March 31 - A new heavy lift and project forwarding think-tank is being planned by shippers and forwarders in India, aimed at lobbying the government to improve infrastructure and harmonise regulations.

The call to unite came from delegates and speakers at the Break Bulk and Heavy Lift: Opportunities in Emerging Markets Conference, part of the inaugural Cargo Shop South East Asia exhibition, held in Mumbai, India, at the end of last week. The proposal for a specialist Heavy Lift lobby group came from a shipper in the packed audience hall at the Taj President Hotel, after a heated debate over the lack of facilities and infrastructure at Indian ports.

Panel speakers including Nailesh Ghandhi, director, Express Transport Pvt, S Venkiteswaran, Sr Advocate, and Troels Busk, md, Nord Scan Line KS, Denmark, also claimed a lack of heavy lift awareness lead to delays and frustratingly high charges at ports. Session moderator DT Joseph, Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Former Secretary (Ministry of Shipping) agreed that a single industry voice would be the best way to drive through change, and called for volunteers to join the group.

The successful Cargo Shop exhibition, billed as the first of its kind in Mumbai, was well supported by an industry keen to make contacts in India's burgeoning marketplace. For a detailed review of India and more on the Mumbai conference, read our May/June issue.