The SCI is presently the major Bulk Carrier operator in India, with an assortment of 17 Bulk Carriers spanning the Handy, Handymax and Supramaxmax sizes of vessels. The fleet is about 20 years old on an average, but individual vessels ranging from between 9 - 23 years in age.
At the time of acquisition, the vessels had been ordered after carefully considering the need and utility of these vessels for India-centric trade. However, there is no physical constraint for these vessels cross-trading worldwide. They carry a variety of cargoes like iron ore, coal, coke, grain, fertilizer, steel products, plywood, bauxite, etc.
In the discharge of obligations cast on the department by customers, while carrying their cargoes either on time-charter or voyage-charter, the expectations of the customers have to be kept in mind.
Generally, money is the critical factor, and any deficiency that hampers the generation of profit for the charterer, qualifies for a penalty on the operator viz. the SCI.
To meet In this context;
The maintenance and upkeep of the vessel, prompt and pro-active action on the part of on-board personnel and shore staff is paramount.
Maintenance of time schedules, the breach of which would have implications in terms of additional cost for the operator and the ship owner are very critical. Although the degree of responsibility for these individual items will vary, there could be scale of standards that could be devised, to evaluate the meeting of the criteria standards set. Goals in this direction need to be devised and adhered to.
Clients/users of Bulk Carrier services also expect the SCI to fulfill its obligation to lift nominated quantity of cargoes as per the Charter Party/COA in a timely manner, and thereby calls for proper deployment of tonnage within specified laydays.
The incidence of claims for shortage/loss of cargo should also be minimized, if not altogether eliminated. The delivered cargo should conform to specification as per Bills of Lading, taking care to avoid contamination or degradation. Delivery of the right quantity and quality at the right place and time, adhering to safely norms is critical.
From a customer's point of view, prompt settlement of their bills by the SCI, such as repair and brokerage bills is also important.
When dealing with loading and discharging of cargoes on Indian coast, the efficiency of the port and other infrastructure will also have a bearing on the productivity and satisfaction levels of shipping customer. There should therefore be a dovetailing of the charter parameters devised, between the various links in the shipping chain.