As a President of AMTOI, I am happy to pen down the happenings at AMTOI. At AMTOI, we have always strived to get various segments of our industry together through our extended board, discuss issues of common interest and find solution jointly. As the world faces issues of climatic changes, rising incidents of terrorism, declining crude prices and continued down turn, it has direct impact on the shipping industry globally and at home in India.
Whilst the above is true, we are at an advantageous position in India where our industry is undergoing several positive changes and a few challenges. The changes are the several far-reaching steps being taken by the Modi government in building transportation infrastructure, in the last 18 months we have seen several infrastructure projects as in ports, terminals, Dedicated Freight Corridors; new highways, developing port of Chabahar in Iran either being announced as new projects or the existing ones are being fast tracked. Additionally, there has been slew of policy changes as in advent of GST, promotion of Indian flag ships through equitable tax regime, promotion of inland waterways, signing of Indo-Bangla Coastal Shipping Agreement and many more.
On the other hand, the challenges that our industry is facing is Notices being received by our members on payment of service tax on freight and freight differentials, delay in passing of GST Bill in Parliament, continuous decline in exports due to falling global demand in the developed countries, etc.
It is very clear that the changing infrastructure landscape opens huge opportunities for Logistics Service Providers at a strategic level whilst the challenges keep us busy on a tactical mode. The development of infrastructure will ensure that the movement of goods is expected to be much faster in future, however, just addition of infrastructure is not sufficient, we need to complement the same by automation of various processes and weeding out of wastage in the supply chain arising out of cumbersome procedures. On a daily basis, we see that the smooth movement of goods is constantly interrupted by procedural hurdles like payment of tolls, congestion at the port gates, stoppage at octroi/border check post, delays in passing of documents so on and so forth. As you can see that most if not all these issues are man-made and it’s totally in our hands to weed out these wastage by reengineering and automating these processes. The idea to together promote the free and fast movement of goods across the country and across the borders.
Whilst everyone wishes that India should fare better on the Logistics Performance Index and Ease of Doing Business Index with the expectation that the government should do something about it. Whilst this is true, even we can do something about it individually and at an association level. At AMTOI, we have realised that we have several industry associations working individually to address issues of their members which are specific to a particular segment. Whilst this is needed, there is an absence of an umbrella organisation which can combine these voices and be a common face to the government. When this issue was deliberated at the extended board meeting of AMTOI it was realised that we need to form a Confederation of Logistics Associations and AMTOI was mandated to coordinate these efforts.
We have also identified common agenda points for the confederations, these will be Promotion of Cargo Community System and Skill Development. So whilst the Confederation is being conceptualized, AMTOI in the interim has already started working on the common agenda points and we hope to announce some developments on this front in the coming months. We are also working with the government to assist in policy making and amendment of various maritime laws. We will continue with our efforts for the betterment of our industry by bringing all stakeholders together and working towards commonly identified goals.
(The author’s views are his own.)
Source : Mumbai, Jan 11, 2016