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Lighthouse - March, 2018.


The saying, ‘Time and tide waits for no one’ has been in use since at least the 1200s. So when an opportunity arises to pause and reflect, on what has gone before, it is an event that should be grasped enthusiastically. It gives us a chance to recognise our successes and also to learn from our mistakes. Taking time, in this way, is one of the basic requisites for leading a rewarding life. Our world is changing so quickly almost in the ‘blink of an eye’. Gradual beginnings, with the right direction, may soon gain a momentum all of their own. This is similar to our growth within CSS.

Our progress was gradual and organic because we utilised the opportunities that came our way. We were steadfast in applying the principles of building on confidence and trust by recognising the value of our customers and, most importantly, our staff. Making headway was not always easy. It called for determination, dedication and a belief in ourselves which has enabled us to grown in size and strength, so we may stand proudly where we are today.
It was Benjamin Disraeli who said’ “Change is inevitable. Change is Constant”. I firmly believe that if you stand still and tread water, others will very quickly overtake you. So it is with some excitement that I greet the event of CSS introducing two new Chief Operating Officers to our company. I heartily congratulate them and I enthusiastically look forward to this change bringing innovative contributions and progressive interactions with us all.

Whatever has been achieved, so far, has only been possible because of the amazing spirit shown by our staff and the enormous support they have given to our management. May this spirit continue and cascade on to new initiatives as well as permeating throughout all levels of CSS.

As a company the reputation earned by CSS, over the years, was due to the hard work of our staff and the confidence of the management which were equally reciprocated. By building on this ethos we will be assured of growth and success which emulates our past history of amazing achievements.

Never forget, from little acorns big oaks grow and CSS is still destined to grow even bigger.


With the recent promotion of Ajay Krishnan to Chief Operating Officer of Freight Forwarding, CSS Group, Lighthouse editorial team sat down to gain insight into his past, what he is looking forward to pushing with his new responsibilities and more.
By Minaal Pervaiz

If you were to describe yourself in under two minutes, how would you do so?

Logical, tough, but fair. Hospitality background, came into shipping and logistics quite by accident. It has been twenty years since then.

How did you get into it by accident?

[…] A friend of mine gave me an opportunity saying do you want to try this [As a] hospitality major, I think I was a little ahead of my time. When she came up with the opportunity to join APL, shipping was new to me. It was supposed to be a temporary situation but it just [stuck].

Has your background with hospitality helped you?

Absolutely – coming from a hospitality background, it levels the playing field. You’re not in a silo, it opens up horizons and gives you full access into the service industry. Shipping was the first option that appealed to me, excited me. It gave me the opportunity to meet multiple, diverse types of individuals; not one trader is the same as the other.

Tell us how you joined the CSS Group?

I used to handle the CSS Group account while I was in APL. We helped grow the business with a lot of innovative ideas, which actually got me known in the company.

Freight Forwarding was a grey area for me – although we say it’s all shipping and logistics, it is very different. You have to engineer services – you have to find a way. Here, [you deal] with freight, land transport, LCL, warehousing, 3PL, relocation. If you want to continue in the logistics industry, the future is in being a third-party agent. The role of the middle man, as we call it, is increasing a lot.

[I was given] a blank slate – the CSS Group had quality Forwarding but we didn’t really have a Forwarding division, per say, with the focus that we have today. We have our own network now, our own agents. I was welcomed very warmly because I had some good relationships in place already.

What do you think it takes an employee to get ahead in the CSS Group?

Focus, an ability to understand the objectives of the company and keep your own objectives aside for the time being. There will be an opportunity for both of them to merge at some point, as this happened to me.

What is your renewed focus now for your division?

Growth. Nothing else but growth. You have to take the profile of the company to the next level. We do not want to be known as only a consolidator, a key vendor for a customer. We want a [visibly] balanced profile, saying we cover all products effectively.

What is your personal philosophy on working with Freight Forwarding at this point?

I am enjoying it! No two days are the same and that’s the best part about it right. Every day presents a new opportunity. I am a very aggressive individual but balance it off so that I do not come in as overwhelming. So I will continue to try to do that through a balanced approach, excite the sales guys enough to get them to go out and do it. I do not do business because I have to – I do it because I want to. That has been my philosophy throughout. You want to take the best out of the personal objectives, take the company objectives and try to get them to meet.

[…] your aggression and arrogance needs to be measured and in balance. It cannot be too much of one. If people need to understand what you are thinking then you need to talk to them a lot more.

What do you enjoy the most about working here?

The flexibility, the diversity, the energy. It’s all about engineering or re-engineering the process. We do not say no, we find a way. That has been a philosophy of the group for a very long time and that is extremely exciting to be a part of.

With the current state of affairs in the industry, what predictions can you make using your knowledge, thus far?

I think the industry is in a state of flux right now. Things change beyond your control. Right now, 2018 looks good. I am not going to predict anything. We’re going to ride the wave, going to put in control measures so that we do not fall off the edge of the wave. While it seems steady and stable, it is not. It looks more like the calm before the storm. We have some pretty focused plans in place where we are going to grow our business organically.

There are certain ways people handle failure and success – how would you handle failure for certain objectives, or a division?

Failure for me is more internal; it’s not external. Even in success, I beat myself up for failing a lot because you have certain expectations, objectives in anything that you initiate personally, or professionally. I do not have a philosophy or a thought process when it comes to external failures – it is always internal.

How would you motivate yourself?

If you do what I do, if you work with the people I work with, live with the people I live with, and if you are friends with the ones I am friends with, you are motivated all the time. It’s only about the energy, but it is the ability to think forward. One of the reasons I grew in both my jobs is because I do not think about today. I have a habit of thinking a year, two years, three years from now. If I have an environment that is challenging, it is more than enough to motivate myself. I need to go home feeling mentally exhausted. I need to go home and say, you know what, that was a good day.

Other than set targets for the rest of the year, is there anything else you have planned with the particular portfolio you are now in charge of?

Targets are one thing, and how to achieve them is the other. It is not enough having a number, It’s the process and how we want to achieve that output matters more.

Abu Dhabi Ship Building Sees Second Highest Ever Profits

Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) has managed to break through the AED 100-million barrier with its second-highest profits in history for the year ended December 31st.

During 2017, ADSB re-branded its market position, and continued to build on the momentum from all operational segments, according to a statement from Khaled Al Mazrouei, CEO, ADSB.

In his statement, Al Mazrouei called attention to the improved financial position of the company, including increased gross profit (from AED 256.1 million in 2016 to AED 277.1 million in 2017), and increased net profit (from AED 61.3 million in 2016 to AED 104.8 million in 2017).

These results were mainly driven by the increased scope of the awarded Marine Support Services contract, which covers a period of three years (until January 2020), and cost efficiencies within existing Ship Build projects. Furthermore, efforts to expand into oil and gas fields significantly accelerated in 2017.

In terms of operations, the company implemented changes to drive a more effective and efficient organization. This included operational changes in the Ship Build (Naval Ship Building and Small Boats Construction), and Services (Marine Support Services, Naval/Commercial MRO, and Oil & Gas) sectors.


With the recent promotion of Chandra Kala to COO of NVOCC, CSS Group the Lighthouse editorial team sat down to gain insight into her past, what she would want the Group’s partner and agent networks to know and more.
By Minaal Pervaiz

How would you sum yourself up in under two minutes?

I’m a workaholic. I like to get involved from the bottom [up]. If I am doing [a task], I would rather do it from A to Z – I don’t like handing it over to anyone which [could be] both a bad and good quality of mine [laughs].

I like things to be perfect. Even for a tiny thing like a report [not being the way I want].

Tell us about your work background – take us through your entire journey.

Once I [graduated] from college with a BBA in Business Administration, I decided I wanted to do an internship abroad so I went to Singapore [and joined] Shipco Singapore for a year. It was an internship where I had to go to each department [like] import/export, agent development – a three month training in each aspect.

I went on to complete my MSc in Logistics after I joined the CSS Group.

What did you end up learning there that you then brought back here?

Basics of logistics – at least I had some knowledge by the time I joined [the CSS Group]! I started with the Key Information Desk – that’s the Customer Service Desk that handles all customer calls. On the side, I would help the Marketing team. Then after a year, I was shifted to the Project, Oil & Energy division where I focused on Yacht & Marine logistics.

Again, a year passed and I was told to overlook Operations as the Assistant Operations Manager – I was completely involved with Operations after that point.

How did you first get involved in the Shipping industry?

Even though some don’t end up joining their family businesses, I think I knew I was already going to join the CSS Group from an early age. It was [no surprise] – it was not a confusing decision for me to make. I was told to work myself up and I appreciate that because I wanted to know more aspects of logistics. You cannot learn it in one year – there is more to it. So I started with handling customers – their doubts and enquiries. You learnt something new every day!

In your opinion – for a CSS employee to get ahead within this company – what do you think it takes?

CSS is one company that has always given opportunities. You will see staff here that have been with us for a very long time. They grew from, say, the warehouse or the Reception. We always give them the opportunity to grow as long as they prove themselves, are hardworking and loyal. We do not let [our employees] stay stagnant for a long time.

How do you encourage loyalty among your employees? What does the company end up aligning itself with to create that environment?

I think the term ‘loyalty’ from an employee’s aspect has changed over the years. I think it is any company’s responsibility to protect their employees, and I think we do that at the CSS Group. Loyalty defers in that way but since we have a lot of employees that stay with us for a long time [10 to 15 years], I am assuming we are doing our job!

With your recent promotion to COO of NVOCC at the CSS Group, what does this mean for the portfolio that you will now be managing?

[Previously], I was more focused on ensuring operations went smoothly. Now, Ajay [COO, Freight Forwarding] and I will directly be responsible for making the CSS Group meet its overall targets and goals.

We have two networks – Freight Forwarding and the NVOCC. I will make the decisions when it comes to NVOCC that includes mostly the LCL consolidation business. Again, I will do what is best for the CSS Group.

How do you plan on getting your agents and customers excited about these new developments?

The type of service provided is essential – I telling my team that without service, customers do not come back to us. Even if you make mistakes, learn from them and do not repeat them.

Is there a certain approach that you have for yourself in order to make sure there is continuous success in this division?

My approach is to always discuss my ideas and/or goals with the team; where I want to go. I can set a goal for myself – that is not a problem – but I will not be able to consider further obstacles that I may have missed without discussing it with my colleagues; senior or junior.

How have you made yourself approachable?

The team I manage goes up to 45 members; I started from their level – they know me for a very long time! We – the CSS Group – have an open door policy. Any staff member is allowed to come to any senior management’s office. I allow them to come any time. There is no point in you sitting in your cabin [office], waiting for them to approach you. Take your laptop, sit on their table. Just sit with them.

With the current state of affairs with regards to NVOCC and the industry at large, are there any positive or negative predictions you could make for the next year?

There are logistics companies that are coming in every day, but disappearing at the same rate too. They do not understand the importance of logistics – the basic concepts.

I would like to see mutual cooperation amongst other companies in the same field.

How you would handle failure?

If you know failure is coming, stay cool. Especially at my level, I cannot freak out or else everyone behind us will fall! We have to be confident even if there is impending failure!

What motivates you?

My team and colleagues.

What would you want your partner and agent networks to know with regards to this new announcement?

I would like to work in a mutual manner where we grow together, rather than it being just a one-sided relationship.



After the huge success in the past they are now offering again their renowned “Heavy Lift Maritime and Transport Seminar” on May 29, 2018 at the Dorint Park Hotel in Bremen, just ahead of Breakbulk Europe in Bremen.

Below are a few highlights in short:

This technical seminar includes calculations, equipment and safety instructions. The main aim is to provide project forwarders that are already on the job with additional technical know-how on heavy lifting in the offshore sector.

The full day seminar is conducted by our Dutch expert who has more than 22 years of experience in handling project cargo. A certificate and a detailed manual will be also handed out to all participants.

Covered are the following topics: Heavy Lift Shipping, Lashing and Securing Sea Freight, Roll-on / Roll-off Operations, Offshore Lifting, Load out/ Load in, Lifting Equipment, etc.

Special price: Euro 550- per person (subject to a minimum of 20 attendees).

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about Heavy Lift Shipping and expand your technical abilities for your project cargo business!

Please confirm now your participation by return email to undersigned as space is limited and given away on a first-come, first-served basis.

(As announced and informed by GPLN)



An extraordinary feeling was evident on the faces of the Projects team of CSS, when they received the letter of appreciation from the client, for successfully completing a major project movement for the HSS Consortium Al- Zour refinery project, before the time committed. Of course, that was not the first instance though.

Ahmed Fuad and his team had spent 87 harsh days with utmost perseverance for moving 70,000 tonnes of coated pipes, of both 10 and 30 inches, and 4 cable drums of 85 tonnes each. “It was particularly pleasing for me and my team to see the customer benefitting from joining hands with CSS Group. It was a testing time again for my team yet a great example of the level of service CSS is able to deliver for our clients when it comes to challenging projects” mentioned Ahmed Fuad, Senior Business Development Manager, Projects Oil & Energy division, CSS Group.

The movement of the cargo started from the storage area to a private boat jetty. The scope of the work included, loading, transportation and offloading on to the barges. The cargo was then fastened on to the barges which demanded high level of technical skills. Altogether there were 16 barges on duty for carrying the cargo to the destination in Kuwait. The usual pre-move surveys, and technical testing were done by the survey team of the Projects department. The expected time of projects completion was 100 days which was committed before the move to the client, however, CSS could successfully cross the finishing line in 87 days.

Our team brought in another accolade by successfully displaying exemplary skills and exceeding the client satisfaction. Each project gives us a chance to add a new lesson to our experience. This project was an example of how dedication and commitment can add value to the jobs undertaken. Commented Raj George, Senior Vice President, Projects Oil & Energy division, CSS Group.




The logistics industry is evolving rapidly in India. This is as a result of the combined forces from the infrastructure, technology and innovate approaches from the service providers. India has been widely acclaimed as an investor friendly country as well. But the economic growth has slightly reduced its pace in the post GST scenario.

The lack of liquidity in the market has badly affected the situation. As per Rajesh Arora, Vice President, CSS North India, the outstanding collection has become a nightmare due to the lack of liquid funds. The GST return which has to come from the government has not been materialised yet. The exporters are holding orders as they have to part with 28% as GST and that too for more than 6 months.

Lack of infrastructure is another major stumbling block on the path of development. Emphasis should be laid on building world-class road networks, integrated rail corridors, modern cargo facilities at airports. Logistics parks should be set up and accorded a status equivalent to Special Economic Zones.

“The warehousing facilities, for instance is too insufficient in this part of the country. Delhi market depends mainly on three terminals the IGI Airport, Inland Container Depot, Tughlakabad & Container Freight station, Patpargunj. All three terminals are over booked and not at all properly equipped to cater the entire Delhi & NCR business” Commented Rajesh.

It is estimated that the industry will continue to grow at a robust rate of 10-15 per cent annually. Hence more attention needs to be given for the overall growth and development. Lack of transport integration is another challenge in the region. Delhi CFS has a minimum stopping time of a month for rail movement from Ports. Due to lack of proper service and infrastructure problem 30% of ICD cargo went to SEA ports severely affecting EXIM trade.

Even though problems were numerous, CSS Delhi performed well in the last quarter and the new office in Ludhiana is doing extremely good. CSS India management hopefully wait to hear the government intervention in improving the ailing infrastructure which will bring a greater impact on the growing logistics industry. It is indeed necessary to realise that training facilities too should be improved so as to mould a competent down the line to take the business to greater heights, Rajesh mentions.

Emphasis on research and development is potent because it encourages the use of indigenous technology, which can make the industry cost-effective and can also bring about improvement in services.



Governed by the Cargo agency conference, IATA cargo agency programme affords benefits to both airlines and agents. It provides agency with industry recognition of their financial and professional cometence while airlines gain access to a global distribution network of approved agents to sell their products. As an IATA agent they get access to Cargo account settlement system(CASS) at no cost as well. CSS India today operates from 11 offices offering a wide range of services in the shipping and logistics industry.


With the recent addition of Faisal R as the Co-Director of CSS Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Lighthouse editorial team sat down to gain insight into his past experience, opinions and more.
By Minaal Pervaiz

How did you first get involved in the Shipping, Liner and Logistics industry?
I have been involved in the field for quite a long time. I grew up in close contact to everything shipping related and became more interested when I began to consider my further studies.

Tell us how you joined the CSS KSA branch. Why did you want this job?
I joined CSS KSA because of my interest and experience with [the CSS Group]. I knew that with the knowledge I acquired whilst pursuing my career, plus the experience I have accumulated throughout the years, it would be my next best step.

With your recent addition as a Co-Director (working alongside Britto Satheesh) of CSS KSA, what does this mean for the portfolio you will be managing?
We will be taking CSS KSA further, representing a big challenge that I am looking forward to.

How would you handle failure?
I can best describe how I see failure through the words from Thomas A Edison: “I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways it will not work.” These words have followed me since my upbringing and are something that best describe our way of working in the logistics world.

What do you enjoy most about working at CSS KSA?
I am excited – it is a good opportunity to work with people from all over the world and share ideas to constantly bring innovation within the company.

What do you think the current state of affairs are in the industry and possible predictions?
The current state of affairs is positive because of the 2020 and 2030 vision. Also, business will be improving because of all these new projects across Saudi Arabia right now.

What motivates YOU?
An ambition to grow and make an impact in the industry. Legacy and the passing of knowledge are factors of motivation in my everyday life, and are my driving forces to always want to become bigger and better at what I do.


An agreement to implement the first phase of development of an integrated industrial and residential zone in Sokhna, Egypt has been signed in Dubai today between global trade enabler DP World, the Suez Canal Authority and the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone).
The framework agreement, which establishes a clear timetable of actions required to execute the first phase of the project spanning 30 square kilometres, was signed by Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World and Admiral Mohab Mamish, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority and the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone).
This follows the signing of a partnership agreement at a ceremony in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt on the sidelines of the World Youth Forum in November last year. The joint venture between SCZone (51%) and DP World (49%) with DP World managing the zone, will result in the development a comprehensive industrial zone in Sokhna spanning 75 square kilometres, as well as increasing the capacity of Sokhna port and linking it to the industrial zone to fuel foreign investment and trade growth.
Both parties aim to sign agreements with companies that wish to establish facilities within the zone by March this year.
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World, said: “We are pleased to move ahead with the development of this promising new project, which has the potential to substantially increase foreign investment into Egypt’s economy. In Dubai and at DP World, we have seen first-hand the power of trade infrastructure like free zones and seamless logistics corridors to drive economic growth – today, our flagship Jebel Ali Port and Free Zone together contribute to over 20% of Dubai GDP. We hope to see Sokhna’s new industrial zone drive the same if not greater growth for Egypt. Our focus on long term sustainable change will also ensure that this growth is beneficial for generations to come.”
Admiral Mohab Mamish, Chairman, Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) and Suez Canal Authority, said: “Our continued partnership reflects the deep-rooted trade ties between our countries and an ongoing strategy to further the growth of both our people and economies. With DP World, Egypt will harness all available resources and capabilities to ensure the success of this project, which will yield significant benefit for future generations. We will be targeting various industries to join the new industrial zone and look forward to realising this growth in the coming months.”

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