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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Maritime Logistics Professional

Indian Register of Shipping – A class Apart

Posted to Indian Register of Shipping – A class Apart (by on November 20, 2013

In its new Avatar the Indian Register of Shipping is seen undergoing sweeping changes as it braces itself to meet the new challenges

Acquiring full membership of the International Association of Classification Societies Ltd. (IACS), and with the appointment of a new CMD, the first step for IRS is to move up in terms of quality and enhanced standards execution and delivery. Major plans are already in place to take IRS to the next stage and it is being repositioned to play a more dynamic role than just being a classification society. Improving mindsets and qualitative improvements in execution as well as in the delivery of services is the foremost target for IRS.  This will lead to a definite growth in India as well as outside India. “The world is our market and we are just getting ready to reach out for our share”, claims Mr. Arun Sharma, Chairman & Managing Director this morning in a one-on-one interaction.

Mergers and acquisitions would be very much on its mind in the near future with a view to strengthening the base and to making a foray into new areas, he informs. IRS is looking at investing in designer houses, consultancy services etc. It will now clearly look at both, performing the role of a traditional classification society, which is safety of life, assets at sea and protection of the marine environment and being a solution provider for its clients, thereby embracing the philosophy of ‘Beyond Class’.

IRS wants to be seen as a solution provider to its clients, which will add value to its business and help customers meet the new challenges faced by the industry. Today, the endeavor is to make Indian Register a classification society preferred by its clients and look at areas ‘Beyond Class’. There is also a gradual shift in its focus to ‘high end’ businesses, while at the same time consolidating its current strengths. Over and above, IRS is looking at the oil and gas sector since it needs to do a lot of catching up in this regard.  Accordingly, a focused group has been set up to look at this within.

Mr. Arun Sharma is firm about forging ahead as IRS takes on a new dimension and speaks of making a paradigm shift from the business model of a classification society, a role commonly known the world over, to that of a solution provider. A dedicated business development and customer relationship team has been set up with primary responsibilities for this in India, Singapore and the UK. The new business model                he has in mind for IRS will help not only the customers but trade in general as well.

IRS is in constant touch with the industry to understand the needs of its customers. The R & D department of IRS will focus also on creating innovative solutions and cashing in on emerging technologies for use by clients to their best advantage. Mr. Sharma says, “Our R & D operates on two fronts. Firstly, it looks to improving the present systems and to come up with new techniques and technologies that can be marketed. Secondly, it creates tailor-made solutions designed especially to meet the individual stakeholder’s needs. The need to innovate is on the top of its R & D agenda. In this regard, IRS has been recruiting senior people at different levels to boost such efforts. 

One of the achievements of IRS is its recognition as the Recognized Organization (RO) by 22 flag states, which include Panama, Liberia, Marshall Islands. These 22 registries constitute 80 per cent of the world tonnage. IRS presently has over 1,700 vessels registered with it totaling about 11.0 million GT.

IRS was admitted as a full member of IACS in June, 2010, and since then, has been making significant contributions to various panels on IACS. Presently, IRS holds the Chair of Small Group on Quality Policy, as well as that of Safety Panel. “Our next step is to get recognition from the European Union”, says Mr. Sharma. “Having been sponsored for this by the Government of Bulgaria, IRS has already been audited by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) the outcome of which will be known by early 2014.”

Established in 1975, IRS set up its first overseas office in 1998 in Sri Lanka. Thereafter, IRS continued to increase its overseas footprint steadily. Today, IRS has established offices in ten cities across the globe - managing its operations resourcefully to provide worldwide services. IRS Greece and London offices look after entire Europe; Houston office covers the Americas; Dubai office takes care of UAE, the entire East is covered by IRS offices in Sri Lanka, Korea, Singapore, Bangkok and China. IRS also has arrangements with other foreign societies to act on reciprocal basis in the event of any exigency.

The organization is one of the founding members of the Association of Asian Classification Societies (ACS) comprising of Class NK of Japan, KR of Korea, CCS of China, IRS of India, BKI of Indonesia and VRS of Vietnam. The Association officially started three years back and complements the activities of IACS. One of the major activities is undertaking need based research for regulatory bodies and other shipping bodies in Asia.

The intent is very clear and so does the will.