INTERNATIONAL EVENTS. Transport and Logistics Exhibition in Mumbai: a Glance at the Indian Market


On 23-24 January Mumbai, the Indian capital of business, formerly known as Bombay, featuring an exhibition centre of the same name, hosted the international transport logistic India exhibition. The exhibition, regarded as the largest and most important transport and logistics event in India, was held for already the 10th time. The event, organised by EXIM India’s CTL & BHP every two years, is gaining increasing importance in this market. That is also thanks to the cooperation with Messe München, one of the world’s largest event organisers, which has enabled all interested companies to find out more about the Indian market and maintain their existing or make new connections by participating at the exhibition under the world-known transport logistic format for the second time.

Raising interest with infrastructural changes

The reasons to explore the sub-continent’s development deeper are numerous: the Indian government has recently decided to make large investments into the country’s infrastructure in order to improve the logistics processes within the country. In 2017–2018 the government has budgeted 14 billion dollars, which was used for upgrading 14 000 km of roads.

India also has the fourth largest railway in the world and can use 15 500 km of waterways for transport purposes. The decision to create the so-called dedicated freight corridors was made already back in 2014–2015. Its purpose was to connect container transport on the north-west and north-east routes, as well as to increase the speed of trains by up to three times (from the average of 25 km/h to 70 km/h). However, experts believe that the greatest potential lies with the waterways. “Based on calculations, the development of internal waterways creates up to 600 million dollars of investment opportunities.”

“The latest developments in the infrastructure sector, standardisation of the tax system, digitalisation and rapidly developing e-commerce have opened the Indian market to numerous foreign companies. Our transport logistic India format is convenient both for companies that are already experienced in India and potential market entrants.” said Gerhard Gerritzen, member of the management team at Messe München GmbH.

This makes the organisers of the event in India particularly satisfied – they pointed out that the exhibition was attended by almost 100 exhibitors and 4 200 visitors, while the conference, which discussed the tendencies, challenges, future perspectives and visions of the Indian transport and logistics, was participated by 500 delegates and 50 presenters – highly-qualified professionals. They discussed the tendencies of long-distance and coastal shipping development, Break Bulk and heavy-load cargo transport, increasing trade with Afghanistan and the CIS countries, shared the best practice and experience in building integrity.

The event that is organised once in two years, is participated by the major decision-makers and leaders of numerous Indian and foreign industrial sectors, representatives of port administrations, terminal operators, shipping lines and agents, freight forwarders, cargo senders and receivers, developers of transport policy and other participants of cargo flows.

Both at the exhibition and the conference Indian transport and logistics were represented by leaders and presidents of associations and large companies, as well as the Indian Ministry of Transport. The event was also attended by Birgit Fassbender, Ministry of German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Michael Kuckenbecker, Head of the Logistics Alliance Germany, Katharina Rahn, Associate Director of the Logistics Alliance Germany, Kaspars Ozolins, State Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Transport, as well as Edvins Berzins, Chairman of the Latvian Railways.
The most active participant of the exhibition was COSCO Shipping, the largest Chinese shipping company and one of the largest dry bulk cargo shipping operators in the world, Sarjak, the Indian container shipping leader, also such shipping companies as Gujarat Maritime Board, My Shipping and Logistics, Ahura Shipping & Logistics, Opal Asia, MPRS, Express Global Logistics, East & India, Rickmers-Line GmbH & Co, as well as Jeena, Mumbai-based company, proud of its history dating back to 1900 and engaged in all kinds of activity, etc.

At the exhibition, which mainly introduced Asian transport and logistics, Europe was represented by German and Latvian expositions. These countries have been exceptionally active in participating at other transport and logistics fairs in Europe and Asia.

Being in the right place at the right time

JŪRA MOPE SEA international business magazine goes step in step with its major partner – transport and logistics business. The fact that the Indian market (which already plays a rather significant role in the One Belt, One Road project, initiated by China) is attractive to business in Europe and the rest of the world is illustrated by the coming of Messe München. The well-known exhibition company, attracting huge business-minded audiences in Germany, China and Turkey is a kind of a signpost, offering to take a serious look at the Indian market. Noticing that the Lithuanian neighbour Latvia has been making inquiries into this market, we understood that the recent reconnaissance of the magazine was, as it seems, an example of being in the right place at the right time.

However, this was not the first time the magazine has been exploring India. Several years ago we visited Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, one of the 29 states of India, and got to know its port activity. The visit at Mumbai, the capital of the state of Maharashtra, which is the largest city of India and one of largest cities of the world, featuring more than 22 million of citizens, was different. It could be compared to the experience in Shanghai, the Chinese capital of business, which has been recently counting the population of probably already more than 25 million citizens.

Both ports are important global shipping points, as well as significant centres for developing the One Belt, One Road initiative of the New Silk Road project.

What make these cities similar are the huge flows of people, continuous movement and bustle, as well as the fact that they both are megapolises.

As soon as you leave the plane in Shanghai, you enter a very well-organised distribution system. Just follow the directions and the fast flow will quickly take you to the seamless transport system. The fastest way is to get on the fast Maglev train, which reaches the speed of 300–400 km/h and will take you to the city’s metro line centre in a dozen of minutes. From there it will be easy to reach any part of Shanghai’s metro network. Saying that Shanghai’s metro network is one of the most well-organised metro systems in the world wouldn’t be an overstatement.

What about Mumbai? First of all, the beautiful and even luxurious airport. However, the elevated spirits are soon brought down by spending more than four hours at the border control together with several hundred of passengers using electronic visas, moving at the pace of a tortoise. It would really break all records of spending time at the border control.

The most popular way of getting to the city from Chhatrapati Shivaji airport is by taxi. There are many to choose from and the prices are rather cheap. The fare to the centre of Mumbai is less than 1 000 rupees. Travelling at night it will take about an hour. In day time the five or six-lane highways are full of all kinds of transport, such as heavy colourful trucks, luxurious jeeps, old taxis, rickshaws, motorcycle riders wearing no helmets with their ladies beautiful as flowers in their colourful saris, sitting sideways behind their backs, all relaxed and graceful, also sellers, offering newspapers, fruit, flags, flowers and other things, as well as beggars young and old, somehow moving between those lanes like small fish, and even an occasional cow. All that might extend the journey to three hours and even more. Logistics is helpless here – the major transport artery, connecting the old Mumbai (locals prefer calling it Bombay), the new Mumbai and other routes, is incredibly overcrowded.

In 2006 the government approved the project for Mumbai’s metro construction in order to reduce traffic flows and take some of the load off the suburban railway. The construction began in 2008, the first successful test ride was conducted in 2013 and the first metro line was launched in summer of 2014. The project should be completed by 2025. The metro system will consist of 8 railway lines with the total length of 235 kilometres, 24 per cent of the lines being under the ground. The passengers will be serviced by 200 stations (according to some sources these figures differ).

SagarMala – a revolutionary project for the Indian shipping and port sector

Company representatives interviewed at the exhibition stated that the Indian transport system is mostly focused on shipping and the port sector. This was pointed out by the often-quoted Indian Minister of Transport, emphasizing the fact that the Indian government is doing everything they can to promote the port sector. “SagarMala project will bring a revolution to the sector, creating opportunities for Indian citizens to turn India into the centre of the global marine trade region.

The port sector is a vibrant energy, which fuels any large city or prospering country. Ports are what make cities successful. It is necessary to not only strengthen, but also develop and modernise the port infrastructure, connecting it to the railway and warehousing system,” said Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India.

The SagarMala project, which includes the development of ports, coastal infrastructure, inland waterways and fishing, as well as the promotion of special economic zones and tourism, aims to focus on the blue economy. That is the strategic initiative of the Indian government, which is planned for the next two decades, will involve 130 billion US dollars and feature 415 innovative ideas and projects, including the establishment of maritime university, the construction of 6 new mega ports, modernisation of several dozens of the country’s ports, establishment of a dozen of coastal economic zones and several dozens of other coastal economic units, development of mines, industrial corridors, as well as optimisation of railway, road and airport connection with water ports.

SagarMala project was announced on 14 April 2016. The aim of the project is to modernise the Indian ports in order to continue their expansion and the development of coastal zones, which would contribute to the prosperity of the entire country. The current ports should be also reorganised into modern high-class ports, connecting to the system of industrial clusters, railways, inland waterways and coastal waterways, in order to turn the ports in the country’s economic engine. The goal is to unite the Indian states for the common purpose, increasing the importance of the inland waterways and reducing the gap between the megapolises and the country’s more distant regions.

According to the World Bank, Indian logistics constitutes 19 per cent of the country’s GDP, which is one of the highest indices in the world, compared to just China, where logistics constitutes 12.5 per cent. Based on the data of the Indian government, shipping is 60–80 per cent cheaper, compared to other types of transport, such as road or railway transport. The implementers of the SagarMala project are convinced that the access to the coastal and inland water shipping development will be competitive and useful to the country’s economy.

It should be noted, however, that this grand plan has its own critics, thinking that the particularly active industrialisation of the coastal areas could harm the fragile balance between nature and the social habits of people living there.

Information from JŪRA MOPE SEA.



The magazine SEA has been published since 1935
International business magazine JŪRA MOPE SEA has been published since 1999
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The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
International business magazine JŪRA MOPE SEA has been
published since 1999.

ISSN 1392-7825

2017 ©