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Japanese company opens marine advanced simulation training centre in Chennai

The Times of India:  October, 2014

New Delhi: Within days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit, one of Japan's biggest business groups has expanded its engagement with India, which could be a sign of a new momentum in the Indo-Japanese business ties.

MOL, world's largest ship operator with over 900 ships, has in partnership with an Indian company setup a cutting edge simulation centre for training seafarers, and said it would step up the number of Indians recruited for its merchant navy.

The initiative named MAST (marine advanced simulation training) centre is among the most advanced simulation centres in the world, and would be part of the ongoing efforts of MOL and its partner Synergy Group, a ship management firm with over 100 vessels under its management and MOL's partner in the initiative, to step up recruitment of seafarers from India. The centre would also be used to train young recruits from around the world soon.

Consul general of Japan in Chennai Masanori Nakano said the training centre created by MOL and Synergy was "another mark in the recently extended cooperation between India and Japan." He said this is the first of its kind cooperation for Japanese shipping companies here. "MOL with its huge experience in logistics will be able to achieve better economies of scale through this joint venture. India is an attractive destination for foreign investment by Japanese companies," he said.

Synergy group CEO Rajesh Unni said the centre is symbolic of the new found vigour in Indo-Japanese business ties. "My personal sense is that in the wake of our Prime minister's visit, we should see more and more ventures of this nature. There is a new buzz in Tokyo business circles about India."

India is a major supplier of personnel to the merchant navy, and MOL and Synergy officials said they would step up the recruitment of Indians from their present 3000 a year. And the simulation centre would be crucial to those plans. The centre would train over 2000 people in a year.

Tsuneo Watanabe, director, MOL said the joint venture further strengthens their ties with Synergy that started in 2013, and deepen their India links. "It is important to create the right platform by aligning with the right people to share the technical expertise and provide high quality ship management services," he said.

Unni said the new training centre would add to employment opportunities for Indian youth, especially on the highly skilled segments of shipping.