April 20 - According to a report in India's Economic Times, an increasing number of Indian project cargo importers including power plant buyers from China are learning the hard way the inefficiency of the logistics and supply chain management prevalent ou

Scenes at leading destination ports of project cargo like Mumbai, Vizag, Haldia, Chennai, Tuticorin and Kandla tell the story in graphical details, claims a report in the newspaper.

The report indicates that substandard packaging of the cargo (despite being sensitive engineering cargo for large industries), poor stacking within the ships, poor documentation/information flow/tracking of the cargo being loaded onto the ships, inferior shipping marks on the cargo making identification and tallying of cargo at the destination ports etc are nightmares for surveyors who are supposed to tally the goods and clear them.

It goes on to indicate that most often packing details are totally haphazard and are debatable with shipping lines having a different version from that of the exporters. Given the adamancy of the shipping lines and insistence of port authorities to clear the cargo, surveyors invariably have to 'compromise', hiding many things behind poor packing, poor identification marks.

The report cites a Mumbai-based logistics operator, as saying that the increasing imports are only helping to make the problems worse and more complex than improving the systems and procedures.

China is emerging as a major player in power plants of up to 600MW in size plus industrial and transport infrastructure with one power station being built per week on an averagem says the report, indicating that according to industry circles in the country, India is going to import 12 power plants of 1000 MW each from China over the next three years.

The article quotes Kutbuddin Ujjainwala of Mumbai-based Insight Consultants: "The solution is not to stop imports of such critical equipments from China, but to have will and determination on the part of the importer, who should stick to packing methodology and logistics mechanism for delivery while clinching the deal with a Chinese exporter."

Another important factor is the Indian preference to import on C&F basis instead of on ex-work basis. For critical projects, which have gestation of over 2-3 years, it is advisable to have an inspection team at the sourcing point, he said.

The full report can be seen here: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Shipping--Transport/Deficient-logistics-services-plague-project-cargo-imports-from-China/articleshow/4422143.cms