The Challenges of Being a Maritime Services Provider in India
CEO Today speaks with Sajid Farhaan - the Founder & CEO of Mer Ship Chandlers. Sajid started his company in 2017 whilst pursuing his Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a view of serving the marine industry and generating employment opportunities. In a span of three years, MSC has become one of the leading ship suppliers in India. Below he tells us more about his company and the challenges that the industry presents.
What are the IMPA and ISSA catalogues? How do you supply such a vast range of
products according to these?
The ISSA and IMPA catalogues are published by the two leading Ship Suppliers associations.
These catalogues consist of all the items that may be required onboard a ship and include around 45,000 to 50,000 items. Some of these items are stocked by us but since it is not possible to stock such a colossal range of products, we procure them on Just In Time Basis meeting the
How do you source the supplies you offer?
The process of procurement has to be absolutely impeccable because once the items are delivered and the ship sails, the crew has no choice but to use what’s at hand. Any carelessness on our part will have severe consequences. Hence, we put great emphasis on quality. We make sure that we deal only with certified suppliers who have a thorough knowledge of the industry.
What are the challenges in this industry?
One of the biggest challenges that we face in this industry is that India is a mighty subcontinent with over 20 ports. Some of these ports are extremely remote and can be reached only by roadways. And all of these ports have varying laws and regulations. At times, it is quite challenging to ensure smooth delivery at such ports.
We are currently working on providing an e-commerce platform that will enable the purchasers to meet their demands with the touch of a button.
In addition, India happens to be right in the middle of the UAE and Singapore, both of which are extremely busy ports offering highly competitive prices. So in order to cope with the competition, we have to ensure that our prices are satisfactory without compromising on the quality. This is achieved by working directly with the wholesalers.
Are there any exciting developments on the horizon for Mer Ship Chandlers?
Future trends are driven towards crewless ships or ships that are operated remotely. Such ships, with no humans on board, will have downright no requirements for provisions. On the bright side, for suppliers, of course, such ships will require regular upkeep as not everything can be maintained remotely. Human contact is indispensable to attest everything is well maintained, so it is important to be conditioned in order to cater the needs of such ships in the future.
All businesses these days are inching towards e-commerce and ship chandelling is no different. We are currently working on providing an e-commerce platform that will enable the purchasers to meet their demands with the touch of a button. But the task at hand will be to ensure that all items mentioned in the ISSA & IMPA catalogues are included.MSC is also working towards establishing its foothold overseas – very soon we will start operating in Singapore and Dubai.
About Mer Ship Chandlers:
Offering a vast range of products in stock, Mer Ship Chandlers are committed to the noble process of supplying the various ships coming to India with the essentials that they require. Noble because the Seafarers are heavily reliant on suppliers for every rudimental need as they have no means of procurement once they are in the middle of the ocean. Be it a humble safety pin or an impenetrable engine motor, Mer Ship Chandlers are slated to be up to the job. The company specialises in providing general ship supplies and technical services through an extensive network over all Indian ports.
The company has class apart facilities including large warehousing space, energy-efficient refrigerators and a fleet of modern climate-controlled vehicles which deliver a full range of food and technical stores to customers.