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Amlan Basu started his career in the Shipping industry in 1995 at the age of 21, joining Capstan Shipping at Kolkata. He veered to an independent course in the year 2015 creating his own Company AVS, offering innovative solutions across a wide-ranging arena of shipping logistics to the industry. He remains an example for fresh entrepreneurs to emulate, in the vastly reshaping world of marine transportation

It is impossible to imagine India’s economy without the role of water transport, which has been indispensable to the country’s domestic and foreign trade for centuries. India is naturally equipped with a vast network of waterways in the form of rivers, canals, backwaters, creeks and a long coastline that can be accessed through seas and oceans. The cost of water transport in India is roughly INR 0.50 per km, as compared to INR 1 by railways and INR 1.5 by roads. Moreover, water transport does not require huge capital investment (except for canal construction), lowers operating costs and has a reduced carbon footprint, which is better for the environment.
Since Independence in 1947, India has steadily but surely grown as a shipping power. Currently, it is estimated to be the sixth largest shipping country in the world and the second
largest in Asia. With 14,500 km of inland waterways, India also has the largest inland port in Asia, which is the riverine port of Kolkata. The challenge, therefore, is not to look for resources. It is to create a plan that optimises the resources at our disposal and makes India an even bigger champion of water transport and trade. This should also involve a revitalised role for the Kolkata port, a unique feature of the City of Joy that must be rescued from the ravages of time and returned to its former glories.
With 30 years of experience in the industry, I have learnt that reforms take patience and perseverance and for a riverine port like Calcutta, change is not an easy proposition. As someone who has worked extensively with the Kolkata port in recent decades as part of projects for my company, the AVS Group, I am familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the port. Kolkata port is directly connected to 11 country-sized states across India as well as five international locations, an invaluable asset that is unmatched across other ports in the country. However, what the port urgently needs is adequate labour and logistical support to complement its natural qualities as well as greater use of technology to smoothen administrative hurdles and eliminate any form of entrenched inefficiency or corruption. A comprehensive implementation of digital ERP solutions, better integrated CCTV surveillance systems and rolling out of e-procurement services are also recommended. Additionally, clear and robust communication between the different departments responsible for running the port is a

          On a larger scale, the resurgence of India’s “Look East Policy”, the proposed Trans-Asian Railway Corridor, the introduction of night navigation facilities at the Kolkata docks and the upcoming INR 450 crore-terminal in West Bengal’s Balagarh re all positive signs that should add to the importance and performance of the Kolkata port in the near future.
               In 2016, I spearheaded coastal shipping between India and Bangladesh, pioneering the movement of containers between Eastern India and Dhaka. For a long time, an operation of this size and scale could not be imagined, let alone executed. What allowed me and my team to pull this off was a combination of patience and perseverance. We realised the need to have a coherent blueprint while also adapting on the move to keep pace with changing realities on the ground. Our accomplishments in this project proved that Bengal still has what it takes to make a lasting impact in India’s shipping sector. It also gave me valuable experience in dealing with a variety of
stakeholders, including governments at both the State and the Centre in India, something I deeply cherish.

The Bangladesh project, along with other major assignments, have helped me and my team at AVS come up with our formula of the three Ss when it comes to shipping-speed, security and sustainability. I strongly believe that any big shipping project is about finding the equilibrium among these Ss to ensure a fourth S-success,capital, we have the requisite means to sail towards a glorious future. What we need is a defining vision that sets out short- term and long-term goals and pursues them with unstinted focus. It is here that I feel that India’s PM Gati Shakti Scheme, a national master plan for multi-modal connectivity, can prove invaluable. Its six pillars, labelled as Comprehensiveness, Prioritisation, Optimisation, Synchronisation, Analytical and Dynamic, can reorient India’s shipping sector and infuse it with modern facilities and a new-age temperament.
When it comes to charting the course for the future, I am confident that India is on the right channel. At the same time, we cannot become complacent with how far we have come lest we forget how much farther we still have to go. It is my earnest wish that the youth of this country take an active interest in shipping, waterways and their ancillary subjects so that the next generation’s best minds can also be attracted to our industry. Be it in Kolkata or elsewhere across India, the crest of a new era is upon us. It is up to our collective infrastructure and personnel to ensure that such a crest can give rise to bigger waves instead of crashing prematurely on the shores of progress.

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