Closer collaboration, sweeter grapes

A new reefer services facility in Mumbai is the first tangible outcome of the ‘inland’ collaboration between APM Terminals Inland Services and Maersk Line in India. The guiding principle – for future projects also – is that the combined service must be worth more to customers than what the two entities offer separately. 

Ajit Venkataraman, Managing Director of APM Terminals Inland Services, South Asia.

“It was easy to see that we could do a lot more together,” says Ajit Venkataraman, Managing Director of APM Terminals Inland Services, South Asia, of the tentative beginnings to their ‘inland’ collaboration with Maersk Line in India.

“The hard part, we quickly realised, is that if joint services are going to make any sense to the customers, they need to be more valuable than the individual parts,” he adds.

His counterpart in the project, Chandrasekar Santhanam, Head of Equipment Maintenance & Repair, Maersk Line West Coast Central Asia, says:

“With approximately 70% of the India reefer (refrigerated container) volume coming out of the port in Mumbai, it was only natural for the team to start looking for opportunities to improve our equipment maintenance and repair setup in the region.”

A new services facility in Mumbai

The closest APM Terminals Inland Service facility to the port in Mumbai was focused on dry containers and located a considerable distance from the port. Other container care players in the region had limited capabilities. Hence, the opportunity to build a specialised reefer services facility close to the port, in Dighode, Mumbai, was identified as being a good opportunity.

Identified and implemented in six months, today the facility offers services such as reefer technical repairs, body repairs and software management amongst others – and the initiative has not gone unnoticed by the country’s largest exporter of grapes:

“We are extremely happy with the quality of reefer containers from their Dighode facility,” says Deepak Trivedi, Managing Director at Ace Clearing, adding:

“The quality, backup service and turnaround time were all much better than those of any of the competition and this is also acknowledged and appreciated by our shippers.”

For Maersk Line, who enjoys a 40% share of India’s reefer market, having an efficient and effective setup to maintain and repair the fleet of containers is critical.

All new revenue

Chandrasekar Santhanam says “And our collaboration doesn’t end with implementation. Today, we are conducting performance management and on-site training together, seeing the facility reach its 2017 quality goals within the first six months of operation.”

Meeting global standards, the reefer services facility was handling 80% of Maersk Line’s reefer volume through the port in Mumbai within two months and it is expected to bring an additional USD 2.5m in revenue to the Transport & Logistics division in 2017.

“We have just started the collaboration journey and it is adding significant value,” says Ajit Venkataraman. “What we have also observed is that, it has brought us closer to the end-users. It has ignited an entrepreneurial spirit in the respective teams. We are experimenting, and venturing into territories that we have not entered before.”