St. Joseph's Press on modernisation path

Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The St.Joseph's Press in Thiruvananthapuram seems to be poised for a giant leap forward, with a series of modernisation programmes on the cards.

The 56-year-old institution, banking on its long, glorious tradition, coupled with the most modern technology and an advanced vision towards print management, is looking forward to an ambitious expansion in the near future, according to Jacob Korackal, its manager.

As part of its modernisation plans, the `Cityline Express' an imported, manugraph multi-colour web offset printing machine, the first of its kind in Kerala, has already been installed, Bro. Jacob says.

This press is capable of printing 35,000 copies of a 20-page newspaper with four pages in multicolour, in an hour. This has become an instant success in the State and three newspapers, two in the vernacular and one in English, are currently utilising this facility.

It is expected that two more newspapers will be making use of this most modern printing technology.

The growth plans for the Press, established in 1948 by the Carmelite Fathers of Malabar Province as a charitable trust, include undertaking printing assignments from several foreign countries and also intensifying its inherent strengths in the art of printing technology by incorporating the most advanced machinery as well as well-trained manpower.

Marketing arrangements are to be worked out with the U.S. and countries in Europe and West Asia.

The marketing arm of the Press will also be strengthened to source unexplored opportunities from within the State and outside alike, including bulk printing assignments from the State Governments, says Bro. Jacob.

Over a period of more than half-a-century of its existence, the St. Joseph's Press has successfully fulfilled many prestigious assignments for the Government of Kerala and also for various agencies under the Central Government.

One of its core competencies has been printing of scientific and technical journals. Its track record of unblemished printing of materials for international conferences and seminars has made the institution dear to the scientific community worldwide, he claims.

The management's farsightedness in entering foreign markets has started yielding results, with print orders for Persian, German, Iranian, Swedish and Maldivian publications Sinhalese version of the Holy Bible and telephone directories for the Government of Seychelles and Maldives are some of the other major printing assignments undertaken by the Press, of late.

Apart from different versions of the Holy Bible, the Press has also produced such diversified publications as the Holy Koran and the Ramayana.

Another prestigious assignment is the production of the English version of the `Hortus Malabaricus,' the more than 300-year-old Dutch text on the flora and fauna of Kerala, a project undertaken by the University of Kerala.

Registering a turnover to the tune of Rs.6 crores in the fiscal 2004-05, the St. Joseph's Press is targeting a 25 per cent growth this year, from domestic market alone.

It is a wrong notion that printing is cheaper in Sivakasi of Tamil Nadu, Bro. Jacob maintains.

"There certainly is a crisis in the printing sector in Kerala, which is evident from the fact that more than half of the 600 odd printing presses in the State are facing the threat of closure. Our mission is to prevent the outsourcing in this area, in the greater interests of the State," he remarks.