Ruchin C Dayal: A Pioneer in Bridging the Gap between Technology & Trade | CEOInsights Vendor
Ruchin C Dayal: A Pioneer in Bridging the Gap between Technology & Trade

Ruchin C Dayal: A Pioneer in Bridging the Gap between Technology & Trade

 Capt. Ruchin C. Dayal,     Founder & CEO

Capt. Ruchin C. Dayal

Founder & CEO

Going back almost two decades, India started taking baby steps in the iron ore trade only in the early 2000s. Need less to say, it has taken a lot of sweat and foresight of courageous entrepreneurs for the country to become a significant producer of iron ore in the world. The early 2000s was also the time Capt. Ruchin C Dayal-Founder & CEO of eDOT Solutions, a master mariner, retired after 16 years of service. He foresaw the exponential growth of iron ore trade in India, resulting in overwhelmed barge traffic in Goa. Making a difference is not something that you can stop after 16 years. Capt. Ruchin pioneered the first digital barge tracking solution for river traffic in Goa, even before the commercial GPS era and established eDOT Solutions Marine in 2004. Today, eDOT is a leading multinational company with a world-class R&D division.

CEO Insights engages in an exclusive interview with Capt. Ruchin, an industry thought leader, who walks us through his journey and the latest endeavors of eDOT across the globe. Below is an excerpt from the interview.

“We look at real world problems, identify the gaps, and then bridge them using technology"

What inspired you to establish eDOT Solutions?
Having sailed for over 16 years, I was looking at making more meaningful contributions to the industry. The year was 2004 when the iron ore trade was changing, the price of iron ore had skyrocketed from $20 to $120 per metric tonne. The rivers in Goa soon would be overwhelmed with the barge traffic to satiate this demand for ore. With the new building orders, the barge numbers were anticipated to increase by 200 percent. I established eDOT Solutions to devise a technological solution for optimizing the movement of barges in the Zuari & Mandovi Rivers. This was the first of its kind in India, complete with digitized charts and geo-tracking of barges. Remember, this was in 2004, well before the advent of the commercial GPS. The system was utilized by reputed barge owners until 2007, when the AIS became mandatory for all vessels.

The eDOT team was acknowledged for its work by clients in the US, and there was no looking back. While contemporary software technology has been the backbone of eDOT Solutions, the philosophy hasn’t changed. We look at real world problems, identify the gaps, and then bridge them using technology.

How would you define eDOT Solutions as an organization and its position in the market? What is the unique proposition that your organization offers to its clients?
We enrich lives through better user experiences. We cater to clients, from startups to Fortune 500 companies, with user-centric solutions from our offices in Goa
(India), Philadelphia & Houston (US), Singapore & the UK. We try & understand client aspirations and craft that understanding into profitable business solutions. Analysis of critical data, appreciation of behavior and identification of controlling processes guide our teams in developing custom-fit solutions which fulfill our clients’ needs and accelerate their growth and profits.

We are certified under ISO 9001:27001 & 21001 and comply with most quality/ security standards & requirements from around the world, including GDPR. We are also BIMCO members. We offer Ship Cyber Security(IMO Res 428/Class Certification/ ISO 27001), Cyber Security Training (Class NK Certified/ISO 21001, IRQS), and Maritime IT Services Management(IT support for fleet/ Upgradations/ Testing). Additionally, we also provide Custom< Software Development, Application Development(.Net/Xamarin/Android/ iOS), Web Development (React JS/React Native/ Angular JS/Java/ Python/HTML/CSS/Java script), Reporting Services (SSRS/Crystal reports), and Data Migration(ETL).

We enrich lives by providing better user experiences

Reflect on some of the major challenges you have experienced in your journey so far? How did you overcome them, and what did you learn from them?
Operationally, the biggest challenge was maintaining sufficient control over the export of iron ore fines concerning safety. During those early years (2004- 12), the concepts of transportable moisture limits and moisture content were absent in Goa. Ships were sinking, and lives were being lost. We worked closely with all stake holders, including the Directorate General of Shipping of India, and pioneered the certification and approval process for the marine laboratories in India. There has not been a single incident pertaining to liquefaction since in India.

Business wise, with technological platforms like LinkedIn not with standing, it is challenging to penetrate the international market in a leadership role. The service sector is welcomed and thriving, but adopting a primarily Indian philosophy for industry regulation is looked at hesitatingly. This is an ongoing challenge & the Modi government is making changes like never before. I am hoping that soon we will have international plat forms where we will be on par with other parts of the world.

I have learned to persist with core beliefs. What happens is that ideas and solutions soon got replicated by far more prominent organizations, usually from Europe. The smaller companies, which may have actually coined the idea in the first place, get left behind. But I have decided to persist and continue making strides with new concepts and solutions. I have written several papers on Iron ore sampling and the concept of a maritime cyber security management system. As a team, we have also patented a system of in situ sampling of iron ore, and the
same is submitted to the Directorate General of Shipping for approval.

As your company’s breeding ground, how has Goa favored you so far in your operations?
It’s nearly 50 years since I moved to Goa, and I can’t think of any other home. Yes, when talking of the two industries I am concerned with Shipping and IT, the experience is starkly different. Goa had seen the iron ore boom between 2004 & 2013 so much at one time, maybe in 2011, Goa exported 55 MMT of ore, when the total export from India was 100 MMT. The shipping sector has slowed down with the iron ore ban from 2013 onwards. The port has looked at other commodities, but really nothing else has replaced the iron ore export boom. As far as the IT sector is concerned, it is quite the opposite. Until a few years ago, it was completely unorganized, with a few companies, like ours managing to stay a float, mainly receiving outsourced work from the US & UK. However, with the formation of the Goa Technology association, the IT sector is looking up. Goan companies and individuals are doing well, with many startups getting funded.The government is paying attention. I must say I am very happy with the way the IT sector is growing in Goa.

Going forward, what are the changes in market behavior that you anticipate, and what are the opportunities you foresee?
I have great hopes from this government. As a software company, we don’t want subsidies, we want markets and exposure. Give subsidies to the infrastructure providers ISPs, IT parks, software LICs and many. Establish a fair and practical system to get work. Easing up regulatory frameworks is the need of the day. As a small entrepreneur, I feel the need for the compliance of regulatory frameworks to be rationalized not just based on the number of employees but also on the turn over of the company.

In the shipping sector our coastal shipping is longing to come of age. With over 7000Kms of the coast and 200 ports, it is only the last mile connectivity, dredging, port infrastructure & custom regulations, which are in the way of the most economical and cleanest means of transportation. Thriving Coastal Shipping in India can be a game-changer for us.

As I said, I have great hopes from this government and the vision of Narendra Modi and Nitin Gadkari.

In the light of your strong experience, what advice would you give to the budding entrepreneurs in the same industry?
In terms of IT, maybe I’m too old to advise the young go-getters of today. This is the age of startups. When it comes to Shipping, my advice for seafarers is that do not give up sailing after a contract or two. Please sail for five to six years at least and then come ashore. Too many of you leave Shipping for shore jobs too early in your careers. Let’s dig deep into the nuances of the trade and get our market share back. Phillipinos, Chinese, and Vietnamese are taking over our jobs.

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