‘Sim­plify the Process’ says new FFFAI Chair­man

De­bashish Dutta, the re­cently-elected Chair­man, Fed­er­a­tion of Freight For­warders’ As­so­ci­a­tions in In­dia (FFFAI), in an in­ter­view with Car­gotalk un­der­lined that his fo­cus would be pri­mar­ily on the prob­lems faced by the cus­toms bro­kers in deal­ing with their

Cargo Talk - - Contents -

The con­cept of cus­toms bro­kers in to­day’s world has been chang­ing rapidly. This has been pos­si­ble be­cause we are aware of the need of change. ”

De­bashish Dutta Chair­man, FFFAI

The cus­toms bro­kers are play­ing a cru­cial role as the main fa­cil­i­ta­tor of sup­ply-chain man­age­ment in the en­tire de­liv­ery sys­tem of the coun­try. This in­volves prepa­ra­tion of doc­u­ments, elec­tronic sub­mis­sion, cal­cu­la­tion of duty and fa­cil­i­tat­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion with ports, cus­toms, banks, im­porters, ex­porters, steamer agents, CFSs, freight-for­warders, han­dling agents, etc. Hence, a cus­toms bro­ker pro­vides a fo­cal point for im­portex­port trade of the re­gion.

Ac­cord­ing to Dutta, with the ad­vent of in­creas­ing all-round com­pe­ti­tion in the re­spec­tive ar­eas, cou­pled with glob­al­i­sa­tion and lib­er­al­i­sa­tion, cus­toms bro­kers are faced with stiff chal­lenges in their multi-di­men­sional re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and per­for­mances.

Of th­ese, one of the main chal­lenges is to ful­fill the obli­ga­tions on KYC on the part of the cus­toms bro­kers to ver­ify the an­tecedents, cor­rect­ness of im­port-ex­port code ( IEC No), iden­ti­fy­ing the client and func­tion of their clients in the de­clared ad­dress by us­ing re­li­able, in­de­pen­dent, au­then­tic doc­u­ments, data of in­for­ma­tion as per cir­cu­lar no.9/2010-Cus­toms dt.08.04.2010 of CBEC. Whereas such obli­ga­tions are not ap­pli­ca­ble on the part of other lo­gis­tics op­er­a­tor. “We have to over­come this dif­fi­cult task— a real chal­lenge of com­pli­ance risk for us,” he pointed out.

Dutta, how­ever, was of the opin­ion that de­spite chal­lenges, new av­enues are now open­ing in front of cus­toms bro­kers in the lo­gis­tics fields, and in fact, cus­toms bro­kers are suc­cess­fully mak­ing progress in ex­tend­ing their func­tional are­nas to CFS, ICD and other ar­eas of op­er­a­tions. As a re­sult, op­por­tu­ni­ties as well as re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of cus­toms bro­kers have been broad­ened to a large ex­tent. “The con­cept of cus­toms bro­kers in to­day’s world has been chang­ing rapidly. This has been pos­si­ble be­cause we are aware of the need of change. We al­ways acted in an­tic­i­pa­tion of change,” he em­pha­sised.

Com­ment­ing on the role of FFFAI as an as­so­ci­a­tion for freight-for­warder com­mu­nity in In­dia, Dutta said, “With my as­so­ci­a­tion with FFFAI over13 years, I have felt that FFFAI have been pro­tect­ing and safe­guard­ing the in­ter­est of its mem­bers, pro­mot­ing their pro­fes­sional skills through train­ing, sem­i­nars, work­shops, etc.”

He was of the view that to­day, In­dia is at a point of change. The cus­toms bro­kers need to drive this move­ment once again, and this will open up new op­por­tu­ni­ties and av­enues for them. The sig­nif­i­cant role of FFFAI in con­vey­ing reg­u­lar meet­ings, bi­en­nial con­ven­tions and in­ter­ac­tive ses­sions with the ap­pro­pri­ate fo­rums to an­a­lyse the more ac­tive role of cus­toms bro­kers in the lo­gis­tics field, are al­ways on the move to­wards suc­cess with set ob­jec­tives.

On AEO and Self As­sess­ment

Ac­cord­ing to Dutta, the AEO pro­gramme im­ple­men­ta­tion, which en­vis­ages ben­e­fits to dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories of eco­nomic op­er­a­tors is a good ef­fort.

To make the Self-As­sess­ment schemes a suc­cess and re­al­is­tic, it is nec­es­sary to recog­nise the in­sti­tute run by FFFAI as Self-Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity and em­pow­er­ing them to is­sue Cer­tifi­cate / Li­cence to act as cus­toms bro­kers like other pro­fes­sional in­sti­tutes.

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