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Portways-Magazine-April-2018-Issue- Second Week


LOGISTICS 4 Porter raises Rs 50 Cr from Mahindra Group in series C round of funding In what appears to be a Series C round of funding, Porter has raised Rs 50 crore from Mahindra Group. With this, the B2B logistics marketplace has accumulated about Rs 135 crore from investors such as Sequoia, Kae Capital, Anupam Mittal and Sandeep Tandon. Earlier in December 2016, the company raised an undisclosed sum in Series B round while its Rs 35 crore Series A round was led by Sequoia and Kae Capital. The company which claims to save 20-25 percent on logistics expense for its clients, was founded by IIT alumni, Pranav, Uttam Digga and Vikas Choudhary. Two months ago, Porter had also inked an agreement to merge with Mahindra Group’s owned logistics marketplace SmartShift. The aforementioned funding amount seems to be a part of the deal. Porter is likely to be renamed Mahindra SmartShift, post this round. HyperloopTT opens first global innovation center for logistics in Brazil Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) has announced the establishment of HyperloopTT's XO Square as part of a new multi-million dollar agreement with Brazil in Contagem, Minas Gerais. Located on 5.4 acres, the 43,000 sq/ft XO Square will house the company's new HyperloopTT logistic research division, a fabrication lab, and an ecosystem of leading global companies, startups, universities, innovators, scientists, and governments from all around the world focused on solving growing issues in logistics. The center is officially supported by the Government of the State of Minas Gerais, the State of Minas Gerais Research Foundation (FAPEMIG), the Federation of Industries of the State of Minas Gerais (FIEMG), and the Municipality of Contagem. The agreement was made through a public-private partnership (PPP) with an investment of approximately $7.85 million in its first phase, which includes contributions from HyperloopTT, the Secretariat of Economic Development, Science, Technology and Higher Education (SEDECTES), and private investors. In addition, the physical space of 5.4 acres and 43,000 square feet of constructed space has been provided by the Municipality of Contagem. "The State of Minas Gerais, and the municipality of Contagem in particular, are one of the most significant logistics distribution hubs for Brazil," said Bibop Gresta, chairman of HyperloopTT. "With a strategic geographic position, a high concentration of large industries, and a dedication to innovation, it is an ideal location for HyperloopTT's XO Square." Meanwhile, State Secretary of SEDECTES, Miguel Corrêa said, "The government of Minas Gerais works towards promoting the state's innovation and entrepreneurship scenario, encouraging young people to become involved in research and technology. Our objective is to connect large companies and startups, generating businesses and smart solutions for different areas. Knowing that Minas Gerais will host HyperloopTT's research center, means that we are contributing with the State's economic growth throughout different paths, such as science, technology and innovation. This choice strengthens and boosts credibility for the actions being developed by the government." According to Alex de Freita, the mayor of Contagem, the public administration has worked to attract innovation, taking advantage of the city's logistics capacity, in addition to investments of more than R$ 1 billion to be made in urban mobility in the next three years. An innovative transportation and technology company HyperloopTT, focuses on realising the Hyperloop by creating and licensing technologies through the use of unique, patented technology and an advanced business model of lean collaboration and open innovation. Earlier in 2017, the company also signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh to develop a Hyperloop transportation route between the cities of Amaravati and Vijaywada. The route will reduce a one-hour trip to as little as just six minutes, if successful, and will employ a public private partnership model funded primarily from private sources to fund its construction. The two-phase plan includes first conducting a feasibility study beginning in October, which is expected to last around six months, and then to follow that up with Phase 2, which will be the actual construction of the Hyperloop itself. ITLN

EXIM 5 Coffee exports hit a new record; up 12% near 4 lakh tonnes in 2017-18 India’s coffee exports set a new record in financial year 2017-18, both in terms of volume and rupee value terms. Robust demand from key buyers in Europe and Russia, higher domestic production and a continued increase in re-exports aided the shipment trend. Exports fell short of the 4-lakh tonne-mark in volume terms, registering a 12 per cent growth over last year. Of the export permits issued by the Coffee Board for 3.957 lakh tonnes during the year, the robusta variety accounted for 2.257 lakh tonnes (lt), while arabicas were 52,569 tonnes. The instant coffees continued to register an increase and accounted for 1.169 lt. Coffee imports for re-exports were estimated at 68,142 tonnes, sources said. DST FIEO & PayPal sign MoU to empower small & medium businesses to sell across the globe in a seamless and safe manner Global technology platform and digital payments leader, PayPal and the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), India’s apex international trade promotion organisation, announced a partnership to promote exports while leveraging the technology and experience of each other. PayPal will work with FIEO to educate SMEs on how to leverage global opportunities, help them receive money in a safe and timely manner with PayPal products like invoicing and bring to them global best practices from across 200 markets. Dr. Ajay Sahai, Director General & CEO, said ‘The MoU will help FIEO to reach the cottage industries, artisans, house-wives, youths, MSMEs and clusters, even in far-flung areas to develop their orientation towards exports. The Paypal products like invoicing solutions, safe and trusted payment options for buyers, easy integration with existing business systems will help encourage the entrepreneurs and the startups alike to take to exports without any difficulty, without much technical knowhow. All these are in line with the Prime Minister’s vision of Make in India, Digital India and empowering the youth for start-up encouragement with export orientation.’ Speaking on the same Shri Anupam Pahuja, Managing Director and Country Manager, India, PayPal said, ‘With the shift towards an entrepreneurial mindset amongst Indians, the focus will now shift towards enablers that can fuel their success. This MoU will essentially focus on training Indian SMEs in various aspects of exports and familiarize them with global growth opportunities. Certain inherent challenges have deterred the Indian SME sector from performing to its true potential. Our programs and seminars will debunk myths and simplify the entire ecosystem for the SMEs. FIEO’s members contribute to more than 70% of India’s exports and we look forward to leveraging our partnership to strike the global chord’ Most small exporters from India tend to focus on the local market to steer away from the risks associated with operating in a global marketplace. Complicated shipping and exports procedures also serve as deterrents for this sector which has very high potential. The awareness programs will address some commonly faced challenges by SMBs and entail trainings to empower them with PayPal solutions tailored for this segment. DST India may import 1.5 mt wheat in 2018-19: USDA report With the domestic production of wheat projected to dip by 3 million tonnes (mt) from the official estimates of 97 mt, India may import 1.5 mt of wheat in the marketing year 2018-19, a new report prepared for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said. According to the USDA officials, India imported 5.9 mt and 2 mt in 2016-17 and 2017-18 respectively. “Unfavourable late season weather conditions and consequent decline in the upcoming harvest may improve import prospects, while any further rise in import duty may push the forecast for imports lower,” the report said. Quality wheat imports In November last year, the Centre hiked the import duty of wheat to 20 per cent from existing 10 per cent, in order to discourage imports as the prospects of a good output looked up. India, which turned into a net importer of wheat in 2016-17 and continued importing in 2017-18, may import mostly quality wheat for South India millers, who may find imports more economical than buying from the domestic market as prices may go up after the marketing season is over in August this year, it said. DST LoU ban to impact financial flexibility of importers: Ind-Ra Banning of letters of undertaking (LoUs) and letters of comfort (LoCs) by the RBI as trade finance instruments is likely to reduce financial flexibility of importers, a Fitch group company said recently. In the wake of Rs 13,000-crore PNB scam through fraudulent LoUs, the Central Bank stopped banks from issuing the two instruments for trade credits for imports into India. "The Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) decision to ban LoUs) and LoCs as trade finance instruments is likely to limit the overall financial flexibility of Indian importers," said India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). The curb on the mobilisation of foreign currency working capital funds is likely to translate into liquidity pressure and higher funding costs for small and medium-sized corporate in short term. Ind-Ra opines that funding costs for projects where a substantial portion of plant and machinery is required to be imported may witness an increase in finance cost in initial years, thereby exacerbating the pressure on project returns. "The recent ban on LoUs by the RBI may pose challenges to banks to provide necessary support to importers," says Ind-Ra, and added that various importers are facing challenges in availing LCs for availing trade credit. DST

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