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CMD’s Message

Our Vision : To be the best shipping line in Asia in the eyes of our customers
Our Mission: Fuse technology & talent to create excellence in service & enterprise management

2015 was particularly challenging to our industry. We looked upon 2016 with hope & anticipation. And all that evaporated as we came closer to 2016. Higher supply and lower demand continued unchecked. And in Econship, we look at it as a great opportunity to learn. We feel that this is the time to connect to our customers at a fundamental level of their needs. We would stand by them and assist in all possible ways. And at the same time learn from them & collaborate further in bridging the gaps. We would consolidate our processes and align them to this bridging process. It’s a tall task. And we have taken up the challenge. 2016 will be the year dedicated to our customers.

We have taken stock of the pain-points of our customers, in the context of this challenging market. We are working hard to eliminate all those pain points, to the best extent we can. I must admit that it is not easy. Conventions are hard to kill. For example, we enlisted a pain point of BL issuance. Usually it’s a long & winding process of frequently exchanging information over days. It gobbles up a whole lot of time & resources to get it right. Not to forget the intermediate change of clauses and texts in between.. Some even lead to Switch BLs with further modification of data with further to/fro flying of information, leading to delay, chaos and panic to the customers. Specially in short sailings. We worked hard with our technology partners to quick start a comprehensive & complete eBL system. A system, where our role as a service provider was just confined to e-Sign & validate the information (in the quickest possible time), while putting all the power in the hands of the customer to get it done the way he wants, when he wants, and where he wants.. We even allowed the customer to initial & date the OBLs printed from his machine in his premises - with water-tight security & safety built into e-Signatures & an ease of checking authenticity of a OBL by anyone with a single click. We broke conventions. We made BLs look less enigmatic and more practical for what it really is, stripped off the legal jargons. Took the frills off & the conventional rigidities out. Acceptance by the customers was slow. Initial resistance was high. Some could not just believe that it could be that simple and that easy. But many customers understood its merit. They embraced it. We felt that our hard-work was paying off. Specially in India, we got into an acceptance level of 99% & in Malaysia 55%. We are working on similar projects like e-Booking, e-DO, e-Billing, & e-Certification. 2016 shall be our Year, to push technology to the PCs & mobile phones of our customers. Similar other measures, like easy & sure reachability on phones, with minimum waiting time, were put in place & being vigorously undertaken to make things easy for customers. Considering the popular whatsapp messaging tool being commonly used, we would try to adopt it as a means to being reached & a means to reach out to customers.

We have realised that the industry has gone into panic with disappearing cargo volumes and empty ships. In order to cut costs, the market participants have cut rates to below costs. Even though, we would love to give a lower price to our customers, we understand that we would would fail in the end, if we do so. Therefore, we have kept our pricing at doable levels and foregone our market share with a heavy heart. Such a move has eroded our top line substantially. Fortunately for us, we have not compromised on our bottom line to stray into red. And we intend to keep it that way. We have temporarily suspended certain trades for similar reasons. Having said that, we have not forsaken our customers. We are with them, in explaining the rationale behind our moves and offering options for the interim period..

When it comes to Ports, Terminals, & Rail Operators, we find it challenging. Many of them (if not all), by virtue of their near-monopoly positioning in our trade, are rent-seeking & exploitative in their outlook. We work harder to save our customers from their excesses. But I must admit that we do not succeed in many situations. We try. We find new ways to go around to save costs & wastage. We as Econians are born to fight costs, leverage technology, and innovate. We have nearly 15 own offices. And nearly that many locations with appointed agents. We have centralised most of our operations to dedicated & committed teams in Mumbai. In the centre of all this inter-meshing of centralisation lies our customer. Our teams quickly and efficiently respond to and act in a cost effective & responsible manner. We save time & money for our customer. We engage our customers in these systems and processes. Customers can achieve an amazing range of services from their very own logins. Like printing their own OBLs in their own offices, checking their bills, planning on a vessel from the schedule, taking an import DO and so on. The success we have achieved over the years is a result of our loyal customers working and engaging with our IT processes and our people. The first recognition of our achievement was in the form of ‘Asia Pacific Brands Award 2013’ in Singapore by Asia Pacific Business Journal. And the next year we were in the Top 100 Singapore International List and the ‘Distinguished Maritime Singapore Award 2014’.

We have stuck on to our Quality Management System through the better part of 2015 and got officially certified as an ISO 9001 : 2008 company. And we believe that Quality is the driver of our efficiency engine - not just another Certificate for branding. The encouraging part is that all our members are fully committed to quality, because they have found this a very useful tool to their own personal learning & growth. In times like this, we would like to talk less and do more. To that end we have postponed our annual brainstorming to the 2nd quarter of 2016. We also intend to hire better talents in 2016 and continue on our growth path. We have an order of 500 brandnew containers in the Chinese factories. We would start taking delivery after the Chinese New Year and add them to our inventory. We have decided not to off-hire any inventory and carry on, by supporting the leasing companies who work with us sincerely. Growth & new talent acquisition, shall continue like business as usual. We intend to add 1000 inventory to our fleet in 2016 and postpone acquisition of Reefer containers by another year.. However, we are prepared for a year of low & sustained profitability. We have done well in the first three quarters of 2015 ~2016. Even the month of January was an average month. Next 2 months of the last quarter look challenging & we are positioned to take the challenge on, without hurting the bottom line.

2016 : (1) Consolidate and strengthen our internal processes (2) Co-work with customers to use technology (3) Maintaining a strong quality system in place (4) Grow to 7000 Units & add more talents to our Teams in 2016.

Warmest regards
CMD ,Capt PS Rath