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Exploring shipping and logistics in-depth

The maritime sector is growing at a phenomenal rate. This has led to the creation of lucrative jobs for young people around the world. In Goa, MES College in Zuarinagar, offers a shipping and logistics course that prepares students for this industry.
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The shipping and logistics sector is thriving, and it is fast becoming an area of interest for a new generation of college graduates. From retail to handling shipping, distribution, warehousing, and quick deliveries to customers, the opportunities in the field are many. “With the unprecedented growth in the maritime sector, the job openings too have increased. The problem however is finding skilled personnel to handle on- shore jobs. Hence the need of the hour is to meet this demand for trained manpower by giving them suitable education and developing the required skill set,” says director of planning and development, MES College, Lalita Joshi.

To bridge the gap between the demand for skilled youth and jobs available; Murgaon Education society’s M E S College of Arts and Commerce at Zuarinagar offers a unique degree called BBA in Shipping and Logistics. Started in the year 2009 it was selected under the ‘Industry Related Innovation Programme’ scheme of the University Grants Commission (UGC). “It is the only undergraduate programme in India which addresses the commercial and managerial side of the shipping industry, thereby opening up a plethora of job opportunities in the sector. The course provides training and job opportunities equally to both boys and girls,” adds Joshi.

What is this course all about?

Shipping and Logistics is an undergraduate course preparing students to handle office /shore based jobs in the logistics and shipping industry. “It is an in- depth course imparting basic shipping knowledge and covers a wide range of subjects like shipping law, supply chain, material handling, customs, marine insurance, air cargo, logistics, economics of shipping, etc; which help students gain a strong foundation of shipping concepts,” says senior executive- customer service and documentation for a leading shipping line, Siddhi Sardesai. In the light of emerging international trade, this course would be useful for anyone who wants to understand the process of shipping and logistics and pursue a career in the field. Course-coordinator of the college Semele Sardesai adds: “It provides a right mixture of theory and practical experience helping students be industry ready. The course also emphasises on grooming, communication, and soft skill training which are of vital importance for a global industry like shipping and logistics.” MES is one of handful colleges in India offering a full time degree course in S& L.

The three-year course not only gears students with theoretical knowledge, but also includes compulsory internships which gives them firsthand knowledge and a peek into the industry workings. Housed in a state of the art building; the college provides facilities like book bank, computer lab, and wi-fi. The course syllabus has been designed by experts from the shipping industry. Proprietor of Ericson and Richards (Goa), Captain Eddie Viegas, who was a part of the team that was instrumental in the course design says: “Earlier we found there was a dire need for trained staff especially as boarding executives. Individuals in this position had a crucial role to play in collaboration with the captains. However, most of them when they joined were absolute novices and learnt on the job which sometimes took years. We hence decided to design a course with a thrust on skill-development of students with concentration on practical subjects involving procedures and practices of the industry. Thereby when these students would join the industry they would have some knowledge and would be better equipped to handle the job and responsibilities therein.”

While the programme does not provide specialisation, it helps students cultivate a holistic perspective and understanding of shipping and logistics. Interaction with visiting faculty, invited guest speakers, and specialists from the industry assists students to widen their information base and gain new and interesting insights. Site visits too add to this learning process. Chetna Trehon, a visiting faculty who teaches customs, maritime law, chartering and logistics at the college says: “The subjects have been very judiciously selected keeping in mind the industry requirement. The knowledge gained through these subjects gives students a unique overview and helps them develop a better understanding of the laws, procedures, and workings of the industry.”

Sharing his experience, second year student, Anindya Chaterjee says: “We study subjects that are very pertinent to the profession we want to follow. The faculty is really good and extremely approachable. There is a lot we learn from them, especially teachers of the core subjects. Since they are from the industry they relate the text book matter to their own experiences which makes it easier to understand what the industry is all about. Besides the core subjects we also learn about Goan heritage, creative thinking, oral communication, and more.”

What is the eligibility?

Any student who has passed Class XII (HSSC) of any stream (Arts, Science, Commerce, or vocational) from a recognised board is eligible to apply. This is followed by an entrance exam where candidates are assessed on their English, mathematics, logical reasoning, and data analysis.

What are the job prospects after the course?

Shipping and Logistics is a generic  term and  there are various sub sectors in it, namely-containers/shipping lines, freight forwarding, ship manning and crewing agencies, customs house agency, air cargo, Export Oriented Units(EOU) Chartering, marine insurance, ship agency, CSF yard operators, etc.

After completing the BBA degree in Shipping and Logistics students have job opportunities in a wide range of shipping related industries such as:

Government departments like customs, ports, railways, defence, Shipping Corporation of India, etc.

Jobs are also available at air cargo, shipping and logistics companies and multinational companies.

The graduates are also absorbed by clearing, forwarding and stevedoring agencies.

“One can opt for any of these sectors and choose a profile depending on one’s interest/skills.  For example, customer service, sales, pricing, operations, logistics, documentation, etcetera,” informs Salgaonkar. In Goa, the starting salaries are approximately 10-15k for freshers but places like Mumbai/Chennai offer higher packages. “The general trend in shipping is to hire at a lower salary, but it offers tremendous scope for growth once you have a few years of experience. Needless to say, salary depends upon individual caliber,” she adds.

Speaking about how the course has helped him, shipping and logistics graduate Sagar Srivastava, who has been working with a renowned international brand, says: “The course has been very instrumental in getting me where I am today; not just in terms of opportunities but also with regards to promotions. At my last job, where I was in the operations department and looking after loading and discharge of containers, I was promoted twice in a short span of time. Soon I will be moving to Oman for a higher position with more responsibilities.”

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