Interview with Mr. Shirish Kulkarni, Managing Director – Orient Marine Lines

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Q. OML came into operations in the year 1976. What were the initial challenges faced by the company?
A. OML was formed in 1976 with a vision of having a shipping line, but it did not materialise, hence freight forwarding activities were initiated in this firm from 1979. initially it was only involved in customs clearance at Mumbai and Delhi. Meeting problems for any start up were faced by two promoters Mr. Shirish Kulkarni and Mr. Sanjay Kulkarni which were overcome over the time.

Q. When and how did you enter the logistics industry? How was the scenario back then and what challenges you had to overcome to emerge successful?
A. OML entered exhibition logistics in 1982 with appointment as sole official freight forwarders for Pamex 1983 held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. there were no specialised agencies providing exhibition logistics and normal custom house agents performed the customs clearance and delivery to site. it was then we realised that there is an extension of this service at exhibition site also for various services required at site for putting up exhibits on stand, and after the closure of exhibition packing them and moving them to exit point for shipping out of India. considering these potentials and vacuum in providing thiese integrated service, OML launched all in service from point to point involving pick up, shipping, customs clearance, on site services, return to desired destinations. Lack of infrastructure at that time posed various challenges but these were overcome with time.

Q. What are the measures you follow to ensure safety of your workers and goods?
A. With passing time we realised various risks involved in activities and took measures to provide safety to our workers and activities. laws were not in place for safety to workers at that time which were gradually formulated over period of time. we followed these laws and norms set by health and safety standards. OML is now certified OHSAS :18001 company and following G-Guide. Regular in-house training and educational classes to Site team for safe working. Pre-exhibition fit ness check-up of manpower and equipment’s utilised for exhibitions. Proper homework with proactive thinking with full analysis of site (Pre-visits), material to handle and condition (during handling) for action plan with full safety measures.

Q. Has Government policies ever posed a barrier to your work? How have you dealt with it?
A. One of our activity is customs clearance and movement of goods which involves government procedures. so dealing with government policies and following laws, rules and regulations is part of our activities. we have to keep pace with changes in these laws, rule, regulations and procedures from time to time as are formulated. keeping informed about these changes is only the challenge but will not say that it was a barrier to our activities. As if now we are still considering as sector, we need to identify our self as a separate industry…

Q. What is your take on GST? How are your services being affected with its enrolment?
A. As mentioned above it is part of our activity to keep abreast with changing government policies and regulations, in line with this change in tax structure is also to be adopted by us. there are certain confusions about provision on movement of goods which are neither sold or brought during transit and we are hopeful proper clarifications will be received in this regard from the department shortly. on line GST credits is something very new concept for all of us and hope this streamlines financial flow of tax benefits.

Q. You are spread across five major cities of India. What is your future plans regarding the expansion of your company globally?
A. Being one of the oldest specialised agency involved in exhibition logistics we would like to expand our horizons and be partners to growth of international trade with our clients who are now trying to reach out to new markets and destinations in any part of the world. We have recently handled shows in official capacity in Kenya, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh along with various shows in pan India.

Q. What has been your logistically most challenging project? Please elaborate?
A. It was Imtex 2007 when venue was under constructions and for the first time this heavy machinery show was held in Bengaluru.

Q. What are your 3 personal favourite trade shows?
A. Exhibition is my passion. Selecting 3 favourite shows is just like pouring out 3buckets of water from a well and asking which on is sweeter. After all it is a part of well and whole well is sweeter and my favourite. We specialise in machinery shows hence premier shows in this segment give us satisfaction of having completed challenge. Imtex –machine tools show, Plast India –plastic machinery exhibition, India ITME-textile machinery show, auto expo, Elecrama, Acrex, India Wood, Intec, K in Germany, Drupa, Interpack, Emmo and many more (List is endless)

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