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   Vol. 17 No. 63
Thursday September 27, 2018

FIATA New Delhi Exclusive

FIATA 2018 Opening

In the picture—As FIATA World Congress got underway in New Delhi, Wednesday September 25, (L) Samir Shah, Robert A. Voltmann, Neeraj Bansal, Chairman Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Debashis Dutta, Organizing Committee Chairman and A V Vijaykumar light the lamp. Meantime FIATA President Badat of Pakistan, unable to obtain an India Visa, was a no-show.

As The FIATA World Congress got underway in New Delhi, India the 1000-odd delegates and special invitees from the government and private organizations settled into their seats as a firestorm erupted from the first speaker’s platform.

Voltmann Tirade Lays It On The Line

     On the dais was Robert A. Voltmann, FIATA’s Secretary General. Invited to speak, Voltmann pointed out that a Secretary General had never addressed a World Congress in FIATA’s 92-year history. That was because the FIATA President, Babar Badat from Pakistan, was not present.
     Badat, he said, had not been given a visa by the Indian government.
     FIATA, said Voltmann, was a non-political organization but, he emphasized – rather hastily – that the Indian government had politicized the whole visa issue by not giving him one: “The Indian government says it has given a visa, but it has not.”

Cold War Years Recalled

    Adding fuel to the fire, the FIATA Secretary General said that even during the Cold War years, nothing like the Badat incident had happened. He trotted out more examples: Chinese FIATA delegates have been welcomed in Taipei, Jewish delegates have visited Dubai and Cypriots have been to Turkey for meetings.

FIATA On The High Ground

     Although Voltmann mentioned that FIATA would rise above all this since “we are used to finding solutions”. “We will be the change”, he emphasized, and to show “our protest” he asked the gathering to stand for Babar Badat.

Twitching Under the Heat

     Even as the next speaker was preparing to deliver his keynote address, Vandana Aggarwal, Economic Adviser, Ministry of Civil Aviation interjected. The seniormost government bureaucrat present in the gathering, she pointed out that Voltmann was wrong. Babar Badat had been given a visa and she had a copy of the email that had been sent to him as proof.      “Alleging that the Indian government had politicized the issue was totally wrong,” she emphasized.

  Inconceivable At FIATA 

     “Inconceivable that an esteemed businessman who also happens to be President of the world’s most important organized air forwarder group would be put through the ringer by bureaucrats of India.” That was one reaction to the news that FIATA President Babar Badat of Pakistan was refused a visa to preside over the FIATA World Congress this week in New Delhi.

Lost Horizons

     “Everyone had so much hope for this congress that would bring together the very similar cultures of India and Pakistan under one roof to accelerate cooperation for international commerce,” a source told FlyingTypers.

Pakistan Ban Played On

     FlyingTypers also learned that there were about 50 applicants from Pakistan that attempted to obtain visas to attend the FIATA World Congress and not a single visa was granted. India apparently decided, as one source put it, “to build a political firewall around this great international business gathering.”
     In previous conversations leading up to FIATA New Delhi, we had asked Babar if he anticipated any difficulty securing a visa for the event because of politics. He said:
     “I have travelled to India on business and enjoy many good and positive relationships in that country.”
     So why was Mr. Badat denied a visa and refused entry?

We Know Babar Badat

     It’s truly unfortunate that some small minds wiggled their way into the big plan of FIATA, an organization of more than 40,000 freight forwarders.
     Babar Badat is a true pioneer freight forwarder. He has worked hard to build a great commercial enterprise and has been a lightening rod organizing the freight forwarder community in Pakistan.
     Babar truly deserved better.
     We should not forget his gentle, guiding hand as President of FIATA. His absence in New Delhi stifles the possibility of achieving what should have been a truly great conference for all of us.

FIATA Announces YIFFA Awards

     Whatever the reason, Badat was not present to give his side of the story. However, what it did was mar the occasion which saw the three finalists of the FIATA Young Freight Forwarder of the Year Award for 2018 – Tjaka Segooa from Region Africa Middle East, Sarah Kate Skrypec from Region Asia Pacific and, Louis Perrin from Region Europe – being acknowledged for their ideas and receiving their certificates.
     The soothing balm came from Samir Shah, Mentor and Past Chairman, FFFAI. Speaking at the first interactive session that followed the inaugural meet, he pointed out “we are all international players” – meaning simply that visas and other such things should not hinder the business of trade and logistics.
Tirthankar Ghosh

Babar Badat  “FIATA is a non governmental & non political organization, I had supported the bid to hold this Congress in Delhi and I was looking forward to my tenure's first Congress.
  “What’s happened now is sad, it didn't need to be like this.
  “Nevertheless our honorable Presidency members, the honorable Extended Board members and heads of the various groups are all present at the Congress.
  “In discussion with the Presidency I have requested our people to kindly ensure that all the meetings including those of the Regions, Institutes, Advisory Bodies & others go off well and it turns out to be a good Congress for our worthy members and for those who have taken out the time to attend the Congress.
  “I am sure FIATA will make 2018 New Delhi a good Congress!
Babar Babat

chuckles for March31, 2014

     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.

Political Interferance

     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 never happened.

FIATA Non-Political

     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.

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Business On The Move Game

If there is one vertical in the logistics and supply chain that FIATA World Congress
2018 is focused upon, it is youth in logistics.
     Beginning with the Young Logistics Professional Program (YLP), held a day before the FWC opened for business, the veterans of the industry here made it clear that they had laid the foundation and now it was up to the young people to carry the freight forwarding business through the disruptions that were becoming commonplace.
     The YLP Program, organized by the FFFAI at FWC-2018 received enthusiastic response from 136-odd start-up freight forwarding and logistics companies.

Getting Underway

     Stanley Lim, Chairman, FIATA World Congress; A V Vijaykumar, Chairman, FFFAI and David Phillips, Founder and CEO, Freight Systems addressed the attendees. All three were unequivocal in maintaining that the pioneering YLP event would create a new paradigm to woo start-ups and young entrepreneurs in the freight forwarding and logistics industry in India.

Tej Contractor and Geoffrey ArendContractor Endorses YLP

     Commenting on the event, Tej Contractor, EC Member, FFFAI, (pictured here with Geoffrey) said that the first YLP program was encouraging and motivating. “The learning from YLP through innovative, thought-provoking and at the same time amusing ways has been our prime focus and I am sure participants received tremendous boost in shaping up their future business strategies,” said Contractor.
     In his opinion, one of the biggest challenges facing the logistics industry today was skill shortage.
     “Learning is the necessity of life.
     “The Young Logistics Program (YLP) is to provide our youth with a global perspective of our industry currently and where it’s going.

Youth Will Be Served

     “Disruption is the name of the game,” Tej declared
     “So, at the YLP we showcased the disruptive technologies that have changed and will change our industry,” he added.

Fun ‘n Games

     The learning process was demonstrated by a game, “Business on the Move”, that was all about transporting freight, making profits, buying and maintaining assets and most importantly understand the value chain.
     130 attendees played the game.

Stanley LimStan The Man

     One of the strongest advocates of educating the youth, Stanley Lim pointed out that India was an important country as far as logistics was concerned.
     “Disruptive technology is here to stay and who better to discuss it with, than the youth,” Stanley steamed.
     “FIATA,” said Lim, “is passionate to nurture the young.”
     His advice to the youth:
Nadia Abdul Aziz     “Hear what the professionals say. They will provide the insight to open up the minds of the young and that incidentally, blends well into the theme of the Congress, ‘The Future is Here’.
     “The seniors have laid the foundations and the young will take it forward,” Stanley insists.
     Elsewhere Nadia Abdul Aziz, Vice President of FIATA’s Global Extended Board, is part of a huge delegation to FWC, and also a strong supporter of getting the young into the business.
     For her, the FWC 2018 was meant to “build bridges”.
     “India was the second largest trending partner with the UAE and there was an urgent need for young people to come forward and expand the trade,” she said.

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
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