Mr. David Raj Kumar
General Manager – Chartering
Please tell us about the history of NTC India. When was the company established, who owns it and what is the main line of shipping business that you do nowadays?
NTC was started in the year 1998 with one asset and three employees including our chairman and founding director, with a focus on a then largely unknown niche market segment called ODC cargo. Now we stand as India’s No.1 asset/equipment holding company and the world’s number eleventh as per a survey conducted by KHL magazine.
We have rapidly evolved and now offer bespoke solutions to any logistical requirement, be it air, sea, river, road or a combination of these. Our primary businesses, though, remain ODC, Super ODC and transportation of renewables (chiefly wind). From a pin to a plane, nothing is too small or too heavy for us.
The company was founded by Mr. Chandra Mohan, our chairman and managing director, and the board has four directors /partners.
India is a booming market. There is a lot of competition. How do you stand out as a reliable option in your opinion?
India is indeed a booming market, but it is extremely fragmented. It is estimated that of the 220 billion dollar market size, more than 150 billion is controlled by the smaller, unorganised sector. Compared with the majority of service providers, NTC already stands out as a player that controls all elements of the supply chain – transport, freight, warehousing, clearance. What this means is we provide quality in-house services and are better able to control costs, thereby maximizing our value proposition. In short, we provide the best quality with the most emphasis on safety (for our drivers and employees) at the optimal price points.
We provide end to end logistics solutions for our clients from first mile pick up to hyper local channels. Some of the services we offer are:
- Transport – General and ODC
- Customs clearance
- Freight forwarding – air and ocean
- Project and heavy lift engineering
- Chartering – air & sea
- 3PL and 4PL
We are a reliable option because of our relentless performance, coupled with our regular achievement of new milestones in service to clients.
Could you provide us with a couple of examples of cargoes that you are proud of having carried recently?
We are the titans of the ODC / Super ODC industry and our proudest moment was when we moved super critical ODC packages like the stators (460+ MT ) and (300+ MT) transformer packages on road with extremely specialized equipment like girder bridges. We are one of the few companies in India to own and operate girder bridges.
Personally, as a charterer, some of my proudest achievementss were the shipment of 300 MT from Shanghai to Chennai, dual blades shipments from Kandla to Mexico and the first ever 67.2m blades (so far the longest blade in India). Executing cabotage was also a great learning experience.
Aside from this, we have carried some interesting cargoes, from satellite parts for the Indian government, defence equipment for the military, and I can say very proudly that NTC has been the backbone of India’s wind energy industry and will continue to do so.
It is now 2019 and it seems that the market in India is growing hugely, especially as overseas companies have production factories in India for overseas markets. Do you also serve international companies and their branches in India?
Since our inception, we have served a who’s who of the Fortune 500, be they Siemens Gamesa, GE, or Vestas, from 32m blades to 67.2m blades, we have handled various shapes and sizes, improving and innovating new equipment and technology for the growing wind industry. This lead us to MNC’s to provide their logistics requirements as well. We now work with auto giants Hyundai and Kia, engineering giants such as L&T and Kalpataru, we support global pharmaceuticals clients and touch all aspects of the supply chain for these behemoths. We offer integrated solutions be it 3PL or 4PL to these large companies and offer them bespoke solutions to the unique problems they bring.
Does NTC have experience in moving cargoes inland in India as well? What are the main obstacles concerning inland transport in India and where do you believe you can make a difference?
A large part of our business model is moving cargo into the hinterlands. Our pedigree in this reaches over two decades and, thus, we have a lot of institutional memory and experience in handling the challenges that come with this.
Some of the challenges I have handled personally are, gaining the necessary regulatory approvals, managing and working with state police escorts (these two are required for super ODC movements) and road conditions (esp narrow roads with overhead electric wires). I still remember when a large stator of ours was stopped outside a village in rural Maharashtra. They refused to believe that our precise instruments had gauged that the movement would not cause hindrance to the houses and insisted that the houses would be damaged. Such things require a deep understanding of how dynamics play out in India and it was only after a lot of persuasion and negotiation that they allow us to eventually pass.
NTC clearly has the edge here, as we invest a lot in governmental liaison and thus can open doors quickly and effectively. Our staff are professionals from the industry or have grown with the company and thus gained a lot of hands-on experience in managing these unique challenges. We also believe in systematic planning and using technology for the greatest effect. We are firm believers in what Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” We spend a good part of pre-operations on planning, be it on route surveys or studying inland channel tides (which we did over three months to move a 310 tonne stator) and leave very little to chance. Some of the most challenging terrain we transport through is hilly and covered in jungle. Transporting large wind blades or stators without affecting the environment over narrow and sometimes bad or even non existent roads is the stuff challenges are made of.
Does NTC have any overseas offices and, if so, what is the role of those offices in your company?
We have offices in Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and Singapore, where we also do projects and forwarding business.
Many companies belong to international networks to make up for the lack of being global. Does NTC currently belong to any networks and, if so, have you found it useful to be a member?
Other than CLC Projects, NTC is also part of WCA and PFN, for general forwarding business. WCA adds value to global forwarding. As far as project cargo is concerned, our fellow CLC Projects member helped us in executing some of the most critical projects in Europe and Japan
Customs clearance in India used to be a headache, as did visa procedures. However, on a recent visit to your country, my e-visa was done efficiently and in the comfort of my own house. Have customs clearance rules similarly been eased?
Indeed, two decades back, customs clearance in India was a headache. Over the years though, a lot of aspects governing the import-export trade have been liberalised and transparency has been brought in with information available in the public domain. We at NTC have been handling various kinds of consignments, from 1kg airfreight to 610mt reactors with the first and the last mile delivery including activities such as arranging the freight & customs clearance.
Customs rules in India have to be read with about a dozen allied acts and rules for determining portability and NTC has decades of cumulative experience in handling customs related matters. Our team of consulting customs experts keep abreast of all the changes and developments in the import & export regulations and those policies governing them in the country. They understand each client’s requirements far ahead of schedule and advise the clients on legally compliant matters on a pre-shipment and post-shipment basis to ensure a seamless process.
India is famous for many things. Where would you, as an Indian, recommend for tourists to go in India, ideally them being places that are not overrun and perhaps not so well known?
I would recommend the Andaman Islands for unspoiled beaches, lovely scuba diving (if you are into it) and a spot of whale shark watching if you are lucky. There are very little crowds and it’s a paradise on Earth. If you are more of the hills type, I would suggest Pangot in Uttrakhand in the High Himalayas for lovely bird watching, great treks etc. and it’s very close to Corbett National Park and its tiger safari. It also has some great mountain biking trails if you are up for it.
It is likely that some of our readers in Project Cargo Weekly would like to know more about your company, so could you provide us with the most relevant contact information for NTC?
You can learn more about us at www.ntcgroup.in
President – Freight Forwarding
Mobile: +91 97909 56711