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SAILING AHEAD

Shashi Kiran Shetty was only 25 when he started transportation solutions at the port of Bombay. But his aim was to get into the mainstream shipping business. Ten years later, he started a company called 'All Cargo' with mere Rs 25,000. Shashi Kiran Shet

Tags: Shashi Kiran Shetty, All Cargo Logistics, Entrepreneur, Supply Chain

BY Punita Sabharwal | June 30, 2012 | COMMENTS ( 0 ) |

SAILING AHEAD
Shashi Kiran Shetty

What led to the birth of your entrepreneurial venture?

 

I started my career in the logistics industry in 1978 with Intermodal Transport and Trading Systems Private Limited, Mumbai. Subsequently, I moved to Forbes Gokak, a TATA group company where I gained experience in port operations. While working for these two companies, I gained experience and built a little bit of network. I identified an opportunity to offer a transportation solution, which used to be highly congested in those days. The ships would stay longer in the port, which was a direct loss to the ship owner. Sensing that I could add value gave birth to this entrepreneurial idea. With very little capital, I was able to set up this enterprise by hiring the required equipments from the third party.

 

Were there any fears when you started your entrepreneurial journey?

 

I was very young at that time. I was a bachelor and my family was not here, so there was no fear in doing what I wanted. There was no financial obligation from the family front, in that sense I was driving my own destiny. I married when I got fairly settled in the business. I roped my family (wife, brother and brother-in-law) in the business too. My entrepreneurial drive was more driven by my confidence that I can do much better in business than doing a 9-5 job.

 

What were the challenges you faced in the initial years of your business?

 

One of the major challenges in those days was finance, as capital was in short supply. No bank will fund you because you are not in the core sector. There was no immediate support from your friends or family to fund you. The only source of funding was your customer. If the customer doesn't pay you in time, you have a problem. So there is a lot of persuasion to get the business and lot of persuasion to pay in time. They were painful efforts but finally they gave good results.

 

Do you think liberalisation led to growth of entrepreneurship? How did it help you?

 

Liberalisation helped in significant volume growth, as it unshackled the norms. There were more investments happening, the whole marketplace was becoming more attractive and the companies who wanted to set up manufacturing facilities started booming, all that led to the export-import business in India for which you need logistics support. So investors identified these companies and started valuating the companies on the basis of opportunities. To capitalise our business well, we got good valuation from a PE company. They bought six per cent of the company, that was in 2005 when our enterprise value was Rs 1,000 crore. And after one year, we went public and acquired Ecu Hold NV for Rs 200 crore. Getting permission from RBI would take months. Because of liberalisation these things were possible. The bottlenecks are still there, but it's because of the opening up of the import sector and building these national highways that facilitated the cargo flow to happen more efficiently. Liberalisation also helped in bringing down the transaction cost.

 

How did you built an enterprise out of a start-up?

 

Founded as a freight forwarding company, All Cargo over the years has grown as the largest NVOCC and multi model transport operator. Today, All Cargo is well known as India's first integrated multinational company in the logistics sector and the second largest LCL consolidator in the world. The company has also progressively expanded its services business by acquiring two Hong Kong-based freight-forwarding companies, and diversifying into shipping with the purchase of two general cargo vessels.

 

Any words of wisdom for the upcoming entrepreneurs?

 

Identify a niche business because when you are competing with major players, you need to create a niche for yourself. One needs to be sure about what he wants and work relentlessly towards it. Be transparent and abide the law, have lot of determination, don't get disappointed by short-term setbacks. Have a lot of courage where you have lot of conviction. Organise yourself, carry a team of people and always think forward. And most importantly, build a sustainable model, work hard, be fair to people, vendors and deliver what the customer wants.

 

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