Mr. Surajit Kumar Das
Surajit, first, would you kindly tell us about the name Bollard Solutions? Who choose the name and why did you choose this name for your company?
Bollard Solution was formed in 2009 and I chose the name. Of course, there’s the traditional meaning of the word bollard as a short, sturdy vertical post on a ship or quay used principally for mooring boats, which later was often used to refer the structures that prevent vehicles from crashing into pedestrians and buildings. However, incidentally ‘bollard pull’ is also a term which is used as the pulling power of a tug boat at zero speed to hold large ships and tankers. The essence I took from these definitions is that this word bollard denotes and signifies knowledge, courage, protection, power and security, which I translated as assurance. These are the virtues with which I and my team would like to serve our client. I also chose the word solution as a singular word as we believe that, as a company, we must come up with one solution that fits and suits our customer the most. Hence the name Bollard Solution.
Who owns Bollard?
Everyone on the Bollard team, at all the offices; each of the staff members is as much an owner as one can be. It is they who are building the brand and my job is to make sure that I work for my staff and give them the conducive environment needed. My role is that of a provider of the service to guide and steer.
Legally, however, Bollard Myanmar and Bollard Bangladesh are fully owned by me. Regarding Bollard Malaysia and Singapore, however, I have Mr. Tapapriya Choudhury as a shareholder/director with the majority of shares still held by me.
Elaborate, if you will, on your offices please. As you’ve stated, you have an office in Myanmar, among others. What are the main activities of each office?
Bollard Solution has offices in Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Bollard Malaysia, apart from providing agency representation services for liner, NVOCC, feeder and non-liner tramping vessels, we also do local logistics, including trucking, warehousing and customs clearance. We have a fleet of special equipment and containers and thus, we focus mainly on projects. We can provide a supply chain solution that could involve trucking, barging, reconsolidation and then ship-to-ship or barge-to-ship transfer, in one supply process.
Bollard Singapore only focusses on project logistics and ship chartering activities. We strategically do not handle containers in Singapore. The Singapore office is also where I do my consultancies.
Bollard Myanmar and Bangladesh have similar focuses to those of Malaysia.
We provide all ranges of liner and non-liner representation services and have a heavy focus on local logistics and turnkey projects with DDU etc. as a focus.
Could you provide us with a few examples of project cargo that you have handled?
A wheatstone project, Australia. Delivery of Modular houses on a full charter vessel.
Hydrogen Peroxide supply chain contract to multi destinations in Asia for one of the large chemical companies.
Aggregate supply to Bangladesh as a contract.
Boiler carriages to Dumai / Indonesia.
Garnet sand carriage from Geraldton over a six month period.
Fine art carriages from India to Singapore.
Offshore vessel carriage from Singapore to Gulf and so forth.
Please see more in the full PDF here.
Tell us about your career in shipping. When did it start and what made you choose it?
I started work in 1990 after my masters and my first job was with a USA-based consulting firm in the research and analytical sections. Thereafter, for a short stint, I served with a large advisory council in India, dealing with foreign direct investments before moving to Singapore in 1994, where I joined Jardine Freight Forwarding Services (JFS).
JFS laid the foundation for my interest in shipping. Eventually, I became the GM of their flagship company, Jardine Shipping Agencies, which at that time represented some of the largest shipping lines in the world, and I extended the brand to Bangladesh and India in due course. While at Jardine, I also became the representative for some of the very large international terminals like Port of Vancouver, Port of Marseille and Port of Tauranga.
After twelve years with JSA, I joined the newly-launched Emirates Shipping Line as their MD and owner rep for SEA after they had launched their China to USA service. It gave me an excellent insight into the affairs of ship owners.
After five years, I took my career to a new platform, joining hands with Meratus Shipping Line, one of the largest privately-owned shipping company of Indonesia to run a breakbulk service with an MPP/two-decker/twin crane ship between South East Asia to North-Western Australia with calls at Freemantle, Port Hedland and Dampier. This role aroused my true liking for shipping and gave me a deep understanding of geographical markets.
This is when I started to charter ships and, on many occasions, sail along. It was at that time that I decided to start my own company and start management consulting. I have been a consultant to Westports Malaysia, Northport Malaysia and TMT Terminal of Myanmar. I am a Fellow Ship Broker (FICS), Fellow Arbitrator FCIArb (UK), an Internal Quality Auditor and a Blockchain enthusiast.
There is also a lot of competition in shipping and project freight forwarding in South East Asia. How do you stand out?
My simple formula has been to observe the competition, to learn from them and then act in a smarter and better way if possible, or otherwise just take the lessons and incorporate them into in my company’s processes.
There are benefits in such incorporation and adaptability and it does lead to improved work through quality processes. I have the humility to acknowledge that every company has its edge and a different cost base to operate on. Also, it has been my experience there is always room for you and enough pie to go around. Lately, we have practised a simple formula that is driven by a paramount mission statement, that being that ‘the simpler you make it for your customer, the longer that you will sustain them.”
Do you currently belong to any networks? Would you say that it is an advantage to be part of networks overall?
CLC Projects is the only network we have joined. I have gained the most in life and career thanks to networking. As a result, I believe that getting into the loop on a wider platform is of enormous benefit.
How is best to get in touch with you?
Mobile: +65 8200 9442