Source: The Hindu Business Line, Sept 17, 2018
Chennai: On September 26, nearly 1,000 delegates from 120 countries will congregate in Delhi to participate in the FIATA World Congress, to be hosted for the first time in India, to discuss various aspects related to logistics.
Founded in 1926, Fédération Internationale des Associations de Transitaires et Assimilés (FIATA) or International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations is a non-governmental organisation, and represents over 40,000 forwarding and logistics firms, employing around 10 million people in 150 countries.
Each member country has to bid to host the FIATA World Congress.
In 2014, India lost to Malaysia, which hosted the event in 2017. However, India beat South Africa in 2015 to host the event this year, said AV Vijayakumar, Chairman, Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India (the Apex Body of Customs Brokers’ Associations), which is hosting the four-day event in Delhi under the theme ‘The Future Starts Here.’
“The event in Delhi will be biggest ever within FIATA and even in the Indian logistics sector,” he told BusinessLine.
India spends around 14 per cent of its GDP on logistics and transportation compared with less than 8 per cent by other developing countries. Studies have estimated that India can save up to $45 billion if logistics costs are brought down to 9 per cent of the GDP, thereby making domestic goods more competitive in global markets.
In India, freight forwarders handle 98 per cent of cargo through Customs, and ship over 99 per cent through various modes of transport on both cycles. Almost all manufacturing and trading companies outsource these functions. The presence of many multinational freight forwarding companies makes this space interesting. Indian freight forwarders are looking out for multiple partnerships in different countries for mutual benefit, said Vijayakumar, who is the Managing Director of Chennai-based Paramount Shipping Services.
Following the Trade Facilitation Agreement on February 22, 2017, the pace of trade facilitation initiated by the government has been ‘swift and drastic’ and changes have already been implemented. Customs clearance and clearance from other border agencies is now on a single platform and time-bound.
The rollout of Goods and Services Tax should bring down distribution costs for organised players in the industry. In this backdrop, hosting the event assumes greater significance to Indian logistics sector even as Foreign Direct Investment has been increasing steadily, he added.
FIATA has consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations; the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development; and the UN Commission on International Trade Law.
J Krishnan of S Natesa Iyer & Co, one of the oldest freight forwarders in Chennai, said FIATA is the only international body of freight forwarders that sets industry standards, participates in rule making and FIATA diploma is internationally recognised.