In just one year of its formation, the Shipping Professional Network in Mumbai (SPNM) which celebrated its first anniversary recently has shot into unprecedented prominence with keen interest shown by the maritime and logistic trade. Their annual function held recently saw the largest number participating offering members a unique opportunity to meet and network with the widest spectrum of professionals covering almost every related sector of their trade.
Networking among shipping professionals is becoming a trend with many finding that it can open a flood gate of opportunities
Interestingly those who attended seem to place more importance to networking in the current economic downturn. They find that there exists a sea of business opportunities, possibilities to establish and strengthen relationship with prospective customers and other professionals and for many it offers immense prospects to touch base with those who could see them on a higher growth trajectory.
Taking a cue from the Shipping Professional Network in London (SPNL) that was founded in 2007 some leading lights of the maritime and logistics industry decided to create a similar platform in India. Four industry professionals decided on putting their act together to form SPNM. They were Capt. Swaminathan Rajagopalan, General Manager-Marketing and Sales, MSC (Agency) India, Manas Vaid [Senior Demurrage Specialist, Maersk Tankers & Brostrom, Capt. G. Ravi Kumar, DGM, Maxicon Container Line and Anand Sharma [Director, Mantrana Maritime Advisory,
The formation of SPNM has created a hype no doubt considering the all-round interest and a big number of professionals wanting to register. But according to the founders SPNM is not out on any registering spree. Capt. Swaminathan said, “The vision of SPNM is to bring together the "young-hearted" shipping professionals in Mumbai and nearby areas on a common platform to, among other things, facilitate engagement with the broader shipping community and establish relevant contacts with "tomorrow’s industry leaders while being exposed to the current industry leaders".
Hence, they feel there is a need to bring in a filtering process so that it makes it possible to have equal representation from each and every segment of the industry, even encompassing the legal and insurance fraternity, manpower consultants etc. The organization is being positioned to serve as a platform for interfacing with the authorities and other government bodies besides other trade organization for the promotion and betterment of the trade.
As a unique gesture to the stalwarts of the industry who have contribute significantly to the industry, SPNM at its first annual gathering felicitated two outstanding personalities: Mr. M. P. Pinto, former Shipping Secretary, Government of India and industry veteran Capt. J. C. Anand, who was instrumental in the formation of the Indian Register of Shipping and past president of INSA.
Mr Pinto pointed out that SPNM could play an important role in making India’s logistics more efficient and facilitating through a better infrastructure development program. The country was spending a high 13.7 per cent of GDP in the logistics of cargo movement he said and desired the organization interact with the policymakers and put forward the needs of the trade.
Capt. Anand on the other hand wanted young professionals to join together and take the industry forward. "The government has no business to be in business," he stated. "It should only facilitate." He also stressed on utilizing the ample Indian expertise in all segments of the industry and not look abroad for "everything we want".
SPNM would be conducting regular workshops for young industry professionals. There are plans to set a panel of experts with whom members could get in touch for advice or suggestion both on-line and off-line. It also proposes to get touch with other like-minded organizations such as WISTA, MASSA and FOSMA, etc., and work jointly for the advancement of the trade and industry.