The Port of Amsterdam (in the Netherlands) and the Samsara Group, a leader in maritime related services, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which the latter will promote and market the port in India, according to Exim News Service.
The relevant documents appointing Samsara Group as the port’s representative in India were inked and exchanged here on Monday (March 26) by Ms Dertje Meijer, President and CEO of the Port of Amsterdam, and Mr Mukesh Oza, Group President and CEO, Samsara Group, in the presence of Mr L. Radhakrishnan, Chairman of JNPT, Mr Eberhard van der Laan, Mayor of Amsterdam, representatives from the trade, and members of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area delegation visiting the country, among others.
The delegation comprises representatives from, besides the maritime sector, arts, culture, education and business.
The signing ceremony followed a round table debate on ports and logistics, having the theme ‘Mumbai and Amsterdam: Strategic Metropolitan Service Hubs’, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and conducted in his own inimitable style by Mr M. P. Pinto, former Secretary, Ministry of Shipping.
Participating in the debate, Mr Oza highlighted that Amsterdam was the right gateway for Indian exporters of a variety of products like automobiles, petroleum products, etc. and added that the port’s huge logistics and storage facilities allow Indian companies to set up operations for value addition and distribution to a vast hinterland.
He stressed that that idea was to promote business between the two countries, regions and cities.
The debate saw members of the delegation highlight the salient features of Amsterdam port, including its multi-cargo handling capability, infrastructure, logistics and business areas, well developed multimodal connectivity (road, rail, waterway), Customs and tax facilitation, future expansion plans through sustainable development, etc. It was pointed out that the port has regular connectivity from nearby facilities like Rotterdam and Antwerp ports, from where cargo could be barged to Amsterdam for value addition and further movement to an extended hinterland.
Mr L. Radhakrishnan, who also took part in the debate, talked about how ports in India could become more competitive and efficient like the port of Amsterdam. "In our case, corporatisation would be one of the ways in which we can have more autonomy. There is some opposition from trade unions, but corporatisation will help us leverage a lot of finances from the market. We have a lot of productive assets with which we will be able to connect to businesses."
According to Mr Pinto, "Mumbai and Amsterdam are natural allies when it comes to business. This cooperation between the two cities, their businesses and the two ports is thus strategic and natural not just for the two cities and their countries but the two respective regions as well."
Earlier, in his welcome address, Mr Tushar Jani, Chairman of CII WR Logistics Sub-Committee, and Chairman, Blue Sea Shipping Agency Pvt. Ltd, said, "People in India need to become more aware of what Amsterdam port offers. We have a great opportunity for mutual growth and profit here. My wish is that Indian entrepreneurs look at Amsterdam as the gateway to Europe."
Ms Meijer highlighted how Amsterdam port was the ideal gateway to access a population of 200 million spread over 1,000 km and how the combination of seaport, airport (Schiphol) and city, even extending up to Rotterdam port, with excellent multimodal connectivity, was an ideally located logistics hub.
She said that the port would continue to focus on diversified cargo flows and, given the projection of increased cargo growth in Western Europe, would seek to double its throughput from the present 92 million tonnes (2011) over the long term. Increased container handling would also be a key focus area for the port, it was pointed out.
On sustainable growth, Ms Meijer said that Amsterdam port would be constantly striving to reduce its carbon footprint by adhering to the latest emission norms, and added that it plans to steadily reduce road movement to about one-third by 2030. It was about 80 per cent in 1990, she pointed out.
She stressed that the port plans to grow in the future by continuing to focus on efficient physical and nautical infrastructure development, smart use of IT in the port community system, improved intermodal transport, corporate social responsibility and, importantly, by offering customer-specific solutions.
Mr Eberhard van der Laan said that Mumbai and Amsterdam could learn a lot from each other on the process of speeding up the supply chain and providing reliable services at competitive cost. "The two metropolitan hubs of Mumbai and Amsterdam have much in common. Both have an airport and a seaport, strong business service industry, a very good creative sector and both are highly competitive in the ICT industry. Both are of global significance that reaches well beyond the regional borders and thus have a lot to share and grow mutually," he emphasised.