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Lighthouse - January, 2016.

When Containers Become a Bit More Romantic

Ben’s unique marriage proposal at CSS

Asking for a woman’s hand in marriage is one of the most important things a man will probably do in his life. Therefore, a good deal of consideration should be put into the timing and setting of this event. Thinking of creative marriage proposal ideas is tough and one of a kind proposal can be very hard to think of. We have seen and read many times in our life of people around the world exploring different, sometimes insanely expensive ways to propose marriage to their partners. Often times it is the the unique ones that take the headlines of News papers. One such unique proposals happened last week, showing that the logistics business can be more than what we know it to be!

Recently, The CSS Group helped organize a unique proposal for an industry friend and associate of the company, Ben of Pangaea. Ben a long time friend of CSS group, wanted to make his proposal  unique while relevant to the industry where his partner Martyna works in. He came up with an idea to do this inside a container. He shared his thoughts with Kala, Chairman of CSS group, who didn’t need to think twice to make this real. Arrangements were immediately made at the Jebel Ali office with all CSS staff sharing the same excitement of Ben.

A container was organized at one of the loading bays at the CSS Group Jebel Ali facility, the décor was done in-house by the CSS team. Cupcakes and flowers were arranged and Martyna was invited, albeit, without a clue as to what was to unfold. It was a truly romantic and unique event, attended by CSS Staff and the CSS Group Chairman.

Kerala Cricket League

CSS Kingston Alleppey Amigos Play KCL Dubai

CSS Kingston Logistics FZC, sponsored Alleppey Amigos team participated in the recently concluded Kerala Cricket League (KCL).  Destructive West Indies batsman and the ambassador of Kerala Cricket League 2015, Chris Gayle has officially opened the third edition of the tournament here. Gayle kick-started the competition in his trade-mark style after getting into his batting gear and lofting the ball high much to the delight of the nearly 2,000-strong spectators gathered at the Sevens Stadium. Sixteen teams featuring UAE cricketing talent took part in the league in four groups, which was managed by Seashell Events UAE and was organised under the patronage of Dubai Sports Council and Dubai Cricket Council. Renowned Malayalam film actress Nyla Usha was the Brand Ambassador of CSS Kinston Alleppey Amigos team

Meticulously Executed Supply Chain Management

Millions in Mumbai commute everyday to earn a living. Banks, colleges, hospitals, government offices, private offices, factories and ports are all spread across different parts of the city. In a country where hot and freshly cooked home food is the most preferred for consumption, carrying of lunch boxes is a big burden for the working populace. However, this problem is unheard of in this metro city thanks to the presence of the 100 year old organization of “Dabbawalas”.

The Dabbawala community has about 5000 people working with them. These Dabbawalas deliver lunch boxes for about 2 lakh people at their work places on time. The work doesn’t end here. They also carry the empty lunch boxes back to the homes of the customers. The unbelievable part is they make only one mistake in sixteen million transactions and have been consistently good at it for all the time of their operations. This credibility earned them a six sigma designation by the Forbes magazine and ISO 9001 accreditation.  The three main reasons for their success are as follows.

1. Supply Chain Management

Surprisingly there is no use of Information systems or technology for their Supply chain side. A rigorous level of practice over the years has led to the unwritten steps to follow for accurate supply chain management and time precision. There are about 40000 transactions (delivery and return) of lunch boxes taking place daily. The figure below shows their Supply chain model

• Dabbawalas use cycles or go by foot to every household. The waiting time to collect a lunch box is maximum 2 minutes

• Every Dabbawala has to assemble at his/her reported collection point at sharp 9. 30 am

• From these collection points they assemble at the nearest railway station which is the Aggregation point

• The next mode of transport is the trains where the carriers containing lunch boxes are transported to the destination railway stations

• From every Destination station the dabbas are carried over carts, cycles and carriers to the destination zones which are given a specific number

• From these zones, the lunch boxes are carried to the offices or workplaces which reach by lunchtime

• From here the reverse process of delivering the empty lunch boxes back to homes starts

• All through the above process, there is no slack at any point of time

• Traffic Jams, pedestrians, delays in train and signals do not stop the functioning. The trademark white cap wore by these Dabbawalas are known to everyone including the police who don’t interfere in their process

2. Coding System

Coding System is meticulously followed in order to avoid any mistakes involving interchange of lunch boxes, that is, wrong Tiffin box reaching the customer.

As given in the above Diagram, the Coding system can be explained as follows:

• BVI: Borivali, a suburb in Mumbai. This denotes the residential station

• 9 RC 14: Code for Dabbawalas at destination. This user code is different for each customer

• RC: Raheja Chambers, name of a building or office

• 14: Floor Number

• E: Code for Dabbawala at Destination station. For example, E is a code for Nariman Point, Churchgate

• Jain: Name/Surname of the customer

3. Employees

All the employees or Dabbawalas are the stakeholders in this organization. This is the source of their motivation. Most of the employees are illiterate and rest is school dropouts. However they are literate enough to understand the codes and comprehend which lunch box belongs where. They are given basic idea about writing the alphabets and numbers on the boxes on joining the organization. Every Dabbawala takes about 3 hours for completing his assignment and has to cover 60-70 km on foot, carts, cycles and carriers combined. Alcohol consumption is strictly avoided during work hours. The employees’ monthly salary is about Rs.6000 per month.

Key Features of the Dabbawalas organization:

• Organization Turnover is about Thirty Six Crores annually

• Uninterrupted and on time service delivered even in occasions of bad weather and transportation/traffic problems

• Dabbawalas are well used to the local areas where they are functioning and make use of short cuts to save time

• No error inspite of lunch boxes changing hands six times

• During the working hours, they do not take a break or rest and thus no slack is present in the system

• They do not use vehicles which require fuel which makes them 0% Fuel reliant

• They do not use any modern technology for carrying out the logistics

• There are no disputes between the employees and no presence of any union

• Unique organization with Six Sigma designation and 99.99% rate of performance

• Cost of Service per lunch box = Rs. 450 per month and is standard price for all

• Customer Satisfaction accounts 100% with utmost trust


The Dabbawalas organization is a standout example of efficient Logistics and Supply Chain Management. Corporates and students should make note of their functioning in order to understand their unique structure and process. Today the Dabbawalas have welcomed the use of internet technology only for increasing their customer base and nothing more. Many fast food chains and hotels in the city will always be competing with the Dabbawalas but their hope of failure of Dabbawalas system may never materialize.

Compiled by Rajesh Chakiat, GM, Supply Chain, CSS Dubai

Expanding New Horizons of DP World

CSS was advised by DPW management at a recent briefing here in Dubai (Dubai Ports Operator) that DP and other partners are investing $1.9 billion in China port terminals until 2020, DPW stated The $1.9 billion investment in China is the total investment by all partners in China terminals including DP World for the years up to 2020 – DP World’s share of the Capex will reflect its minority shareholding in the respective projects,” a company statement mentioned

DP World has three ports in China – Qingdao, Tianjin and Yantai .

This announcement came after a recent three-day official visit to Beijing, during which a host of business deals have been announced between the United Arab Emirates and China.

The deals included the two countries establishing a joint strategic investment fund worth $10 billion as China pursues its ambition to rebuild Silk Road trade routes.

DP World and the Prince Rupert Port Authority have announced an agreement to study further expansion of the Fairview Container Terminal in Prince Rupert. The agreement was signed by DP World Canada Group and Prince Rupert Port Authority further strengthening the commitment of their respective organizations to the development and growth of the Port of Prince Rupert. DP World is the operator of the Fairview Container Terminal and construction is currently underway for the Phase II North expansion. Government of Canada approval has been received for the Phase 2 South expansion of the terminal further to the environmental assessment (Comprehensive Study Report) completed on terminal expansion in 2012 in accordance to the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. Under the Feasibility Study agreement, DP World intends to study current marine liner services and container volume growth forecasts for trans-Pacific trade on the West Coast, weighing demand for activation of Fairview’s Phase II (South) expansion to align the project schedule with market demand. This study is critical to the future growth of port operations within British Columbia and will serve as the basis for moving forward with this project in a timely manner. Additionally, the agreement included the intention to establish a cohesive and systematic approach to information sharing as well as environmentally sustainable port initiatives re Phase II South, which could potentially be delivered within the next three to five years depending on demand, would increase the total capacity of Fairview Container Terminal to in excess of 2 million TEUs, and would provide capacity to meet Canada’s Pacific container terminal capacity requirements for decades to come in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible manner, The growth in traffic at the Fairview Terminal, North America’s fastest-growing intermodal gateway, has been a validation of the Prince Rupert advantages in transpacific shipping. DP World is ready to seize those advantages and move forward with planning the terminal’s continued expansion. In early 2015, the Phase II North expansion project was launched, which will raise the terminal’s capacity to approximately 1.3 million TEUs upon completion in 2017.

Intelligence is in Being Unintelligent

Each morning, from every corner in the world , people get up, get ready, eat or skip a breakfast and head to offices and then around 9.30 or 10.00 am starts the collective intelligentsia of the world, using their skills and intelligence to “grow” and “solve problems”

So a corner in Abu Dhabi to a corner in Mumbai to a corner in Amsterdam to a corner in New York

To a downtown in Delhi to a downtown in Madrid to a downtown in London to a downtown in Dubai

All are “actively” using strategy and intelligence to achieve growth at:

a. Individual level leading to growth at

b. Company level leading to growth at

c. Country level leading to growth at

d. Group continent level – say EU or Emerging market group

This corporate phenomena started about 3 decades back and what have the collective intelligentsia of the world achieved today in 2015?

a. USA in recession and deep debt

b. EU in recession and deep debt

c. Japan in recession and deep debt

d. China and India slowing down

e. Brazil deep in the red

f. Russia – like you, even i don’t know

g. Africa still in hunger and poverty

h. Middle East and Arab world in deep turmoil

i. Canada, Australia and New Zealand anyways were soft honeymoon destinations , who never really shook world economies or caused any political instability

Central Banks don’t know how to service the debt at

a. Individual level which lead to debt at

b. Company level which lead to debt at

c. Country level which lead to debt at

d. Group continent level

So there are short term steroids offered in form of bond buying and playing on interest rates to make liquidity flow for temporary solutions

I think its safe to say that the collective intelligentsia – which spent so much on business suits, ties, presentations, iMacs and iPhones, travelling business class and first class, brainstorming and grain starving, business lunches, signing cheques, sealing deals, making agreements etc with all the attitude and egos, have miserably failed. They have bought us to this in 2015.

They say, often, when the larger picture is seen, the minute things that matter are forgotten.

The intelligent never cease to look below their own nose and which is why today – we have forgotten the basics.

So all of us need to ask ourselves – have we turned too intelligent to understand the very basics of our own lives? Is this mirage that we live in, which makes us feel confident, superior, competitive, one up on another, actually taken away our mojo?

At individual levels, we need to buckle down and see:

a. How do we treat our colleagues

b. Are we fair to our surroundings

c. Is our work and private life in harmony

d. Are we being too intelligent to be one up always

Questions we need to ask:

a. Is growth always the way forward

b. Whats the benefit of distribution vs growth

c. What does being competitive do to us

d. Is quality defined by money alone

e. Are we compromising values for the sake of currency

These are not mere “moral” suggestions, I am not in the business of morality.

But these are real time things we can relate our daily work with.

Is it not really ok to simmer down sometimes , be comfortable, let go, say no, chose between right and wrong, assess the pennies lost to the pounds gained, to be uncompetitive, to be unintelligent vs being too intelligent, to stop monetising our talent always.

If the past decades belonged to intelligence who bought us to this, let the future belong to being unintelligent, use the heart more than the brain, think about small than think about big , put people over cash, be a human to being a money maker.

Reason being – each business today is a peoples business. And by doing so – people will remain people. Because people can be stupid, people can be foolish, people can make mistakes, people can falter.

If you need counselling on this topic , you can email or call me. I charge a fee and its just about affordable. This preceding line is just a joke. Thank god, I haven’t come to it and made a business out of it too.

A Mandatory Container Weight Verification Requirement


The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (hereby referred as SOLAS Convention) shall make a mandatory container weight verification requirement in its Chapter VI, Part A, Regulation 2 which shall come into force on 1st July, 2016. As per this Regulation 2, the person who is transporting the shipment / Shipper or a third party arranged by the Shipper is responsible to provide the weight of their packed container in any of the following methods:

1.    Weighing the loaded containers;

2.    Weighing the cargo and adding the tare weight of the container which can be seen on the door of the container.

Once this provision enters into force, the requirement to provide the Verified Gross Weight (hereinafter referred as VGW) shall become mandatory and the Shipper has to make sure that he provides the VGW prior to the shipment. If the Master or the Terminal Representative has not obtained the VGW, then the container shall not be loaded on to the vessel .

How the weighing may be done?

The Port of Loading may facilitate itself with equipments to weigh the containers. The Shipper shall use either one of the two methods to calculate the actual weight of the packed containers. For this, the Shippers can make use of the weighing equipment, if available at the Port. But the Port authorities has the duty to make sure that these equipments shall meet national certification and calibration requirements. Is there any alternate remedy available to the Shipper if the Port of Loading does not have the weighing equipment?

SOLAS does not say that the Port of Loading should have a weighing equipment to weigh the packed containers or shipments. It only mandates the shipper to issue a verified gross mass of the shipment. In case the Port of Loading does not have the weighing equipment, then the shipper shall find any alternate way to weigh the shipment / packed containers.

In case the Shipper does not provide the weight verification, then the vessel and the terminal operators would have the option of weighing the packed container at the Shipper’s expense to obtain weight and thereby keep the commerce moving.

How the new provisions would affect the parties concerned? 

1. Shipper

All the expenses with regard to the weighing of the packed container shall be borne by the Shipper. Now the problem arises if the Carrier receives the packed container without the verified gross mass. If the loading port does not have any provision to weigh the packed containers, then they will have to arrange to weigh the container at somewhere else.  In such a case, the shipper might have to take the consignment or the packed container to somewhere else to get the actual weight or the carrier may have to make arrangements for the same at Shipper’s expense.

However, it would be difficult for a shipper to weigh a packed container if the weighing equipment is not easily available. Under such circumstances, the Shipper can opt for second method available under SOLAS Convention instead of the First Method.

2.  Carrier

This provision will be boon to the Carriers who are especially engaged in the transportation of the Container cargoes. The actual mass of the packed container would definitely help the Carriers in the loading of the Containers efficiently. This can for an extent reduce the accidents caused to the vessel due to the instability.

Also this provision would help the personnel who are engaged in loading. There are incidents were workers have died while loading of containers. Due to the miscalculation of the actual weight the Containers  have fallen down on the workers while trying to load them on board. This new provisions might help the stowing of the Container in a better way thereby reducing accidents.

3. The Government.

The Shipping Industry plays an important role in funding the economy of the Country. When the mandatory provisions enter into force, the Government shall make available the certified equipment for weighing the Containers and to make a smooth movement of commerce.


This is a very relevant and important provisions incorporated in the SOLAS Convention. Usually, the Shipper/Consignee who are engaged in domestic or international trade when transports a shipment, would never give out the actual weight of the consignment. This has caused many accidents in the industry as the misdeclared weight would affect the stability of the vessel, cause damage to the container stacks etc.

Staying Focused

Perhaps you have pondered over the last few weeks if you should make any New Year’s resolutions, but how many of us can remember the ones we made last year? Unless we managed to achieve the outcome we resolved to attain, the chances are we have long since forgotten them. This is unfortunate because setting goals, by making resolutions, does work. The concept has never failed anyone. The only reason failure occurs is because the person, who may easily be you or me, has chosen to give up. What has let us down is our inability to stay focused. Research supports the view that over 78% of those making meaningful goal setting resolutions failed to stay focused and gave up.

For this reason, when setting any targets or goals, we have to accept that focus may become an issue and make plans accordingly to help us keep on track. There seems to be evermore distractions which demand our attention and steer us away from being focused. Our particular goal setting may be seen as unusual, so even our friends often want us to conform to what they see as normal. “Go on another piece of cream cake won’t harm you”. “You’ve been to the gym twice this week, time for you to have some fun”. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy – come on give yourself a break”. Perhaps they do not appreciate your need to stay focused when you have set yourself goals? The most important person when it comes to deciding this is YOU. Sometimes we need to put ourselves first and for many this is not an easy attitude to accept. Recall, if you will, what a flight attendant tells passengers before take-off.

‘If the oxygen masks deploy you should secure your own before attempting to help others with theirs.’ After all, unless you are getting enough oxygen, how can you help them? There are times when you have to stay focused on yourself because only when your needs are met are you able to help anyone else.

It was some fifteen years ago that a former Apple and Microsoft Executive coined the term, ‘continuous partial attention”, to describe the modern predicament of being constantly attuned to everything without fully concentrating on anything. How, in such an environment can anyone hope to stay focused? Today’s generation seem to have even more distractions, steering them away from being focused. Personally I cannot understand how someone can give an issue their full attention when holding a face to face conversation whilst at the same time juggling their mobiles, texting and allowing them to be interrupted by calls.

There are numerous ways to help stay focused but my favourite is to create a vision board made with a collage of pictures and slogans that represent my goals and dreams. I make sure I display it in a prominent place so as to remind me. When I set myself a weight loss target, I put a picture of a lean and toned guy, the same age as myself, on my fridge door. When planning a campaign I find pictures of winning situations, coupled with cryptic words, and mount them on a board near to my office desk.

To succeed you have to develop a mind-set which sees you attaining your goal. You also have to limit the number of goals that you set in order not to spread yourself too far. Ideally picking one to three goals and sticking to them, is usually a realistic target for most of us. It is also crucial that you do not bother yourself with other goals until you have achieved those you have already set. Of course the proviso to this, if your priorities shift and your goals no longer reflect what you want, is a reassessment is required.

Oprah Winfrey, American media proprietor, TV show host, actress and philanthropist tells us we should, “Take five minutes to centre yourself in the morning – set your intention every day”. Obviously this routine has worked well for Oprah and it is an appropriate start for our day if we wish to move forward, achieving our goals. Nevertheless, without determination and dedication, it is easy to be detracted from staying focused. This why my New Year’s resolution was; “Procrastinate more – Starting tomorrow! “

Lucky Winner

As part of our continuous commitment to the freight forwarding fraternity, CSS initiated a thank you scheme over 6 years ago, whereby one lucky name out of the scores of business cards that are dropped into the raffle bowls placed at the Delivery Order Counter will be rewarded with a gift.

The winner picked selected and rewarded for the months of September- November 2015 was Suresh from Fujairah Export Import Co. who walked away with gift vouchers worth AED 200 from Lulu, presented by Fida Asghar, Team Manager NVOCC Sales, CSS Dubai.

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