Angre Port is looking forward to a business swell in post-lockdown times
Angre Port anticipates that, once the pandemic dies out and industrial operations get back to near-normal levels, there will be an upsurge in the demand for pharma and agriculture products, food products, garments, chemicals.Eshaan Lazarus, executive director, Angre Ports, writeson how Angre Ports is dealing with Covid-19, its operations and the way forward plan.
Angre Port anticipates that, once the pandemic dies out and industrial operations get back to near-normal levels, there will be an upsurge in the demand for pharma and agriculture products, food products, garments, chemicals. Eshaan Lazarus, executive director, Angre Ports, writes on how Angre Ports is dealing with Covid-19, its operations and the way forward plan.
Chowgule Group’sAngre Port is the most sheltered all-weather port in Konkan. It is well-connected by road and rail to the textile, sugar, chemical and cement manufacturing industries in Madhya Maharashtra, Marathwada, Vidarbha, Mumbai, Pune, Goa, and North Karnataka within a radius of 500 km from the port. Angre Port is well-equipped to provide excellent marine, cargo, storage facilities, and several important in-house services to enable clients to enjoy single window, end to end service from the port till their factories. The port’s backup land of280-acre industrial land is available for strategic businesses such as mega warehouses, port-based industries, a logistics park, tank terminals business parks etc.
Impact of Covid-19
However, like all other businesses, Angre Port has been hit hard by Covid-19. The nationwide restrictions imposed on the movement of manpower and goods during the current lockdown have hampered the smooth movement of cargo to and from the hinterland. With a sizeable percentage of the on-ground workforce not available, there is a shortage of equipment operators and drivers. While revenues have shrunk, the fixed cost of operations remains as before, thus exerting pressure on the cash flows. The challenge is compounded by uncertainty over the expected duration of the lockdown and the resulting economic slowdown thereafter. Delays in economic consumption picking up will have a knock-on effect on curtailing our clients’sourcing plans for the near-to-medium term.
The present situation, worrying though it undoubtedly is, has presented Angre Port with an opportunity to focus on the issues that are important, rather than just those that are urgent. A renewed focus on business continuity planning has enabled optimizing our fixed cost base to the tune of 40 percent during the lockdown, with no effect on service levels to clients. The entire business development, procurement, accounting and legal teams have been set up with the requisite collaboration tools to work from home across multiple geographies. This forced experiment has been successful, to the extent that the company is looking to continue remote working as much as possible post lockdown. The downtime has even allowed the otherwise busy port staff to undergo online training, evaluate their effectiveness over the past year and define targets and objectives and key responsibilities for the coming season.
Angre Port has taken several robust measures to ensure the safety of its employees and workers on the port premises. Since February of this year, well before the pandemic broke out, port security personnel have been authorized to test people at the entrance and restrict people with abnormal body temperature. Port visits in person have been restricted only to essential guests, only with prior approval of the head of operations. All incoming personnel are provided with necessary personal protective equipment (hand gloves and face masks), in addition to the usual mandatory safety equipment. Furthermore, they are required to furnish a complete self-declaration of their past travel, and medical and quarantine history (if any). Vehicles carrying raw materials into the port are thoroughly disinfected using sprays before they are allowed to enter.
Common areas within the port are sanitized at frequent, regular intervals. Audio-visual cues for safety, hygiene and social distancing protocols are provided to employees through announcements, posters, and banners. The port has provided all its employees with a free supply of personal protective equipment and sanitizers. Security personnel have increased vigilance in areas where people interact, to ensure risk-free group behaviour.
During this difficult time, Angre Port has provided more than 100,000 meals free of cost to its community stakeholders, both within and around the port. Besides, there are no salary cuts or layoffs to staff due to the lockdown, excluding directors who have voluntarily taken pay cuts to support the rest of the team. Lastly, each employee is donating generously from their salaries voluntarily to various government relief funds.
Anticipating an upsurge in demand
Angre Port anticipates that, once the pandemic dies out and industrial operations get back to near-normal levels, there will be an upsurge in the demand for pharma and agriculture products, food products, garments, chemicals. With the government likely to increase infrastructure spending, clients in allied sectors such as cement will have larger order books than before. Over the medium term, demand will stabilize close to pre-lockdown levels, with increased shipments and greater reliance on ports for quick and efficient handling of cargo. Angre Port is well-positioned and amply equipped to cater to the post-lockdown surge and remains committed as ever to serving its clients in the best possible manner.
Eshaan Lazarus is the executive director of Angre Ports
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Indian Transport & Logistics News.