Devendra Manral has been in port infrastructure and the maritime sector for the last 35 years, heading successful port businesses and working as a consultant in the maritime business. He obtained a master’s degree in Maritime and Nautical Science from the UK in 1986 and then completed a full-time MBA in Strategy and Finance from the Trinity School of Business, University of Dublin, where he completed a research project on Dublin port with the World Bank on “Port reforms, building sustainable competitive advantages and port growth”.
He has also undertaken a study related to the maritime sector for the US Department of Commerce. As part of his determination to remain up to date on developments, he also attended the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, for a course on “Project management of public-private partnership projects in major ports in India”. Manral also holds a postgraduate diploma in logistics and supply chain management and was recently considered by the World Bank in the setting up and funding of a port project.
He is extremely passionate about the growth, streamlining and development of the sector and believes that Indian ports will become among the most critical gateways in development and in serving the Indian government’s vision of Make in India.
On the current economic scenario, he says, “As per various world economic bodies, India will be the leading global economy. GDP is forecast to be 7.4 per cent and to hit double digits in the next two years. There is a huge government thrust for the rapid development of port infrastructure to match robust container throughput and bulk trade import. By 2020, port capacity is set to touch 3 billion tonnes per annum. Also, the recently announced Sagar Mala project will help connect the entire coast of India and debottleneck Indian highway and rail networks.”
During his long service, Manral has worked on several challenging projects – conceptualising, setting up and stabilising new terminals and ports. In 2010, he returned to India after being associated with Ireland’s largest corporatised port – Dublin port. Presently, he heads Vedanta’s port business and is successfully running the state-of-the-art and deepest coal terminal on the east coast. Prior to this, he was heading the port business of the Aditya Birla Group. Manral is happily married and has two sons. His elder son is an avid traveller and landscape and adventure photographer.