Experts outline Financial Planning of Customs Brokers post lockdown

FFFAI Webinar

Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations in India (FFFAI) hosted their first webinar on May 1 on ‘Financial Planning of Customs Brokers’, which saw key discussions on the present situation, how the sector is going through an unprecedented crisis and how the industry should consider drastic cost-cutting measures and be driven by technology.

The industry should focus on adopting new technologies, in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The recent initiatives of government policies in terms of reduced human interfacing and digitization/digitalization are bringing in drastic changes in traditional CB/FF business.

The webinar saw eminent personalities like  management consultant Sandesh Vasant Mestry as speaker, Mr AV Vijaykumar, Chairman, FFFAI; Mr Shankar Shinde, Chairman-Elect, FFFAI; Mr S Ramakrishna, Immediate Past Chairman, FFFAI and President Delhi Customs Brokers Association; Mr Samir Shah and Mr Debashis Dutta, Past Chairmen, FFFAI. Mr Dushyant Mulani, Honorary Secretary of the Federation.

Also read: Huge potential for Customs Brokers to explore in logistics: Former Spl Secy Logistics

Moderated by Mr Tej Contractor, President, Indian Institute of Freight Forwarding, there were important points and issues addressed in the webinar.

“During this crisis period, we need to work together for a common goal. Knowledge is power. We will have to acquire proper knowledge for our survival which can be disseminated by domain experts.”

~Mr Tej Contractor, President, Indian Institute of Freight Forwarding

That the CB/FF/Logistics industry is going through crucial juncture owing to COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide lockdown, was pondered over by Mr Vijaykumar.

In his opinion, COVID 19 would erode CB/FF’s finance on various accounts including massive outflow but without having an inflow of revenue. 

Management consultant and Professor, SP Jain Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai- Mr Mestry reaffirmed how under this precarious scenario, the industry should seriously think about drastic cost-cutting measures in all means. He also cautioned about signing an agreement and putting Force Majeure Clause very carefully to avoid hassles.

Commenting on new working norms and compliances laid by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr Mestry said that the industry would be needing more money to comply with new norms and compliances guided by MHA and local authorities. On the other hand, there will be a tremendous crisis in both demand and supply sides worldwide which would tremendously reduce volume of business and revenue earning.

Digitization, signing a contract in a rightful manner and cash management would definitely play pivotal roles behind the success of a company at this difficult time.  There were suggestions for taking advantages out of lockdown situation for developing a knowledge base, which need to be passed on to the company’s workforce to be enlightened.

The focus should be on less field workers (exception will be clearing or delivery purpose) and digitization which would give new dimension to CB/FF fraternity and its work pattern.

Mr Shah emphasized on more collaboration with similar thinking and like-minded CBs/FFs in different parts of the country to reduce cost for a company and win-win benefits.

“In the days to come, customers’ loyalty, integrity with the customers and within the customs brokers for win-win situation, internal confidence building mechanism and searching for new areas of business will also play the critical roles.”

Mr Shankar Shinde, Chairman-Elect, FFFAI

New e-initiatives by Ministry of Shipping and Civil Aviation will push towards completely new structure of the industry, where everything will be online and through portals.

The webinar was participated by more than 500 FFFAI members from across the country.

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