Made a Difference



Made a Difference
NISSA business forum
A Forum that
Made a Difference
The NISSA business forum 2013 highlighted
many key operational issues plaguing the industry.
ore than 60 per cent
of India’s container
trade originates
from northern
regions of the country
and this calls for adequate
logistics infrastructure to be
in place to meet the cargo
requirements. The ever
increasing container traffic
density between the northern
hinterland and ports like
JNPT is increasing pressure
on the powers that be to
expedite the development
of infrastructure and
connectivity projects. The
Dedicated Freight Corridor is
yet to take shape and it may
be another five years before
the trade starts using this
corridor. Similarly, the need
for more inland container
depots and terminals is being
felt to meet the growing
volumes. Many such issues
indeed are plaguing the
container trade industry in
northern India and tapering
its growth and hence it was
but natural that they were
discussed and debated upon
comprehensively during the
NISAA Business Forum
2013, which was held at
New Delhi on February 7-8,
2013. Most leading players
of the sector participated in
the event. The forum dwelt
both on infrastructure ad
connectivity issues as well as
operational problems among
the various stakeholders in
container trade.
A day before the forum
NISAA also organised a
workshop to educate the
workforce of the industry
regarding the various
operational issues that
are plaguing both the rail
and ports ICDs/CFSs. The
workshop also touched upon
the documentation that is
required for clearances and
Inaugural session of NISAA Business Forum 2013 seen from L to R - Dr John Joseph, Addl Director General Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Ministry of
Finance, Dept of Revenue, Govt of India, Anil K Gupta, MD, Container Corporation of India Ltd, K Raghu Dayal, Former MD, Container Corporation of India Ltd,
Capt A K Kaura, President, Northern India Steamer Agents Association
62 maritime gateway / march 2013
also the important issue of
KYC. The workshop was a
roaring success and NISAA
was requested to organise
such workshops on a regular
basis as there is a dearth of
maritime education in the
The forum too was a
roaring success and this
could be gauged by the
applause received by the
speakers of the inaugural
session. Anil K Gupta,
managing director, Container
Corporation of India
(CONCOR), highlighted
the urgent need to take
corrective steps about the
high transactional cost. He
said that the cost of running
empty rakes had increased to
crores of rupees. According
to him, one of the ways
to address the problem of
empties was to increase
exports through the railways.
He also highlighted the need
to multiply the ICDs. He said
that the need of the day was
to find more places for ICDS,
and a minimum spacing
of 100 km should be kept
between any two terminals
to avoid undue competition
between them. He added that
connectivity to the hinterland
is of prime importance to
boost the container trade.
Adequately planned train
schedules, well synchronised
intermodal network and
availability of end-to-end
connectivity to the prime
destinations or consumption
centres will improve the
distribution network and
reduce the transit times. He
also said that CONCOR is
ready for giving e-clearances
but it has to be done at all the
terminals. Customs is always
ready to help the industry
and this is highlighted by the
pace at which the clearances
are given.
Raghu Dayal, former
managing director,
CONCOR, in his keynote
address, suggested that
Indian Railways (IR) needs
Session I: Role, Responsibility and accountability of Stakeholders Seen from L to R - Harpreet Singh Malhotra, MD,
Tiger Logistics (I) Pvt Ltd, Amitabha Chaudhari, MD, India Infrastructure & Logistics Pvt Ltd, Capt Sanjeev Rishi, Advisor,
Worlds Window Infrastructure - ICD Loni, Dr L R Thapar IRTS Retd, MD, Hind Terminals Pvt Ltd Sanjay Swarup, Group
GM (Intl Mktg), Container Corporation of India Ltd, P K Singh, Advisor (Law), Competition Commission of India
Session II: Seamless Integration of service providers giving speech is D K Sen Sharma, COO - Container Terminals,
Adani Ports and SEZ Limited and seen from L to R - Bharat R Joshi, Director - Biz Dev, Associated Container Terminals
Ltd, Vishal Sharma, CEO, Gateway Rail Freight Limited, Capt Ram Ramachandran, Chairman & MD, Red Eagle Shipping
Agencies Private Limited.
Session III: Way Forward - Future of Logistics in Hinterland seen from L to R - Puneet Jain, Director, Jaykay Freighters
Pvt. Ltd, Capt Thamburaj Jeyraj, GM - Container Operations, APM Terminals Pipavav, Gagandeep Singh, Director, Majha
Transport Pvt Ltd, Capt Ram Ramachandran,Chairman & MD, Red Eagle Shipping Agencies Private Limited, Ruchir
Parekh, Director, The Thar Dry Port, P N Shukla, Former Director Opns & Bus Deve, Dedicated Freight Corridor
Corporation of India Ltd.
march 2013 / maritime gateway 63
NISSA business forum
to bring out a transformation
in its approach and that the
“business as usual” attitude
may no longer hold good
in the changing scenario
of increased consolidation
and competition. “IR has
been a hugely successful
organisation and has both the
potential and the genius to
bring about the change. IR
can work collaboratively with
the private players and use its
land to build the necessary
infrastructure through private
participation,” he said.
According to him, there is
a tremendous opportunity
to optimise the existing
routes but for this IR needs
to resurrect itself. It also
needs to radically change its
approach where CTUs were
The forum also
highlighted the fact that
apart from the physical
infrastructure, the service
delivery also plays a crucial
part in furthering the trade.
Customer expectations have
increased in terms of service
levels and value added
services offered by various
logistics players like ports,
container terminals, logistics
parks, ICD/CFSs, ship agents
and freight forwarders are
of significant importance.
Given the current market
scenario, with freight rates
hovering at rock bottom
levels, surviving in these
conditions as well as meeting
customer expectations is a
big challenge.
Some interesting points
saw the light of the day: to
permit cabotage of containers
and allow exim containers
to carry domestic cargo.
Secondly, the government
(especially the Ministry
of Railways) needs to step
in to reduce import-export
imbalance and incentivise
private rail operators to
carry empty containers.
These initiatives will ease
congestion both at ports like
JNPT and at the ICDs, and
also improve the financial
condition of the ailing private
rail operators.
The industry was also
concerned about the fact
that container business in
northern India is shrinking.
One of the speakers said
that the industry needs to
take concrete steps to rectify
the situation and it needs
incentives for doing business.
At present there are too many
associations that are working
in a fragmented manner. But
the need of the day is to have
a united representation to
speed up things concerning
not only infrastructure
development but also other
industry concerns. For this to
happen, the speakers called
for a change in the mindset.
“The speed of change in
the mindset will determine
the speed of infrastructure
development – which will
result in the speed of bringing
down the operational costs,”
some averred.
The conference also
highlighted the problems
being faced by the freight
forwarders. It was said that
they are perceived as the
trouble makers, because
of which their licences
are revoked. This needs
to be changed, as they are
an important link of the
industry. They should not be
held responsible for all the
misdoings in the industry.
The fact that the freight
forwarders were also getting
into a death trap because of
thin margins and payments
coming very late was also
Throughout the forum
and also the workshop
the issue of KYC was
highlighted time and again.
Both the policy makers
and industry players urged
the shipping lines to have
adequate information about
their customers before taking
any bookings. Presently, one
of the biggest nightmares for
64 maritime gateway / march 2013
a liner shipping company
is that cargo many a times
gets abandoned after landing
and it is not able to recover
the costs. In most cases
the problem is associated
with low-valued cargoes
like waste oil, grease, used
rubber tyres, scrap, old
packaging material, waste
paper, etc. While most of
these products are imported
for a genuine purpose there
are some that may not have
sufficient documents to prove
they are bonafides. Once
the shipment is entangled in
litigation with the customs
or is embroiled in a civil
suit, it is anybody’s guess
as to when the container
would be freed to the lines.
This also adds to another
problem the custodian of the
shipments such as CONCOR
or the Central Warehousing
Corporation is saddled with
large number “dead stock”
which occupies their yards
and needlessly stymies
their revenue earnings. The
shipping line loses freight
since the containers cannot
be brought into circulation
for the export cycle.
Currently CONCOR has
over 2,000 containers that
are long standing in its yard.
According to many of the
speakers of the forum, if the
shipping lines are particular
about the KYC norms then
these problems can be
The participants also
voiced suggestion over
a policy amendment for
allowing container trains to
carry cargo from multiple
ICDs. As many a time
a single ICD may not
contribute all the TEU as per
schedule, it is meaningful
for the train to carry cargo
from other regional ICDs.
Therefore, a rail head needs
to be identified for a group of
ICDs operating in a region,
some averred. The use of
technology for a seamless
flow of traffic was also
discussed at length.