“Measured by FDI the UK is already the biggest G20 ‘maker’ in India”

Gary Hodgson,
Chief Operating Officer, Peel Ports.
The strength of the Peel Ports Group is in helping international companies trade more efficiently between India and the UK, by helping them reach the UK market with reduced costs, congestion and carbon emissions,” says, Gary Hodgson, Chief Operating Officer, Peel Ports. He highlights the future vision & mission that Peel Ports has planned to enhance EXIM between India & UK, in an exclusive interaction with Rakesh Roy during his recent visit to Mumbai. He further details more on Liverpool2 container terminal, which is developing by the group with an investment of GBP 300 million.

What are the key USPs that make the Peel Port Group a favorable destination for trading in Europe? (E.g. connectivity, infrastructure, commercial environment, policy regimes, tax structure, etc)
Accommodating 95 per cent of the global container vessel fleet, Liverpool2 will be one of Europe’s best equipped and well-connected terminals. Peel Ports is more than just a group of UK ports, we offer a unique innovative network supported by superior infrastructure, facilities and services. We pride ourselves on being forward thinking and ambitious, operating at the centre of the supply chain by offering flexible, agile and cost-effective solutions to our customers.

According to you, what are the obstacles and challenges global shippers have observed while undertaking EXIM with India?
There are two main challenges. The first, and most important, is hinterland connectivity. India is clearly a modernising economy with a direct focus on business, and it’s becoming even more significant in world trade, especially with the ‘Make in India’ campaign which should ultimately result in increased exports. But if shippers can’t get their goods inland to the warehouses, distribution centres and consumers efficiently then that will remain a big barrier. Enabling short-sea shipping to play a greater role in moving goods around the coast would help, but ultimately there needs to be a major investment programme to improve road and rail connections. The other challenge is to streamline bureaucracy. Of course, there have to be customs checks and other procedures to follow, but these could be simpler and more efficient.

According to a recent report by the World Bank, India is set to become one of the fastest-growing economies. How is Britain, especially Peel Ports, looking at this as an opportunity to enhance bilateral trade relations with the country?
As recently as January this year the UK Prime Minister David Cameron said that he was proud of the depth and breadth of the UK’s links with India. British companies such as Standard Chartered, GSK, Unilever, BP and Vodafone have been making in India for decades. And companies such as Tata, Mahindra and CIPLA are operating in the UK and India, benefitting both of our countries.

He also said that the UK’s core strengths of innovation and creativity and India’s unrivalled potential, talented workforce and ambitions for growth make the UK and India natural collaborative partners.

Measured by FDI the UK is already the biggest G20 ‘maker’ in India. Last year the UK invested USD 3.2 billion in India, which was more than the second and third largest G20 investors into India combined. Adding all FDI into India since 2000 the UK is still the biggest G20 investor, accounting for almost 10 per cent of all FDI flows into India. Likewise, Indian companies are amongst the biggest investors in the UK. The innovations developed through these collaborations have hugely benefited both countries.

What are the expectations that global shippers/traders have from the new Indian government concerning the sector?
Meeting the challenges of improved hinterland connectivity and streamlined procedures, as mentioned above are some of the key expectations from the new government.

India seeks to increase its bilateral trade with the UK to £24 billion by 2015. What are the key commodities that Peel Ports is looking to trade with the Indian market? Machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods and crude materials are the most commonly exported commodities from the North West and West Midlands of the UK to India, whilst FMCG goods such as textiles, aggregates and chemicals and some of the most commonly imported commodity from India to the North West and West Midlands of the UK.

However the strength of the Peel Ports Group is in helping international companies trade more efficiently between India and the UK, by helping them reach the UK market with reduced costs, congestion and carbon emissions.

What are the plans / strategies that Peel Ports have adopted to increase bi-lateral container trade with special reference to the ‘Make in India’ campaign recently announced by Honorable Prime Minister of India?
What we have done at Peel Ports is create a more attractive port of entry to the UK for Indian exporters by developing our £300m ($500m) container terminal. It will be among the most efficient in Europe, providing reliable, modern facilities on the quayside and through port-centric logistics services. It does not increase trade in itself, but it does help to ensure that the UK has the right infrastructure in place to support growing trade between our countries, especially with the increasingly important role as a manufacturer and exporter that India has through the Make in India campaign and other initiatives.

India is now more liberal toward FDI. With a growing populace & economy, how does Peel Ports look at this as an advantage to rejuvenate bilateral trade between India & UK?
Our view is that encouraging FDI can only be good for the Indian economy. We have seen for ourselves how this has helped JNPT to expand and develop through its two privately operated container terminals. As well as the investment itself, the involvement of foreign companies can bring complementary expertise to that which already exists in India. Perhaps the next logical step for India is to see what potential there is to use FDI to support hinterland infrastructure improvements.

Please brief us on Liverpool2, Peel Ports’ latest terminal extension, key strategies & opportunities that will make the container terminal, the most operationally efficient in Northern Europe?
Liverpool is located at the heart of the UK, with 35 million people living within 150 miles (240 km) and a density of manufacturers, retail and e-commerce companies. The port has excellent multi-modal connections, with 10 motorways within 10 miles (about 16 km) and 10 rail linked terminals. It also offers the ability to move goods onwards by water, either through the Manchester Ship Canal or via Peel Ports’ direct shipping links to Scotland and Ireland.

The 70 mile radius around Liverpool has the largest volume and density of large warehousing (over 97k sq. ft.) of any region, encapsulating more than 28 per cent of the UK’s large warehousing, compared with 20 per cent in the south east’s ‘golden triangle’

The new container handling equipment will be capable of handling two 380 m vessels simultaneously, and ultimately will have a capacity of over one million TEU.

It will have eight ship-to-shore (STS) megamax quay cranes and 22 cantilever rail-mounted gantry cranes (CRMGs).

With semi-automated remote-controlled operation, the cranes will reduce the time taken to transfer containers from port to road or rail. They will also have the ability to operate at speeds in excess of 30mph and wind speeds of up to 55 mph (88 kmph).

The fleet of STS and CRMG cranes will be supported by a multi-million pound investment in state-of-the-art quayside facilities and support technology, including a fully-integrated Navis N4 terminal operating system, AutoGates and ABB equipment controls.