According to Mr AV Vijaykumar, Vice
Chairman, FFFAI (Paramount Shipping Services Pvt. Ltd, based in
Chennai), the scope of exclusive Customs Clearance may diminish, there may not
be significant change in Freight Forwarding and the opportunity for logistics
as a comprehensive business – be it domestic or international - will scale up.
The trade facilitation measure introduced over the previous years will bear
fruits of ease in doing business in the days to come and hence there is a
possibility that mere filing of declarations with Customs without value added
service will require a relook in the business model. Add to this,
implementation of GST which is system centric and the recipe will
favour only those who are tech savvy.
He also maintained that while it is a
positive step for India to adopt WTO TFA, the local flavour should
not be disregarded. Regional restrictions and constrains related to
infrastructure has to be in consideration when facilitation measures are
introduced. “When we yet to fully address infrastructure related limitations at
Ports, Airports and approaches to them, introducing
trade facilitations measures need not necessarily produce positive
yields. There should be a judicious moderation of facilitation and
protectionism which presently is lacking. Instead of hastening progress such
moves could bring down growth,” Mr Vijaykumar cautioned.
Commenting on Chennai’s position to be an
ideal logistics hub owing to the above ecosystem
Mr Vijaykumar observed that Chennai’s strategic location has enormous
potential for the same, more so after implementation of GST.
The FFFAI Vice Chairman pointed out that as a State
Tamil Nadu has the distinction of becoming leaders in Auto, Chemical,
Engineering, Leather, Pharma, Textile, Shipping, Transport, and many more
core sectors and support systems like IT. Tamil Nadu is the gateway
port for southern India and has a glorious past. In addition, customs
initiatives to expand the DPD (direct port delivery) base – Chennai
Port has the largest DPD facilitation in India - may add value to
the Exim trade.
Hence opportunities are
abundant though there have been some political imbalances for the past few
quarters. Tamil Nadu is the gateway port for southern India and has a
glorious past. In Mr Vijaykumar’s opinion, recent development and aggressive approach
of the newly created port in the vicinity of the Chennai port, there is a
challenge. However, with change of management of the Kattupalli port
and likely commission of the container terminal at Kamaraj Port,
Chennai will regain its premier position as a viable logistics hub in the
Southern region of India.