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INMARCO – INAvation 2014

 

After months of hectic preparations, toil and work, the day finally dawned. The hour of reckoning, the time for the final performance had come. As the distinguished visitors and delegates filed into their seats, the organizers checked and rechecked their lists, their areas of responsibilities, ensuring, for, perhaps, the nth time, that all was well. And all was indeed well.

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The Inaugural Session on 11 December 2014 of the much awaited INMARCO-INAvation 2014 proceeded without a hitch. The delegates were welcomed by Mr. Prabhakar Srivastava – Chairman, Mumbai Branch, Mr. CV Subbarao, President IME(I), Mr. A. K. Gupta – Chairman, Shipping & Maritime Expo and Mr. V. Kumar – Chairman of the Organising Committee amongst others. The guests on the dais were eloquent in their speeches, as well as erudite. Mr. Noboru Ueda Chairman and President Class NK recognized India’s contribution to World Shipping especially with regards to its skilled manpower and the ever developing training facilities that are mushrooming all over the country. He reiterated Class NK’s commitment to work along with India for the growth of global shipping. Vice Admiral A.G. Thapliyal – Director General Indian Coast Guard spoke about the planned growth of the Indian Coast guard and emphasized the importance of using technology for all types of sea craft in the times ahead. Mr. C. Sriramamurthy – COO Indian Register of Shipping, appreciated the efforts taken by both the IME and the INA in organizing this mega event. He reiterated the support of the Principal Supporter – IRS towards INMARCO-INAvation and conveyed his views about the vital importance of embracing Technology in these recessionary times. The Joint Director General of Shipping Mr. Deepak Shetty spoke about changing times within the administration and its ambitious target of minimizing the footprint and simplifying Business by going Digital within March 2015. He also encouraged the development a ‘Think Tank’ to carry forward the takeaways from the Conference to the Indian Government. Mr. Martin Stopford – President Clarkson Research UK, held the crowd spellbound with his simple assessment of eco ships and life beyond. His in depth knowledge about the economics of world shipping were absorbed with rapt attention by all privileged to hear his Keynote address. He stressed the need of deskilling jobs on board ships. Last but not the least, the address of Chief Guest Admiral R. K. Dhowan – Chief of Naval Staff India was indeed a revelation and was talked about long after it had concluded. He assured all that the Indian Navy would be there, ensuring that the sea lanes of communication were kept open for the mercantile marine. He ran the audience through the development of Indian Shipping from medieval times and our country’s march towards self reliance with its growing indigenous capabilities. The Vote of Thanks was delivered by Mr. K. K. Saxena, Co-Chairman of the Organising Committee in his inimitable style, which had the audience in splits and wanting more.

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The exhibition segment was inaugurated by the Chief Guest and the 40 stalls showcased the latest in technology. The exhibition served as a platform for the various stall owners to interact with the industry representatives and generate further business.

The 29 technical papers spread over 3 days presented represented all facets of the diverse maritime industry, right from design, warship building and maritime environment protection to logistics, insurance, piracy, HR and training, and fully justified the title of the conference ‘Innovations for Maritime Sustainability’. In the opinion of many, the Technical Committee had had one of the most difficult jobs in trying to sift and filter the numerous high quality papers received for the Conference and select just a few for reading at the Conference. Just goes to show the success of the INMARCO-INAvation and the growing recognition of India as a maritime destination.

In a departure from the well trodden path, the organizers innovated and had 8 guest speakers who spoke on wide ranging topics, outside the ambit of the Conference. Swami Sukhbodanand discourse had the audience on their feet, for a standing ovation. Mr. Prakash Iyer gave a glimpse of his motivational capabilities with his simple but meaningful examples during his short talk, which left all yearning for more. Mr Rajat Jain spoke about innovation in its true sense and how it can be applied in our business’ whenever a challenge confronts us. Dr. Rupa Nisture and Dr.  Prafulla Agnihotri gripped the listeners with their brilliant economic fundas, while legal luminaries Justice (Retd) Sam Variava & Ms. Zia Mody waxed eloquent on various legal cases and issues. Touching upon another aspect, Mr. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala captured the attention of the full house with his assessment of not only the Shipping Industry but the complete Indian economic situation in the times ahead. This particular innovation appeared to be a total success, just like the Conference itself, and would perhaps become a part of every INMARCO-INAvation henceforth.

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The Honourable Union Minister for Road Transport & Shipping Mr. N. Gadkari graced an Inaugural Dinner on the 11th evening which was keenly attended by top honchos of the Marine fraternity. At the outset, Shri. Gadkari acknowledged the fact that the GDP of our country is interlinked with the growth of the Shipping industry. He encouraged the Shipping business houses – both domestic and foreign to invest in key national infrastructure projects such as Ports, Dredging and development of our country’s Inland waterways by means of a PPP model. He also encouraged entrepreneurs to come forward with their ideas and guaranteed changes within the government to promote shipping. He stated that amongst others, new shipbreaking, ship repairing and shipbuilding policies are on the anvil. He assured complete support of his Ministry to change age old policies and practices, which would give the much needed fillip to the industry, generate employment and expressed confidence of changing the shipping scenario within the country in the times ahead.

 

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The last event of the conference was the Curtain Down Dinner on 13 December 2014 at the MCA, BKC. This was combined, as has been the tradition, with the Annual Meet of the Mumbai Branch of the Institute of Marine Engineers. Snippets of Indian culture were on display for the numerous foreign guests, who were mesmerized by the show. The photography gazebo at the MCA has become a hit, with couples lining up to be ‘shot’.

The most humbling aspect of the whole conference was the readiness of the senior most members of both the Institutes, to roll up their sleeves and get down to actual physical work, irrespective of their status in society or the shipping world. That was indeed a great lesson many a youngster would have carried from this conference.

The success of the country’s largest and most well attended maritime conference, conducted jointly by the Mumbai Branch of the Institute of Marine Engineers (India), Institution of Naval Architects and the CII (Western Region), not only showcases the country’s growing maritime clout, but also the professionalism, maturity and jointmanship exhibited by these three independent entities, working together for the common cause of Maritime India.

 Another Berlin Wall bites the dust !!

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