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CCTT and FFFAI jointly host ‘India-And-World’ Business Forum in Mumbai, DG Shipping addresses to showcase India’s growth trajectory

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MUMBAI : The International Coordinating Council on Trans-Eurasian Transportation (CCTT) and the Federation of Freight Forwarding Associations of India (FFFAI) jointly organized a very significant debut meet called ‘India-And-World’ Business Forum which was held from April 24 to 25, 2024 in Mumbai. It is pertinent to mention that the FFFAI joined the CCTT during the XXXII Plenary Meeting which was held in Moscow in 2023 with Mr. Shankar Shinde as Vice Chairman of CCTT.

CCTT is a non-commercial transport association founded by the Ministry of Railway Communication of the Russian Federation (after the restructuring of 2003 – RZD OJSC; Deutsche Bahn (DB AG); Group of European Trans-Eurasian Forwarders and Operators (GETO) and Korean International Freight Forwarders Association (KIFFA).

Presently the CCTT has 96 member societies from 23 countries, including railways of Europe, Asia and the CIS states, leading shipping companies, operators and forwarders, ports and stevedoring companies, state organizations, administrations and academia, telecom and marketing companies, security services and mass media.

The purpose and goal of ‘India-And-World’ Business Forum was to establish and strengthen partnerships, promoting the logistics services of CCTT member companies in the international transport market and enhancing efforts in developing the North-South International Transport Corridor.

The Forum was welcomed by Mr. Dushyant Mulani, Chairman, FFFAI; Mr. Shankar Shinde, I.P. Chairman, FFFAI and Vice Chairman, CCTT; Mr. Gennady Bessonov, Secretary General, CCTT and other dignitaries proposing vote of thanks by Mr. Sudip Dey, Hon. Secretary, FFFAI.

Mr. Shyam Jagannathan, IAS, Director General of Shipping, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Government of India as Chief Guest; Mr. Rajiv Jalota, IAS, Chairman, Mumbai Port Authority and Chairman of Indian Ports Association (IPA); Mr. Sanjay Swarup, Chairman and Managing Director of Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) as Guest of Honour; Mr. Unmesh Sharad Wagh, IRS, Chairman, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority and Director Operations India Ports Global Limited (IPGL) addressed the forum which was attended by a large number of representatives of the industry stake holding, ministries and departments of Russia, India and Europe.

In his special address Mr. Shyam Jagannathan elaborated on India’s progress over the past decade has been quite remarkable. He pointed out that the country’s economic position has progressed to the fifth largest today. India has been the fastest growing major economy for the fourth year in a row—a bright spot in a global economy facing strong. India has attained critical mass as the fifth largest economy in the world, realized primarily on account of its policies of economic liberalization, which made it more market-oriented, allowed for a greater role for private capital and in the process increased its global competitiveness. “The growth projections for the Indian economy are the highest for any large economy over the coming decades,” he stated.

Earlier, welcoming the dignitaries and participants from Russia, CIS countries and India the FFFAI Chairman, Mr. Dushyant Mulani highlighted the decades old partnership between India and Russia which further needs to be strengthened by enhancing bilateral trade. The initiatives taken by CCTT and FFFAI in this regard would have significant impact. Multimodal transport opportunities through the INSTC, in which FFFAI is deeply engaged, needs to be explored,” he said. He urged that, “This is a good opportunity for members in logistics to participate and deliberate to have their concerns addressed and FFFAI is commitment to support trade in facilitating and safeguarding trade with safety, security recommending measures to Government of India with simplification processes, The conference would help in deliberation and prepare white paper for representations. FFFAI continues in its endeavors to promote International trade in cooperation with trade associations and is happy to receive the  international delegation to exchange and share insight and happy to partner with CCTT for future initiatives,” the FFFAI Chairman added.   

In his address Mr. Shankar Shinde, IP Chairman, FFFAI and Vice Chairman CCTT elaborated the significance of ‘India-And-World’ Business Forum in promoting the North South and East West corridors. He highlighted FFFAI’s initiatives to promote INSTC route in association with the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Inland Waterways, Government of India. Mr. Shinde also discussed the key findings of the Dry Run Studies done by FFFAI on INSTC route, its advantages as well as issues that need to be addressed for seamless and viable operations. He also underlined the importance of Chabahar Port in Iran which has been developed by the Government of India. A study also has been done by FFFAI on the strategic importance of this port and transportation through Iran to Russia and beyond. Mr. Shinde pointed out that India’s accession to the TIR Convention was one of the key developments in this regard. The collaborative initiatives provided opportunities to Logistics service providers to participate in cross border trade with landlocked countries using TIR for seamless movements. Further, Mr Shinde provided details on Insurances and Bank remittances support systems for trade with Iran /Russia.    

Mr. Sanjay Swarup also highlighted the importance of INSTC route and CONCOR’s contribution to promote this route, which according to him, would reduce transit time as well as logistics cost. He informed that CONCOR has already started some operations and expects further developments soon some problem areas are ironed out.

Mr. Unmesh Sharad Wagh focussed on the key aspects and advantages of Chabahar Port, developed by India Ports Global Limited, which is under Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Government of India. He stated that Chabahar Port serves as a transit and transshipment hub, enabling the movement of goods from sea to landlocked countries like Afghanistan and vice versa. The port is connected to INSTC route. By providing a corridor for landlocked regions to access international waters, Chabahar Port plays a vital role in enhancing trade connectivity and reducing dependence on traditional, longer trade routes.

Summing up the Forum Mr. Gennady Bessonov, dwelt upon the role of CCTT and FFFAI in facilitating Trans-Eurasian Transportation via sea and rail modes in association with the respective governments. “The scope of the CCTT’s Geography includes transportation along the ‘West-East’, ‘North -South’, ‘Europe-Western China’ transport corridors and routes. But we look at the transport situation more broadly and study the mutual impact of a wide range of ‘corridor’ projects and initiatives,” he added.  According to him, the smooth functioning of international transport corridors definitely contributes to strengthening export ties and attracting investments for the development of transport and other regional infrastructure.

Mr. Bessonov emphasized on increasing exim trade between India and Russia, which has been an increase of 1.8 times in 2023 reaching a record of $65 billion. In his opinion, India has a significant potential for transporting temperature-sensitive cargo. “We are Hoping for the annual nature of this forum for many years to come with more and more participants and stakeholders involved,” he added.

During the other sessions of the event, issues related to the optimization of logistics processes for the transportation of goods in connection with India were discussed, as well as successful intermodal container services and promising international infrastructure and integration projects were presented.

In the framework of the Forum the session of the CCTT Work Group on Maritime Logistics was held, where new line services were presented, as well as issues of entering the Indian market, shipping development and international settlements for cargo transportation with India were discussed.

The Forum’s ‘India as Key Player in Global Economy’ Plenary Session brought together with presentation and  representatives of Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia, Russian Embassy in India, RZD OJSC, FESCO Group, Mumbai Port Authority, FIEO, ASSOCHAM, ASORPS, Federal State Enterprise “Security of Railway Transport of the Russian Federation.” Sber Bank India, Gazprombank, VTB Bank, Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).

The event witnessed several technical sessions where issues related to the optimization of logistics processes for the transportation of goods in connection with India were discussed. Discussions were also held on successful intermodal container services and promising international infrastructure and integration projects were presented.

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