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Lighthouse - November, 2011.

CSS Group MENA – Regional Meeting

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 marked the day for the CSS Group MENA (Middle East & North Africa) regional commercial meeting whereby the management teams from all regions, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Muscat, and Saudi Arabia gathered for a full day of meetings and corporate team building activities.

The Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, the preferred corporate hotel partner of CSS Group was the chosen venue and lies in the heart of one of Dubai’s newest dynamic and most lively urban locations, Jumeirah Beach Residence. This 5-star hotel is modern, chic and contemporary all in one, featuring lively dining and entertainment options, expansive recreational and modern meeting, conference and banqueting facilities and is only few steps away from the beach of the stunning Arabian Gulf.

Throughout the day, the management team’s reviewed strategies facilitated presentations and participated in corporate case studies that would enable CSS Group to better serve their clientele.

Projects At A Glance

Power Project

CSS Projects, Oil & Energy was assigned to handle clearance, transport & installation of 3 Transformers weighing 130 tons each to Fujairah Sudah Port Substation. These transformers reached Jebel Ali port on heavy lift vessel and were directly received by hydraulic multi axle trailers. The units were then transported to Fujairah for installation. The transformers were finally installed on to foundation rails  by jacking & skidding. The project was completed in 6 days. CSS team supervised the entire operation resulting in utmost customer satisfaction.

Paper Arabia

UAE’s consumption of paper is among the highest in the world, according to international industry statistics released on the sidelines of Paper Arabia exhibition. According to the Indonesian Pulp and Paper Association, one of the biggest associations in the world specializing in paper, the per capita annual consumption of paper in the UAE is 200 kg, against the global average consumption of 60 kg.

This is a significant figure for the UAE with a small population, when compared with a country like India where the per capita consumption is mere 9 kg. UAE’s consumption is on par with Italy and Spain.

In 2010, the UAE consumed 3.5 million tons of paper, against 18 million tons in the entire Middle East region and 450 million tons globally in 2010, according to International Pulp and Paper Association.

These statistics were revealed at the inauguration of Paper Arabia 2011, the first-of-its-kind industry expo, which was inaugurated by HE Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on Sunday, 18 September 2011 at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre.

Organizers of the show said that A4 paper led the demand for paper in the UAE, and the overall growth in paper consumption was between 5 and 6% where 12 paper mills operates in the country.

Talking about the importance of using latest technologies in saving production costs, Amith Horra, Marketing Manager CSS added, “ The Paper industry is developing all over the world, especially in the GCC countries.  It is important to attend these exhibitions as Paper Arabia 2011 was dedicated to the development of the paper, printing and packaging industry in the GCC. We are able to identify key suppliers, vendors while networking with new and potential prospects which reflects our efforts to highlight key regional industry segments.”


Paper Arabia 2011 is bringing together players from the paper, tissue and converting industries. This show offers opportunities to the manufacturers and suppliers of finished products, equipment, machinery, paper chemicals, services, supplies of paper, tissue and converting sector to tap the Middle East and North African markets.

Paper Arabia, with more than 150 exhibitors from 25 countries from across the world, is a key platform for traders and industry players to interact. The show’s participants include leading global names from the UAE, Italy, Jordan, India, China, Netherlands USA and UK amongst others.

New Challenges, More Responsibilities

Don Raveendran
Asst. Manager – Ocean Freight & CFS Operations

Don started his career with CSS as an Operations Executive – Airfreight and has proven his ability in handling operations in CFS and leading a team that has been appreciated by management several times. After 3 years of his tenure with CSS in several modes of operations and in consolidation, Don was delegated as the Assistant Manager of CFS. Don has proved his ability to handle critical CFS operations and excellent time management in handling imports and exports at the custom bonded warehouse. His experiences in the operations have given confidence to the management to give him additional responsibilities of handling the Ocean Freight operations. “It has been wonderful 8 years with CSS which has profited me with enormous domain knowledge and I take this responsibility as a challenge and looking forward to give best of the efforts” Don says.

Chandrakala (CK)
Asst. Manager – NVOCC Operations

Chandrakala, equipped with Bachelors in Business administration is pursuing a Masters in Logistics. On April 2010 she has decided to impart her knowledge in the logistics business. She joined as a Management Trainee and has vested her time in various departments in Sales and Operations. Her interest towards the Shipping and Logistics has brought her into the business and now she has taken the responsibility of Asst. Manager NVOCC operations. “In fact the NVOCC business is quite challenging and looking forward to finding new techniques to optimize the operation time and cost to bring in more efficiency in the operations,” added CK.

Jayandan P I
Team Leader – CFS Operations

An Outstanding performer- Jayandan is known for his commitment, dedication and professionalism at work. From humble beginnings as a Tally Clerk in CFS he had strived to secure the position as Team Leader- CFS. He was awarded the top scorer in the Dangerous Goods certification training, which proved his expertise in the domain. His flexibility, adaptability and leadership skills will help him to turn out into an effective leader.

Vishnu Nazir
Team Leader – NVOCC Operations

Vishnu joined as the Jr. Operations Executive 4 years back. He was a quick learner and patient listener from his early days of the career. The interest towards knowing the export and import operations profited him with the business knowledge. He was Team Leader export before he was re assigned as the Team Leader for the entire NVOCC operations. “Vishnu has been a promising employee since his beginning of the career and he has taken responsibilities and took decisions at the right time and also lead the team from the front and we believe he will excel in his new responsibility” added U B Prince, VP NVOCC Operations.

CSS Welcomes

Over 2 decades of expertise in Logistics and Shipping business, Rajeev have joined CSS as the Business Development Manager, Projects, Oil & Energy department. After completing MBA in Marketing Management he had been working with various shipping companies in India as well as in Dubai before joining CSS. His domain expertise and knowledge will add value to the organization to bring in prospective business to the organization and moreover impart the knowledge to fellow employees.

“CSS headquartered in Dubai is one of the reputed organizations in the regions it operates and it is indeed a prestigious moment for me to be part of the CSS family and I take this opportunity extended to me to deliver the best,” he added.

CaroTrans’ Local Approach

Group CEO Howard outlines strategy for neutral NVO’s expansion

CaroTrans International may be among the larger non-vessel-operating common carriers when it comes to geographic coverage and information technology, but it operates in a manner more consistent with a niche or regional player.

“Although we’re a big business, we think and act small,” said Group Chief Executive Officer Greg Howard, in an interview. “Our strategy has always been to maintain a decentralized and localized stance in whatever country we operate.”

This means CaroTrans prefers to empower its managers at the branch level to cultivate and service customers, instead of centralizing functions, such as booking cargo and documentation, in far-flung service centers.

“All the work in the U.S. offices remains in the U.S. The only thing we export is freight, not jobs,” Howard said. “The same goes in other markets that we operate. All the work is handled by local teams.”

Running the business from the branch level out gives forwarders local access to CaroTrans’ decision makers, he added.

Similarly, CaroTrans prefers to cultivate future managers from within its ranks instead of poaching employees from other NVOs. Howard started as an entry-level clerk when he joined the company in 1984 and soon was tasked to open the NVO’s European and Asian network.

“We believe in succession planning as we build our future leaders,” Howard said. “We have a very good mix of experience and youth. We promote from within and break down bureaucracy at every opportunity. Our DNA is clearly defined and known amongst the team.”

What’s not decentralized is CaroTrans’ IT strategy. The NVO is among 50 companies of different sizes and industries working with Microsoft to implement its Windows.net business platform.

“There has been significant investment in user applications which provide additional avenues into the company and ways for clients to interact with our operations,” Howard said. “Internal processes have been redesigned using new software development tools. This in turn has led to further innovation.”

CaroTrans was started in 1979 by Jim Justiss of Carolina Freight Corp., and initially prospered in the U.S./Puerto Rico trade before expanding in the late 1980s to other world markets. In the mid-1990s, Carolina Freight was acquired by Fort Worth, Ark.-based Arkansas Best Corp., and CaroTrans became Clipper International, a division of the trucking company’s domestic intermodal provider Clipper Group.

Realizing an opportunity to resurrect the CaroTrans brand, Howard helped negotiate a deal with Arkansas Best to buy Clipper International in 1999.

Although CaroTrans is now a subsidiary of New Zealand-based logistics firm Mainfreight Ltd., the NVO continues to operate as an independent neutral consolidator, meaning it provides less-than-containerload and full-containerload services to forwarders and their affiliated NVOs.

Since then, CaroTrans has watched its business expand, even during the worst of the economic downturn in late 2008 and 2009.

“We experienced steady and consistent export LCL volume throughout 2009 and 2010,” Howard said. “Essentially our core business remained healthy while the export FCL volume was more dramatically impacted in 2009. We saw the FCL volume rebound in 2010 to record levels as clients shifted more volume to the OTIs (ocean transportation intermediaries) instead of committing all volume to the VOCCs due to the flexibility and versatility offered by the OTIs.”

During the downturn, CaroTrans expanded its export LCL by adding 18 new service offerings. “The weak dollar helped create a noticeable increase in LCL import volume, as clients shifted purchasing patterns to smaller and more regular LCL shipments in place of FCL,” Howard said.

The NVO experienced a marked increase in FCL export in support from shippers who had previously relied solely on liner carriers for their transportation.

CaroTrans’ 2010 global volume, which included non-controlled import shipments for overseas agents, was about 240,000 TEUs.

In addition to its Union, N.J., headquarters, CaroTrans has offices in 12 U.S. cities, including new branches opened in San Francisco, Boston and Dallas. The NVO plans to enter more U.S. markets this year.

Unlike some large NVOs, CaroTrans refrains from operating its own container freight stations. “We don’t own the assets and avoid situations where we are trapped into fixed-cost scenarios when the market is contracting or expanding,” Howard said. “We look to be the ‘anchor partner’ with our CFS operators and connect our system via EDI. These independent CFS partners can also provide our clients with an independent CFS operator with whom they can directly contract for specific service requirements outside of CaroTrans’ capabilities.”

In overseas markets, the NVO often works with local consolidators. “CaroTrans has partnered with premier neutral NVOs in key world markets that have developed leadership positions and strong brand recognition in their respective regions,” Howard said. “We see this network of long-term partnerships consisting of strong regional neutral NVOs to be one of our unique competitive advantages. It’s hard to justify breaking that up just to have your logo appear on a door in a foreign port.”

That’s not to say CaroTrans doesn’t operate any owned offices overseas. The company has four offices in Australia, two in New Zealand, and five in Hong Kong and China, and most recently opened its doors in Santiago, Chile.

“Our expansion into Chile was not through acquisition,” Howard explained. “While there were ample opportunities for acquisitions, we elected to disengage from an agent relationship of more than 17 years and establish our own company to lead expansion in South America.

“We are attracted to Chile due to the market stability and the need to solidify our position in Chile for CaroTrans’ operations in the United States, Asia and Oceania,” he added.

“Our philosophy regarding acquisitions is simple — if it fits the jigsaw puzzle we are interested,” he said. “There are numerous opportunities available to us but we simply are not in the game to acquire for the sake of acquiring. We have made it abundantly clear, however, that we have plans to expand our office network to Europe, India and South America.

“As for prime markets, we have good balance among our top 10 markets due to the fact that these are two-way trade lanes with relatively equal quantum of import and export volumes,” Howard said. “The only real soft spot for CaroTrans is the Caribbean Basin. We have been precluded from returning to this market after the divestment of our Puerto Rico operations (in 1999 to USF Worldwide, now YRC). However, strong customer demand has us evaluating our return to this region in 2011.”

CaroTrans also plans to expand its consolidation business beyond the sea. The company operates CaroTrans Air in Hong Kong and Shanghai, in addition to the trans-Tasman, as a wholesale air freight consolidator to Australia and New Zealand. “We are conducting market research to evaluate other niche trades where we may consider possible expansion of the CaroTrans Air product,” Howard said.

And it’s not all about making money. CaroTrans provides funding, administrative and operational support to Duffy Books in Homes, a 20-year-old not-for-profit organization, which supplies books to children in Australia, New Zealand and the United States in effort to improve literacy. It’s estimated that more than 6 million books have been distributed since the program’s inception.

Asked how the NVO market is shaping up for 2011, Howard said it’s anyone’s guess right now.

“FCL shipments were once considered the domain of the carriers, but an increasing market share is being served by OTIs,” he said. “Some consider this to be a cyclical trend, but it appears to be a more permanent market shift due to the added flexibility and varied services offered by the OTIs.

“The success of OTIs that focus on their core competence and innovative services which address the changing needs of the shipper versus those that simply chase volume at breakeven pricing will remain in a leading position,” he said.

(This feature is reproduced from American Shipper by Chris Gillis with their consent)

Longest Railway Bridge In India

Connects International Container Transshipment Terminal – Vallarpadam With The Main Land

Rail Vikas Nigam Constructed a railway line to the Vallarpadam terminal with a total length of 8.86 km, in which 4.62 km runs above the Vembanad Lake. This bridge has become the longest railway bridge in India. A railway station and electric substation was also constructed at Edappally. The Vallarpadam Port Railway station has been constructed by the Dubai Ports World.

The soil conditions were a challenge that RVNL engineers overcame with great élan. The bridges have been built on 1.2-diametre piles driven to an average depth of 55 metres. The total pile length is 65,000 metres.

Besides, 11,700 tonnes of reinforced steel; 58,000 tonnes of cement; 99,000 cubic metres of metal aggregates; 73,500 cubic metres of sand; 1,27,000 cubic metres of concrete work and 1,54,308 cubic metres of earth work went into building the new railway link.

The Kochi International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT), locally known as the Vallarpadam Terminal, is a container trans-shipment facility which is part of the Kochi Port. It is the only trans-shipment port in India, and is situated in Kochi, in the state of Kerala. Being constructed in three stages, the first phase of the terminal was commissioned on 11 Feb 2011.

This can handle cargo up to one million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) per annum. On completion of the third phase, the terminal will be able to handle 4 million TEUs of cargo per annum. The terminal is presently being operated by the Dubai Ports World (DPW), which will operate it for 30-years after which the control will come back to the Cochin Port Trust.

Vallarpadam Container Terminal is the only Transshipment port in India situated in Kochi. It is billed as the largest single-operator container terminal in the country. Now onwards mother vessels which can carry up to 140000 containers can reach Indian cost, previously it has been done through Colombo or Singapore port. As the first phase is opened now it is expected to handle around 700,000 containers this year itself. The length of the berth is 600 m which will be extended to 1800 m in the 2nd phase, which then will become the largest terminal operated by a single operator.


FEKCA (Federations of Kerala Colleges Alumni) celebrated Onam 2011 at the Sheikh Rashid Auditorium in Dubai on 16th September 2011 and was started with the traditional floral decoration (Athapookkalam) at the venue, followed by a grand Onasadya on plantain leaves. The cultural procession started soon after that and it presented various art forms of Kerala. Traditional Panchavadyam led by Sri Gopalakrishna Marar enthralled the audience by their thrilling Vadyamelam.

CSS has always been proactive in promoting the public interest by actively participating in various community growth and development for the Kerala Society in UAE and we are proud to be part of this event as co-sponsor. The public meeting was inaugurated By the Chief Guest Sri. Perumbadavam Sreedharan, renowned novelist and President of Kerala Sahithia Academy, where Sri. Sebastian Antony, Chairman of Basel Group of Companies in Dubai was bestowed with “The Businessman of the Year Award” instituted by FEKCA in 2010.  The scintillating and much awaited performance of the evening was “Krishna” a dance drama performed by renowned classical dancer and film star Padmashree Shobana and her 16-member troupe.

CSS Group Sets Sail At The Dubai Pre-Owned Boat Show

Following on from the success of the 2010 Inaugural Dubai Pre-owned Boat Show, the 2011 event will be held at the Dubai Creek Marina from the 17th to 19th November 2011.

CSS Group, the appointed agent for Peters and May in the Middle East, one of the leading service providers for Yacht and Marine Logistics will mark its first appearance in the upcoming Dubai Pre-Owned Boat Show 2011. Please visit us at booth S1.

For more details log on to www.cssgroupsite.com

Sports @ CSS

Duke University, the most successful college basketball team of the past 25 years was in Dubai for friendly match with the UAE national team. The clash was at Al Wasl Stadium, on the way back from their respective tours of China and Taipei. They won every quarter of the match against the UAE taking it 15-13, 43-31, 67-48 before ending 86-66. Meanwhile Rashid Al Zaabi top-scored for the UAE with 14 in which was a gutsy display from the UAE team ahead of their international matches. Hassan Haji, Public Relations Office (PRO) CSS Dubai, was amongst the referees for the match moreover he was elected as basketball referee for the FIBA Asia Championship. CSS Group has been active in promoting sports and cultural activities amongst employees and Hassan’s delegation as referee was indeed a proud moment for CSS.

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