The FFFAI Convention concluded on a high note with a motivational address by Shripad Y. Naik. The Hon’ble Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Minister of Tourism, Govt. of India. He also stressed the significance of the valuable services of the entire logistics industry for the successful implementation of the PM Gati Shakta Master Plan.
Shripad reiterated his full support for the customs broker community, the freight forwarding and logistics industry’s purpose to address and resolve, as he did in the past with regards to issues on registration of CBLR, recognising FFFAI as one of the most effective industry organisations that has been associated with the minister for about 20 years
Acknowledging the tremendous contributions of FFFAI and the logistics industry to the national economy as the key factors in moving cargo internationally, especially during difficult times like the pandemic, he stated that the Prime Mister’s vision of having a $ 5 trillion economy by 2025 would not be possible without support from this industry. Moreover, for the successful implementation of the PM Gati Shakti Master Plan, the country would require the valuable services of the entire logistics industry.
The Minister is the Member of Parliament from the North Goa constituency and comes from a family associated with the shipping business. I am proud to know that Goa Custom House Agents Association was a founder member of this FFFAI and Krishna Kamat Mhamai was the first Honorary Secretary of this federation. I am also glad to know that the first convention of this Federation was held in Goa and that the late Dayanand Balakrishna Bandodkar, the First Chief Minister of Goa, was the chief guest of the Convention, “he said.
He also observed that with a glorious past of 60 years, FFFAI organised its 24th Biennial convention, which coincided with Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, celebrating the completion of the 75th year of independence of India. FFFAI has grown into a formidable force, offering a wide range of services to trade, industry, and government.
The Minister highlighted FFFAI’s several notable contributions in the past in national and international customs clearance and logistics scenarios and its partnership with the Government of India for various initiatives for timely clearance of import and export cargo at airports, sea ports, ICD, land customs etc.
According to him, FFFAI’s most notable contributions have been: spearheading the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) project in collaboration with the Government of India; support for the roll out of Customs single window procedure; and E-delivery orders for shipping lines and airlines. assisting the CBIC and DGFT in the creation of a digital working environment; direct port delivery; assisting trade and industry in meeting a USD 400 billion export target. Interaction with the World Bank for achieving improvement in the index of ease of doing business and working actively with the Government of India for the operationalization of Chabahar Port.
Besides the above, one of the most crucial roles played by FFFAI members, i.e., customs brokers, was during the COVID pandemic. “Risking their lives, they operated like soldiers on war frontiers and ensured timely clearance of export and import consignments, thus helping the nation to maintain a critical supply chain of goods and essential commodities, lifesaving medicines, etc.,” Naik highlighted.
He also underlined the fact that the role played by FFFAI members is very essential as most of the companies are MSMEs and FFFAI members generate considerable first-time employment opportunities for thousands of youth in the country.
This will be India’s logistics decade, and I urge FFFAI Members to focus on expanding their capabilities beyond customs clearance to include other services.This will be a step towards Atmanirbhar Bharat, which will be crucial for the national economy, “he emphasised.
The Minister pointed out that customs brokers are often faced with regulatory risk while representing their clients and he urged the customs authorities to provide due protection to customs brokers from taking any adverse action of licence suspension in interpretative disputes pertaining to their clients. “Their demand for holding tenets of the principles of natural justice, that is, holding a personal hearing prior to taking any punitive actions, should be considered a top priority. I will make all efforts to support FFFAI Members for the same, “he observed.
He further informed that, considering the current geo-political situation, representations have been received from various quarters, including FFFAI, to create a national plea of container shipping lines and manufacturing of shipping containers in India. In his opinion, this is a very valid suggestion, and the same will be pursued in the right spirit.
On the occasion of the 75th year of independence, I urge all FFFAI members to join hands and create a conglomerate which will serve not only trade and industry but also on the global stage,” he concluded.
Earlier, in welcoming Minister Shankar Shinde, the Chairman of FFFAI, expressed gratitude to him for his support and affection for FFFAI as well as the logistics industry. He committed his full support to the government’s initiatives on trade facilitation, digitalisation, face less mechanism and, above all, the PM Gati Shakti Master Plan, as without logistics industry support (the backbone of the economy), successful implementation of the same would be very difficult. Shinde cited the examples of the services provided by the entire logistics industry during the COVID pandemic/lockdown period as frontline warriors. Shinde pointed out the commitments from the resilient logistics industry shown to resolve the national crises time and again.
The Valedictory Session was also addressed by A.V. Vijayakumar, the Convention Convenor and Immediate Past Chairman, FFFAI; Amit Kamat, Vice Chairman, FFFAI; RN Sekar, President, Chennai Customs Brokers Association; and Vinod Sharma, Honorary Secretary, FFFAI, thanking all the organisers, members, delegates, sponsors, media partners, and all supporters for making this event a grand success in the presence of a full house of more than 600 delegates. He noted that there have been many milestones achieved during this convention, thanking all the ministers: Hon’ble Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Minister of AYUSH Minster Sarbananda Sonowal; Hon’ble Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadgari; Hon’ble Minister of State for Ports, Shipping & Waterways and State Minister of Tourism; and eminent speakers from government of India officials and private sector for their presence and address during the convention.