 Top
Mr Anurag Thakur, Minister of State for Finance, told the Rajya Sabha that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India has been increasing on an annual basis and was at $ 34.90 billion till November of this fiscal. FDI stood at $ 62 billion in the full 2018-19 fiscal, at $ 60.90 billion in 2017-18 and $ 60.22 billion during 2016-17. FDI into India has significantly improved over the past decade, accounting for 2.37 per cent of GDP in 2018-19, added the Minister, as per a report.

Investors' confidence has gone up after the government took measures to improve ease of doing business, brought comprehensive reforms in the FDI policy and introduced the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, among others. As per the World Investment Report (WIR), 2019, India rose from the 25th position in 2018 and featured at 9th place with FDI contribution of 3.23 per cent, added the report.

India Inc's foreign investment jumps 40 per cent to US$ 2.10 billion in January
IBEF - February 12 Top
According to the data by the RBI, the investments made by Indian firms in foreign countries in January 2020 increased by nearly 40 per cent to US$ 2.10 billion on a yearly basis.

Investment made by the Indian companies in their overseas ventures in same month a year ago stood at US$ 1.47 billion.

January investments were higher than US$ 1.99 billion in December 2019, showed the RBI data on 'Outward Foreign Direct Investment (OFDI)'

Out of the total capital invested by the India Inc in January 2020, US$ 793.82 million was in the form of equity capital, US$ 368.55 came in as debt capital, whereas the rest US$ 890.75 million was through the issuance of guarantee.

Among the major investors were Bharti Airtel Ltd which invested in US$ 247.5 million in its wholly owned subsidiary (WoS) in Mauritius, Serum Institute of India also invested US$ 226.07 million in a WoS in the Netherlands and Allcargo Logistics US$ 88.08 million in a wholly owned unit in Belgium.

Business News - The India Boom Factor

India sets seafood export target at $10 billion by 2020
Daily Shipping Times - Kochi, February 10 Top
India's continued buoyancy in sustainable seafood exports in the face of stiff global competition was on full display at the 22nd India International Seafood Show (IISS) here that ended on February 9, officials said here.

Blue Revolution: Beyond Production to Value Addition was the theme of the three-day marine industrys biennial event being jointly organised by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), the nodal agency of the Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and the Seafood Export Association of India (SEAI).

MPEDA Chairman K S Srinivas said the IISS 2020 offered a platform to all stakeholders to deliberate on various aspects of the seafood industry for striking business deals.

It also provided tremendous scope for tapping new avenues and introducing various technologies and products to the global market.

SEAI National President Jagdish V Fofandi said India's seafood industry is poised for stronger focus on value addition of the products.

During 2018-19, India exported over 14,37,000 tonnes of marine products worth over USD 6.70 billion as per provisional figures. With a multi-pronged strategy, addressing capture fisheries and aquaculture, it is expected to achieve an export turnover of $ 15 billion in the next five years, Fofandi said.

Internationally acclaimed experts from France, Singapore, the UK, USA, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany and Fiji besides India addressed technical sessions on topics of current interest such as Prospective Markets & Regulatory Environment, Certification, Traceability & Value Addition, and Tuna export value chain - Better harvest practices.

India is the second largest aquaculture producer in the world, largest exporter of shrimp to USA.

India is also exporting significant volume of shrimp to Europe and other markets in South East Asia.

Kolkata government to boost MSME export
India Seatrade News - February 11 Top
The state Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) department has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) and has identified ten sectors with good export potential.

The IIFT will provide expert training in these sectors, with the aim to boost MSME exports.

The department has plans to impart the expert training of IIFT to 100 entrepreneurs in a year, following which the department will give them six-month handholding support so that they can do some serious export on their own.

The Mamta Banerjee government is taking significant measures for the promotion of MSME exports from Bengal.

The sectors that have been identified to have good potential include Jute, Foundry, Zari and leather to name a few.

A senior official of MSME department said, "We have been providing district-wise training to the entrepreneurs in association with Federation of India Export Organisations (FIEO) for value addition to the products according to the changing market demand. From there, we will be selecting 25 entrepreneurs for a three-day residential training programme to be conducted by IIFT. The first batch of 25 has already undergone the training".

The MoU with IIFT was signed at the Digha Business Conclave held on December 11 and 12 in 2019.

One of the officials commented on the same that the department is now laying emphasis not only on expert training but also on packaging. "We are in talks with the Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) who will be offering training twice in a month to those associated with the manufacture of handicraft items, terracotta, etc.

US is India's preferred trade partner in journey to be $5 tn economy: Sandhu
Press Trust of India - February 08 Top
Limitless potential for cooperation between US and India, says new envoy to the USPTI

America is India's preferred trade and business partner in its journey to become a $5 trillion economy by 2024, the country's new envoy to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu has said.

Addressing a gathering of American business community at a reception hosted in his honour by US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum on Friday, Sandhu said that the potential for cooperation between the United States and India is limitless.

He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set the goal for India to grow from a $3 trillion economy today to a $5 trillion economy by 2024 and a $10 trillion economy by 2030. "In this journey, Prime Minister Modi has made it clear that the US is a preferred partner for trade and business," said the country's new ambassador to the US.

"The relations between our governments has found a new momentum, getting its energy from the warm friendship between our leaders. US President (Donald Trump) and our Prime Minister (Modi) have met four times last year," he said.

Observing that people from the business community across both the countries contribute so much to this relationship, he said, adding that entrepreneurs, businessmen and women have been the key stakeholders of India-US ties.

More than 2,000 US companies have a presence in India. Over 200 Indian companies have invested USD 18 billion in the US, creating more than 100,000 direct jobs. Two-way investment between India and the US reached USD 60 billion in 2018, Sandhu said.

Bilateral trade is growing at 10 per cent on a year-to-year basis and reached USD 160 billion in 2019, he said.

"This makes me bullish about our relationship. The best is yet to come. When US capital and expertise meet the Indian market and Indian mind, we should aim for nothing less but the sky," Sandhu said in his address.

Referring to his first stint in Washington DC as a young Indian diplomat in 1997, Sandhu said he always sensed the potential of the US-India partnership and wondered how it could move forward.

"We are both vibrant democracies, open and multi-cultural societies based on the rule of law. Our partnership today is as natural as it is seamless, based on the strong people-to-people connections. We have become global strategic partners and our collaboration cuts across spheres of activity which was unimaginable two decades ago," said the top Indian diplomat.

Sandhu, a 1988-batch Indian Foreign Service official, has had two successful stints at the Indian Embassy in Washington DC - the last one being Deputy Ambassador from July 2013 to January 2017.

He succeeds Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who has been promoted as the Foreign Secretary. Sandhu, till last week, was India's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka.

India has potential to increase exports to US$ 15 billion by 2025
IBEF - February 13 Top
According to Ambassador Anil Wadhwa, a former senior Indian Foreign Service (IFS) official, India has the potential to increase its goods and services exports to Australia to US$ 15 billion by 2025 and US$ 35 billion by 2035. Ambassador Wadhwa was speaking about the bilateral trade opportunities at a round-table discussion organised by the Indo-Australian Chamber of Commerce.

In 2018, the bilateral trade in goods and services between Australia and India stood at US$ 23.3 billion, out of which goods accounted for US$ 17.8 billion and services contributed about US$ 5.5 billion.

In a presentation titled, 'Economic and Trade potential between India and Australia', Ambassador Wadhwa emphasized that in 2018, India accounted for only two per cent of Australia's total merchandise imports and 2.7 per cent of services imports.

Ambassador Wadhwa is a distinguished fellow at Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) and was a former secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs and Ambassador of India to Italy, Thailand, Oman, Poland, Lithuania and San Marino. He was assigned the task of authoring "Australia Economic Strategy" (AES), a reciprocal report from the Indian side to "India Economic Strategy 2035" (IES), which is a report released by the Australian government in 2018 with an aim of making India one of Australia's top three export markets and the third-largest destination in Asia for Australian outward investment.

Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Scott Morrison was expected to release the report during his proposed visit to India in January 2020. Though, due to the bushfire in Australia, the PM had to cancel his first official visit.

Only the key opportunities were presented in Ambassador Wadhwa's presentation which is based on the 300-page report.

"We looked at the existing sectors on what more could be done and also futuristic sectors, which is something not happening now but where the future lies," said Ambassador Wadhwa, adding that technology, services and innovation will be the future of this relationship given the nature of this economy at the moment and what is happening in India itself.

Ambassador Wadhwa added that the major products from India in which the country can increase its share of exports to Australia includes petroleum products, rail equipment, pharmaceutical products and automobiles.

The presentation also added that "India contributes seven per cent of Australia's imports of petroleum and mineral oils. India is a major exporter of refined oil and other products like high-speed diesel, aviation turbine fuel, light diesel oil, etc. It can leverage its strengths in this sector to increase its share in Australia's imports".

Shipping News

AAL launches Europe - Middle East / India - Asia Monthly Liner Service
Daily Shipping Times - Singapore, February 12 Top
Launching this month, the Europe - Middle East / India - Asia Monthly Liner Service will connect main ports between Europe, Middle East / India and Asia, to serve the market's MPP & project heavy lift cargo transport requirements.

In celebration of its milestone 25th year of operations, the award-winning multipurpose and project heavy lift carrier, AAL Shipping, has announced the launch of a new service - the Europe - Middle East / India - Asia Monthly Liner Service - that will offer the market trusted and scheduled monthly liner sailings, connecting main ports between Europe, Middle East / India and Asia. It will harness AAL's 2nd generation 31,000 dwt 'mega-size' A-Class fleet, renowned for its 40,000 cbm cargo intake capacity and 700t lift capability.

The new liner service will follow a fixed route, with port call flexibility. Base ports will include Antwerp, Porto Marghera, Jebel Ali, Dammam, Mumbai, Singapore, Shanghai, Tianjin and Masan. AAL is drawing on its 25 years expertise in operating MPP liner services to bring this exciting new service to market and is further strengthening its team with the appointment of liner service expert, Captain Kay Goldenstein, who will oversee the new operation from AAL's European Hub office in Hamburg.

Christophe Grammare, AAL's Commercial Director, commented, "The Europe - Middle East / India - Asia Monthly Liner Service is a natural addition to our existing portfolio of tailormade tramp chartering solutions and other established scheduled liner services between Asia and Oceania. The fact that the launch of this new service coincides with our 25-year anniversary is testament to the ambition of AAL to serve its customers where they most need us and where we can offer the market a more competitive and effective solution for their multipurpose heavy lift cargo needs, than currently on offer."

He added, "Kay Goldenstein is just the person we wanted to run this service and he makes a valuable addition to our already strengthened European team. We will soon be issuing the first schedule for this service and, in fact, are already taking cargo bookings through our local network of offices along the route."

BPCL starts export of very low sulphur oil from Kochi Port
India Seatrade News - February 10 Top
With the export of its first parcel of IMO 2020 grade Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO) from Kochi to Singapore, Bharat Petroleum becomes the first oil marketing company to export this cleaner shipping fuel from the country.

M Beena, Chairman, Cochin Port Trust, flagged off the first export tanker of VLSFO from the Cochin Port in the presence of P Murali Madhavan, Executive Director (Kochi Refinery), and K Suresh Nair, Executive Director (Supply Chain Optimisation), BPCL.

Stringent IMO standards aimed at preventing pollution from marine and shipping operations are re-shaping the landscape of marine fuels and the global cap on sulphur content for general shipping stands reduced to 0.5 per cent from 3.5 per cent with effect from January 1.

VLSFO is an IMO 2020 compliant marine fuel and in view of the emerging market for VLSFO, Kochi Refinery started production from December 2019. "We also started supplying VLSFO to the tankers calling at Kochi from then on. VLSFO is produced mainly using the vacuum residue of low sulphur crude oils with suitable blending streams.

"Now that the global demand is increasing, we have entered into exports of VLSFO, after saturating indigenous demands. The first export that was flagged off today also marks the first export from the country by any oil marketing company in India," said Murali Madhavan, Executive Director (Kochi Refinery).

The tanker MT Alnic MC carried the first parcel of 15 TMT VLSFO to Singapore.

Concor to start shipping service linking Chennai and Dhaka this month
India Seatrade News - February 12 Top
State-run Container Corporation of India Ltd (Concor) will start coastal shipping services in the next few days on the country's eastern coast, linking Chennai Port with Bangladesh's capital Dhaka.

The eastern coast service will be flagged off a year after Concor entered coastal shipping in January 2019 linking Deendayal Port Trust in Kandla with VO Chidambaranar Port Trust in Tuticorin, with stops at New Mangalore Port Trust and Cochin Port Trust, in a weekly call.

India's biggest rail hauler of containers, with a market share of 75 per cent in export-import containers, has decided to go with its Western coast ship operator Vishwa Samudra Coastal Lines Ltd to launch services on the Eastern coast.

The Eastern coast service will be run with two ships hired by Vishwa Samudra from the market.

Bangladesh's booming economy has earned it the status as the fastest-growing economy in the Eastern hemisphere. The country's GDP grew by 8.1 per cent in 2019 and is forecast to expand by 8 per cent this year also, according to the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB).

"The opening of the service has to happen this month; we are already behind schedule by three months because we were not able to get permission from the Shipping Ministry. Initially, the ministry gave us permission to operate one vessel, but we wanted permission for two vessels and hence had to reschedule the service," a Concor official said.

The initial plan was to launch the Eastern coast service linking Krishnapatanam port in Andhra Pradesh with Dhaka. "But, following demands from the trade, we have decided to ply the service between Chennai Port and Dhaka," the official said.

Waterway push

Concor had picked Vishwa Samudra to launch the Western coast service last year through a tender, seeking to benefit from the impetus given by the government to the waterway mode to decongest road and rail.

The ten-year contract deploys two coastal ships capable of carrying as much as 700 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units or TEUs with maximum gross weight of 21,000 tonnes (cargo plus container weight).

Seaport Cargo Logistics Pvt Ltd, a unit of the Hyderabad-based CVR Group, the former promoter of Krishnapatnam Port in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, holds a 60 per cent stake in Vishwa Samudra Coastal with Hyderabad-based Vm Logistics Consulting LLP holding the balance in the joint venture company.

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) allows Indian-flag vessels to make calls enroute at Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi ports during their export-import (EXIM) and domestic services.

This will help fleet owners make optimum use of their space, cut transportation costs and boost modal shift of cargo from road and rail to sea.

The government has started the process of privatising Concor by selling 30 per cent of its stake in the company to a strategic partner along with transfer of management control.

The government currently holds a 54.8 per cent stake in Concor.

Inland waterways & coastal transport in India projected to see exponential growth
Exim News Service - Mumbai, February 9 Top
The government of India has taken several initiatives to drive India's maritime and logistics sector and boost the connectivity of the hinterland with trade partners globally. ASSOCHAM India, taking this initiative forward, invited stakeholders to discuss 'Augmenting Trade Potential Through Inland Waterways and Coastal Shipping' in Mumbai on February 7, 2020, which saw the participation of leading policymakers and other stakeholders. The objective was to promote integrated waterways as a preferred mode of transportation of cargo, enhance domestic and regional connectivity, and identify strategies for creating opportunities in Inland Waterways Transport (IWT) through private investments, policy incentivisation and linkages with new business models, said a release.

In his address, Mr Amitabh Kumar, IRS, Director-General of Shipping, government of India, said that the linkage of inland waterways to coastal waterways is essential and stressed on shifting cargos from rail and road to inland waterways. There is a possibility of increasing the navigable waterways if we use the canal system. India has 1,429 vessels registered under the Merchant Shipping Act. More than 900 vessels are operating on coastal routes, he said.

He pointed out that the problem is that even if the cargoes are available, the routes are not financially viable. There is enough produce available in the hinterland to fill thousands of ships. Logistics has the potential to be the biggest game-changer for Indian agriculture. What we lack in India is a good agglomeration service for small producers, he said. Transportation can be done in multimodal mode, which will facilitate end-to-end solutions. He projected a manifold increase in the movement of goods through the coastal and inland waterway modes in the next 5 years, requiring a commensurate jump in the number of the relevant vessels.

Delivering the welcome address, Capt. Sandeep Mehta, Chairman, ASSOCHAM National Council on Ports & Shipping and President, Adani Ports & SEZ, said that India is blessed with a long coastline having minor and major ports and intermediate ports, which is advantageous to build the country's shipping. The government of India has a special subsidy scheme to transport bulk goods through the inland waterways. Given the availability of rich minerals and resources, the west coast districts are suitable for the development of the extractive industry. With the growth potential of these industries, there lies huge scope for the growth of coastal and inland waterways, he said.

The Inland Waterways Authority of India is focusing on strengthening the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route and developing regional connectivity between India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar. The private sector should come together and work to strengthen the inland waterways and coastal shipping opportunities, he added.

In her keynote address, Dr Amita Prasad, IAS, Chairperson, Inland Waterways Authority of India, said, "A few years back we had only 5 waterways, now we have 111 waterways, which is a huge jump.. We talk about strategy for the success which has been given. How do we integrate is one challenge and how to implement is another."

She made the point that the monsoon plays a huge role; too much or too little rain hurts rivers and inland waterways.

There is so much talk about cargoes but passenger movement is being ignored. If one looks at the GDP on the rate of return on particular rivers or waterways, it will be useful to understand that passenger is as important as cargo movement. When a road is created, one doesn't look at what type of traffic is moving on it, but in waterways the focus is more on size and type of cargo. Mumbai Port is a prime example of moving from cargo to passenger, she added.

"We are requesting the government to provide infrastructural and GST support. Waterways should not be looked as an alternate mode; it should be an important and inclusive one," she said. She also touched upon the launching of a project for the development of inland waterways, under which two rivers are being mapped. "We are mapping what type of cargo is moving and what type of economic activity takes places every 50 km".

The Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), in partnership with Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), organised the interaction. Key government officials, logistics service providers and stakeholders associated with the sector availed of the opportunity to engage and exchange perspectives, and share the latest developments, policy updates, market insights and business prospects, the release emphasised.

Logistics News

Indian Railways to develop refrigerated services
India Seatrade News - February 13 Top
Rail freight forms a key part of the government's plan to raise incomes in the food sector by developing a national supply chain for the refrigerated delivery of perishables including milk, meat and fish.

Kisan Rail is to be established, a public-private partnership to provide chilled logistics services using refrigerated vans attached to freight and express passenger trains.

A 17 tonne capacity Refrigerated Parcel Van has already been developed by Rail Coach Factory Kapurthala, with nine vehicles now available for booking on a round-trip basis at 1.5 times the cost of standard freight.

Container Corp of India Ltd has developed an agriculture logistic centre at Rai in Sonepat, and has procured 98 ventilated insulated containers with a capacity 12 tonnes for the movement of fruit and vegetables.

Cold storage facilities have been developed at Ghazipur Ghat, New Azadpur, Raja ka Talab and Dadri, another is under construction at Lasalgaon and Central Railside Warehousing Corp has obtained approval for sites in Fatuha and Mancheswar.

The rise of logistics and warehousing
India Seatrade News - February 10 Top
The government's incessant efforts to build multi-modal logistics parks across the country and grant 'industry' status to the logistics sector has boosted its efficiency by leaps and bounds.

Setting up of industrial corridors will promote the development of manufacturing clusters as they get connected to ports and consumption hubs via roads, railways and inland waterways.

Future economic activity is likely to be focused on these five emerging corridors - Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC), Bengaluru-Mumbai Economic Corridor (BMEC), Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC) and Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor (AKIC). With the logistics and warehousing sector gaining prominence, the spotlight is on Chennai that has emerged as a major logistics hub.

The city features prominently in the Logistics Park Policy launched in 2015 which aims to build 35 logistics parks across the country, of which six are to be made in Phase 1 of the project. Chennai is among the first six locations identified for this other than Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Vijaywada, Surat and Hyderabad.

Emergence as a logistics hub

Since Chennai has been one of the prominent hubs for trade and commerce in the country, it has evolved into one of the key manufacturing hubs, particularly automobile. Besides having major connectivity via roadways, Chennai is an active port city. This invariably has led to high demand for warehousing and logistics.

Demand for it in the city is no longer limited to the automobile sector and instead, e-commerce, manufacturing, and food processing companies are also driving the logistics industry. Infra upgrades, like the proposed Chennai-Maduravoyal port and accelerated completion of Outer Ring Road, are further driving up the stakes for Chennai's logistics and warehousing sector.

Corridors of growth

Clusters like Sriperumbudur-Oragadam and NH 5-Periyapalayam that are located outside the city, have developed as warehousing and logistics corridors. North Chennai is one region that has witnessed a sharp growth in logistics and warehousing. The area's economy is majorly driven by industrial and port-related activities due to the presence of two major ports - Chennai port and Ennore port as well as a private port in the vicinity, Adani Kattupalli port.

PE investment

Chennai's emergence as a logistics and warehousing hub has caught the fancy of investors due to high volumes of exports and manufacturing services spread across the city. As per ANAROCK research, out of the total inflows of $1.2 bn in the logistics and warehousing sector across the country between 2017 and 2019, Chennai saw total inflows of nearly $220 million - second only to Bengaluru which saw investments to the tune of $225 million.

Future growth potential

Compared to developed economies, India's logistics sector remains largely underleveraged due to the fragmented nature of the market. However, with initiatives like 'Make in India' pushing activity in the manufacturing, e-commerce and retail businesses, there will be more requirement for quality warehousing spaces. The rapid ramping up of e-commerce activity has also led to a rise in demand logistics and warehousing, in major cities including Chennai. To cater to this demand, most organised players and private equity funds are keen on investing further in developing the logistics and warehousing sector. The rollout of the National Logistics Policy by the Commerce Ministry will further increase warehousing capacity across cities and reduce transaction costs for traders.

Indian Port News

Adani to expand Dhamra Port
India Seatrade News - February 11 Top
The Adani Group assured a huge investment to expand the capacity of its Dhamra Port Company Ltd (DPCL) to 300 million tonne per annum and for other industrial projects. The Adani Group chairman also discussed its investment plans in Odisha in logistics, industrial park, information technology and metal industries.

The issue was discussed when Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani and his son and CEO of Adani Ports and SEZ Limited Karan Adani met chief minister Naveen Patnaik at Naveen Niwas here on Saturday. There was no discussion on the volume of investment. The company is likely to reveal its detailed investment plan during the third edition of Make in Odisha conclave that will be held this year, official sources said.

The chief minister assured all support to the Adani Group in its future projects. He also invited the Adani Group for the conclave, said an official source. The DPCL currently runs two berths to handle dry cargo like iron ore, coal and limestone with a capacity of 25 million tonne per annum (MTPA).

It has already received clearances to expand its capacity to 100 mtpa. According to media reports, the Adani Group plans for a Mundra-like expansion plan at Dhamra.

VOC Port Trust to seek bids for conversion of bulk berth into container terminal
India Seatrade News - February 12 Top
The central government-owned VO Chidambaranar Port Trust (VOCPT), located in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi district, will soon call for bids to convert one of its bulk cargo berths into a container terminal through the public-private partnership (PPP) route, its chairman T.K Ramachandran has said.

VOCPT, the fourth-largest container handler among the dozen state-owned ports, currently has two container terminals run separately by PSA SICAL Terminals Ltd and Dakshin Bharat Gateway Terminal Pvt Ltd, with the capacity to handle 1.2 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs). The two terminals are handling about 8,00,000 TEUs a year.

"We are in the process of tendering out Berth No 9 - a bulk cargo berth - into a container terminal, which will raise the port's container handling capacity to more than 1.6 million TEUs," Ramachandran said. "We are waiting for government clearances; once they approve, we will float the tender," he said.

Between April 2019 and January 2020, VOCPT handled 670,000 TEUs against 614,000 TEUs a year ago, clocking growth of 8.4 per cent.

"Our container traffic is growing at a good pace and that augurs well for the port because container traffic is the future. So, we are concentrating a lot on containers," he said.

Bengaluru link

To help the port ramp up container cargo, state-run Corporation of India Ltd (Concor) will launch a direct weekly service from February 18, linking Southern India's largest inland container depot (ICD) located at Whitefield near Bengaluru with VOCPT.

Currently, all the container traffic originating from and destined for Bengaluru from VOCPT is moved by road.

"With the start of the rail service between Bangalore and VOCPT by Concor, what we are now looking at is expanding our hinterland zone to also include portions north of Tamil Nadu," the port trust chairman said.

"The road tariff for EXIM containers from Bangalore to VOCPT and vice versa is costlier when compared to rail tariff on a door-to-door basis," said Anup Dayanand Sadhu, Group General Manager, Concor.

Ideal gateway

"Despite its longer distance by rail from/to Bangalore, VOCPT is the ideal gateway to ship time-sensitive cargo compared to other South Indian ports. The advantage of the rail service is that the container gets directly inside the port and with an RFID scan, it gets onto the vessel," says Sailendra Venkata Banda, logistics manager at Shahi Exports Pvt Ltd, India's largest apparel manufacturer and exporter. Shahi Exports ships about 1,700 TEUs a year through VOCPT.

Swedish clothing retail company Hennes & Mauritz AB also uses VOCPT port for its supply chain needs.

A consortium of container lines will start a South East India-Europe Express (IEX) main line service next month connecting the port with North Europe. This will add to the mainline service run by Taiwan's Wan Hai Lines Ltd connecting China.

Eyeing Colombo's business

VOCPT is also expecting to hear from the Customs Department soon on allowing a direct port entry (DPE) facility for exporters, Ramachandran said.

It just takes a minor diversion to get mainline vessels into VOCPT given its strategic location close to the East-West international sea route.

"So, all vessels that touch Colombo can also touch VOCPT. Our aim is to make it a transhipment hub so that exporters and importers don't have to send or receive goods through Colombo. Instead of that, they can send them directly through VOCPT. Currently, there are feeder vessels plying between VOCPT and Colombo and vice versa, which entails an additional cost of $60 (per TEU), which can be saved if goods are send directly through VOCPT," Ramachandran stated.

The port has a draft of 14.2 metres and can accommodate large vessels. It is offering a 67 per cent concession in vessel-related charges to mainline vessels and has the lowest terminal handling charges among all south Indian ports and Colombo.

The shortest sailing time - under 20 hours - to the regional hub at Colombo is another attraction for the trade to ship their containers through VOCPT.

Major Ports record 1.14 pc growth in cargo volume during April-Jan.
Exim News Service - New Delhi, Feb. 10 Top
India's 12 Major Ports have recorded a marginal 1.14 per cent growth in cargo volumes, at 585.72 million tonnes (MT), during the April-January period of the current fiscal, according to the Indian Ports Association (IPA).

Deendayal Port handled the highest traffic volume at 101.96 MT during April-January 2019-20, followed by Paradip Port at 93.38 MT, Visakhapatnam Port at 60.73 MT, JNPT at 56.64 MT, Kolkata Port (including Haldia) at 53 MT and Mumbai Port at 51.34 MT. Chennai Port handled 39.80 MT of cargo, while New Mangalore handled 30.91 MT, said a report.

While the handling of iron ore saw a 39.02 per cent jump to 45.05 MT during the period, thermal coal shipments declined 14.98 per cent to 74.60 MT, the IPA data showed. Handling of coking and other coal rose 1.10 per cent to 47.08 MT during the ten months as compared to 46.57 MT in the year-ago period. Finished fertiliser volumes jumped 21.55 per cent, but raw fertiliser volumes dipped 2.80 per cent. Containers recorded a growth of 2.65 per cent in terms of TEUs, the report added.

Pact signed to set up floating LNG import unit at Karaikal Port
Exim News Service - Chennai, Feb. 12 Top
The LNG logistics company Atlantic Gulf & Pacific (AG&P) is chartering a floating LNG terminal from Abu Dhabi's ADNOC Logistics and Services to set up a floating LNG import unit at Karaikal Port in Puducherry, it is learnt. The two firms have signed an agreement for the conversion, supply, operations and maintenance of a floating storage unit (FSU) at AG&P's new LNG import facility located within Karaikal Port in Puducherry, as per a statement.

The 137,756 cubic metre FSU owned by ADNOC L&S is being chartered for 15 years through an innovative commercial model enabling supply to be scaled to match demand. Construction on the terminal will begin in Q1 2020 with commercial operations expected to commence before the end of 2021, said a report.

Owned and operated by AG&P, the LNG import facility at Karaikal Port will have an initial capacity of 1 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), which will be expanded to 3 MTPA in the medium term as demand increases. The terminal will serve domestic, industrial and commercial customers within a radius of 500 km, the report added.