Week ending February 12, 2002



SCI raises loan to prepay government debt Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) has finalized a five-year loan of Rs. 200 crore with Bank of Baroda at an interest rate of 8.75 per cent to pre-pay part of the Rs. 250-crore outstanding government loan before the disinvestments of government stake. The decision to pre-pay the loan has the twin objective of reducing the Union government's burden on paying the interest differential subsidy to SCI for acquiring new vessels, besides releasing a large number of vessels mortgaged by the company with the Government for availing of the loan. SCI had mortgaged about 30-35 vessels with the government over a period of 10-15 years for availing of the loan. By prepaying Rs. 200 crore out of the total outstanding loan of Rs. 250 crore, the SCI would be able to get the mortgaged vessels released from the government. The SCI owes about Rs. 250 crore to the government for availing of low-cost loan, term loans from the erstwhile Shipping Development Fund Committee (SDEC).

Videocon to join the race for SCI stake Videocon International, a diversified consumer electronics company, is reportedly planning to tie up with a foreign partner for diversifying into shipping business. The company is said to be keen on putting in an expression of interest (EoIs) for the SCI and has claimed that it has been approached by a number of overseas shipping companies for possible tie-up in the bid for SCI. The group's flagship company Videocon International had reserves of over Rs 1,600 crore in the last financial year and is one of the biggest players in consumer electronics.

SBI Caps & Lazard Capital to advise SCI on disinvestments SBI Caps and Lazard Capital have received the mandate for acting as global advisors for the disinvestment of 51 per cent equity stake in Shipping Corporation of India. Earlier, the ministry of disinvestments had called for bids for appointment of global advisors and about a dozen participants had bid for the advisory role.

Haldia-Chittagong box service launched A new container shipping service has been launched between the Haldia and Chittagong port in Bangladesh to facilitate trade between the two countries. HRC Shipping of Dhaka, which operates the service has already done the first sailing of 500-TEU vessel. The distance between Haldia and Chittagong would be covered in 22 hours. The service will operate on a weekly basis starting from Haldia dock on every Saturday.

Shipping world remembers J P Mehta A function to mark the birth centenary of the late J.P.Mehta, a shipping pioneer and first senior executive of the Eastern Shipping Corporation (which subsequently became the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI)) was organized on February 15. Several speakers at the function recalled J.P.Mehta’s pioneering work in the development of Indian shipping. Dr. C.P.Srivastava, the Secretary General Emeritus of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Founder Emeritus of the World Maritime University delivered the keynote address. Other speakers who spoke on the occasion included Justice S.C.Pratap, former judge of the Bombay High Court and Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court and Dr. Jyoti Trivedi, Former Vice Chancellor of the S.N.D.T. University. Mr. P.K.Srivastava, CMD of Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) also paid his tributes.

Drop international piracy attacks According to a report released by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)–International Maritime Bureau (IMB) the Malacca Straits, which is one of the busiest shipping routes in the world has seen a drop in the number of piracy attacks to 17 in 2001, compared to 75 in 2000. Over 600 ships on a daily basis use the Malacca Straits. The total number of attacks worldwide has also dropped from 469 in 2000 to 335 in 2001. During 2000, Indonesia recorded 91 reported attacks, the highest followed by India with 27 attacks and Bangladesh, which reported 25 attacks. In the Indian waters, the piracy prone areas included Chennai, Kochi, Haldia, Kandla and Tuticorin anchorage.


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