Capt. Deepak Tewari , President, CSLA

The Executive Committees of  Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Association In India (FFFAI) and Container Shipping Lines Association (CSLA) in India recently had a meeting on Video Conference to discuss on Trade facilitation measures to be implemented to adopt Best Practices in achieving the result for reducing dwell time and transaction cost on Logistics.

In the meeting FFFAI was represented and lead by Mr. A.V. Vijaykumar- Chairman – FFFAI and its Office bearers along with FFFAI’s 28 Member Association Presidents including Customs Brokers Associations across India.  CSLA was represented by Capt. Deepak Tewari , President, CSLA  and CSLA committee members .

Mr. A.V. Vijaykumar- Chairman – FFFAI

FFFAI and CSLA both were of the opinion that industry should look for more of digitization of documentation and process to avoid physical presence and hard copy exchanges. Since its customs endeavor to work toward Digital Customs all related stakeholder should also adopt changes and upgrade technology to digitize process related to EXIM trade

Customs EDI system and ICEGATE are well integrated systems with PORTS/ CFS’s however there is a need to eliminate the manual process like handing over of physical LEO print Shipping Bill copies to surveyors / Shipping lines which can be replaced with online system DATA transfer integration. Also the Containers movement’s physical documents like transference copies should be eliminated and more dependence on system based process needs to be adopted.

It was agreed upon to make a representation to CBIC board for acceptance of new practices in view of implementation of EDI Systems. Customs to review on the procedure in view of EDI implementation to do away with print out and hard copy submission to customs as the Export General Manifest are done online. 

The online system data transfer will also facilitate the error free EGM for exporters to receive their refunds on time.

CSLA also highlighted that they are working on e-Bill of Lading, which will help trade facilitation to go paperless and online transmission of Bill of Lading, CSLA members have initiated and  working on various platforms like Wave, Cargo–x , Bolero, Tradelens etc. and some of their members are operating on this platform.

Government of India through Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Commerce and Indian Financial Banking Services are jointly working on the regulization of e-Bill of Lading.

EXIM trade should come forward in accepting and implementing this eBill of Lading which will save time and cost for trade. No physical original Bill of Lading would be required and all transmission and transaction with all stakeholders integrated would work on systems to transfer and surrender titles.

CSLA also appreciated the contribution of FFFAI in conceptualizing the eBill of lading, which further with Government initiatives to work on single window PCS (Port Community System) will change the dynamic of shipping trade.

At this meet FFFAI appreciated the shipping lines for keeping services operational during these hard times and offering detention free time during March 22 to April 3.     

During discussion it was proposed that the PCS should be integrated to provide following facilities through system implementation that need to work out on following the facilitation measures to submit all manual process through system:  

1. One time KYC (Know your Customers) DATA BANK  with periodic validation

2. Online submission of Undertaking / Bond.

3. Advance Invoicing.

4. Portal based information and transaction.

It was noted that some of the stakeholders in supply chain are unorganized and fragmented service providers i.e transporters, Empty container yards, surveyors etc, which need to be streamlined for integration and productive output. Empty Container yards play important role in exports by allotting seaworthy cleaned surveyed containers for factory stuffing containers. However due to non-performing the wrong deliveries of containers leads to high transportation duplicate cost and delays in shipments. Further, the offloading of Empty return containers should be streamlined with seamless process. The streamlining of process would result in better turnaround of vehicles to make it available on time for trade transportation.

It was concluded that both National Association would jointly work out the strategy towards trade facilitation measures to digitalise the process for seamless movement to achieve productivity, resulting into less dwell time and lower transaction cost.