Logistics Forum “India – More than Curry” in review

The President of Jacobs University, Professor Joachim Treusch, greeted 125 participants to the university’s campus.

Following South Africa in 2010 and the Rio de la Plata region in 2011, India was the country in focus on 5 December 2012 at the 3rd Logistics Forum, organised by the Kieserling Foundation and Jacobs University. Whereby the previous two forums highlighted countries or regions whose potential for trade and logistics appear to be undervalued, the most recent forum concentrated on India’s chances and how taking advantage of these can be highly risky.

Like in the past, the Logistics Forum was one of the most highly attended logistics events in the region in 2012. Professor Jens Froese led participants through the programme, which traditionally is opened by a dance or music group from the university.

Vice Consul Mukesh Kumar Ambasta delivered kind regards from Her Excellency Mrs Sujatha Singh, India’s Ambassador to Germany, who unfortunately had to travel to New Delhi at short notice and could therefore not attend personally.

With an introductory speech highlighting the various aspects of India as a logistics hub, from an Indian point of view, Jayaprakash Hegde, member of the Indian National Congress, had wanted to lead into the Forum’s topic. However, due to a by-election, for which every vote counts, he had to cancel at very short notice. The Indian students for logistics at Jacobs University, Shefali Sehgal and Pronnoy Das, ventured to perform an experiment that was extremely successful. They took the perspective of the experienced Indian politician, Jayaprakash Hegde, and enhanced it with their own perspectives, both of which they then delivered in a highly professional manner between the two of them.

Werner Heesen, up until 2009 Lufthansa Director South Asia and single-term President of the German–Indian Chamber of Commerce in New Delhi, discussed the huge potential for growth in the rapidly growing Indian middle-class and its consumer demands. He sees entrepreneurial risk in India’s sluggish courts, in particular, and the state’s strong influence on business activities.

Quentin Lacoste, CEO Europe, Middle East and the Indian subcontinent for Röhlig & Co, was optimistic and motivated German companies to become involved in India – while highlighting the benefits of “well-trained specialists” and “English as the business language”.

Erich Schwager, Director of Karl Geuther GmbH & Co KG, spoke against the background of being a representative for the Shipping Corporation of India. Successful business requires knowledge and awareness of the country’s mentality and customs. Insufficient infrastructure, slow processes and high costs hinder efficient logistics – but the potential for development at the ports and terminals is huge.

Dr Daniel Sharma, member of the Executive Board for India Group Continental Europe at DLA Piper UK LLP, presented the legal side for investors in India, whereby he sees the barriers particularly in the extremely slow-going deregulation, the corruption, lack of efficiency at federal offices and the courts as well as the infrastructure, which is in need of improvement. Like the previous speakers, he also sees powerful opportunities for investors, which should be taken advantage of carefully. Especially the legal aspects can quickly lead to problems – therefore, expert advice is absolutely essential.

Afterwards, the get-together with snacks and beverages offered a platform for talks which went on for a long time – proving that the interest in the regional economy on the Indian subcontinent is very high.

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Logistics Forum “India – More than Curry”

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