The Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) organized an interactive session on “Exploring Reefer Potential of the Haldia Dock” on the 26th April 2019 at KoPT Guest House focussing on the Reefers segments. It was the first time ever that such event was conducted by KoPT in the presence of Shipping Line representatives, leading exporters of Marine Products from the eastern coast of the Haldia Docks as well as the importer of Fruits.

The event was chaired by Mr. Swapan Saharoy – General Manager Traffic of Haldia Dock Complex and Mr. Tapan Sengupta – Head Sales & Marketing of the Haldia International Container Terminal.

Some of the participating exporters and importers included Pasupati Aquatics Private Ltd., KNC Agro / Nezami Rekha, Chetna International, Bengal Traders, Essex Marine, and ZA Seafoods.

Representatives from various Shipping lines like CMA-CGM, APL, PIL/ ACL, YML, ZIM Line & ONE line graced the occasion. A. L. Logistics – Leading CFS operator too participated.

The event followed a comprehensive Q & A session to ensure sufficient time to each and every participant to share their views/ experience / concerns across the table.

Q. What is the importance of conducting the first ever Reefer Trade Meet?

Ans. HICT as part of J M Baxi Group wanted to bring all the important stakeholders such as Shipping lines, Logistics companies, Key exporters and Importers under a single platform.

Timing of the event was also to get shipping lines plan up their inventory line up of reefers at Haldia, direct interaction with key Exporters for upcoming reefer season.

Q. What are the new and upcoming improvements at the Haldia Dock Complex?

Ans. The overwhelming response received on last fiscal 2018- 19 changed the minds of our management to invest in building up reefer infrastructure at Haldia.

24 New reefer plug points (8 plugs x 3 units) is jointly invested by Haldia Dock Complex (KoPT) and HICT (backed by professional handling by HICT team). These reefer plug points are additional to existing plug points inside the docks area.

Q. What are some of the challenges faced at the Haldia Dock Complex?

Ans. Reefer Trade primarily depends upon regular inventory supplies of empty reefer containers along with prompt vessel sailings.

  • At Haldia, we have fixed window vessels towards Colombo which benefits largely customers focussing on Middle East/ Europe/Med/ USA trades and adds lot of certainty in terms of sailings from Haldia and arrivals at destinations ports.
  • Fixed window vessel towards Singapore/Port Klang will help the trade further looking for Far East/China /Japan Markets.
  • Shipping lines were urged to commence empty repositioning of 40ft reefers at Haldia itself which will avoid additional transportation cost of empty pick up at Kolkata and then tender the laden boxes to Haldia.

Q. How can one maximize the Shipments via Haldia?

  • Vessels with dual port calls i.e. calling Haldia after sailing from Kolkata could help exporters with additional 2-3 days’ time to gate in their exports and catch the same vessel onwards to Singapore/Port Klang.

    Above would assist Exporters to plan additional volumes in their peak season.
  • 24 hours x 7 days accessible dock system allows Exporters to plan more number of round trips resulting into better utilisation of trailers and reduction in transportation costs.

Q. What are the future of companies in Haldia?

  • Areas located at south of Haldia are poised to get more number of marine products processing plants increasing overall opportunities to participate in exports of Shrimps.
  • Maersk Line has been consistently keeping its reefer inventory at Haldia and plans to increase its engagement.
  • PIL shared about their regular vessels calling Haldia and will explore keeping inventory at Haldia.
  • ONE shared about the commencement of reefers through HICT with a good experience.
  • Lines like CMA-CGM, ZIM and others all have evinced interest to support reefer customers.
  • CFS operator A.L Logistics shared about their readiness to handle and support reefers business out of Haldia with reefer plug points at the facility and additionally has invested in trailers with attached Zen sets along with customs clearance.

Q. How has the experience been so far?

  • Mr. Rahim Ahmed-CEO KNC Agro informed that their company caters largely to USA market where transit time is a very critical factor.
  • HICT fixed day vessel sailings has helped them in reducing the transit times via Colombo reaching out to USA and European markets faster compared to earlier services.

Q. What was the feedback received at the end of the Trade Meet?

Mr. Saharoy concluded the event by sharing the following points :

  • FSSAI non-availability of their inspectors will be taken up.
  • Mandi Tax/Agri marketing Tax to be taken up with local authorities.
  • Joint marketing with HICT to each and every exporter located in the south of Haldia to reach out and appraise on existing facilities.

Mr. Tapan Sengupta shared the following :

  • We as HICT have competent staff with experience profile of working in bigger Ports/ terminals responsible for handling reefers which remain accessible across 24 hours.
  • Due to flexibility in the policy of HDC, Shipping lines could explore direct under hook loading to avoid prolonged exposure to variance in temperature without being plugged in(subject to 100% utilisation of Reefer plug points).
  • Since vessels calling HICT are bigger in size and thus, adequate operational reefer plug points are available on each and every vessels.
  • Shipping lines could scale up reefer operations without any apprehensions.
  • HICT marketing team shall share the contact list of exporters with shipping lines who are expected to assist with inventory support.

The Trade Meet was concluded with a vote of thanks by Mr. Swapan Saharoy followed by formal dinner.