MUMBAI: The Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India (FFFAI) is going to actively participate in the historic event related to the commencement of International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), which will be flagged off by the Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi on April 13 from Mumbai. The INSTC to receive a big boost thanks to the commencement of multimodal transport services between India, Iran and CIS countries from April this year, which has been jointly promoted by the Ministry of Commerce, Export Organisations and FFFAI.
Speaking at a high level meet of Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India (FFFAI) held in New Delhi on March 10, Mr Sunil Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Government of India informed that to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Russia the Prime Minister would flag off the first containerised shipment, to be transported via INSTC route. This route links India and Central Asia and Russia via Iran by saving significant amount of time.
Mr Kumar pointed out that the Dry Run carried out by FFFAI in 2014 and transportation of 5 containers from Bengaluru to Moscow via INSTC route in October, 2016 have demonstrated that compared to the traditional route from Mumbai via St. Petersburg which takes about 41 days, the INSTC routes take only about 20 to 25 days. Efforts are underway to further reduce the transportation time to 19 days. This initiative would also reduce transaction cost drastically.
Mr Kumar commended FFFAI’s initiatives to enhance bi-lateral trade from India, especially on INSTC route. Recently, the federation has signed an agreement on strategic partnership with JSC RZD Logistics, which is one of the leading companies on Russian forwarding services market. Aim of this partnership is to coordinate efforts in development of the North-South ITC. Mr Kumar also shared that the Ministry has communicated the advice to all Export Promotion Councils to promote INSTC route in association with FFFAI and full support from the Government of India. The Union Cabinet has on March 6, 2017 approved India's accession to the Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention) and for completion of necessary procedures for ratification.
At this stage, there are two operational INSTC routes: 1. Mumbai — Bandar Abbas — Astara — Samur — Moscow and 2. Mumbai — Bandar Abbas — Amirabad — Astrakhan — Moscow. “There is huge scope of export-import trade and logistics services on this route. At present the government has set a target of 1500 containers movements on this route every month. Especially, there would be tremendous requirement of cold chain logistics services to cater to the demand for perishable cargo,” added Mr Kumar.
He was optimistic that all issues including customs clearance would be resolved very soon with the help of Industry recommendations to make this route most viable option.
In his speech, Mr Shah lauded the pro-active initiatives from the Ministry of Commerce to promote INSTC route for the benefit of Indian export-import trade.
He also emphasised on the ongoing joint activities by the Ministry of Commerce and FFFAI, reiterating the latter’s commitments towards future programmes. He expressed high optimism about the recent initiatives from Indian Customs in respect of fast clearance of cargo through various measures like Single Window, RMS, DPD, etc.
The meeting was hosted by Delhi Customs Clearing Agents Association (DCCAA), which is one of the members of the Apex Body of Customs Brokers’ Associations in India, i.e. FFFAI.
A number of leading customs brokers and freight forwarders from across the country, including Mr Samir Shah, Chairman; Mr Ashish Pednekar, Chairman Elect; Mr Debashish Dutta, Immediate Past Chairman-FFFAI and Mr P S Atree, President, DCCAA were present at this important meeting .