MUMBAI: Consolidators Association of India (CAI) celebrated its 14th Anniversary on a Grand scale at Hotel Trident, Mumbai on 27th June 2017 amidst the presence eminent dignitaries from the Maritime and Logistics Trade.
Shri Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways & Shipping was the Chief Guest and Director General of Shipping Dr. Malini Shankar, IAS was the Guest of Honour for this event.
Mr. Makrand Pradhan, Founder Member & President – CAI, in his welcome address began by saying that this is a very Special Day in the history of CAI given the esteem presence of Honourable Minister of Road Transport and Highway & Shipping Shri Nitin Gadkari. Logistics being the backbone of any economy, he said, presently this sector is evolving quite rapidly and continues to witness growth due to rise in sector like retail, e-commerce and manufacturing sector.
Ever since Shri Gadkari took the charge of Road Transport and Highway & Shipping, he said, the logistics infrastructure has gained a lot of attention from the top policy makers with strong emphasis on infrastructure growth by developing highways, railways and rural roads. Apart from this, the current dispensation has also plans for revival of Sagarmala project for port modernization and automation, development of logistics parks across Country, smart cities and dedicated freight corridors.
The successful and timely implementation of these proposed projects can help in ensuring cost effectiveness apart from brining in operational efficiency in the Transport and Logistics sector, he said, while adding that GST too will boost this sector.
He also touched upon the fact that CAI was founded in the year 2003 to protect and promote the interests of Consolidators at the Domestic as well at Global level. He pointed that right from the beginning; CAI has been working diligently in improving the way LCL business is being handled in India improving the transaction costs and service level for both import and export shipments.
Mr. Nityam Khosla, Past President – CAI enlightened the august gathering regarding the role, value added services offered, past achievements along with future priorities of CAI.
He fondly remembered how grave the situation was in early 2000s at Nhava Sheva Port with bare minimum infrastructural facility and only one CFS to handle LCL cargoes which brought together a bunch of Consolidators to form Consolidators Association of India (CAI) inorder to protect and promote the interest of LCL business in India and worldwide.
He also pointed the fact that consolidators currently caters to almost 4000 destination Worldwide for import and exports LCL cargoes handling more than 6 million shipments per annum.
He also touched upon the value added services offered by Consolidators like choosing the shortest, fastest and most economical possible routes fully covered apart from providing end to end logistics and other ancillary services required by importer and exporters.
Speaking about the Achievements of CAI, he said, it is the Consolidators that have opened up the international markets for domestic MSME (Micro & Small medium Enterprise) which are 4 crore in numbers domestically. The emergence of CAI has changed the whole dynamic of MSMEs operating in the international markets by way of reduction in logistics cost and improving their efficiency.
As far as future road map and priorities of CAI are concerned, he said, Nine Maritime & Logistic Trade Associations are coming together to form a Federation of Indian Logistics with a clear intention of developing a robust Port Community Systems bringing all stakeholder on one single platform along with various skill development programmes in order to fulfil the shortfall of logistics personnel. Digitization of services and making sure that all the Indian logistics players are GST complaint remains a priority area for this Federation keeping in line with the Government of India’s initiative of Ease of Doing Business. Further he also mentioned the fact that CAI is a founding member of GRF (Grievance Redressal Forum) wherein all the disputes arising within the shipping and logistics sector are solved internally with a cent percent record of dispute redressal.
Lastly touching upon the Wish List of CAI in the esteem presence of the Honourable Minister Shri Gadkari, he expected the Government to accord the Industry status for Logistics sector, clarity on GST apart from simplification &rationalization of procedures faced by export-import community.
He also thanked the current Government for its various initiatives and for putting India on track of a developed Nation.
Dr. Malini Shankar, IAS, DG Shipping thanked the CAI for having her as the Guest of Honour for the 14th Anniversary and also applauded the efforts of CAI members for bringing in two crucial elements of Operational Efficiency and Cost Efficiency in their businesses keeping in line with the Government of India’s initiative of Ease of Doing Business. She also recalled that CAI was one of the founder members of the Grievance Redressal Forum (GRF).
On a lighter note, she too had a Wish List on behalf of the Customs of the CAI by expecting more transparency along with higher cost and time efficiency. Lastly she congratulated the CAI members on their 14th Anniversary and was hopeful that the Wish List of CAI would be addressed very shortly positively.
Mr. Mihir Kotecha, Executive President – CAI in his address touched upon the humble background of the Honourable Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari from which he came and went on to become one of the youngest President of BJP. He also highlighted the past and current achievement of the Minister and how is committed to change the logistics landscape of the Country.
Shri Nitin Gadkari, Chief Guest, highlighted the achievements of his Ministry during his 3 year tenure. He fondly recalled when the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said to him earlier that how the Port and Shipping sector plays a vital role in growth of any Nation. He further stressed on the initiatives being taken to simplify procedures, removal of archaic laws and eliminating corruption. He also proudly acclaimed the august gathering that during his tenure as a Shipping Minister the growth of Major Ports was much higher than that of Non-Major Port, which registered Profits of Rs.3000 Cr in the year FY15, Rs.4000 Cr in FY16 and Rs.5000 Cr during the last fiscal year. He expects the Major Ports to reports earnings to the tune of Rs. 8000 Cr in the current fiscal year with great emphasis of opening up of cruise terminals at 5 Major Ports in India shortly.
He also highlighted the development works done so far under the ambitious Sagar Mala project, 111 National Waterways, Smart Industrial Port City and Capacity Additions at various Major Ports across India. He mentioned that the logistics cost in India was high compared to developed countries and there was need to bring the same down. He then invited the industry members present to participate in the various infrastructure projects. Lastly he also mentioned the august gathering that the current dispensation believes in Minimum Government and Maximum Governance and is here to remove the internal and external faced by the businesses.
Mr. O.P. Gupta, Founding Member and Secretary General – CAI presented a Vote of Thanks and especially thanked the Shri Nitin Gadkari and Dr. Malini Shankar, IAS, for their esteem presence at the 14th Anniversary of CAI along with the sponsors, the distinguished guests and the Committee members. The session ended with National Anthem which was followed by networking dinner.