Danish shipping giant Maersk Line is expanding its trade finance services to Indian customers. The shipping line has already signed up 100 clients for a total of US$80 million in credit, and has plans to offer a further $200 million in financing to India-based businesses over the coming year.
Maersk said its export finance solutions - which typically take the form of a loan or letter of credit - have enabled faster and easier credit access to customers striving to take "India-made products to global markets". Maersk customers are able to use those funds to either pay for shipments or invest in new orders, officials said.
Piloted in India two years ago, the programme has been extended to other global markets, including Singapore, the Netherlands, Spain, the United States and the United Arab Emirates, reported IHS Media.
"Access to trade finance is one of the biggest impediments in global trade," Maersk's global head trade finance Vipul Sardana said.
"Having noticed this industry gap through Maersk's existing relationships, Maersk decided to take the initiative and start a service that offers our customers easy access to funding in foreign currency, linked to LIBOR [London Interbank Offered Rate] at competitive rates."
The Danish carrier in its recent trade analysis sounded a bullish note regarding India's long-term growth prospects, reporting that the country's containerised export-import trade picked up in the third quarter, rising 10 per cent year on year, after a weak first half, owing to reform-related supply chain disruptions.
Maersk, which transports 20 per cent of India's total containerised cargo, also said that the containerised growth trend may gather pace in 2018, particularly if various projects under New Delhi's Sagar Mala port-led plan and dedicated freight corridors are completed expeditiously.
Moreover, Maersk's optimism is backed up by trade data. Container volume at India's major public ports from April to November period rose by 6.3 per cent year compared to the same period the previous year to reach six million TEU, up from 5.6 million TEU in 2016. November throughput was up 5.6 per cent to 741,000 TEU, according to data compiled by JOC.com.