The un­sung he­roes of lo­gis­tics

Lo­gis­tics in­dus­try en­ables pro­vi­sion of door-to-door ser­vices in the most ef­fi­cient and timely man­ner across all re­gions of op­er­a­tions for global cus­tomers. Freight for­warders are con­sid­ered as the vi­tal link that bring value to the cus­tomers’ sup­ply chai

Cargo Talk - - Contents - Kal­pana Lo­humi

Freight for­warders are of­ten termed as the ‘travel agent’ for the cargo in­dus­try. They are the bridge that con­nects the cargo from ori­gin to des­ti­na­tion point within a spe­cific time­frame. For­warders are the ex­perts who fo­cus on the lo­gis­tics and trans­porta­tion of an in­ter­na­tional busi­ness trans­ac­tion. Send­ing prod­ucts from one in­ter­na­tional des­ti­na­tion to an­other in­volves a mul­ti­tude of car­ri­ers, re­quire­ments and le­gal­i­ties and to han­dle the con­sid­er­able lo­gis­tics of this task for the client is the job only a freight for­warder can ful­fill. They have to deal with nu­mer­ous is­sues to play in tune with the global stan­dards. Freight for­ward­ing ser­vices ne­go­ti­ate the best pos­si­ble price to move the prod­uct along the most eco­nom­i­cal route by work­ing out var­i­ous bids and choos­ing the one that best bal­ances speed, cost and re­li­a­bil­ity. To know more about the role and the essence of for­warders into the sec­tor, sought voice of ex­perts.

ROLE OF FOR­WARDERS

Stat­ing that the part of a for­warder is es­sen­tial for global sup­ply chain man­age­ment, De­bashis Dutta, Chair­man, FI­ATA World Congress 2018, says, “The freight for­warders has been recog­nised as an es­sen­tial ser­vice in­dus­try by the in­ter­na­tional busi­ness com­mu­nity. This in­dus­try re­quires sub­stan­tial in­vest­ment on in­fra­struc­ture, equip­ment, com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem to pro­vide value added ser­vice to meet cus­tomer’s need.” “All the nec­es­sary doc­u­ments and cer­ti­fi­ca­tions are pre­pared by a freight for­warder, who han­dles all the le­gal pro­ce­dures and hence, ex­pe­dit­ing the en­tire flow of goods from end to end. But, grad­u­ally more com­plex­i­ties are evolv­ing in the lo­gis­tics sup­ply chains to­wards mul­ti­modal cross-bor­der sys­tems which could only be man­aged by a ser­vice provider suc­cess­fully. And not to for­get, the suc­cess of mar­ket

This in­dus­try re­quires sub­stan­tial in­vest­ment to pro­vide value added ser­vice to meet cus­tomer’s needs 99.99% of ex-im is booked and pro­cessed at the gate­way ports and air­ports by the freight for­warders

of in­ter­na­tional trade grow­ing by +2.7 per cent in real terms from the re­cent past (2016-17) should be re­warded to the huge con­tri­bu­tion of freight for­ward­ing com­mu­nity in­ter­na­tion­ally,” adds

K.S. Kun­war, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, Air Cargo Fo­rum In­dia.

Vikram Paul, Re­gional Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, In­dian Sub-con­ti­nent, Di­rec­tor - Busi­ness and Prod­uct Devel­op­ment - Mid­dle East & Sub Sa­hara, Cargo Part­ner Lo­gis­tics In­dia, on the vi­tal­ity of freight for­warders role states, “I think the role of a freight for­warder in a ma­tur­ing mar­ket like In­dia could be some­what dif­fer­ent than the role and value of a freight for­warder in more de­vel­oped and ma­tured mar­kets. In In­dia be­sides the abil­ity of mov­ing cargo from Point A to Point B at the low­est cost/ most suit­able tran­sit time the evo­lu­tion of a 3PL into pro­vid­ing and cre­at­ing a har­mo­nious lo­gis­tics ecosys­tem is equally im­por­tant be­cause here you are cre­at­ing a clear and mea­sur­able value propo­si­tion that moves up into the value chain of sup­ply chain/ com­pli­ance and har­mon­i­sa­tion of the sys­tems and pro­cesses that de­liver the best ef­fi­ciency to the client. Com­pet­i­tive pres­sures from some of the ag­gre­ga­tors/con­sol­ida­tors would not al­low sur­vival in the typ­i­cal form, but now the ex­is­tence of a freight for­warder the sur­vival dy­nam­ics are more chal­leng­ing and fast chang­ing. Be­sides digi­ti­sa­tion and info lo­gis­tics (vis­i­bil­ity and info on the go), the com­mu­nity needs to think about how to cre­ate ‘ease and cost com­pet­i­tive­ness’ into the eyes of a client who wants to do busi­ness with In­dia but sees it as an opaque and dif­fi­cult coun­try to com­pre­hend in the ex-im sec­tor.”

S Ra­makr­ishna, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Balaji Mar­i­line, ex­plains, “The freight for­warders role will re­main con­stant till the ex-im trade ex­ists. It is only the com­pet­i­tive edge for each of the per­sons or com­pa­nies to sur­vive. The FIBP com­pa­nies have larger am­bit in terms of the cost and com­pe­ti­tion, how­ever, the In­dian com­pa­nies must learn to be more pro­fes­sional and com­pete with them.” “Be­ing both op­ti­miser and force mul­ti­plier, a for­warder pro­vides best so­lu­tion to the cus­tomer by de­liv­er­ing the cargo at the right place, in right time, at a right cost, in good con­di­tion and with right doc­u­men­ta­tion. He does so while be­ing com­pli­ant with all laws and reg­u­la­tions, fol­low­ing the safety stan­dards and se­cu­rity pro­to­cols, and keep­ing the cus­tomer up­dated,” opines Shan­tanu

Bhad­kamkar, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, ATC Global Lo­gis­tics. “For­warders have al­ways been ahead of the mar­ket in the as­sim­i­la­tion of the tech­nol­ogy, be it in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy or be it for phys­i­cal cargo han­dling. This cou­pled with knowl­edge of in­ter­na­tional ge­og­ra­phy, good man­age­ment and bare bones, no frills or­gan­i­sa­tion struc­ture makes a freight for­warder an in­dis­pens­able part­ner for all the stake­hold­ers in in­ter­na­tional trade,” he con­tin­ues.

De­bashis Dutta Chair­man FI­ATA World Congress 2018 K.S. Kun­war Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Air Cargo Fo­rum In­dia

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