Biz integration helped us post 100% growth: Chinta Sasidhar

Interview with managing director of Krishnapatnam Port Co

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Biz integration helped us post 100% growth: Chinta Sasidhar
Chinta Sasidhar, managing director of Krishnapatnam Port Co


Chinta Sasidhar, managing director of Krishnapatnam Port Co, speaks to Ateeq Shaikh on the company's plan vis-a-vis its role in the government's Sagarmala and Inland Waterways programme as well as excessive capacity available at the ports on India's eastern coast.

Major ports in India registered a growth of 6.79%, but Krishnapatnam Port Container Terminal (KPCT) has been looking at 100% increase in volumes...

Last year we clocked 100% growth and this year too we are looking at 100% increase. In fact, this year itself we have done 200,000 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) and have another seven months to go. We are looking at 450,000 TEUs or even 5,00,000 TEUs. We are looking at problems which we will face tomorrow, based on that we are planning. This 100% growth happened because we integrated the businesses. What we did was when we went to the hinterland, and approached customers to come to KPCT, they agreed and saw that there is no waiting or congestion, we gave our pricing, but transportation was an issue. Transporters never did this route and charged for either direction if they were hired for one way. So we started a trucking company and offered it at a lower price. Now the trucking company is doing Rs 200 crore turnover; within three years we have a fleet of 1,000 trucks that are owned and long-term hired. Due to lower transportation costs, customers are benefitting and I have got a new business. Trade too is happening easily, unlike other ports like Chennai where there is queue in kilometres or congestion. Further, we thought of door-to-door delivery. We are trying to catch on transparency so that each person in the supply chain is aware of movement and procurement of goods. As of now, there are lots of inefficiencies in the chain, each one trying to maximise profits at the cost of others, there are also delays, coordination issues. We are trying to remove these inefficiencies.

How will it be rolled out?

We have now started a new company called Ocean 2 Door. This concept is difficult to think if you don't have a port. Since I have a port, I can see the door on the either side of the port. I can see a liner coming and the slots booked, be it from Singapore, China, Vietnam. The point is that I know from where it is coming, from which factory or trader from India's hinterland. We have launched this company and already started the business around 3-4 months ago. Right now we are doing 200-300 containers and going ahead slowly. You are loading and unloading a container, there is a need to track empty containers. For this we need to work on a lot of data base, where all are the containers, where are these looping around, in which country, with which shipping line, etc. So, we are trying to do a lot of research in terms of this data. I have the technology to support it, but I need this data. The customer can check it online, there's an empty container lying here, so let's exchange. This will result in huge cost savings.

There are other terminals coming up on the eastern coast. Won't it result in an oversupply of terminals?

What is entire country's cargo? India with so much of a population and growth rate, how can the entire country's volumes not even equal to one port in China. Here, Colombo does Indian cargo. If we are efficient enough to bring in that cargo from Colombo, we are full. One of the reasons for dropping containers in Sri Lanka is issues related to efficiency and infrastructure here. Today, that is what we are showing up, that's why able to achieve 100% growth. Chennai port didn't lose its cargo, still, we got so much of volumes. Today, we are becoming a trans-shipment facility for Bangladesh. Even if 10 terminals come up on the eastern coast, you still have that much of a business. For Myanmar and Bangladesh, we are at strategic locations and political relations are getting stronger. If there's competition, how will I grow 100%. Had we or other ports not been three on the eastern coast, the major ports on the eastern coast would have been in deep stress getting along heavy costs.

If 100% growth continues for KPCT, do you have any capital expenditure plans in the years to come?

We are almost completing the second phase of our port plans. At present, we have a capacity of 75 million tonne, we are doing about 50. We still have excess capacity. We are looking at efficiencies as of today's technologies, that's where we are gaining a lot in capacity. That is why we got a little easy on capex, unlike others who have to put in a lot for expansion. We have extra two to three years to build an extra berth. The moment we touch 7,00,000 TEUs, we will start construction for the next phase.

Do you have any plans to be a part of cargo movement through Inland Waterways?

There's Buckingham Canal near to the port. This canal connects only ports, it's not required. This canal is very narrow too. You have sea there where you can take 2 lakh tonners anywhere, why take 600 tonne small barges. The canal or river should be perpendicular to the coast and not parallel. Suppose, if the canal goes to Hyderabad or Nagpur, then it is good and brings in cost efficiency.

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