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Men who matter


G. Pattabhi Ramayya

"The development of the city is port-centric. The port has enriched every sector right from big industries to small retail shops. And I have seen all these happen before me in the last four to five decades," says the partner of A.V. Bhanoji Row and Garuda Pattabhi Ramayya and Company (AVBGPR), G. Pattabhi Ramayya.

Having been born and brought up in this city he is a witness to the growth and flourish of the city. "Four decades ago, there was no inhabitation beyond Poorna Market and today the city has extended beyond the Kailasagiri. It has grown in all respects," he says.

After completing his graduation from Mrs.A.V.N. College, he joined his father in the shipping business in 1959. After over four decades he has become an authority in the shipping business, especially in the agency-related business.

Pioneers

"Our entry into the shipping business dates back to the early 20th century. My grandfather was exporting jaggery and spices even before the port had come into existence. He was operating from the port in Bheemunipatnam. Later, he founded the present firm with Bhanoji Row and we became the sole steamer agent for the first shipping company in India, Scindia Steamship Navigation Company (now Shipping Corporation of India) in Vizag port. The two visionaries of Indian industry, Narotham Morarji and Walchand Hirachand, and the promoters of the shipping company directly appointed us. In fact, we were the agent for the first ship s.s. Jala Durga that entered the Visakhapatnam harbour in 1933."

Slow and steady

On his success story he comments: "We had our ups and downs. And that is one reason why I personally believe in the adage 'Slow and steady wins the race'. Ever since I joined the business I utilised the brand image of my grandfather and coupled it with hard work to take the company ahead. At one time we had almost every shipping company except Great Eastern Shipping in our kitty. Me and my former partner, the late A.V. Jagga Row regarded the company as an institution rather than a business house. Today any shipping company in Visakhapatnam would have at least one person who has worked with us earlier."

Diversification

Apart from being a full-time partner with AVBGPR, he initiated the development of business interests within his family. Besides setting up an Indian Oil Corporation retail outlet and a distributorship for Proctor and Gamble, Pattabhiramayya started two other shipping agency companies by name G.R. Enterprises and G. Pattabhi Ramayya and Company with branches at Kakinada and Paradip. "These businesses are being run by my family members."

According to him, though the growth of the city and the port has been simultaneous, the city has not grown as expected, corresponding to the port's growth. "The growth of the city is stagnated mainly due to political vagaries. Most of the public sector industries like Hindustan Shipyard Limited and Bharat Heavy Plate and Vessels Limited are victims of political vendetta. But at the same time the port has grown. Today it is one among the most favoured ports in India mainly due to its technical upgradation from time to time and efficiency. Shipping companies from China, Japan and Europe love to come to this port because of its cheaper freight tariff." Pattabhiramayya was a member of VPT's Board of Trustees and the Dock Labour Board for over 10 years and has been holding the chairman's post of Steamer Agents Association for the last couple of years.

S.B.

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