3 A

Dear Friends and Colleagues, You may recall my sharing news and information in an earlier issue about our group company, Bliq, which imports and distributes beers and wines. It has been importing globally well- known brands, such as Tsingtao and Schneider Weisse, and more recently our own group brand, Thirsty, with its variants Happy and the soon to be launched Simona. And now Bliq has acquired Mumbai’s first micro- brewery, the Barking Deer, which is located in the historic mill area of Lower Parel. As you may be aware, Oktoberfest is a massive annual beer festival that takes place in Bavaria in late September to early October. Bliq is proud to present the Super Happy Oktoberfest, featuring many of our beers, at our new micro-brewery itself. It will run throughout October, a slight deviation from the original but perhaps better suited to our weather. Please do come with your friends and family! Bring this issue to the Barking Deer and receive a flat 20% discount on your food bill as well as a host of exciting offers on the beverages. You are also welcome to share your photo and comments with us, which we will print in our next issue of Tidings.

The much awaited and discussed GST has been rolled out and all the stakeholders and participants are occupied in getting used to it and implementing it appropriately. We thank all our principals, clients and partners for having been exemplary in making all this work. I would also like to thank every colleague in our group who got involved and stayed committed to implementing this new way of working. The implementation of GST has once again shown that India and the world are fast moving into a digital age and a digital transactional environment. Global leaders such as Maersk, Amazon and several others are developing sophistication and speed into their digital delivery programmes. We are all familiar with the often-repeated statement that logistics is a part of the supply chain for all manufacturers, producers and consumers. Therefore, we are a part of the “blockchain”. Our digital team have created Portall, a platform for the digital age. Our soft rollout has proven to be successful, regarding both the robustness of the architecture and the speed and capacity with which it operates. One of the unique parts of Portall is that it satisfies almost all the stated objectives of the Government of India: Digital India, ease of doing business, start-up India, made in India, and lower transaction and logistics costs in India. Let me say no more, please use it and then tell us.

The monsoons this year has been good, which is a great positive for the next six months of our financial year. As has been observed over the past several years, a good monsoon generally results in an increase of 1 to 2 percent growth in the GDP numbers. Automobile companies and farming equipment makers have been making many positive pronouncements. Furthermore, the last three months have also seen an increase in the rental and sale prices of properties. It, therefore, seems that the much-awaited turnaround may be beginning to happen. One of the areas that needs speeding up is the NPA (non-performing assets) of the banking sector. However, with the work already started, resolutions should lead to capital assets coming into production, thus adding to the GDP growth.

On the global shipping front, not only is consolidation taking place but also new orders for the 20,000+ TEU ships are being placed. The global trade numbers as yet do not show trends that can justify such confidence. However, we still see the top five lines pulling away from the rest of the shipping lines. On the tanker side, the last three months have seen a see-saw trend for ship rates as well as traffic movements. On the bulk carrier side, there was hardly any good news, as most major trade lanes remain muted. The oil and gas exploration sector remains anaemic. One of the path-breaking developments has been the induction of ethane carriers for Reliance Industries to carry ethane from the US to India. Once again Reliance Industries is an inspiration to Indian companies and a torchbearer of the growing path-breaking globalisation of Indian companies.

The year 2017 will see the addition of almost 30 percent container terminal capacity. All these facilities are world class, starting with Ennore, Kandla, JNPT and Paradip. Now the ships and cargo had better come.

One of the often-quoted objectives of all the stakeholders in the EXIM chain has been to reduce the high logistics and transaction costs. Our terminals are now considered as some of the most modern and productive, and the cargo handling charges are the most competitive. However, vessel-related charges regrettably remain some of the highest in the world. Even higher are the railway freight charges, which are the single highest part of the logistics chain. All the stakeholders look forward to when this is suitably addressed. Studies have shown and proven that a 50 percent reduction in rail freight charges should be doable.

The festive season is just around the corner. The festivals of Dussehra and Diwali both celebrate triumph, joy and light. I wish you and your family a Happy Diwali, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Krishna B. Kotak  
Chairman - J M BAXI GROUP