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Industry reactions on Union Budget

With the Government presenting the annual Budget, a roadmap has been set for the year. Industry insiders have called Budget 2017-18 well-intentioned and growth-oriented. On a cautionary note, they have also said that the real takeaways will only become apparent once it is put into implementation. The industry is confident with the government move of pushing infrastructure development and also looking into the intricacies of logistics sector such as multimodal transportation, identifying coastal connectivity, logistics parks, Greenfield ports, airports in tier II cities, to name a few. CARGOTALK brings you industry expert views.

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Act promptly on ease of doing business: Bharat Thakkar

Talking about his anticipation from budget 2017-18, says Bharat Thakkar, Past President and Permanent Member – Board of Adviser, ACAAI & Co-Founder, Zeus Air Services, says, “ACAAI has met with Justice R. V. Easwar and made submissions on simplification of income tax, wherein the issues of withholding tax and tax deducted at source on freight difference by airlines have been explained. Thereafter, this matter has also been submitted to Hon’ble Minister of Finance, Secretary, Department of Finance including Prime Minister’s office (PMO) for appropriate action in line of ease of doing business.” The proposed Goods and Service Tax (GST) is needed but with few recommendations such as international transportation of goods including freight forwarding and ancillary services in relation to international transportation of goods such as customs clearance, warehousing, storage, cargo handling, packing, unitisation, etc. should be zero rated. Then, the concept of centralised PAN-based registration must be retained, whereby any service provider in the international transportation segment can have a centralised registration and discharge applicable tax through the GST Portal. Further, it has been recommended that the tax payer should be centrally registered at the principal place of business or registered office and undertake compliance from the central location for all activities throughout the country. The place of supply for international transportation of goods, freight forwarding and related services should be the location of the billing address of the recipient of the services as specified in the invoice issued by the service provider. It is not understood why ease of doing business is being side tracked dual and registration is being introduced The credit should be based on the invoice raised by the service provider without insisting on the …

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Support technology to develop more: DTDC Express

Abhishek Chakraborty, Executive Director, DTDC Express, expects, “This budget will be crucial in terms of understanding and getting clarity on the implementation of the GST especially over the first two quarters in FY17-18. Strengthening of all IT related infrastructure and projects will be a key to extract the best out of the entire demonetisation drive. It will be great to have the government take concrete measures to ensure a secure IT infrastructure for rapid technology adoption to empower citizens to go digital. Lastly, measures that will increase operational efficiencies such as infrastructure development and boost trade is what we are hopeful for.’’

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Logistics Parks should be enhanced: Allcargo Logistics

Prakash Tulsiani, Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer, Allcargo Logistics, wishes, “While there is a wish list of reforms that the sector deserves, a few points need to be considered on priority. At the outset, GST implementation is key for ease in movement of goods in the domestic market, the benefits of which are well discussed in the recent past. Secondly, focus on provisioning for infrastructure development, including better transportation system that will improve business efficiencies, thereby benefiting the sector immensely. The government should also look at fast tracking approvals for new infrastructure projects to boost foreign investors’ confidence.” “The government should consider giving tax benefits for capital intensive infrastructure. The development of logistics parks across the country for speedy delivery is also the need of the hour. Logistics parks will help provide services and facilities to reduce costs, boost efficiency and improve the flow of both raw material procurement and finished goods. The sector is also in need of skilled labour. The government should look at allocating funds for education and skill development in this area as this will be of great help to all logistics players,” he continues. “With the current demonetisation move, the industry and the common man at large have high expectations of lowering tax rates and reviving positive sentiments in the economy. Besides, it would be interesting to see what the budget has in store to boost the manufacturing sector and pump up the rural economy. Reforms in this direction are a ready welcome for the logistics industry,” stresses Tulsiani.

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After demonetisation, expectations surging: Schenker India

Says Oliver Bohm, CEO, Schenker India, “There are both transformational decisions from last year that deserve a mention along with key industry recommendations. GST Bill; a long-held industry demand, would truly be a game changer for the logistics sector and would make us internationally competitive from the perspective of inventory holding and transaction cost. We anticipate the government to consider providing a blue print to resolve the pending issues of stakeholders before the budget.” “Warehousing & Transportation is still not a recognised sector by the financial institutions and is deprived of the basic support. We look forward to having an industry status to be awarded to the sector along with tax benefits for investment in the warehousing sector, which should be on par with other sectors. Apart from this there should be a special incentive for use of solar energy in our warehouses. Special tax holidays of up to 5 to 10 years for warehouses constructed in rural area can also be considered. The treatment to warehousing for non-agricultural commodities on par with infrastructure projects is to encourage investment in the warehousing industry and additionally creating multi-modal logistics hubs will give transporters the choice of best modes and help in the efficient movement of goods,” he endures. Land acquisition has been a challenge that needs immediate attention which required speed approval process for change of land title. There are significant parcels of land in and around metro cities under agricultural land category. If there is no agricultural activity over the past eight to 10 years, they should be allowed to be converted into commercial use. This will create ample space available for construction of quality warehouses and significantly reduce storage …

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Timely implementation of GST will reap efficiency: TCIEXPRESS

Chander Agarwal, Managing Director, TCIEXPRESS, shares, “Timely implementation of GST would result in absorption of various taxes involved in transportation of goods and services and will increase efficiency in our operations. Last year, Rs 2.31 lakh crore was announced to be invested in infrastructure, which shows the importance of upgrading infrastructure. Hence, will look forward to some emphasis on improving the infrastructure this year as well as it is a boon not only for express delivery players but many industries. Thirdly, with the recent implementation of demonetisation, the industry is moving towards a digital and cashless mode of transaction. Hence, more incentives for every cashless transaction are expected. This will motivate increased adoption towards technology. Lastly, it will be interesting to look forward to more schemes under Make in India, Skill India, and Digital India initiatives.”

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Logistics cost needs to be cut down: Stanley Lim

At the FFFAI convention, Stanley Lim, Chairman, FIATA Congress Committee & Past President FIATA, expressed the need of logistics cost to be cut down. He said, “No matter in which industry you are, you need logistics and in logistics we are talking about from farm to fork and the number of steps and the cost involved. Moreover, for globalisation one needs to involve all government agencies in one platform to facilitate trade. Hence, logistics cost needs to be cut down to make country’s import and export competitive. Once the number of steps will get cut down, security will be enhanced and there will be less human error.”

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Govt gung-ho about logistics industry, says Ashish Pednekar

The Federation of Freight Forwarders Association in India (FFFAI) convention showcased the role and efforts undertaken by the government to elevate the industry. Ashish Pednekar, Chairman Elect, FFFAI & Convenor Kochi Convention, highlighted how the government has been taking initiative optimally. “The government is bringing lot of changes in the Exim trade and FFFAI is the important link. Change is eminent and we have to be with the change to take the industry to the next level. Moreover, with initiatives like ‘Make in India’ logistics has a very important role to play. Most importantly, now government has realised the significance of logistics industry and started taking the fraternity suggestions seriously,” he said.

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Uplift next gen to become logistician: Shankar Shinde

While enumerating the necessity of skill required in the field of logistics, Shankar Shinde, Vice Chairman, FFFAI, opined at the 23rd convention of the Federation of Freight Forwarders Association in India (FFFAI): “We always try to convert challenges into opportunities. One of the most important challenge is skill. We are trying to focus onto skill development through this convention. Hence, we are looking for training and adapting international practices for better upliftment.  Our idea is to make logistics as a choice of first profession. For the next generation, the decision to become a logistician should not come by default, but, by choice.”

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Skill necessary in logistics, says Chairman, FFFAI

The FFFAI convention held in Kochi, saw eminent industry persons come and deliberate on crucial elements of the logistics sector. Highlighting the same, Samir J Shah, Chairman, FFFAI, said, “We are working on three important issues. One of the most important issues we are targeting is skill; we understand with technology, domain knowledge of the broker is going to become important. Secondly, our focus is on gender equalisation and thirdly, we are creating a platform where FFFAI member can adopt the changes that are coming in the future. The Indian custom broker is capable of doing everything. Hence, any importer or exporter does not need to go to anybody else; the entire supply chain will be looked after by them.”

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