Mumbai:Mumbai headquartered Transworld group is expanding its operations in a major way by ordering four container ships costing $25 million each from Singapore’s military ship specialist manufacturer Singapore Technologies Marine Ltd.
“Each of these ships will have a capacity to carry 1,400 twenty foot size containers and will be delivered at six month intervals starting June 07. The total cost of this fleet acquisition is $100 million,” says V. Ramnarayan vice chairman and managing director of Transworld group of companies. To tide over the global shortage of shipbuilding capacities, Transworld group which controls amongst others container feeder shipping company Shreyas Shipping & Logistics Ltd has managed to get the Singapore firm to build and supply the ships in a short time frame to enable it to take advantage of the boom in India’s container trade.
Apart from Shreyas the Transworld group also has three overseas feeder shipping companies: Orient Express Lines Ltd Mauritius, Orient Express Lines Ltd Dubai and Orient Express Lines (S) Pte Ltd Singapore. According to Anil Devli, Executive Director, Shreyas Shipping & Logistics Ltd, the acquisition is fully funded through debt from State Bank of India. Out of the four container ships, one will be run by Shreyas while the other three will be run by Orient Express Line.
With imports and exports out of India, growing in double digit percentage every year, traders are increasingly moving to the international standard of shipping goods in steel containers which allow for proper packaging and protection of goods, while in transit.
According to a report by credit rating agency Credit Analysis & Research (CARE) 70% of India’s external trade by value is carried by ships. The report also says that 50% of the world’s container traffic of 417 million twenty foot equivalent size containers (TEUs) in 2006, is accounted for by Asia.
National Stock Exchange listed Shreyas in which the promoters hold 73.28% is planning to leverage this potential for intra Asia trade, to move cargo from container terminals in Chennai and Visakhapatnam to the major cargo ports in Asia which aggregate cargo from different places and ship it on worldwide. These major hub ports called as transshipment terminals include Colombo, Port Klang in Malaysia and Singapore amongst others. According to the CARE research report, all five of the top five container ports in the world are in Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen also in China and Busan in South Korea).
Six new container terminals are currently under development at various ports on the east and west coast of India. Dedicated container terminals help speed up the flow of loading and unloading of ships, as unlike bulk cargo where loading and unloading takes time, automated container handling equipment ensures ships spend minimum time waiting at ports to unload their cargo before embarking on a fresh voyage.