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13 Nov 2017

Exports to China surge 39% but trade deficit widens too

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"Exports to China surge 39% but trade deficit widens too India and China may have been engaged in a verbal duel over border disputes for the past few months, but the country’s exports to the neighbouring nation have surged 39 per cent during the first half of the current fiscal, amid indications that Beijing is more accommodating in addressing New Delhi’s long pending trade concerns. Latest data available with the commerce department showed that exports have grown faster than the pace of import expansion with India’s largest trading partner, although the trade deficit has widened given the massive shipments of electronics and pharmaceuticals from across the border. A large part of the export jump was driven by three sectors: iron ore, cotton yarn & ferro alloys, all raw material and inputs that feed into China’s manufacturing chain. But the government is looking to ensure that the best quality iron ore does not flow out of the country and only those with lower ferrous content gets loaded for ships that sail to Chinese ports, said sources. Sources said commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu has also flagged several issues with the Chinese authorities to push export of Indian goods, many of which face restrictions. The government is looking at easier rules for export of agricultural products, including non-basmati rice, identified as an item of significant potential and the issue is being flagged. Now, the government is planning to bridge the trade gap by checking imports. Prabhu is looking to set up a task force under commerce secretary Rita Teaotia to rationalise the trade deficit with a sector-specific strategy, sources said. While the government realises that it may not be possible to comp letely choke the flow of smartphones and other electronic items from China, it wants to put in place standards for a host of other products to ensure that the near unabated flow is stemmed. Given the high dependence of Indian pharmaceutical companies on raw material from China, the government is keen to initiate steps to get domestic players to claw back into the space. While this has been discussed for years, there has hardly been any movement on this front."

13 Nov 2017

Mumbai Port Trust kick-starts process to convert Sassoon dock into modern fishing harbour with urban contemporary art exhibition

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"…..Sassoon Dock to be the first shipping harbour to be modernized under Sagarmala Mumbai, November 13: Mumbai Port Trust has commenced its development plans for Sassoon dock with the inauguration of an urban contemporary art exhibition by St+art India Foundation and its 30 participating artists. “The art project at Sassoon Dock is the first phase of redeveloping the area into a modern fishing harbour by streamlining fishing activities replicating global practices. This initiative is part of the fourth pillar of the Sagarmala project to upgrade all fishing harbours across the country and modernise them. Sassoon Dock is the first step in this direction and will be developed over four phases that will lead to better sanitation and cleanliness along with promoting fish tourism and excursion. The master plan for redevelopment also includes air-conditioned fish market, creche & healthcare facility, open exhibition space and multi-cuisine restaurants,” said Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust. Sassoon dock with its historic legacy, is the oldest dock from where the port has evolved over the past 150 years. The port has been a standing testimony of the Mumbai’s evolution and this initiative of wall painting and murals and exhibiting the same is a step further in this direction. Speaking at the inauguration, Giulia Ambrogi, Festival Curator & Co-Founder, St+art India said, “Urban art can change spaces and activate important places in the city. A huge thanks to Asian Paints for believing in us and for always supporting us, JSW for spreading art across the country and Mumbai Port Trust for believing in us and giving us this space to create beautiful artworks by artists across the world.” With support from Asian Paints and association with Mumbai Port Trust, Singapore Tourism Board, Bonjour India, Institut Francais and JSW group, St+art Mumbai 2017 will mobilise artists to create murals, an experiential exhibition, performances, workshops, curated tours, screenings, talks and many more interventions, which will bring various creative communities together. The aim is to connect these areas of modern Mumbai, which seem so distant from one another, yet are part of a shared history and explore how integral these spaces have been to the cultural history and development of the city. The Sassoon Dock Art Project will be open from 11th November to 30th December 2017. Mumbai Port Trust: Playing a pivotal role in India’s economy, trade and commerce as the country’s premier port for several decades, Mumbai Port has long been the principal gateway to India. Even today, with the development of other ports, it caters to 10% of the country’s sea-borne trade handled by Major Ports of the country in terms of volume. Beyond trade and commerce, the port has always strived to maintain the ecological balance by opting for eWaste disposal, tree plantation, Botanical garden and Central Kitchen garden among others. St+art India Foundation St+art India Foundation is an organisation formed on the principle of ‘Art for All’ and works on art projects in public spaces. The aim of the foundation is to make art accessible to a wider audience by taking it out of the conventional gallery space and embedding it within the cities we live in - making art truly democratic and for everyone. Across the past 3 years, the foundation has organised 6 St+art festivals and numerous public art projects in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad creating iconic landmarks within all these cities. Each new edition of festivals and public art districts brings to civic spaces curated interventions, which are embedded in urban culture, and activate alternative spaces for art enabling people to reimagine how public spaces can be utilised. For the foundation, which has been responsible for making urban art a movement in India, public art interventions are a celebration of the street as a canvas for visual creativity."

13 Nov 2017

Vedam completes two ballast water treatment system projects.

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"Vedam recently completed two ballast water treatment system projects. First project consisted of feasibility study and equipment selection for two oil tankers. Length of the vessel were less than 100 m and they were involved in trade within European Ports. Therefore, the owner wanted the feasibility study done for only those equipment which had a good network of suppliers in and around Europe. In first step, review of vessel’s drawings were done. It was noted that vessel has very less spare power available during ballasting and de-ballasting process. Also, the vessel had ample space in engine room, pump room and poop deck for installation of the equipment. Therefore, the space was not a constraint. Based on Vedam’s proprietary database of BWTS equipments, 22 equipments were shortlisted. These 22 equipment were presented to owner and based on discussion with the client, 3 equipments were further shortlisted for the detailed feasibility study. For these 3 equipments, detailed level feasibility was conducted which included spatial feasibility, operational and maintenance requirements, electrical load check, envisaged modification, bill of material estimation and total costing for retrofit in a European Shipyard. Based on the data for these three equipment, owner has selected the most suitable equipment for their vessel and are negotiating with the makers for final cost and lead time. Second project consisted of Preliminary Design and cost estimation for installation of a UV based BWTS system. Owners had already selected the BWTS vendor and they were mainly interested in preliminary design for the installation of the system and budgetary cost estimate for installation of these systems in a shipyard in Far East. The vessels were all product tankers with submersible pumps. Our design team come up with an optimum design with minimal modifications and cost. The owners are now planning to go for installation of the equipment in next few years. Kudos to Vedam’s team for completing such unique and challenging projects on time."

10 Nov 2017

"Indian Register of Shipping hosts a Customer Meet in Thailand"

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"Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass), leading classification society, hosted a customer meeting in Bangkok, Thailand as part of its efforts to increase its commitment to the Southeast Asia region. The meet was well-attended by locally-based ship owners and senior representatives from Thai Administration. At the meeting, IRClass gave a presentation on its recent developments and revealed that it was in the process of setting up an office in Manila, Philippines. It also shared news on major areas of research activities such as hydrodynamics, ship and offshore structure, and vibration and noise, among others. Managing Director of IRClass, Mr. Suresh Sinha said today: “We gained authorisation as a Recognised Organisation (RO) from Thailand earlier this year, and this meet with the ship owners in Bangkok was vital in further consolidating our presence in Thailand.” He added: “It is important for IRClass to be in active conversations with the maritime fraternity in Asia, in order to provide better tailored services and training courses.” Commenting on IRClass’ plans for the ASEAN region, he said: “We announced our plans to boost presence in the ASEAN region at the Sea Asia 2017 event in April this year, and with offices established in Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Malaysia, we are looking to further expand our footprint with new offices in the region, as well as obtaining RO status from key ASEAN countries.”"

09 Nov 2017

"Major Ports register positive growth of 3.27% during April-October, 2017 "

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"The Minister for Shipping, Road Transport & Highways and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari reviewed the work of all ports in Goa this week. He interacted with stakeholders including PPP operators, port users and other private sector service providers. In his address Shri Gadkari said that as per the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Blue Economy is proving to be a catalyst in India's progress and the performance of ports is a clear pointer towards the same. The review meeting was aimed at serving the industry needs in a better way, identifying issues holding up new projects and understanding ways to improve efficiency. The meeting provided a platform to all officials and stakeholders to communicate with each other and with the Ministry of Shipping, breaking the conventional tight silo - bound approach and expediting decision making processes. Promoting coastal shipping and improving port infrastructure are high up on the Ministry’s agenda. The Minister recently flagged off consignments of trucks to Bangladesh from Chennai and Steel from Vizag. Overall traffic growth at Major Ports The major ports in India have recorded a growth of 3.27% during the period April to September, 2017 and together handled 383 Million Tonnes of cargo as against 371 Million Tonnes handled during the corresponding period of previous year. The Eight Ports i.e. Kolkata, Paradip, Chennai, Cochin, New Mangalore, Mumbai, JNPT and Kandla registered positive growth in traffic during the period April to October, 2017. Cargo traffic handled at Major Ports: The highest growth was registered by Cochin Port (17.66%), followed by Kolkata [incl. Haldia], New Mangalore, Paradip with growth of about 12%. The Cochin Port growth was mainly due to increase in traffic of POL (24.56%) and Containers (11.12%). In Kolkata Port, overall growth was positive i.e. 12.39%. Kolkata Dock System (KDS) registered traffic growth of 3.80%. Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) registered positive growth of 16.66%. During the period April to September 2017, Kandla Port handled the highest volume of traffic i.e. 63.13 Million tonnes (16.49% share), followed by Paradip with 55.78 Million Tonnes (14.57% share), JNPT with 37.90 Million Tonnes (9.90% share), Mumbai with 36.72 Million Tonnes (9.59% share), and Visakhapatnam with 35.74 Million Tonnes (9.33% share). Together, these five ports handled around 60% of Major Port Traffic. Commodity wise Share % in Traffic in October 2017 Commodity-wise percentage share of POL was maximum i.e. 34.07%, followed by Container (20.01%), Thermal & Steam Coal (12.81%), Other Misc. Cargo (12.24%), Coking & Other Coal (7.57%), Iron Ore & Pellets (6.61%), Other Liquid (4.30%), Finished Fertilizer (1.29%) and FRM (1.10%)."

08 Nov 2017

Shipping lines anxious over declining draught levels at Mumbai port

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"Shipping lines have expressed their apprehensions over calling at Mumbai port following reduced draught levels making their position vulnerable while berthing. In a letter addressed to chairman of Mumbai Port, Mumbai and Nhava Sheva Ship Agents Association has pointed out the decline in draught levels would lead to bunching of deep draught vessels increasing their turn around and waiting time at berth. As per the data shared in the letter, the draught levels have dropped to as low as 5.3 metres at some berths compared to the minimum desired levels of 9.1 metres. “It is understood that Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) have been awarded the contract but are unable to meet the target. As per information, DCI are inadequately equipped resulting in large quantities of silt remained in the sea bed creating patches. The flaw in dredging is attributable to utilization of inappropriate dredgers,” said the letter. The issue pertains to the berths inside and outside at harbor wall, BPS/BPX as well as Indira Dock Channels where draught levels have fallen much below desired levels. MANSA: Established in 1977, Mumbai and Nhava-Sheva Ship-Agents Association – (MANSA) gives a powerful voice to the grievance of ship agents and address their issues to enhance working and business environment besides good relationships with the port authorities and port administration."

08 Nov 2017

Month after 'relief', exporters still feel pinch of GST

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"The government's move to simplify the GST regime for exporters has not had the desired impact due to glitches in the process being implemented for merchant exporters. Several exporters are also complaining of continued difficulty in getting refunds and credits under the new regime, which has made life tougher. A month ago, the GST Council had decided to allow merchant exporters to pay a nominal GST of 0.1 per cent for procuring goods from domestic suppliers for export. But the rules finalised by the Central Board of Excise & Customs are seen to be so cumbersome that it has not benefited these exporters, who complain that their entire margin is wiped out if they pay the product-specific GST. Government officials pointed out that merchant exporters, who source goods for manufacturers and export them, have been mandated to use only registered warehouses something that business is finding it tough to meet. Similarly, the rules require an exporter to share details of a buyer along with the price at which it has been exported. ""This is something that no businessman will share as it is commercially sensitive information,"" explained an officer. While officers from revenue and commerce departments have met on this issue, CBEC has failed to address the concerns. Officers met again on Tuesday to find a solution with a revised notification expected soon. A sources said that move is afoot to put in place a mechanism that the buyer's name and the price is not visible to the manufacturer as the shipping bill has to be shared by the exporter to claim benefit. The finance and commerce ministries are also working out the details of how the duty drawback scheme is reworked to ensure that taxes are reimbursed to exporters. While a political clearance has been received, details are being worked out."

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