3 A

Dear Friends and Colleagues, It is once again the time of year when India looks forward to the onset of the monsoons. We not only "warmly" welcome the cooling down of the weather but also the importance of the rain for our annual agriculture production. The meteorological reports are predicting that we will have a normal monsoon. This should guarantee our production of wheat, rice and pulses, which last year was almost 220 million tonnes. India’s GDP has shown continuous growth and with a good monsoon, we should be able to expect further growth of upwards of 7%. 

Last month saw another hike in the price of crude oil and coupled with that we saw a decline in the Indian rupee to Rs. 68.5 per US dollar. Thus, the price of petrol jumped to Rs. 85.81 per litre and diesel to Rs. 73.47 per litre. Diesel is an important fuel for the agriculture sector, for pumping water and for tractors, both of which are very important in farming. The impact of the price rises will also be felt for surface transport. Ship owners and ship operators too are beginning to feel the effect of increased bunker prices. One can only hope that this settles down soon and the price for crude stabilises at least, if not falls back down.

In the "Quarter Deck", we have consistently talked about nonperforming assets in the Indian banking sector. The first few cases have successfully been resolved, with Tata Steel winning the bid to take over Bhushan Steel and the Vedanta Group poised to take over Electro Steel. It is expected that two other larger cases –Essar Steel and Binani Cement – should see a resolution in the next couple of months. A few more of such successes and we could look forward to the banking and financial sector in India being in a position to strongly participate and enable the growth story of India.

On the regulatory front, the Govt. of India have issued a major relaxation of the cabotage regulation which is the section 407 subsection (3) (for those legally inclined) for coastal transportation of Exim containers and empty containers. This issue has been a long-standing matter with the major foreign shipping companies requesting the Govt. of India to permit the same. This relaxation is likely to result in some of the transhipment activity taking place in neighbouring foreign ports shifting to Indian ports.

One matter of general interest was the headline-grabbing announcement of the takeover of homegrown company Flipkart by Walmart for an enterprise valuation of US $20 billion. Whilst a lot has been written about this transaction and which is not my place to comment or elaborate on, one fact I would like to share that in terms of market capitalization Flipkart would be no 17th on the list of most valuable companies of India. This goes to show the value of tech in business today.

As an organisation, it is, therefore, a matter of great satisfaction for us that IBM has partnered with us to develop the blockchain and AI in the maritime and logistics field. We are only the 3rd company after Maersk and Mahindra Logistics to have such a partnership with IBM. But let us know that it is just the beginning, we have a long road ahead. 

Whilst there have been controversies galore about the proposed new refinery project of a consortium of Saudi Aramco, IOC, BPCL and HPCL, it does present an exciting development in the immediate future. As and when this refinery comes up we are looking at a refinery capacity of 60 million tonnes per annum and taking India's refining capacity to 307 million tonnes per annum. 

It is with a deep sense of satisfaction on behalf of our team J M BAXI Group and team ICTIPL that I share with you some interesting throughput numbers of our various terminals for period April 2017 to March 2018.

Throughput April 2017 - March 2018

VCT

388,289 TEUs

MICT

94,036 TEUs

DICT

85,299 TEUs

KICT

117,224 TEUs

HICT

156,690 TEUs

Boxtrans

89, 594 TEUs

 

Dear friends, colleagues, partners and principals we are on our way in the next few short months to be a million TEUs group. It's not the size of the dog but the fight in the dog that matters.

The best for the last, PICT Paradip is open for business. We handled our first ship DMC Jupiter on 30th May 2018. 

We built our facility 12 months ahead of schedule. My thanks and congratulations to the team project, team PICT, team J M BAXI GROUP and above all the management and personnel of the Paradip Port Trust, whose leadership and guidance was invaluable. We wish our PICT great success to be a valuable part and assistance to its clients and trade as it is for them and them alone that PICT and we exist. Not only do I extend a warm welcome to each and everyone of you, may I also request that you invite your principals and clients to visit Paradip. 

Till next time.  

Krishna B. Kotak  
Chairman - J M BAXI GROUP