East India Branch 21st Annual Day Celebrations with Seminar

Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2017

East India Branch 21st Annual Day Celebrations with the Seminar on Disruptive Progress in Shipping & Logistics

Better be prepared, adopt and adapt was the wisdom imparted during Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers-East India Branch 21st Annual Day Seminar held on 21st January 2017.

Capt John Prasad Menezes a Senior Fellow and branch committee member, a qualified lawyer, practicing as a Surveyor and Arbitrator played the role of master of ceremony with elan and aplomb holding the speakers strictly to time limits.

The Chairman East India Branch Capt K.P.Rajagopal FICS emphatically stated that disruption hadn't come into play at the turn of the millennium; the phrase and the way its coined perhaps may have done so. Stone age did not end because we ran out of rocks, but it ended because it ushered in the bronze age. The present era of centralized, command-and-control, extraction based energy resources (oil, gas, coal and nuclear) too is coming to an end, not because we would run out of petroleum, natural gas, coal, or uranium. It will end because these energy sources, the business models they employ, and the products that sustain them will be disrupted by superior technologies, product architectures, and business models. We are getting into a knowledge based, sustainable, low cost high value model where ease of doing biz would be the key.

He further added that by 2030, all of the new energy will be provided by solar or wind, all new mass-market vehicles will be electric, all of these vehicles will be autonomous (self-driving) or semi-autonomous, car market will shrink by 50%, gasoline will be obsolete, nuclear energy is already unwanted, natural gas and coal will have use only for base energy,  up to 80% of parking spaces will not be required anymore as the concept of individual car ownership will be obsolete and these will impact seaborne trades to a large extent.

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Mr Leo Prabhu (standing in for Capt K N Ramesh CEO Sical Logistics who had been tied down by bureaucracy in Delhi) a qualified MBA with expertise in Logistics for few decades, drew parallels with yester-years and today's times wherein logistics has morphed from old sailing and motored steamers into an end to end reliable services on modern mega ships with fixed day sailings catered by just-in-time integrations ashore and at transshipment ports.  The introduction of ro-ro rervices along the coast as a total door to door logistics service in India between major manufacturers and dealers was highlighted, stating that surprisingly truckers had come up with backhaul cargoes on wheels. With substantial cost savings, major car manufactures from south as well as NCR region are shifting from their predominantly road based movement and SICAL has been able to give a single window service by managing the last mile road connectivity at either end.  This has been truly disruptive as SICAL was able to learn from previous ro-ro services which had failed due to lack of last mile connectivity and has been successful in disrupting the existing model.

Capt Pushpa Kumar FICS, Director Indian Institute of Logistics traced his organic growth from the sea to class room ashore and into the trucking industry servicing shipping and logistics. BUM-Book your Movements an offshoot and integration launched as a portal to bring together warring associations, fractions and factions (literally of the 18 or so that exist isolated in groups) of the Trailer owners and their competing factors was highlighted as the way to go. Transparency he stressed is the name of the game for survival and prospering and not undercutting and sharing - with kickbacks and pinching commissions for sub-contracting on the run.

Mr T R Rajesh Kumar FCA of Hiregange & Associates Bangalore - Chartered Accountants & Service Tax Consultants - surprised the audience about the misconceptions they had held about the New GST (Goods and service Tax) being introduced by asking their views and opinions, and then pointedly retorting that they were all incorrect. His view was that though it was supposed to be of efforts to simplify, unify and share taxes between the Centre and States; but it is turning out to be totally different. Compliance during execution - with trained and agile in-house staff - would be the challenge, he added, adding that post-truth correction and fixing by auditors won't simply suffice. It could be a boom for CAs and such qualified, he remarked but the onus would rest with the billing firms, he said, pointing out that mistakes once committed will prove costly to correct, in effect sermonizing that knowledge and prevention before cure is prescribed.

Mr C V Subba Rao a Marine Engineer, Deputy Managing Director Sanmar Shipping, took it further forward both philosophically and practically citing necessity, inspiration, emotion etc as the main factors that have driven drastic changes. As the keynote speaker on "Creative Disruptions in Shipping and Logistics", wringing the theme and topic, he underscored with examples of Containerisaton, Tesla car, Polaroid Camera, Apple's I-phone etc. He cited the example of the non-destruction of Paris city by retreating German army despite Hitler's orders to do so, as emotionally General Choltitz had connected with Paris very deeply and could not stand to destruct it. Enlightening the audience with such anecdotes from his memory recalls, he drove home the view that incremental changes do not suffice anymore and hence quick disruptive changes have become the necessity itself.

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The Seminar came to a close with high tea. The Annual Day Celebrations followed.

The 21st Annual Day was inaugurated with Capt Ganeshyam FICS vice chairman delivering welcome address; it was followed by Mr Ravi Tittei FICS, the branch secretary presenting the annual branch report. Capt Capt Rajagopal the Chairman, traced the branch's outstanding growth internationally, outshining other branches world-wide, giving due credit to its members and past office bearers. He also stated that the Institute has not sat back on its laurels and has been introspecting on the role of Shipbrokers. He added that a recently conducted Institute debate along with FONASBA in London with the motion "Is the shipbroker a dodo, heading for extinction" had thrown up the many challenges facing the Shipbrokers and his continued relevance in the industry.

Mr S.N. Srikanth Founder & Senior Partner Hauer Associates addressed the gathering in the role of "Guest of Honour" and spoke of cause and effect of changing times impacting shipping and logistics. He expressed his feeling that a lot more need be done with alacrity with change having to be driven in by the government and its policies, though in effect it will be carried out by the free market players that serve the transportation sectors. He also applauded the services rendered by the members of the Institute for the Maritime Industry and recalled his association with many fellows and members.

Mr M.S. Srinivasan Chairman IL&FS Tamil Nadu Power Company Ltd in his keynote address, while admiring the branch's achievements, wondered about the connotations of East India prefix. Taking home the view that solar and other renewable energy would be the competitors against coal and its pollution, he opined that King Coal still had a long way to go.

Fellowship and Membership certificates were presented by the chief guest to the Members and Toppers Awards' instituted by HIMT for toppers in examination subjects from among candidates who had taken the qualifying exams in India were also presented.

Mr S. S. Narayanan the branch treasurer expressed vote of thanks on behalf of the branch and the traditional dinner followed.