The 50 Inspiring Champions of the Blue MBA Class of 2023 – Meet Kuumar Rajeeva

Logistics specialist Kuumar Rajeeva

Logistics specialist Kuumar Rajeeva says the knowledge imparted by the Blue MBA helps executives unlock the challenges of the post-globalisation era

Once seen as the unstoppable engine of prosperity, globalisation has been exposed as suffering fundamental flaws and needs a drastic re-evaluation.

Such is the view of supply chain specialist Kuumar Rajeeva as he supplements his extensive commercial experience by participating enthusiastically in the Class of 2023 of the Blue MBA (the Executive MBA in Shipping and Logistics) at Copenhagen Business School.

It is precisely at this macro-economic turning point that new and holistic approaches are called for in business strategy, says Mr Rajeeva.

Head of logistics and transportation at Unifeeder ISC, a DP World Group company based in Mumbai, Mr Rajeeva is aware that the Blue MBA is in a unique position to develop the know-how and analytical tools that executives need to tackle the daunting tasks posed by commercial disruptions and the effects of the pandemic.

He says: “Globalisation was an abstraction to much of the world’s population, especially when economies were strong and able to deal with economic dislocations attributable to that phenomenon.

“This changed dramatically during the last decade, with the great recession, and the negative economic impacts of globalisation became much more widespread, directly affecting the middle classes of many industrial countries. The Covid pandemic came as the next nail in the coffin.

“Globalisation is no longer an abstraction to most of the world’s population.

“The Covid pandemic revealed the serious risks of reliance on very complex networks of global supply chains in many industries. The US auto industry, for example, relies heavily on parts sourced from China, and their suppliers rely on Chinese tool and die makers.

“As the pandemic spread, countries went into lockdown, production was disrupted, the trade-off between efficiency (lower prices and technological specialisation) and security of supply became threats of shortages.

“Complex global supply chains have proven vulnerable to problems at ‘choke points’ that can bring the entire production process to a halt

“Any disruption of the food supply, in advanced or developing countries, will affect a broad swathe of the population and certainly be seen as a risk occasioned by globalisation.

“Consumer electronics have complex supply chains: for example, Apple’s iPhones are assembled in China. The lockdown in Malaysia impacted chip and circuit board suppliers, while the engineers who work on cellular modems are in Germany, and the plants that produce power management chips are in Italy, Germany, and the UK, all suffering shutdowns due to COVID-19.

“Chinese manufacturers produced half of the world’s medical masks; as plants were shut down in China and other countries, the flow of supplies was significantly restricted. Similarly, India being the world’s main supplier of generic drugs relies on China for 70 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients for their medicines.

“Customer expectations are increasing greatly. Both individuals and businesses expect to get goods faster, more flexibly, and – in the case of consumers – at low or no delivery cost.

“Manufacturing is becoming more and more customised, which is good for customers but hard work for the logistics industry.”

Mr Rajeeva expects global supply chain congestion to continue well into 2022, as strong demand persists, and ports at main import gateways struggle to clear backlogs of containers.

Indeed, in today’s globalised economy, transport plays a central and critical role as the primary enabler of the flow of freight within and across borders. With over 80% of global trade by volume and up to 70% of its value being carried on board ships and handled through seaports, maritime transport for trade and development is of paramount importance. Therefore, shipping can be viewed as a barometer for the global economic climate.

It has been said that many more products are likely to be sourced by countries from nearer neighbours or within their home territory (sometimes known as in-shoring), impacting sea legs.

Mr Rajeeva observes: “It is very complicated to restrict sourcing within home territory; however, three most important points to be evaluated here are – first, restoring the balance between economic independence and integration; second, mitigation of the costs of globalisation both within and between countries; and last, ensuring some degree of redundancy and supply risk mitigation.”

This turbulent commercial background helps explain why Mr Rajeeva and other up-and-coming decision-makers have signed up to the Blue MBA.

“First and foremost, the much-acclaimed Blue MBA is a unique programme in shipping and logistics, taught only at CBS,” says Mr Rajeeva. “Participants are well experienced and come from the field of shipping and logistics under a single platform. The course is holistic in nature and covers minute and critical facets of its field to impart advanced knowledge and bring a unique blend of multi-disciplinary learning while we continue our current job.”

Further: “This is one of best platforms to develop strong networking during your course, and later after graduation this network brings immense support from other alumni. The Blue MBA will give me an excellent understanding of maritime and shipping economics, along with specialised shipping markets.

“One of the unique features of this prestigious Blue MBA programme is the Integrated Strategy Project, where each of us applies his or her learning to real-world problems in aspects of shipping and logistics.

“I will be able to leverage the practical knowledge gained from the programme to my workplace and evaluate various options so as to further plan my future career in the domain.”

Mr Rajeeva’s responsibilities at Unifeeder require a robust cross-functional knowledge of shipping, logistics and transport. “I want to see myself at management level in the next three years. Learning from this course will help equip me as a manager with all-round capabilities in managing real world shipping, supply chain, and logistics issues and keep me connected to customers.”

To date, he has stellar records in implementing service efficiencies, system enhancements, space utilisation, contingency management, managing pan-India logistics, transport, and distribution, including cold chain reefer transport for multinational corporation key accounts.

Before his current employ, he worked for Kesar Multimodal Logistics, Mumbai; Transworld Group Dubai; Distribution Logistics Infrastructure, Gurgaon, India; and Adani Logistics Ahmedabad, where he won the Star Employee Award three years in succession. He gained his degree of Advance Supply Chain Management from the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata.

Mr Rajeeva has used the charming phrase about himself: “He keeps his inner child always alive!” How does this positive mantra help in tackling the ups and downs of business life?

“Adulthood is stressful, mundane, and tiring. Always make sure your inner child does not die for you to qualify as an adult. Business life is very dynamic; live for the moment because everything else is uncertain. So always be curious, seek to know more. Living in the moment keeps you aware of the world around you and empowers you to make conscious business decisions. Be honest, confessing how you feel, admitting your mistakes, appreciating other people’s gestures and being true to yourself – all very important in teamwork, just do it. Laugh, trust more and judge less, don’t worry. Give the best shot you can!”