Here is the text of FIATA Secretary General
Robert Voltmann’s opening remarks at the FIATA World Congress after
India denied a Visa to FIATA President Babar Badat of Pakistan.
Mr. Voltmann, it should be mentioned, also
serves as CEO of Transportation intermediaries Association, a vibrant
1,700 member 3PL organization in USA that serves the needs of rail, motor,
air, and ocean carriers.
Good morning. Unfortunately, I’m here this morning instead of FIATA
President Babar Badat.
It is unusual for the Secretary General to be part of the opening of a
FIATA Congress, but we find ourselves in a very unusual circumstance.
In fact, we find ourselves in an unprecedented circumstance.
The Indian Government has decided to politicize
FIATA and the FIATA World Congress by not issuing a visa for FIATA President
Babar Badat to attend the Congress.
You may have heard that a visa was issued;
it was not. In the 92-year history of this noble organization, this has
FIATA is a non-political organization. FIATA
is a non-governmental organization. FIATA is a global organization dedicated
to the fast, free, and efficient movement of goods by all modes in all
areas of the globe.
Even in the days of the Cold War, no government
took the step of politicizing FIATA. In our recent history, Chinese Nationals
were able to travel to the FIATA Congress in Chinese Taipei and Zhao was
elected President there. Cypriots were able to attend the FIATA Congresses
in Turkey. Jews were able to attend the FIATA Congresses in Dubai. Yet,
the Indian Government has decided to interject their politics into FIATA
by denying a visa to our duly elected President simply because he is Pakistani.
This is unacceptable, and we reject this action by the Indian Government.
Casts A Cloud
It is very unfortunate that the Indian Government
has decided to cast a cloud over the FIATA Congress, but we’re third-party
logistics professionals, and we will rise above this.
The FIATA Congress is the premier event
for 3PLs engaged in global trade. You’re used to finding solutions
to problems, and so are your associations.
Speaking of associations, we recognize that
the actions of their government are beyond the control of the Indian Association.
How Can We Help?
We will work around the problems caused
by the Indian Government. Babar will join us by video link to convene
both the Extended Board and General Meetings. The Congress Committee and
Extended Board will act to prevent this from happening again.
The Show Must Go On
We will rise above this. We will show all
those who seek to politicize trade that it will not work. We will be the
change we want to see in the world.
The FIATA Congress is always an amazing
time for collaboration, networking, and having fun with friends; nothing
can stop that. Babar wants the work of our Regions, Institutes, Advisory
Bodies, and Boards to continue. We will show our protest by carrying on
and having fun and making this a great FIATA Congress, because without
action, we aren’t going anywhere.