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
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