Port should be a seamless enabler in production


October 2020
Port should be a seamless enabler in production

CP Jayakrishnan, Chief Executive Officer, Angré Port

Give our readers a brief on the Angré port about its history, ownership and capacities?
Angré Port is a part of Chowgule Group, a century old industrial conglomerate based out of Goa. The Group over the years has built diversified businesses across commodities, transportation, engineering and trading. In 2012, Chowgule Group ventured into ports with an aim to create a world-class infrastructure that will support the local businesses and boost India's trade.

Angré Port began operations in January 2019, and since then it has handled approximately 5,00,000 tonnes of various cargo across bulk, break bulk, liquid, and project cargo. The port is well-equipped to provide excellent marine, cargo, storage facilities, and several important in-house services to enable clients to enjoy single window, end to end service from the port till their factories. In H1FY2020, the port has managed to handle 2,41,000 MT of various cargo and is aiming for 4,00,000 MT cargo in H2FY2020 considering post COVID-19 forecasts. Currently, Angré Port's 300 acres of industrial backup land is being offered on competitive lease models to strategic businesses such as mega warehouses, port-based industries, logistics, tank terminals, and business parks.

Angré Port is the only private all-weather port in Maharashtra. Its strategic location offers natural break waters in the form of hills on three sides enabling tranquil waters even during the peak of the south west monsoon season. This distinction has helped Angré become the first all season private cruise port in India by hosting India's largest cruise vessel operated by Jalesh Cruises.

In terms of handling the cargo, what kind of arrangements it has got? How modern are the facilities?
Angré Port has built several capabilities that enable hassle-free movement and storage for all types of cargo. Since the commencement, the port has setup 5,00,000 square feet of open storage yards for receiving cargo; 2,00,000 square feet of covered warehousing space; and 1,00,000 square feet of paved open storage yards for handling sensitive cargo over extended periods of time. It has built over 32,000 kilo litre of liquid storage capacity. Under the USP of integrated logistics model, the port has moved 80,000 tonnes of cargo during the first year of operations, with the port taking end-to-end responsibility for movement of the cargo from origin to destination. These services include managing transportation, storage and cargo operations at third party ports, chartering of vessels for coastal cargo movement, and finally ensuring delivery or pickup within a guaranteed lead time of the required quantity to an operational client location, thereby eliminating client storage needs.

How information technology is used for handling the cargo?
Technology is changing the traditional way of operations in most industries, not just ports. With COVID-19, it has become crucial and important more than ever. At Angré Port, we have digitised the end-to-end workflow of cargo movement into and out of the port, thereby eliminating all internal paperwork associated with this process. This was accomplished with developing a cloud-based app, customised to our requirements. The Phase 2 of this digitisation is in progress, which involves synchronising the system with our weighbridges, boom barriers, etc. to eliminate any manual entries in the system to the extent possible, thereby improving user experience and data accuracy.

What types of goods you are handling at the port? What is the contribution of cement?
Port is capable of handling all types of cargo. However, it currently handles, bulk, break-bulk, steel and liquid cargoes. Port does not handle any finished cement products yet but is hopeful of the same in the future. Gypsum and Petcoke are the cement raw materials that the port handles regularly and contribute to around 40 per cent of port's cargo share.

How Angré Port is supporting India's largest cement companies? Which are the companies you are connected with? Are you handling only powdered cement or you also handle clinker? Do you handle gypsum, flyash or slag at the port?
Angré Port is proud to be a preferred logistics partner for all the cement factories in the Belgaum and Gulbarga belt. Angré Port has presented itself as an integrated logistics partner rather than a stand-alone port. For e.g. All cement companies which procure petcoke from Mengaluru, deals with Angré Port for management of the entire supply chain from Mengaluru to factory gate. Angré Port provides, first mile, port services, coastal movement and last mile.

What kind of integrated services you offer to cement companies?
Angré Port's integrated services form a unique model of engagement with the cement companies. Angré Port is the single point of contact to cement companies for inward movement of Petcoke. This is a successful case study where a port has gone beyond its usual scope and has become first and last mile transporter, coastal vessel charterer, cargo handling at both ends. AngréPort picks cargo on behalf of cement companies from the supplier and moves it by road-sea-road modes to door deliver it at plant. Angré Port has pioneered assured supply of critical raw materials, reduced emissions through coastal shipping and successfully reduced costs for cement plants through this novel venture.

What are the critical elements to ensure seamless functioning for cement supply chains?
Predictability and assurance of supply chain parameters and ensuring plant production requirements are met are vital for not just cement industry but for all industries. Having easy access to a port, where there is little or no congestion and port ensuring supply as a logistics partner should be the newfound model in supply chain management for large industries. There can be multifold benefits to a production facility if inventory carrying costs and logistics shouldn't be a concern, and if this can be outsourced to a port. Angré is already moving ahead with this new age thinking that port should be a seamless enabler in production rather than a passive link in the supply chain.

What is the outlook for the port in terms handling of cargo for cement companies?
As we see market situation improving and retail demand picking up post COVID-19, we are of the opinion that construction activity will pick up and cement production also will increase beyond pre-COVID levels. As is the case with most companies, we have seen that cement companies too have become more cost sensitive, more cautious with cash stuck in supply chains and inventory.

Angré Port is positioned to be a partner of choice to these cement companies willing to position themselves and take advantage of the renewed focus on upstream and downstream supply chains and costs. If stability, in terms of service and cost, become most important factors for businesses as learnt the hard way during COVID, then Angré Port could commit this to its clients through long-term assured service and cost agreements. The renewed outlook and approach to supply chains and cargo movement gives positive outlook to cement and other port related business in the region and Angré

Port is equipped to cater and support industries in its hinterland.

How is Angré Port managing its operations during COVID-19?
Like all other businesses, Angré Port too has been affected due to COVID-19. The nationwide restrictions imposed on the movement of manpower and goods during the lockdown hampered the smooth movement of cargo to and from the hinterland. We faced shortage of equipment operators and drivers as a sizeable percentage of the on-ground workforce were travelling back home.

Amid the worrying situation, we decided to take a step back and tap the opportunity to focus on the issues that are important for the long-term growth of the port. We enabled business continuity planning to optimize our fixed cost base to the tune of 40 per cent during the lockdown, with no effect on service levels to clients. The entire business development, procurement, accounting, and legal teams have been set up with the requisite collaboration tools to work from home across multiple geographies.

This has yielded success, to the extent that the company is looking to continue remote working as much as possible post lockdown. The downtime has even allowed the otherwise busy port staff to undergo online training, evaluate their effectiveness over the past year and define targets and objectives and key responsibilities for the coming season.

Angré Port has taken several robust measures to ensure safety of its employees and workers on the port premises. At the time when the pandemic broke out, we made necessary arrangements for the workers to stay within the port in a safer environment. The port took all the required measures to make sure the workers are protected and safe while they are working at the port. With the support of the workers, Angré Port was among the few ports that ensured continuity of essential supply chain amid the lockdown by handling 1,38,000 tonnes of different types of cargo since March 2020. As a commitment to the well-being of the workers, Angré Port organised buses for them to travel back home.

We continue to operate at a decent pace, largely handling the essential commodities and expect the cargo to pick up as the country unlocks itself in a phased manner.

Private Ports
India has 12 publicly-owned ports and about 200 minor ports dotting its 4,600 miles of coastline. Unlike terminals at major public ports, privately-built independent ports are free from complicated bureaucratic controls associated with pricing and investment. Looking ahead, the opening of Indian coastal markets to foreign-flagged vessels by lifting previous cabotage restrictions is likely to be another growth catalyst for non-major ports, given their structural advantages, according to industry observers.

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