‘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
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.