1. How has been your professional journey from being a junior sales executive to receiving Antwerp XL 40 under 40 award –
Journey at a glance is memorable, whenever I look back, I see a very focussed and dedicated approach towards everything I undertook. Today even after working for 20 years I feel that this is just a beginning and I have a long way to go. My professional journey was not a cakewalk and I have experienced plenty of ups and downs but I consider myself very lucky to have seniors around me who could teach me various aspects of my career.
After working for more than 5 years in India, I started looking forward to something different and new and that’s where I got my first international break but had to restart my career once again from Jr executive-level even though I had completed my 5 years in logistics and already reached to senior level. During this new phase of my career, I faced many challenges and difficulties but I achieved 6 consecutive promotions during the 11 years of my career while working with a conglomerate of Oman, Khimji Ramdas LLC. The owners of the company acknowledged my hard work and opened the doors for me to share his ideas for further growth of the business.
In order to learn more, I used to request my seniors to give me some extra work and spent nights after nights on the port for operational activities as part of overtime. I used to manage both night and day shift without hampering routine work and complaining about the difficulties.
During the long career, I faced favoritism and partial attitude of my seniors but I never allowed myself to succumb to it. That’s why today I am capable of working across the departments such as shipping, airfreight, and supply chain industry starting from Projects, Défense Logistics, Military Operation, Vessel Handling, Flight Operations, Cruise Vessel Operation, etc. I returned to Dubai six years ago only with the hope to learn new elements of business and since then my journey is continued.
2. How has been your experience in handling port operations for armies of many countries
This part of life can be called “Discipline”. During this time it was a complete give and take journey. On the one hand, I was completely working to the best of my abilities and knowledge, on the other I was learning new things every day. A new discipline, new energy, a new challenge, and a new dimension of logistics. Handling the most prestigious business such as US Military, British Military is unforgettable. During this journey, I also handled several Naval vessel Operations for more than 10 years and handled several diplomatic operations such as “French Submarine, US Navy, British Navy, Chinese Navy, Japanese Navy, Turkish Navy, Bangladesh Navy, & Indian Navy. Such a journey is a lifetime opportunity and handling such vessels along with a few others such as the world’s top Cruise Vessels like Costa, Aida, and Queen Marry 2 itself speaks about the glory. During this phase, I spent most of the time on the ports and experienced different aspects of businesses and for the first time I understood business does not mean profits alone, this defines commitment and dedication as well.
3. How did the shipping industry manage to overcome the challenges put by COVID-19
The shipping industry is yet to overcome the challenges and impact of COVID-19. We have noticed a roller-coaster ride in 2020 for both the shipping industry and the aviation Industry. These two Industries are directly linked with logistics, freight forwarding, and the supply chain Industry. The packaging industry is also directly connected with the logistics and supply chain so a large number of Industries and people are interlinked and covering a huge market globally. The tourism Industry is nearly 85 percent dependent on the aviation Industry and until the situation is normal, things will not shape up like earlier. In my opinion, even if we see slight growth in 2021 but certainly this won’t be enough so we should be more careful in 2021.
Though organizations and individuals have learned to adopt new ways of business and started introducing innovative ideas in business, this has become the key to survival. Most of the organizations have shifted their focus from traditional business to various other segments such as E-Commerce, E-Fulfilment, etc. Organizations are also trying to evaluate the business in hand and the forecast and taking a strategic approach including M&A and or consolidating businesses for now.
4. What reforms you think needs to be introduced in order to overcome the challenges being faced in the shipping and logistic sector
I think simple and reasonable taxation laws, rules, digitalization, employee and employer policy, training of staff, creating opportunities for freshers along with the blend of experienced staff will have to be a strategy across government and also for private sectors.
I would like to point out the expectation as below:
- A strong chain of right technology infrastructure to support
- Indian Railway’s freight should be built through advance mode and including temperature-controlled and reefer units for movement of perishable and frozen items within India
- Complete and Advance digitalization should happen for all export and Import process.
- Single window Portal should be created for both exporter and importers
- Freight Forwarding Industry should get Simple Taxation window
- The government should put a central process for ensuring that the shipping industry, air cargo, and freight forwarding or supply chain industry is protected in terms of collection from the market as their investment is huge whereas profit percentage is low comparatively
- Customs duty should be crystal clear as they face lot of challenges due to categorization and small HS code tweak can create bigger confusion
- The government should introduce attractive schemes for respective products in respective states so that the state can see the interest in developing and doing those businesses and increase the production capacity
5. Tell us about your family background and qualification
My entire schooling and childhood I spent at my native place called Liluah which is located in the Howrah district of West Bengal. I belong to a respected family of that region. My father Mr. Asit Chakraborty was well-known for his social development work as a grass-root level politician. He was the only man possibly for whom people’s need and well-being was much more valuable than any political designation and or a political party. Since my childhood, I was always focused on my education without any negligence. That had possibly taken a lot of other activities away from me during my childhood such as hanging out with a group of friends and or traveling with friends for excursions etc but I have no regrets. I am happy with the choices I made in my life and leading a less-ordinary life.
6. What is the motivation behind your success in life? Whom do you consider your mentor in life
I wish I could answer this in a simple line, but that won’t be fair. Many people have mentored me during this entire journey, started with my parents and brother who helped me to shape my entire life. My mentor couple Subir and Leena Banerjee helped me in realising my potential and creating a niche for myself. My desire to learn every day also motivated me to excel and to accept every task that comes to me. I have never been choosy about work and never linked work with the designation, today when I look back, I feel blessed that I could get so many opportunities which at time people might have passed it on to me to reduce their workload but this has eventually helped me in my career, So “Never Say No”!!
7. What are your future plans?
I want to share my experiences with next-generation as I feel we must take ownership of guiding and shaping the future of next-generation to make a better tomorrow. Nowadays everyone expects a super performer in their organization but no one is ready to define what exactly they want? How they want and no one is willing to contribute in training and giving reasonable time to a new generation to be successful. Since we are dealing with humans and not machines, the result will come gradually so, every organization and senior leaders should pay attention to training the next generation and give time to perform. I have a Finish School concept for the next generation where I want to use the latest technology such as AI, Blockchain, and Machine Learning and introduce a unique partnership model between the global partners to ease the operational challenges and increase their business volume at a reducing cost.
8. How do you intend to help the young generation opt for a career in the shipping and logistics sector?
As I mentioned, I would like to share my work experience with the young generation. I think we need a proper platform to guide the youngsters who want to make their career in the logistics industry. Therefore, I am working towards creating such a platform to mentor future professionals and enable them to do excel in their professional lives.