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PRESIDENT'S WELCOME ADDRESS
THIRTY THIRD ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (2010 – 2011)


Distinguished Seniors, Colleagues, Ladies & Gentlemen,

I heartily welcome each one of you, Members, to the 33rd AGM of our Association. MANSA has completed 33 years of glorious service to the shipping trade in general and our Members in particular. I am most happy and privileged to address this gathering on this occasion.

At the outset, I would like to mention here that my task was made simpler due to the wonderful support from my senior colleagues and the Executive Committee Members. This commitment made it possible to sail through the year facing all hurdles with relative ease. The interaction of the ECM with the Trade Bodies made the task appear to be simpler. The efforts of MANSA's Sub-Committees and dedicated support along with that of the Secretariat, which has been keeping you updated with Circulars and Notices on the day to day developments must be truly appreciated. MANSA's Website now being maintained by MANSA itself which is regularly updated can be your references for topic-wise list of important Circulars and notices.


I hereby present you with the report of MANSA, as its President. I have now realized how intricate the matters relating to the shipping industry are and how important it is to have continuous assistance from all quarters, specially, from Members, to support the cause of shipping/ports infrastructure.


The economic scenario world over is yet to improve to its pre-recession days. Even though the traffic, especially in containerized EXIM cargoes suffered temporary setback, there was overall progress in traffic volume wise and in general. It was mainly because of our nation's sound economic policies and the strong regulatory mechanisms in place that India continued to make such progress amidst adverse circumstances. Now that the world economy is showing some signs of improvement, though we are not totally out of the woods as yet with intermittent shockers from the EU and US, we hope that there would be a spurt in traffic through the Indian Ports.

All the Major Ports together handled 569.91mmt during the Year 2010-2011, which is an increase of 1.57% over the last year and handled 7.536 million TEUs of containers, registering an increase of 9.36%.

On analyzing the Traffic at the Mumbai region’s two Major Ports - JN Port & Mumbai Port the following picture emerges:

  • It is observed that JN Port handled a throughput of 56.42 mmt showing an increase of 6.27% and container traffic of 4.27m TEUs showing an increase of 5.17%.
  • The JN Port now ranks 3rd in terms of tonnage among the Major Ports, and, for containerized volume, it continues to be one of the leading Ports in world. The container traffic in JNP is further set to grow substantially, provided it is able to proceed with the planned infrastructural developments.
  • It will be more appropriate to term that the trade performed exceedingly well at JNPT, considering the capacity constraints and hurdles it faced and are still facing!
  • The rate at which traffic is increasing, it is expected that by the end of 2014-15 JNPT would attract more than 9 m TEUs.

In fact, the Chairman himself has projected a volume of 10.5m TEU by then. We all can hope that the Port would equip itself to be ready for handling such a volume, as this would require a sea change in the structures, super-structures of the Port as well in the associated ancillary infrastructures, besides, bringing a major attitudinal change in the management and operation itself. In short, the Port has to first mentally equip itself and also physically prepare itself to handle such a large volume.


The projects which await critical development are:
1. Construction of4th Terminal by shifting the present Liquid Bulk Terminal.
2. Extension of the existing quay by 330 meter towards the North of NSICT.
3. Replacement of JNP CT’s RMQ and RTG Cranes.
4. Deepening the Main Entrance Channel
5. Development of Road Connectivity.
6. Additional Rail Infrastructure.

At long last, the Port has recently finalized the Tender process for the 4th Container Terminal, after crossing many hurdles of delay. Let’s all hope that there will be no further delay and that the first phase of this new Terminal will get completed in two years time, as assured. We wish the new operator all the success and good speed.

As for the 330 meter extension, the Port is awaiting the court verdict and should get started shortly.

Port has recently acquired 3 brand new RMQCs and it is encouraging to see that their installation at the JNPCT will be as per the schedule in August 2011.

As regards the other projects mentioned above, the Port is proceeding in right earnest. At long last, we could really see some sense of urgency and earnestness in handling these projects. This is a welcome change which all of us in MANSA should encourage and support.

  • As regards the Mumbai Port, the Port has managed to hold on the existing volume. It handled a throughput of 54.58 mmt showing an increase of 0.8% while the container traffic was only 73000 TEUs; even though this itself is an increase of 25.86% compared to the last year.
  • Work on MbPT’s Off-shore Container Terminal (OCT) is progressing and it is reported that the work may get completed by end 2012. Hopefully, once this Terminal is completed, we may see the revival of container activity once again at MbPT.
  • However, MbPT is known for handling multifaceted cargoes like Break-bulk, Bulk and Liquid, Ro-Ro etc. in which it excels. If the Port provides better facilities and resolves the Trade’s difficulties, there could be a surge of number of commodities and the volume could substantially grow. Sadly, there is little attention to many of the requirements of the trade at present in MbPT

Major projects underway at MbPT are:
1) OCT Project.
2) Deepening and extending Harbour Wall Berths to attract deep drafted Bulk/Break-bulk vessels to enable larger vessels to call.
3) Providing a multipurpose large modern transit warehouse at Harbour Wall for attracting PCCs and other Bulk/Break-bulk vessels.
4) Improved connectivity with Rail and road infrastructure.

If traffic at this Port is required to be retained and progressed, all these projects are to be implemented in time, otherwise, cargoes will continue to be diverted to neighboring more efficient ports and the Institution called MbPT will exist mainly as the largest real estate owner of Mumbai.


MANSA constantly has Interactive meetings with MbPT and various issues are taken up such as:

  • Clarity in the Stevedoring rate for steel cargo,
  • Port Dues per entry of vessels,
  • Pilotage charges on shiftings,
  • Excess/Undue recovery of Berth Hire charges on vessel stranded at the Port due to no fault of Vessels etc.

We have been addressing these issues to the highest level at MbPT and also to TAMP. It is hoped that these issues may get sorted out & resolved at the earliest to help our Members.

There are other issues MANSA has been continuing to pursue and for which many representations have been made. These are:


1. Amendments in Section 116/148/30 of the Sea Custom Act 1962

We continue to pursue the Customs and CBEC for amending Sec. 116 of the Customs Act to make person filing the IGM responsible in accordance with the amended Sec. 30.

In fact, my predecessors had taken this matter very seriously. However, a solution evades with a not too accommodating stand taken by the CBEC. Our efforts will persist on this issue.

2. Long Standing Containers

While the Members are very familiar with this on-going issue, I would like to bring to the attention of the Members about a couple of developments. In June, this year, the Calcutta High Court has ruled that the Kolkata Port Trust cannot charge any ground rent beyond 75 days. The Court also clarified that the earlier rulings by other High Courts and the Supreme Court were before TAMP issued its Order limiting such charges to 75 days, and, hence, need not be relied upon. The Port may still go in for appeal, but, the above cited judgment is a well argued and articulated one and the Members should refer this case while dealing with all long standing containers at any Major Port.

The other one is that as a result of some Lines approaching the Courts on the issue of Long Standing Containers, and, the Courts taking a serious view of Customs arbitrariness, recently, the JNCH have taken some steps to address this issue and have set up a "Task Force" in which DRI, SIIB etc. are also represented, besides from MANSA, CFS, CSLA etc. It is certain that some tangible improvement in the reduction of number of held up containers will be seen.

3. Handling of Hazardous Cargo in MbPT

MbPT had introduced a sudden ban on handling of hazardous cargo in their Port, in the aftermath of last year’s accident. Since the Port did not know how to react on the issue, they found the easiest way by banning all hazardous cargo in this Port, without any consideration to the hardship the trade would have on their sudden decision! The issue has been repeatedly taken up by MANSA with the Port as well as with the Ministry of Shipping and, finally, now the Port under the guidelines of the Ministry of Shipping has constituted a 'Working Group' for preparing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Positive List of Hazardous Cargo which are to be permitted for handling in the Port. MANSA has been invited to represent in the Working Group along with other Trade Bodies. Here again, the progress is very slow. We are regularly pursuing the matter with MbPT.

4. Single Authority for Mumbai Harbour

This idea was mooted by Mr. Vijayan D’Souza during his term as MANSA President and is a very sensible one with strategic benefit to both JNPT and MbPT. We have pursued this issue with the Chairmen of both the Ports and also with the Ministry of Shipping. The matter was further pressed with the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India but they found it worthwhile to consider only after the unfortunate incident of the collision in Mumbai Harbour blocking shipping movements for days together and bringing the Trade to a sudden halt. The "Special Committee" constituted to go into the accident has also recognized the need to bring out the change in the Harbour set up and has recommended a "Unified Harbour Authority" for Mumbai Harbour. This would facilitate unified control, pooling and economic use of marine resources, navigation Safety services, to provide effective services to all Ports in and around Mumbai Harbour. After receipt of the recommendation, Ministry of Shipping, Government of India has not yet come out with any steps to implement the recommendation so far.


It is for all of us in MANSA to pursue these issues sincerely and dedicatedly so that shipping trade in these Ports, in particular, and, India, in general, progress effectively. The results obtained would definitely put MANSA in the forefront as a Torch Bearer of shipping in India.

I now would like to draw your attention to the historic achievement of MANSA this year in the form of holding an International Conference on Rotterdam Rules (ICRR) - a first of its kind for MANSA. The ICRR was held on 16th February 2011 at Hotel Lalit Intercontinental, Mumbai. The Conference was conceived and initiated by Mr. C. R. Nambiar. It was organized mainly by him and Mr. C. S. Manohar. The two of them spearheaded the specially formed Steering Committee which had, besides these two gentlemen, Mr. Thomas and Capt. Vivek Anand, Mr. K. P. Unnikrishnan, Mr. Kulkarni and also yours truly. We also took the assistance of Ms. Madhuri Khavnekar, our ex-Secretary, who willingly came forward to contribute to the organizational activities. Mr. Nikhil Modi of EXIM too assisted in our efforts. Apart from EXIM, the Daily Shipping Times too extended full press support. Reputed, expert speakers were invited both from abroad as well as from the Indian Shipping fraternity. The Steering Committee made splendid arrangements and carried through the Conference skillfully and painstakingly. All my heartfelt thanks goes out to each of them. The Conference was well received and appreciated by all the participants as well as the Press.

As all of you know, The Rotterdam Rules is a new Convention from the UNCTAD on carriage of cargo, formulated with the ambitious object of replacing the existing fragmented liability regimes world over with a uniform one. The Conference gave an opportunity to the participants for active floor participation. Apart from the experts from the international arena, we also had participation from the Govt. of India, from SCI, besides by eminent lawyers – Mr. Venkiteshwaran and Mr. Majumdar. The Question-Answer session was very indulging and lively.

In the end, the overwhelming majority of the participants present voted that India should wait for the response of more number of maritime countries to form their respective views and also have many more Conferences on this subject within the country to deliberate about Rotterdam Rules. Only after such thorough discussions by the stakeholders it would be possible to express their final view to the Government of India in this regard. The ICRR was widely appreciated by the Trade and Authorities. Even the Government desired to have MANSA's Report on the outcome of the ICRR which MANSA has readily sent.

I wish that in the near future MANSA will come out with many more such Conferences, Inter-active Seminars etc. to propagate knowledge.

Yet another venture MANSA has been trying for long is to introduce a training course for the Members' Operation Staff. The training course curriculum drawn out contains all aspects of Container Vessels working, Break-bulk Vessels working, Bulk Vessels working, Port Operations, Operations connected with Authorities like Custom/Immigration etc and also Vessel Agency specific issues and a 'Training Module' has already been worked out by an expert Trainer in the field and it is expected that the Training Course on a regular basis would be commencing sometime in September/October this year.

I urge the Members to come forward to sponsor as many of their Staff members as possible to participate in this training program and derive knowledge in working efficiently and beneficially as Ship Agents. The details of the course have already been circulated and now ball is in your court to progress in this issue by nominating candidates.



Cheers and wish you all the best

Capt. Piyush Pal Singh
President

MANSA is a legally recognized, industry
acknowledged and completely unified
body of Ship Agents operating in
Mumbai Port and Jawaharlal Nehru Port .