NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
official media partner of national maritime foundation
By Sea and Coast | 15/09/2020

1) Tell us about your journey in Logistics & Maritime Industry so far.

My first job after passing out from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) was in a group company of Siemens, where I used to lead the Export-Import Logistics & Supply Chain function and was working with them from 1992 - 2006. After that, I joined the biggest Steel Conglomerate Arcelormittal as a supply chain manager based at one of the biggest steel plants in the world in Ukraine in 2006.

I was elevated to the post CEO for Logistics & Port Services in 2011, which I held for 4 years. After that, I moved to the Middle East in Qatar Steel as Head of Shipping & Logistics in 2015. I then ventured to a new domain of Project Management Consultancy as a Project Consultant for one of the Largest greenfield project of city in Sultanate of Oman. Currently working as Senior Project Manager for Envision Enterprise Solutions America Inc. in one of Govt. of India projects for digitization of Port Logistics Services.

Afternoons are spent in Meeting with senior Management appraising about the ground-level situation and with external stakeholders. The evenings are spent attending to all the non-emergency/urgent things that you just couldn't take care of until now and set up your next morning's work. I usually leave my office around 8 pm.

2) What do you think about life in Logistics Management and how did you get into this field ?

If you love Long work hours, late evenings, and work on weekends, then you are the Logistics guy. There is immense pressure on Logistics & Supply Chains managers to succeed as their individual success has a direct bearing on the organization's success. My entering into Logistics & Supply Chain Management was accidental. After passing out from B-School, I was working with Sales & marketing department as a Management Trainee.

When one day, I was informed that to take up a place in Logistics & Supply Chain department which had become vacant due to a a vacancy created by the resignation of a worker and thus it started my journey in the world of Logistics & Supply Chain management. My typical day begins with a morning meeting with my department followed by going on rounds to various  assets to ensure seamless Logistics & Supply Chains.

Afternoons are spent in Meeting with senior Management appraising about the ground-level situation and with external stakeholders. The evenings are spent attending to all the non-emergency/urgent things that you just couldn't take care of until now and set up your next morning's work. I usually leave my office around 8 pm.

3) What do you get from  Logistics/Supply Chain Management that you couldnot  get from any other kind of work ? 

Logistics Project Managers have a wide variety of job duties that they are expected to fulfill every day. The person in this job must be flexible with their hours and availability, and their ability to tolerate change, a stressful work atmosphere, and a fast pace. For people who enjoy this type of atmosphere, they may aspire to become a Logistics Project Manager down the road. For the right person, holding a position of a Logistics Project Manager can be a challenging yet rewarding career full of constant change and challenge.

This diversity is particularly driven by the cross-functional nature of the job: Supply chain managers interact with many departments and people within and across the firm. Somebody has aptly defined Operation Manager is like a decathlete-the king of athletes. In my 26+ years, I have never faced a single day in the office where my day went off as I had planned. This sheer unpredictable nature of work and the excitement to resolve the daily firefighting issues distinguishes Mana Logistics/Supply Chain Management with other kinds of work.

What is your most memorable Experience about your work life ?

My most memorable experience was when I took over a Company as CEO when the company was in the stages of bankruptcy. I was given a mandate by the board of Directors to resurrect the organization in a year. For the first three months, it was the most challenging period of my life as I struggled to find ways and means to keep the company on the right tracks. 

But then, due to some "out of the Box" thinking, and re-organizing the entire Operations management team I was able to turn around the company by posting a stupendous growth of 152% on a Year on Year basis thereby being awarded two prestigious awards : Golden Ton & Best Productive Terminal Award” by Ministry of Infrastructure, Ukraine.

4) What is Blockchain Technology and how did you get involved with this Technology ?

About 3-4 years back one of my friend invited me for a seminar on “Blockchain” which was being held in my city. I went  out of inquisitiveness but was completely blown away by the technology .

I realized few things ..

1) Blockchain was as early as the Internet in the 90’s but it could be as big..

2) it wasn’t the use case of e-commerce /social media/email.. which are the use cases of Internet rather it was as fundamental and parallel to the Internet.

3)It sounded very simple but was very complex  to understand

4) It has the potential to change our lives in the next 20 years as Internet has changed our lives in the last 20.

5) Blockchain was not spelt as BITCOIN.

For who donot know Block chain it is a distributed data base that is being stored between all the people that is part of the blockchain and the data is not stored in traditional data base, it is stored in blocks and these blocks are chained together using cyrtography.If all of these sounds complicated just think of a ledger that is highly encrypted.

When we usually talk of block chain we usually talk about bitcoins , that is fine .. butbitcoin is not the only use case of Block chain rather than because of Bitcoin lot of other industries are being disrupted because of the technology it uses.


5) How Blockchain Can Revolutionize the Maritime Industry ?

Despite seemingly constant technological advancements impacting just about every industry imaginable, the shipping industry still relies heavily on traditional processes. In the modern world, many of these processes are downright archaic and fail to sufficiently meet the needs of the companies involved in the supply chain. Most shipping transactions numerous documents, including charter party agreements, sales contracts, bills of lading, letters of credit, port documents, etc. They pass through several hands as cargo makes its way from its point of origin to its final destination, and keeping track of all that paperwork can be quite difficult. The procedure is extremely time-consuming, and vessels commonly arrive at discharge ports prior to the arrival of certain important documents.

In an effort to simplify the current inefficient procedures, the shipping industry has taken some inspiration from a surprising source: bitcoin. Bitcoin was the first digital currency and payment system that revolutionized the financial market. A technology known as “Blockchain” is a fundamental component of how the bitcoin payment system works, and it has the potential to revolutionize the shipping industry.

Eliminate Paperwork

One of the most promising aspect of blockchain for the shipping industry is its potential ability to  make paperwork a thing of the past. Going paperless would improve efficiency while making it easier for everyone involved in the transaction to access the necessary information. Buyers and sellers of cargo, charterers, banks, ship owners, port authorities, customs agents, and other parties with access to private and public keys could interact with each other, store and exchange information, complete transactions, securely exchange payments and more without need to worry about keeping track of stacks of paperwork.

Smart Contracts

In addition to its use as a public ledger, blockchain could also bring “smart contracts” to the shipping industry. Smart contracts are a type of contract that exists in the form of a computer program. The program runs and is self-executed in blockchain and automatically implements the terms and conditions of any existing agreement between the involved parties.

Charter-party and bill of lading terms and conditions are a standard part of the program, and they cannot be modified by the parties involved in the contract. This allows the charterer or the owner to negotiate the price or the cargo directly within the blockchain network.

The current time for sharing bill of lading can be brought down from 10 days to 20 seconds, and issuance of letter of credit can be brought down to 4 hours from seven to ten days.9 Single version of these digital trade documents are also made available to logistics partners, BCOs, shippers, brokers and custom authorities connected through Blockchain. These are bound to reduce gate- in and gate-out times at ports, as waiting on paper-based artifacts and extended verification process can be eliminated. Eventually, we see faster delivery of shipments and translating to annual savings to the tune of $4 billion.

Prior to the use of blockchain, this type of smart contract was not possible because the parties in the agreement would have needed to maintain separate databases. A shared database that runs blockchain protocols causes smart contracts to execute automatically, and all involved parties validate the document instantly.

Faster Processing Times and Real-Time Updates

Mailing paperwork from one place to another takes time. Exchanging important information using blockchain, however, is instantaneous. Procedures that currently take weeks to complete by mail can be completed in a matter of just a few minutes. Blockchain’s software code also allows for the automation of tasks that are typically handled manually. This automation helps provide real-time updates to the parties who have access to the ledger.

Complete Transparency

When using blockchain, all information is stored in a location that may be viewed by anyone with the necessary access key. This ensures full transparency to all participants. It also makes it easier to perform counter-party risk evaluations since everyone has access to all of the transactions previously performed by every party.

This improved transparency also improves visibility. Blockchain provides an effective means for connecting customers, carriers, orders, and payments in real-time. This makes it much easier for everyone from the supplier to the end consumer to track where their shipment is and when it should arrive. The transparency of the blockchain software eliminates the need to rely on phone calls, emails, etc. for status updates.

Increased Security

Despite your best efforts, documents transported by mail are prone to security breaches. It is easy for them to fall into the wrong hands, and in certain situations, this can be extremely dangerous. With blockchain, all of the information is encrypted, which adds a strong layer of security. In addition, the system prevents users from interfering with it or changing the information stored in blockchains. This protects the market from document manipulations and fraudulent activity.

The use of blockchain also has the potential to prevent fraud. With blockchain, the possession of a shipment or package – be it a shipping  drum or corrugated box— is tracked at each step. When coupled with auto-identification verification technology, blockchain can help eliminate any questions regarding the chain of custody.

Cost Reduction

Much of the expense associated with the shipping industry is related to documentation. In addition to the cost of sending paperwork from one location to the next, there is always the risk of loss or damaged paperwork. There can also be errors or discrepancies that cost shipping partners money or result in procedural delays. Blockchain eliminates the need for physical documentation and can drastically reduce this particular expense for businesses in the shipping industry. Experts estimate that the cost savings could be visible on companies’ financial statements within as little as two years after implementing blockchain technology for their processes.

Because blockchain technology provides information that allows shippers, customers, etc. to track the location of shipments, it may also help save money by preventing loss, theft, and damage to products while in transit.

Streamlined Data Exchange

As cargo makes it way through the supply chain from its point of origin to its ultimate destination, it leaves behind a trail of hard copy and electronic documents. Each document serves its own financial, legal, or regulatory purpose, but the way it is currently shared is not efficient. Blockchain technology allows all of this data to be transmitted in a regulated and secure manner. It will be available from the blockchain in the context that each trading partner requires, thus eliminating filing, conflicting integration standards, and other issues.

Improved Cargo Carrier Compliance

The shipping and cargo industry was once highly regulated and developed strict standards for EDI, rating, and documentation. Now the industry is more well known for its lack of standards. This makes it difficult for new carriers and shipping companies to break into the market because it requires proprietary integration with various systems to automate ratings, tracking, and manifesting.

E-commerce is now driving the demand for faster new delivery methods, including same-day couriers. The market is more than ready for big changes in the shipping industry, and blockchain could provide the new technology standard needed to reduce complexity while improving compliance and the integrity of shipping transactions.

Improved Delivery Quality

Once in a while, shipments are damaged or lost while in transit. When this happens, it can have a major impact on how customers perceive the shipping company. Blockchain has the potential to provide better asset management for customers by allowing them to see exactly where their cargo is at all times.

Shipping customers may review company transactions and blockchain information to view the certificate of origin from the manufacturer to ensure that quality materials were used in the production of the products. They can also review documentation from the distributor to see events in the logistics chain. Blockchain information can also be used to determine where the supply chain process failed in the event of a problem.

This digital technology allows customers to hold shipping companies liable for damaged or missing products. It also makes it easier for customers to make more informed decisions regarding their supply chains to ensure improved delivery quality and maximum efficiency.

While the technology is new and widespread implementation has not occurred in the shipping industry year, blockchain has the potential to completely revolutionize the shipping industry. It has the power to eliminate paperwork to improve efficiency and cut costs. It also improves transparency and makes it easier for all parties involved in the supply chain to communicate and view important information.

The current systems used by the shipping industry are largely antiquated and are not sufficient for the needs of today’s global economy. Blockchain software, however, could breathe new life into the system and make it much easier for businesses involved in all aspects of the supply chain.

6) What do you think will be the main trends  of the logistics  Industry post Covid 19?

As disruption becomes the new normal in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, leveraging the potential of technology and digitalization will be central to driving the growth of the logistics sector. Supply chains will need to upscale their functionalities with the integration of digital tools. Implementation of new-age technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) will play a key role in forming technologically advanced business models.

AI is playing a pivotal role in reshaping the functional dynamics of the logistics industry. Changes brought about by the emergence of empowering mobile technologies like AI is anticipated to be felt in terms of improved business perspective and enhanced consumer engagement.  The power of Big Data is helping in forecasting accurate future outlooks, optimizing performance efficiencies and improving decision-making capabilities. The implementation of AI can facilitate the setting up of a robust route optimization system for channelizing cargo movements through the most speed-efficient routes. Integration of AI into operational processes can lead to supply chain transparency and lead to lower transportation costs.

Introduction of automated processes through AI and machine learning can boost the speed of warehousing activities and incorporate system management and control in the warehousing management system. Any talk of AI is incomplete without the mention of robotics which is embedded with deep learning algorithms. Robots help in streamlining operations and performing routine warehousing tasks like keeping a track of inventory, locating and moving it across the warehouse.

7) Who inspires you the most ?

Elon Musk

8) Any books or quote you want to share to inspire others ?

My Favourite Book- Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

I sum up my attitude in life by the following sentence: "If I'm in a conference room and the video is not working, I'm not the sort to simply call IT and wait. I'll also (gracefully) crawl under the table and check that everything is Plugged in."

9) What piece of advice you like to give to future Logistics& Supply Chain leaders to get success in life ?

Logistics/Supply chain are Operational roles. People in operations roles act as multipliers, aiming to enable those in the organization to maximize their productivity. They oversee the functions crucial to every top-performing organization, such as management, overseeing budgets, helping to hire and train new staff, and so on. Great operations people are "systems builders" — they create and manage repeatable processes that keep the organization functioning at a high level.

This means they require significant creativity, self-direction and social skills, as well as conscientiousness. I think Supply Chain Management is going to be the key to Industrial success in the coming years as I feel the Supply Chain guy is the one who is running the entire show by planning, managing and overseeing the flow of an event in an organization so that people can execute smoothly without confusion and being lost. With the advent of E-Commerce coming in a big way, Supply Chain/Logistics management can be the determining factor for success.