Sir, let me start this dialog with a really apparent query of Covid-19 pandemic on the port operations. As per the latest data launched by Indian Ports Affiliation, the most important ports visitors volumes have been hit. In fact, each port is in that very same state of affairs, Chennai Port has seen a 17% drop in volumes. How is the rebound taking place and what’s the present state of affairs on the Port?
Earlier than lockdown itself all of the ports have been endeavor measures for dealing with ships from nations affected by COVID. Detailed SOPs had been launched and all ports had been following the directions of Ministry of Well being and Household Welfare, Ministry of Delivery, DG Delivery. All of the ports have ensured easy dealing with of ships and operations remained unaffected by lockdown. Within the preliminary months from March to August we had critical results on the enterprise, particularly throughout April, Might, June, there was lower of about 20% amongst all the most important ports, and in Chennai particularly the impression has been barely extra. We had been down by 30% throughout that interval. Primarily as a result of, our product focus is containers and POL; each had been severely affected and after that in July, August, the decline has been low and we’re seeing rebound in enterprise September onwards. In whole cargo, we’re at nearly the identical degree as final yr, barely above additionally. In containerised commerce there was optimistic development from September onwards.
Our containerised commerce grew by 15% this September over identical interval final yr and that pattern is sweet. As on date, we’re 11% greater than final yr in containers, particularly within the final 3 months, and significantly in December the pattern is sweet – we’re nearly 17% extra. I feel rebound is going on at tempo and by this monetary yr finish, we must always be capable of wipe off many of the losses what we incurred. Monetary yr 2022 ought to be actually good for the port in addition to for the nation. It’s actually heartening to notice the rebound within the container sector.
COVID-19 additionally provided some optimistic alternatives like just lately we have now seen congestion at a few of the transhipment hubs, particularly in Colombo. I consider Indian ports can make the most of it and improve transhipment volumes at our ports, particularly in Chennai port. Even CONCOR has come ahead to evacuate transhipment cargo. So, how is the port positioned to make the most of this?
The cooperation between CONCOR and Chennai Port has been actually good over time, and I wish to point out the superb work performed by port and Concor collectively through the COVID time. Throughout COVID time we didn’t need to refuse any ship and we didn’t need to cut back the tempo at which ships had been being dealt with. Highway motion was actually affected, at the least for few days, it was not there, after that with all efforts from all of the stakeholders, it has began. The CFSs had been flooded with containers as no matter had been moved there was not getting cleared. So, throughout that point we instantly began the motion.
We have now one prolonged gate facility in CONCOR’s premises at Tondiarpet yard. It’s about 10 kilometers from our port and we use it for transferring DPD containers for particular clients. This facility has turn out to be useful for us through the COVID instances. We have now began en-block motion of import containers by prepare and Concor has helped on this motion by not charging any floor storage for 30 to 45 days. So, the client was additionally not affected that a lot. We have now moved about 180 trains through the couple of months and greater than 10,500 containers have been moved there. At any time when there’s a congestion we are attempting to encourage folks to take this course of rail motion. I feel an increasing number of folks ought to come and begin utilizing this every time a buyer feels DPD facility can be utilized and so they can have flexibility in preserving the containers.
Based mostly on this success the port is on the lookout for creating sure extra prolonged gate amenities which can have rail connectivity. We’re in talks with Southern Railways and we have now recognized a location about 200 kilometers from Chennai in the direction of Bangalore as a result of foremost hinterland is Bangalore and North West Tamil Nadu, Bangalore area, Hosur, Tumkur, Bidadi of Karnataka and Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh. We have now performed technical and industrial feasibility research to find an prolonged gate facility. We’re in talks with railways. Quickly we can be developing with a plan for creating an prolonged gate rail facility the place we are able to do en-block motion of containers from the place these folks will decide up the containers, and export containers can be collected there. We are going to present a window time whereby you carry the container at that exact time and we’ll hook up with the required ship. That form of a customer-specific answer we’re planning to provide taking the assistance of the terminals, railways and container prepare operators. This, we can be introduced quickly.
In the identical context, I feel port has additionally an understanding with Shreyas Delivery for exim cargo transhipment. So, how is it going?
We have now performed one research by way of McKinsey concerning the transhipment taking place for Indian cargo in international ports. 40% of our cargo is handed there besides JNPT, most of the East Coast ports cargo is dealt with in Colombo, Singapore, Dubai or Malaysia. So, there have been lot of discussions and we discovered on the japanese coast, Chennai is ideally positioned due to the mainline calls and the combination of gateway visitors in addition to a few of the transhipped cargo, we’d be in a greater place in case we get some coastal companies began on the east coast. We are going to take the benefit of mainlines calling right here. This, we have now been speaking to mainlines in addition to the coastal shippers, and the talks with Shreyas has actually resulted in good dividends.
From July we began this service. We have now entered into an settlement and introduced a particular concession for the ships that are bringing transhipment cargo feeding Chennai port in addition to the exim vessels which is able to take these containers. We have now designed a particular concession scheme which has attracted them. After signing up settlement on thirtieth June, July onwards we began getting companies. We’re having 3 companies, two of coastal and one in every of exim and different two companies which the coastal companies join from Vizag, Paradeep, Kolkata, Haldia, Chittagong to Chennai. From right here, these containers go overseas to completely different locations. Actually, these containers had been going to Colombo or Singapore earlier. This reduces the fee for the top buyer, and our dealing with in a small manner has elevated. Each month, we’re doing 10,000 plus containers on this. I’m positive an increasing number of companies will begin coming in. Within the gentle of this, what you talked about concerning the Covid and different issues at Colombo, the chance is in these ports. We’re additionally taking a look at that.
You realize our subsidiary port Kamarajar Port Restricted has additionally received a contemporary container terminal. There we began getting mainline companies which had been hitherto going to Colombo. They’ve began coming and with these foremost strains Kamarajar Port is in dialogue for providing tailored options. I’m positive, they may also begin sticking to this port not solely throughout this COVID time however even after that. That’s actually trying good on this japanese hall each for Kamarajar Port in addition to Chennai port and we’re actually on the lookout for an increasing number of folks to come back and be part of this profitable trial what we have now carried out in order that an increasing number of containers might be transhipped right here inside the nation of all of the gateway visitors of India.
It’s heartening to see all these proactive steps in the direction of enhancing the volumes on the port. Sir, in your efforts to enhance ease of doing enterprise on the port, you may have deliberate for an Enterprise Enterprise System (EBS). So, how does it assist the client and what’s the timeline that it’s a must to put it in place?
These digital options to make issues straightforward for patrons have been a precedence for us and our honourable minister of delivery has additionally prioritised it. Over the previous few years some initiatives have already been commissioned. Let me hint again; Chennai Port was the primary port to start out the RFID system. This was a joint effort by CFSS, terminals, port and Customs. In 2016, we began one RFID which has eliminated the need of bringing bodily papers to the terminal in order that the motion and details about containers are transferred digitally between Customs, CFSS and the terminals. Following that, the PCS, Port Group System upgradation has been taken up centrally by IPA. All of the ports have participated in that. Now, PCS 1X improved model has been launched.
Virtually all of the stakeholders who must be linked have been introduced onboard this PCS platform, and Chennai Port has taken numerous effort in bringing all of the stakeholders like steamer brokers, CHAs, CFSs, and different stevedores onboarded the system. That is the best time our system can also be completely digitized and merged with all these techniques so that there’s seamless expertise for the client. On this route, this Enterprise Enterprise Answer has been taken up and IPA has taken up this as a centralized venture for serving 6 ports – Kolkata, Haldia, Paradeep, our port and Mumbai, Deendayal Port. Completely about 6 ports have been included on this. I’m pleased to say that Chennai port is main in implementation and we’re nearly by way of and I’m anticipating it to be stay this December itself.
Tentatively, I’ve mounted myself goal of going surfing on twenty ninth December. As soon as that is performed, I feel all the opposite ports will comply with in few months in 2021. So, what this technique will allow is seamlessly we can be connecting to PCS and different terminal system, customs and Indian Railways. All of the modules will come up.
Already we have now commissioned one RFID-based automated harbour entry allow system. Within the final one yr no person got here to my workplace to get a move. Our move workplace is nearly closed and all the pieces is now on-line, folks can print their move, take the move on their cellular, come to the gate and get entry. So, this has been made very straightforward now. Pointless documentation can be averted. If there may be documentation, there may be delay, and when there may be delay and lack of transparency, folks get lot of doubts on the service. So, all these issues can be eliminated, and I’m positive the cycle time of every course of inside the port, inside processes, all will come down. This may actually give worth to the client. By December, Chennai Port will go surfing most likely. I feel this can be an actual new expertise for the folks for the monetary yr 2021-22.
Actually, if it turns into operational by finish of this month, you may have a New Yr reward to the Chennai Port customers. So, let me take you to the competitors a part of it. As it’s, Chennai Port has lot of competitors round it and if the Main Ports Authority Invoice is carried out, I feel additional competitors will set in. Aside from no matter steps you take by way of constructing the effectivity of the port, what’s your technique to take Chennai Port forward of this competitors after which nonetheless stay very user-friendly port for the commerce?
If in any respect any port is going through competitors, Chennai Port can be #1 in that. Perhaps 10, 15 years again Chennai Port had hinterland. The identical hinterland is served by at the least 5 ports on this area. So, that manner competitors is there, and I really feel competitors is sweet in order that it makes us to assume in a different way and discover out methods and means to outlive and develop in these circumstances. On the strategic degree, you have to be understanding that we have now purchased Kamarajar Port Restricted. This March, we have now accomplished the method. This was one strategic choice. Very first thing is that there isn’t a unhealthy competitors between two public entities and there are particular benefits in Chennai, whereas Kamarajar Port additionally has sure benefits.
Kamarajar Port was created by Chennai Port about 20 years again as a satellite tv for pc port as a result of Chennai Port was not capable of deal with sure sorts of bulk cargo as it’s positioned inside the metropolis. That was the concept with which that port has been created. The identical logic holds good at the moment.
So, our technique right here is to be sure that our operations change into cost-effective, cut back their prices in order that we are able to cut back the charges and we preserve our clients right here. For enlargement, for giving worth by way of dealing with greater ships, by way of extra modernization, and additional enlargement, we’d be taking a look at our arm which is the Kamarajar Port. We have now sufficient capability from the marine facet within the Chennai Port. We’re having sure points as of now in capability for evacuating by street. We have now glorious rail connectivity however by street there are issues. On that, we’re pursuing the elevated street between Maduravoyal and Chennai Port whose work will begin quickly, could also be by 21 February, the work could begin. So, as soon as that comes, I feel our capability utilization will actually go up. With all our modernization and digitalization, no matter I used to be speaking about, actually we’d be having extra room to cut back value. In case you see within the final 5 years, our technique from the advertising and marketing facet is to construct relationships and have long-term contracts. See, 2006, 2007, Hyundai began exporting vehicles. At the moment, this was the one port. They’d a contract with the Chennai Port for 10 years. 2016, 2017 this contract ended.
The scenario was completely different. There have been so many different ports. At the moment, there was lot of competitors. We might maintain and we gained the contract. For an additional 10 years, we have now prolonged the contract. Not solely Hyundai signed for 10 years, after 2 yr one other arm of Korean vehicle firm, the manufacturing facility which has come up in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh…Kia Motors, we had been capable of persuade them additionally concerning the worth they get and we received that signed from 2019 to 2029, we have now received the contract. It isn’t that we aren’t aggressive. We’re aggressive on pricing facet and greater than that, the suggestions what we get is they’re proud of our service from the Marine facet and all different small points are getting sorted. So, this capability utilization by optimally utilizing the prevailing capability at Chennai Port provides worth to the client in order that they stick on right here. For calling greater ships or dealing with coal or iron ore we have now Kamarajar Port. There we’re stepping into massive manner for enlargement, deepening for deal with cape dimension vessels, subsequent technology container vessels, and LNG. There the enlargement is focused at that form of new merchandise. Presently, in FY 2019, Chennai dealt with round 50 million tonnes and Kamarajar Port round 35 million tonnes.
Now Covid has come and there are aberrations. I’m positive, in monetary yr, 2021 – 2022, each entities put collectively, I’m taking a look at a determine of 100 million tonnes. We will definitely cross 100 million tonnes. This yr, we could also be dealing with lower than 80 million tonnes however, in a yr, I’m positive there can be a bounce, 15% to twenty% in a yr. 2021-22, each the entities can be touching 100 million. There can be little doubt about it.
That’s great. Earlier than I finish this dialog, Mr. Ravindran, I’ve one query. What are the teachings you may have learnt throughout Covid?
See Covid classes, you see on one facet, the enterprise dealing with of ships with none downside; there may be numerous dedication from the workers. I didn’t have any downside. See, we advised folks that they needn’t come. We advised vital folks solely we’ll power them to come back. However there was no day due to attendance, we had downside in dealing with. I used to be actually pleased to see the workers’ dedication to the work. that is one factor we famous. And the groups from the Authorities of India additionally, Minister of Delivery,
Minister of Well being and Household Welfare, DG Delivery; the best way the entire scenario has been dealt with, be it quarantine necessities, be it the change of crew for the ships. Whoever has been stranded crew, they’ve to come back to any port. We didn’t have that crew switching and all. There have been no protocols. It was not regular factors. However all the pieces had began and lot of coordination, lot of conferences occurred.
This has been actually train whereby we might see many departments working collectively. Throughout the port additionally, aside from the Division of Immigration or MMD or Customs, apart from that every stakeholder steamer brokers or different folks, they’ve all come up. Coaching these folks, and there lot of studying we had. One other one is to make the folks notice and make them disciplined by way of carrying masks and washing, all these issues. These are all so actually good studying. Coordination and cooperation between varied brokers has occurred so easily. These are the issues which we might see again after which assume that actually, you already know, these are experiences you get throughout that point.