FIATA, in collaboration with the Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India (FFFAI), held a webinar on 29 May 2020, to provide a global perspective on the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for the logistics industry. The webinar was attended by more than 400 participants from across all five continents.
Keynote speakers included FIATA President Basil Pietersen and FFFAI Chair A V Vijaykumar. Mr Pietersen commended the inclusion of freight forwarding in many nations’ definitions of ‘essential services’. However, he called for greater action and consistency in global responses, together with the implementation of facilitative measures required to ensure the continuance of well-functioning supply chains to move essential goods.
Digitalization and trade facilitation
Mr Pietersen addressed the need to empower the freight forwarding community in these difficult times. He elaborated on compliance, the required support from government and industry stakeholders, the need for increased digitalization, the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, the prospect of rebounding national economies, as well as on the survival of freight forwarders and the logistics industry.
Mr Vijaykumar, in turn, addressed the current situation prevailing in India, congratulating the central government for its timely efforts to maintain functioning logistics and supply chains during times of crisis. He also spoke positively of the digital proactiveness seen from Indian customs, as well as the effective efforts by the shipping ministry in lessening the overall burden on exim trade.