Samsara Newsletter

Week 48, 2019 (Nov 23 -Nov 29)

Policy & Economy News

Coal production up by 164.58 mt in 5 years, says Minister

Plan ready for Rs 100-trn investment in infra, Rs 50-trn in Railways: Goyal

India reaches power generation capacity of 365 GW: Govt tells Parliament

Business News - The India Boom Factor

Leather exporters tapping new markets

Govt approves pact between India-Chile for avoidance of double taxation

Shipping News

Ministry promoting strategic shipbuilding industry: Mandaviya

Water transit protocol with Bangladesh seen boosting economic development in North-East

Logistics News

Rail connectivity projects between India & Bangladesh/Nepal seen boosting trade

100 pc FDI allowed in dedicated rail freight lines & freight terminals

Indian Port News

JSW Infrastructure commissions India's most modern iron ore terminal at Paradip Port

Paradip Port looking at 110 mt throughput this fiscal: Chairman

Visakhapatnam Port to emerge as a Transhipment hub

Shipping Ministry spent Rs. 13,308 Crore (Rs.133.08 billion) on Infrastructure Development & Capacity Augmentation of Major Ports: Mansukh Mandaviya

First-ever direct service from South East India to North Europe starts voyaging from Vizag

Policy & Economy News

Coal production up by 164.58 mt in 5 years, says Minister
Exim News Service - New Delhi, Nov. 28 Top
India's raw coal production has increased from 567.77 million tonnes (mt) in 2013-14 to 730.35 mt in 2018-19. "All India raw coal production increased from 565.77 mt in 2013-14 to 730.35 mt in 2018-19, an absolute increase of 164.58 mt as compared to increase of coal production of 73.01 mt between 2008-09 and 2013-14," said Mr Pralhad Joshi, Union Coal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, during Question Hour in the Lok Sabha, as per a report.

The focus of the government is on accelerating domestic production of coal through the allocation of more blocks, pursuing with the state governments for assistance in land acquisition and coordinated efforts with Railways for movement of coal, the report added.

Plan ready for Rs 100-trn investment in infra, Rs 50-trn in Railways: Goyal
Press Trust of India - New Delhi, November 27 Top
The Centre has chalked out a plan envisaging an investment of Rs 100 trillion in the infrastructure sector over the next five years, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday.

"The investment will transform availability and quality of infrastructure at airports, roads, highways, railways, ports... All infrastructure-related sectors (aviation, shipping, electricity, and oil & gas) are going to see a huge thrust in the next five years," Goyal said.

The railways and commerce & industry minister said that "Rs 100 lakh crore (Rs 100 trillion) in the next five years is not a small amount".

He said the railways has drawn up a 12-year plan entailing an investment of Rs 50 trillion.

"Rs 50 lakh crore (Rs 50 trillion) in 12 years is an unheard of investment spree that the railways is planning. Obviously, the government cannot put in this kind of money so we will have to engage the private sector. We will have to work closely through the public-private partnership model," Goyal said at the India International Trade Fair in New Delhi.

The minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision not to join the mega trade deal Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was a bold decision to stand up and protect the rights and the interests of the Indian business community and ensure fair access.

"We cannot have a situation that India opens its markets to the world but we do not get an equal access, equal opportunity in the rest of the world. We have to engage with other countries to ensure non-tariff barriers do not stop our exports," Goyal said.

He was addressing an awards ceremony organised by the India Trade Promotion Organisation.

India reaches power generation capacity of 365 GW: Govt tells Parliament
Press Trust of India - New Delhi, November 28 Top
India's installed power generation capacity has reached 364.9 gigawatts, which is sufficient to meet the country's electric demand, Parliament was informed on Thursday.

Besides, the peak as well as energy requirement deficit was less than one per cent during the first seven months of 2019-20, Minister of States for Power and New and Renewable Energy R K Singh said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

"As on 31.10.2019, the installed generation capacity in the country is around 3,64,960 megawatt (MW), which is sufficient to meet the electricity demand in the country. It may be seen that the gap between demand and supply of power during the current year 2019-20 (up to October 2019) both in terms of energy and peak is less than 1 per cent," he said.

This gap, Singh said, is generally on account of factors other than inadequacy of power availability in the country such as constraints in sub-transmission and distribution network, financial constraints of state power utilities to purchase power.

He further said if there is any shortfall in meeting power requirement, distribution companies can also purchase power from power exchanges on a daily basis.

"The government is supporting the states/UTs in augmenting and strengthening the intra-state transmission and distribution network through various schemes including Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and Integrated Power Development Scheme," the minister said.

The coal supply has also improved, as the coal stock in power plants as on November 21 stood at 23.1 million tonnes (MT) for 14 days as against 12.1 MT for 7 days on the same day last year, the minister said.

Business News - The India Boom Factor

Leather exporters tapping new markets
Exim News Service - New Delhi, Nov. 27 Top
In order to boost shipments, leather exporters from India have penetrated new markets such as the US, Canada, Russia, Japan, the UAE, Australia and South Korea to tap the surging demand in these countries and increase the country's overall exports. The Council for Leather Exports (CLE) has been undertaking several export promotion events in Europe and other major and potential markets to expand market share, said a report.

Moreover, the CLE has planned three such meetings in 2020-21, one each in Kolkata, Delhi and Kanpur, which will provide opportunities for Indian exporters across the country to meet foreign buyers. Such events provide a platform to exporters, particularly those in the small and medium segments, to meet overseas buyers without having to travel abroad, the report added.

Govt approves pact between India-Chile for avoidance of double taxation
Press Trust of India - November 27 Top
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the signing of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) and protocol between India and Chile for elimination of double taxation.

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi also approved the prevention of fiscal evasion and avoidance with respect to taxes on income between the two countries, an official statement said.

Government said the DTAA will facilitate elimination of double taxation.

"Clear allocation of taxing rights between contracting states through the agreement will provide tax certainty to investors and businesses of both countries while augmenting the flow of investment through fixing of tax rates in source State on interest, royalties and fees for technical services," it said.

The release said that the agreement and protocol implements the minimum standards and other recommendations of G-20 OECD Base Erosion Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project.

"Inclusion of Preamble Text, a Principal Purpose Test, a general anti-abuse provision in the Agreement along with a Simplified Limitation of Benefits Clause as per BEPS Project will result in curbing of tax planning strategies which exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules," it noted.

After Cabinet approval, necessary formalities for bringing the Agreement and Protocol into force will be completed, it said.

Implementation would be watched and reported by the ministry, said the statement.

Shipping News

Ministry promoting strategic shipbuilding industry: Mandaviya
Exim News Service - New Delhi, Nov. 26 Top
In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today, the Minister of State for Shipping (I/C) and Chemical and Fertilisers, Mr Mansukh Mandaviya, informed that the Indian shipyards employ around 30,000 people at present which will substantially go up once this sector is revitalised. Among manufacturing activities, shipbuilding has one of the highest employment multipliers, which is 6.4. It is capable of generating mass employment in remote, coastal and rural areas, thereby absorbing the labour migrating from farm fields into manufacturing facilities which are set up by shipyards and their ancillaries. With revitalisation of this sector and with consistent orders on shipyards, more manpower will be required and it is expected to increase employment.

He further informed that the shipbuilding industry is a strategically important industry due to its role in energy security, national defence and development of heavy engineering industry. However, shipbuilding is primarily an order-driven industry and each vessel is built on order. The details are given below:

(i) Shipbuilding industry is very strategic for any country owing to the significance of ships in both trade and also national defence. Ships play a major role in transportation of oil and gas and most of the crucial commodities which run the economy. Shipbuilding industry provides facilities for building of various types of ships/vessels such as oil tankers, bulk carriers, cargo vessels, gas carriers and product carriers, etc.

(ii) Cochin Shipyard Ltd, a PSU under administrative control of Ministry of Shipping, is constructing an Indigenous Aircraft Carrier which will boost India's national defence. Further, some shipyards are also building various types of defence vessels such as warships, submarines, corvettes, missile boats, offshore patrol vessels, floating border outposts, etc. Shipbuilding industry promotes indigenous development of complex design and engineering skills which are essential for sustenance and growth of indigenous defence capabilities.

(iii) Nearly 65 per cent value of the built ship is contributed by heavy engineering industry such as steel, electronics, engineering and electrical equipment, port infrastructure as well as trade and shipping services. Promotion of shipbuilding industry also develops ancillary industries.

The steps taken by Ministry of Shipping to promote shipbuilding industry are given below:

(i) Financial Assistance Policy on Shipbuilding: To promote shipbuilding in Indian shipyards, the Union Cabinet has on December 9, 2015 approved New Shipbuilding Financial Assistance policy for Indian shipyards for contracts signed during a ten year period, viz. 2016-2026, with budgetary projections of Rs 4,000 crore (Rs.40 billion) for this period.

(ii) Right of Refusal to Indian Shipyards: The Union Cabinet has approved on December 9, 2015 that all government departments or agencies, including CPSUs have to provide Right of First Refusal to Indian shipyards while procuring or repairing vessels meant for governmental or own use till 2025, after which only Indian shipyards would build and repair vessels for above mentioned organisations. The modified guidelines have been uploaded on website of Ministry of Shipping in February 2019.

(iii) Grant of Infrastructure Status: The Department of Economic Affairs has notified the inclusion of standalone 'Shipyards' in the Harmonised Master List of Infrastructure Sub-sectors on April 13, 2016. With this inclusion, shipyards will be able to avail flexible structuring of long term project loans, long term funding from infrastructure funds at lower rates of interest and for a longer tenure equivalent to the economic life of their assets, relaxed ECB norms, and issuance of infrastructure bonds for meeting working capital requirements.

Water transit protocol with Bangladesh seen boosting economic development in North-East
Exim News Service - New Delhi, Nov. 26 Top
In a reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, the Minister of State for Shipping (Independent Charge) and Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mr Mansukh Mandaviya, stated that a Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) exists between India and Bangladesh since 1972. Under this protocol, inland vessels of one country can pay on the designated waterways routes of another country. There are specified inland water routes and equal number of ports of call in each country for ex-im trade through the Inland Water Transport (IWT). The said protocol is valid up to 05th June, 2020 with a provision of automatic renewal after 5 years. The North-Eastern states are connected with the mainland through inland waterways of Brahmaputra (NW-2) and Barak (NW-16) with Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system (NW-1) via Sunderbans (NW-97) through the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route.

For strengthening round the year navigation on Indo-Bangladesh Protocol route, Mr Mandaviya also informed the House that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India and Bangladesh on 8th April, 2017 for fairway development of Sirajganj-Daikhowa stretch of Jamuna River and Ashuganj-Zakiganj stretch of Kushiyara River in Bangladesh. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 305.84 crore (Rs.3.05 billion) on a cost sharing ratio of 80:20 between India and Bangladesh.

Mr Mandaviya further explained that under the MoU Agreement and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), Bangladesh has allowed use of its Chattogram and Mongla Ports for transit movement of our goods through waterways, rail, road or multimodal transport in its territory. There are eight routes provided under the Agreement which would enable access of North-East region (NER) via Bangladesh. These identified routes allow entry/exit to Agartala and Srimantpur in Tripura, Dawki in Meghalaya and Sutarkandi in Assam, and hence the alternate transport connectivity would boost huge Economic Development in the NER, the Minister concluded.

Logistics News

Rail connectivity projects between India & Bangladesh/Nepal seen boosting trade
Exim News Service - New Delhi, Nov. 25 Top
A number of projects have been taken up for rail connectivity between India and Bangladesh and Nepal, which will further boost bilateral trade between the countries, the Union Minister of Railways and Commerce and Industry, Mr Piyush Goyal, has informed Parliament.

Some of these are:

* Nepal: There are two rail connectivity projects, namely, Jogbani (India) to Biratnagar (Nepal) and Jayanagar (India) to Bardibas (Nepal), besides the existing link of Raxaul (India) - Birganj (Nepal).

* Bangladesh: There are two rail connectivity projects between Agartala (India) to Akhuara (Bangladesh), Haldibari (India) to Chilhati (Bangladesh) besides the existing four links, Gede (India)-Darshana (Bangladesh), Petrapole (India)-Benapole (Bangladesh) and Singhabad (India) -Rohanpur (Bangladesh) and Radhikapur (India) - Birol (Bangladesh).

No rail connectivity project is presently under construction between India and Bhutan and Myanmar, Mr Goyal said.

The execution of rail connectivity projects with neighbouring countries depends on various factors such as land acquisition and forest clearance, etc. in India. It also entails a large number of works to be done in the neighbouring countries. Hence, no precise time-frame for completion of the projects can be indicated, it was pointed out, said a communique.

100 pc FDI allowed in dedicated rail freight lines & freight terminals
Exim News Service - New Delhi, Nov. 28 Top
The government of India has permitted 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) on automatic route in the following activities/areas of rail infrastructure:

i. Suburban corridor projects through Public-Private Partnership

ii. High-speed train projects

iii. Dedicated freight lines

iv. Rolling stock, including train sets and locomotives or coaches manufacturing and maintenance facilities

v. Railway electrification

vi. Signalling systems

vii. Freight terminals

viii. Passenger terminals

ix. Infrastructure in industrial park pertaining to railway lines or sidings, including electrified railway lines and connections to main railway line

x. Mass Rapid Transport Systems

FDI in these areas is subject to sectoral guidelines, which include necessary safety certification from the Central government or its authorised entity. The FDI policy is also open to US businesses.

Besides, among the several steps taken to increase non-fare revenue of the Railways through monetisation of land and other assets, is commercial utilisation of vacant land through Rail Land Development Authority, Parliament has been told.

Indian Port News

JSW Infrastructure commissions India's most modern iron ore terminal at Paradip Port
Exim News Service - MUMBAI/Paradip, Nov. 25 Top
JSW Infrastructure, one of India's leading private port companies and part of the $ 14-billion JSW Group, has commissioned its new iron ore terminal at Paradip Port. The 370-metre long terminal with capacity of 18 MTPA has been developed with a futuristic vision. It is built to handle Capesize vessels for iron ore and pellet exports and can load at a rate of 100,000 metric tonnes per day. The high load rate is expected to significantly reduce the pre-berthing delays at Paradip as well as allow incremental cargo flow for the port which is all set to be the largest port in the country. The company has invested approximately Rs 750 crore (Rs.7.5 billion) to establish the new terminal at Paradip, highlighted a release.

Paradip Port Trust had awarded JSW Infrastructure the right to develop a fully mechanised iron ore export terminal on Build, Operate & Transfer basis for 30 years. Following the commissioning of this new terminal, JSW Infrastructure's current cargo capacity crosses the 100-MTPA mark, the release disclosed.

Said Mr Arun Maheshwari, Joint MD & CEO of JSW Infrastructure, "Paradip's location continues to remain attractive for iron ore movement for sea route. With the commissioning of this terminal, India can now offer Capesize shipments. The capacities are far better than not only any other Indian port but also many ports internationally. The most modern, fully mechanised and environment-friendly terminal will enable minimal handling loss for our customers, with faster turnaround. This will help boost competitiveness of customers as well as Paradip Port. This terminal is part of our broader strategy to achieve 200 MTPA cargo handling capacities in next three years. We will achieve our capacity target through a mix of greenfield and brownfield expansions."

JSW's iron ore terminal at Paradip comprises two ship-loaders, each with a capacity of 7,000 MTPA. It also has 800,000 metric tonnes cargo storage yard with rotary and tandem wagon tipplers to enable fast rake unloading. JSW commissioned its new terminal at Paradip by loading approximately 60,000 metric tonnes of iron ore pellets in MV IC Phoenix for one of the country's leading pellet manufacturer, Brahmani River Pellets Ltd.

Commented Mr Ashwini Kumar Vaishnaw, Managing Director of Brahmani River Pellets, "We are delighted to be the first shipper to sail out the vessel MV IC Phoenix from JSW Terminal, Paradip. The state-of-the-art terminal will increase the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the port and prove to be very rewarding for all the stakeholders. JSW Terminal will play a major role in the economy of India by reducing the overall cost and making us more competitive in the international market. We see the history in making that Paradip Port will be one of the best and preferred ports for exports and coastal movements in India."

Paradip Port, a natural, deep-water port on the east coast of India in Jagatsinghpur District of Odisha, is one of the Major Ports of India. It is situated at the confluence of the Mahanadi River and the Bay of Bengal. It is 210 nautical miles south of Kolkata and 260 nautical miles north of Visakhapatnam.

JSW Infrastructure is one of the leading private sector infrastructure companies in India and part of the $ 14-billion JSW Group. It operates environment-friendly, socially sustainable world class port facilities in India and overseas. The company aims to expand its cargo handling capacity to 200 MTPA by 2021 through greenfield and brownfield expansion. It is scaling up its capabilities to improve resource efficiency and extend its geographical reach to boost local trade and commerce, the release said.

Paradip Port looking at 110 mt throughput this fiscal: Chairman
Exim News Service - Paradip, Nov. 28 Top
The efforts of port users and the entire ecosystem put in place at Paradip Port have delivered more than 100 million tonnes (mt) of cargo handling in the last two years and it is on track to cross the 110-mt mark this fiscal, said Mr Rinkesh Roy, Chairman of Paradip Port Trust (PPT), at the Port Users' Meet 2019 held earlier this week.

The port has also been focusing on safety, efficiency and the environment, which will definitely make it the leading port in the country in the coming year, he said, adding that a motivated team of employees and energised port users will rewrite its success saga in the years to come. Like in the previous years, Mr Roy presented awards to the best performing exporters, importers, stevedores and shipping/steamer agents on the occasion, said a release.

Visakhapatnam Port to emerge as a Transhipment hub
Daily Shipping Times - Vizag, November 29 Top
With all-out efforts being under way to elevate its ranking to third position among Major Ports after Kandla and Paradip, the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) has set in motion an exercise to emerge as a transhipment hub.

The VPT, which ranked fourth by handling a cargo of 65.30 million tonne during 2018-19, has already received 3.8 million tonne more than the corresponding period last year witnessing the highest growth rate among Major Ports in the Country.

"We are expecting to handle a throughput of 70 million tonne to take over third position during the current fiscal," VPT Chairman K. Ramamohan Rao has told.

As a preparation to become transhipment hub to handle mainland vessels with an overall length (LOA) of 397 metres to carry 15,000 to

16,000 containers from the present 320 LOA containing 6,000 to 7,000 containers, the VPT conducted simulation studies at FORCE Technology, Singapore, sometime ago which proved the scope for handling bigger size vessels technically viable.

Three pilots have been deputed to Singapore for training. Another batch of three pilots from the port will be sent to Singapore in the first week of December. "We will also introduce pilot position unit, a software system, to monitor by the pilots shortly," VPT Deputy Chairman P.L. Haranadh has said.

He said training the pilots and introduction of the new system would be continued simultaneously. On the other hand, the Container Terminal-2 will increase the quay length from 450 metres to 1km. The construction of the new terminal has been undertaken under DBFOT route at an estimated cost of Rs. 633 crore (Rs.6.3 billion)

According to Mr. Haranadh, steps are also being taken to modernise the crane and other equipment and navigation infrastructure as the Terminal-2 will be operational by March, 2021.

Discount offer

The VPT is also contemplating tying up with the Kolkata Port for fixed window movement to give priority berthing to cargo meant for transshipment. Visakhapatnam has a deep-drafted container terminal, said to be the deepest in the Country with a draft of 14.5 metres. The VPT is offering 10% extra discount on vessel related charges for handling 240 containers. VPT is also offering 40% discount on vessel related and handling charges for Coastal Shipping.

Shipping Ministry spent Rs. 13,308 Crore (Rs.133.08 billion) on Infrastructure Development & Capacity Augmentation of Major Ports: Mansukh Mandaviya
Daily Shipping Times - New Delhi, November 25 Top
The Minister of State for Shipping (I/C) and Chemical & Fertilizers Shri Mansukh Mandaviya informed Parliament that the Infrastructure development and capacity augmentation of Major Ports is an ongoing process involving construction of new berths and terminals, mechanization of existing berths and terminals, capital dredging for deepening of drafts for attracting large vessels, development of road and rail connectivity etc. As a result, the cargo handling capacity of the Major Ports as on 31st March, 2019 is 1514.09 Million Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) which is adequate to handle the Export-Import and Coastal cargo. The traffic handled by Major Ports during 2018-19 was 699.10Million Tonnes (MT).

A number of projects with total project cost of Rs. 13308.41 Cr. (RS.133.08 billion) have been awarded in the last three years on upgradation of the Major Ports. The projects, once awarded, are executed as per the relevant contractual timelines. These projects are monitored regularly at various levels in the concerned ports as well as in the Ministry to ensure timely completion. Major Ports submit monthly status report on projects to be awarded and projects to be completed to the Ministry, which is reviewed regularly.

First-ever direct service from South East India to North Europe starts voyaging from Vizag
India Seatrade News - November 27 Top
Visakha Container Terminal at Vizag port announced that they have operated the first-ever direct service from South East India to North Europe (IEX) which also connects the Mediterranean region. The vessel M.V.E R Sweden operated by Cosco shipping started the maiden voyage from the terminal on November 15, 2019.

IEX service consortium formed in July this year, composing of 9 vessels of 6,500 TEU capacity, is jointly operated by Yang Ming, COSCO SHIPPING Lines, Hapag-Lloyd, Ocean Network Express (ONE), and OOCL. The fixed-weekly service starts from Vizag and turn around back at Vizag making it the first port of call for the new service.

The rotation will be as follows:

Visakhapatnam - Krishnapatnam - Chennai - Tuticorin - Colombo - Cochin - Damietta - Piraeus - Rotterdam - London Gateway Port - Hamburg - Antwerp - Le Havre - Damietta - Jeddah - Colombo - Visakhapatnam.

This new service is expected to be a gateway to the trade for direct shipments reducing the transit time that would, in turn, create room for more container traffic from/to Visakhapatnam.