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PRESIDENT'S WELCOME ADDRESS
35th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (2012–2013)


Dear Colleagues on the dais, respected Seniors, EC Members, Members of MANSA, Ladies and Gentleman,

I take great pleasure in extending a very hearty and warm welcome to all of you at the 35th Annual General Meeting of MANSA.

On behalf of the EC, I would like to thank all of you for giving us an opportunity to serve MANSA and request your support and active participation in the activities of MANSA for the coming years. All of us on the Executive Committee have dedicated our productive time to MANSA, because we believe that we can make a difference in the effective working of our Members. My key objective, as President of MANSA, is to make this organization more visible, maintain cordial relations with Authorities to ensure all MANSA problems are addressed expeditiously and look for new opportunities and ideas to enhance MANSA’s effective functioning.

I must admit here that, without the dedicated and hearty support from the Past Presidents, Executive Committee Members and all of you, my task would have been very difficult. The smooth sailing of MANSA is attributable to you and the secretariat which has functioned most efficiently. I am very grateful to the Secretary General and the Secretariat.

Shipping remains largely traditional. Of course, ships are getting bigger and shapes are changing, there are less crew and more technology. But the role of ship Agents has not really changed. What has changed is the way we communicate and the speed at which we communicate with our Principals. The role of the Ship Agent has grown from being a mere Service Provider to becoming partners to our Customers. There are a lot of things that we need to innovate to make Agency Services more efficient and sustainable.

The Indian economy showed robust growth in the last decade but the growth has been sluggish in the last two years. The global economy recessionary conditions, the tight monetary policy of RBI and the persistent domestic inflation are some of the constraints adversely affecting the Indian economy. While the government has recently announced certain reform measures, eventually, the answer would lie in making our economy more cost competitive. To achieve this, we need renewed focus on infrastructure development with emphasis on timely implementation, as inadequate progress in the Shipping sector has a strong bearing on our competitiveness.

In the international scenario, the unrelenting and persisting recession continues unabated and the prospects of the Shipping Industry seem to be in the doldrums especially for the US & European Sectors which have the potential and force to improve the shipping Scenario.

The Government of India, on perceiving the scope for reducing the handling costs and improving the transshipment of containers after commissioning of international Container Port at Vallarpadam, has relaxed Cabotage restrictions and permitted International liners to lift containers for transshipment to other ports. However, the same facility is not extended at any other Ports. Unless this same facility is extended to all Indian ports, cost reduction cannot be achieved. The cost of handling T. P. containers at Colombo and Singapore is much lower than the cost incurred at Vallarpadam. This is the main reason there is little possibility for the EXIM trade to derive much benefit by the partial modification introduced by the Government. MANSA has taken up the issue with Ministry of shipping and requested to permit Lines/Agents to allow movement of empties from coast to coast, till a decision has been taken to relax Cabotage restrictions at all Indian ports. However, the response given was not positive. We assure our members that MANSA will continue to follow up with the Ministry to achieve this goal.

The capacity addition to Indian ports is likely to fall short of envisaged targets and demand requirements. As a result, Major ports will continue facing issues around capacity and efficiency.

This year we witnessed a major shift in traffic handling from state owned Major Ports to more efficient Private Ports and minor ports which have better infrastructure to handle cargo and flexibility to fix their own tariffs. The shift is mainly due to capacity and infrastructure constraints at Major ports. A recent reports states that Mundra port overtook Kandla port to become the country’s largest port in terms of cargo handled in quarter 1. While Mundra handled 24 million tons of cargo in first quarter, Kandla dropped to 23 million tons. The non major port, by virtue of their superior cargo handling infrastructure and equipment, large capacity and high operating efficiency, will be well placed to wean traffic away from Major ports unless the Major ports gear up with sufficient infrastructure to handle larger vessels and increase cargo throughput. There is a drop of 2.58 percent in Major Ports compared to last financial year as against 13 percent increase in Private Ports. JNPT handled a total throughput of 64.50 MMT showing a drop of 1.8 % and container traffic 4.25 m TEUs showing a drop of approx. 1 percent.

JNP improved their own rank to 2 in terms of tonnage among the Major Indian ports. However, India’s Premier Container port has slipped out of the top 30 ports of the world for containerized cargo as it handled 4.2 million TEUs whereas 30th port Valencia handled 4.4 million TEUs. Serious congestion at JNP has forced the Lines and Trade to divert the traffic to neighboring ports, delay in the development of the 4th Terminal and 330m extension had a cumulative effect on the performance of JNP. Interesting to note Mundra Port has handled 1.36 million TEUs an increase of 18 % from the previous year.

To name a few JNP achievements, a mention must be made of the installing of two new quay cranes, signing of the agreement with DP world for developing of 330 mtrs of quay adjoining NSICT Terminal and commencement of dredging for deepening and widening of channel and alongside berths, progress on 4th Terminal etc.

Mumbai Port has managed to increase its volume by 3.3 %. MbPT has handled a throughput of 58 MMT for the financial year 2012-13. Interestingly there is no increase in container traffic and just managed to handle 58,000 TEUs for the financial year.

In MbPT the main cargo mix comprises of coal, iron & steel, pulses Fertilizer raw materials and POL.

The Port's plans for dredging and maintaining the depths at Berths and in the Channel could not be implemented because of the Contractor's default. Deeper ships could not be berthed. The much awaited commissioning of the Offshore Container Terminal (ICTPL) is also delayed and not showing any progress.

Unless the Port puts their acts together and improves the infrastructure facilities with covered and open storage yards, additional shore cranes and increase of draught, there is no scope for attracting any additional cargo.

Further, I have to mention some of the developments that have taken place in the working of the Ports in which MANSA has initiated actions and played a positive role.

You are well aware that during the past one year MANSA undertook a number of initiatives such as efforts made to have a personal touch with the Members, improving rapport and holding numerous interactive sessions with the Officials of the Ministries, Ports, DG Shipping, Customs, TAMP, GMB and also Trade Bodies and all concerned Associates. Customs have issued a Circular in contravention of normal practice for examination of cargo before D.O. is obtained from Ship Agents by the Importers. MANSA has strongly taken up the issue with Customs and prevailed upon them to ensure that adequate protection is given to the Carriers, Lines and Ship Agents preventing likely repercussions in the event of indiscriminate introduction of such facility to all Importers. Customs therefore issued an amendment to the Public Notice confirming this facility available only in cases where the Importer finalize the B/entry and payment of duty as applicable on the imported goods before obtaining the D.O. from Ship Agents. This has ensured restricting the frivolous requests for such examination from the Trade and reduced the risk of abandoning the cargo. This was the main apprehension of the Agents/Lines towards this notification. Further, MANSA also agreed with BCHAA's request to accept cheques upto Rs. One Lakh from the members of BCHAA to get release of D.O. as per the guarantee given by their Association. This decision of MANSA assisted to minimize the delays in issuance of D/order to the Trade. MANSA along with CSLA has taken an initiative to start bi-monthly meetings with the trade so as to look into their grievances and find solutions.

Various difficulties faced by MANSA Members have also been taken up with the Grievances Committee constituted by the Ministry of Shipping.

The Annual Report includes all details of the actions taken and the references under which the information has been disseminated to all our Members. Members may refer to the Newsletter on our Website "www.mansaassociation.com".

The issues related to proposed amendment of COGSA, longstanding containers, relaxation of the stringent clauses for the conversion of ships to coastal/foreign and other issues are taken up by MANSA with concerned Authorities and offered sensible suggestions for facilitating and improving shipping trade.

As regards the proposed STP Act, MANSA has offered very prudent suggestions and the Secretary Shipping in the recent meeting of the Committee for Redressal of Grievances in the Ministry of Shipping held in May 2013 agreed with MANSA’s view and suggested to constitute a committee to modify the existing Act under Director General of shipping. The STP Bill can be achieved through a more refined MMTG Act. Shipping Lines are only one of the players. The requirement under the STP Bill is that every logistic provider should get registered by the Government. Such provisions aim to impose more Government control and also require setting up of Offices in almost every district of the country. The STP Bill therefore may create more problems than solutions. The Secretary therefore reaffirmed that the existing MMTG Act should be refined in such a way to take care of the problems of shippers, if any. Also with regard to TAMP, the Government of India in July 2013 issued a set of Guidelines called "Guidelines for determination of Tariff for projects at Major Ports. MANSA has offered very cogent, important and practical views for laying down the Guidelines and fixation of tariffs when invited by MoS. The salient features of the Guidelines laid down by MoS are as under:

1. The Guidelines for upfront tariff setting for PPP Projects at Major Port Trusts 2008 has been amended periodically.

2. There will be Notification of Reference Tariffs based on maximum tariff levied by the Terminal.

3. TAMP considers Performance Linked Tariff for PPP Operators and decides on the acceptance or rejection of the proposed tariffs by the operator.

4. Revenue share by PPP Operator will be paid to the respective Ports depending on the concessional agreement on the indexed reference tariff.

5. It was also provided spelling out Performance Linked Tariff for the Major Port Trust owned Berths.

6. TAMP shall also attend to Grievances Redressal of any User.

7. TAMP shall publish in its Website all the information received from PPP Operators and Major Port Trusts etc.

It is expected that these Guidelines may help deter the Ports to regulate their tariffs in Line with market rates and be more competitive.

MANSA has arranged for a second training program on 'Foundation Course on Shipping Logistics' which was well attended. Unfortunately, we could not continue the training program due to lack of response from our members.

I, along with my colleagues in the EC have been concerned over the lack of members' attendance and participation at many of MANSAs initiatives over the past year.

I am happy that MANSA has launched a new Website "www.mansaassociation.com" highlighting its activities; information relevant to shipping and other events. I am overwhelmed to see the enthusiasm and response of our Members and the trade fraternity to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of MANSA.

MANSA is on the verge of publishing its first News letter “WAVE” by the end of this month. We request whole hearted support from the members for this new venture of MANSA by giving important news, articles and events.

On behalf of the EC, I would like to place on record our sincere appreciation to all our Members, Associate Companies and other Partners for making our attempt to release the Souvenir a great success on the occasion of our 35thAnniversary.

MANSA is deeply touched and moved by the unfortunate calamity at Uttarakhand. The damage is huge and somewhat irreparable. I am sure MANSA members extended all their support and a helping hand to the victims.

Lastly, I regret to mention that Dr. C. P. Srivastava, founding Managing Director and Secretary-General Emeritus, International Maritime Organization, passed away in Genoa, Italy on 22nd July, 2013. On behalf of MANSA and all our Members I would like to convey my condolences to the family and place on record our deep gratitude towards his invaluable contributions to the Indian Shipping Industry.

The past 34 years have been an amazing journey for us. Be assured that MANSA will continue to strive towards excellence as has been done by our previous Executive Committees. We once again thank each and every one of you for your support and look forward to more support from each and every member to make this organization more visible and proactive to the benefit of all our Members.



I wish you all the best,


K. P. Unnikrishnan
President

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