INTERVIEW WITH ASIM SAEED KHAN, CHAIRMAN PIFFA

KHALIL AHMED 
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

Dec 12 - 18, 20
11

PAGE: TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF.

ASIM SAEED KHAN: At present, I am chairman Pakistan international freight forwarders association (Piffa), vice chairman Pakistan ships agents association (PSAA) and chairman/chief executive general group of companies. I am associated with shipping & freight forwarding industry for last 20 years and our group represents international renowned shipping lines and worldwide famous multinational freight forwarders.

PAGE: WILL YOU TELL US ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE OF PIFFA?

ASIM SAEED KHAN: PIFFA has been moving forward aggressively for the betterment and recognition of the industry and in this regard Piffa's achievements are as follows:

1. Re-organization of Piffa Secretariat.
2. Legislation of Logistics Service Providers Regulatory Act-2011
3. LCL Transshipment Hub.
4. BL Issue - COGSA (Carriage of Goods by Sea Act-2011).
5. FIATA FWB/FBL and Liability Insurance Cover at Lowest Premium Rates.
6. Relations with S/Lines & PSAA.
7. Relations with Govt. Depts.
8. Providing Diploma Courses Certified by FIATA, which have been Re-Validated at World Congress 2011.
9. PTI (PIFFA Training Institute) is being formed and we are in the process of making it a successful institute for the industry.
10. Formation of standing committees for import/export consolidation.
11. For removing barriers in Afghan trade meetings were held with UNIDO and UNODC and we formed standing committee.
12. Piffa's participation in CAREC Meeting in Kyrgyzstan and visit of CAREC Rep A/with ADB to Piffa.

PAGE: EXPORTERS HAVE URGED THE GOVERNMENT TO FRAME THE RULES TO BRING THE WORKING OF FREIGHT FORWARDERS WITHIN THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK SINCE PRESENTLY THERE IS NO GOVERNMENT BODY OR MINISTRY, WHICH REGULATES THE WORKING OF FREIGHT FORWARDERS, WHO ARE FREE TO RUN THEIR SHOW AS THEY WISH. YOUR VIEWS.

ASIM SAEED KHAN: Please note that Pifaa and PSAA have asked the government of Pakistan for immediate approval of the LSP Bill already in the ministry of commerce and the whole freight forwarding industry will follow this law. If any violation is done and brought under our notice then the required action is taken in this regard. I have developed trade dispute committee which overviews the case and makes the final decision.

PAGE: THE MINISTRY OF COMMERCE IN THE 2006 BUDGET ALLOWED THE PIFFA TO GO FOR SELF-REGULATION. WHAT ARE YOUR COMMENTS?

ASIM SAEED KHAN: This was allowed but the same was not possible as it was not easy for Piffa to control plus 500 members. Hence, self regulation of Piffa was not agreed by the members and now we have introduced the LSP Bill in which all the pros and cons have been taken into consideration which has been duly approved by all the stakeholders and has been submitted to ministry of commerce for getting this bill approved from the parliament.

PAGE: ON RECEIVING CARGO FROM FREIGHT FORWARDERS UNDER INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICES, SHIPPING LINE ISSUES MBL WHEREIN FREIGHT FORWARDER BECOMES A SHIPPER INSTEAD OF EXPORTER AND HIS COUNTERPART AT THE RECEIVING PORT BECOMES A CONSIGNEE. YOUR VIEWS.

ASIM SAEED KHAN: It is a general definition that BL (bill of lading) is a document issued by a carrier to shipper listing and acknowledging receipt of goods for transport and specifying terms of delivery. HBL (house bill of lading) issued by a freight forwarder to a shipper is a receipt for the goods being shipped with other cargo as one consignment. The shipping company's (carriers) MBL (master bill of lading) shows the forwarder as the consigner/shipper and the name of forwarder's agent at the port of destination as the consignee. A forwarder's BL has a legal standing similar to that of normal (carrier's) MBL. If not specifically prohibited it is incapable of being negotiated and of acceptance by the importer's bank for payment under a letter of credit.

This is being adopted and practiced in 191 countries around the globe.

PAGE: AFTER A CHANGE IN THE TITLE ON THE MBL, THE GOODS COULD BE RELEASED WITHOUT MAKING PAYMENT TO THE EXPORTER. YOUR COMMENTS.

ASIM SAEED KHAN: HBL is a negotiable multimodal transport document showing actual shipper/cnee name as per shipper instructions. Now as per the Circular FE2 of State Bank of Pakistan, exporter is bound to collect HBL along with MBL in Original for FCL shipments and both the BL's are required to be dispatched through his bank to destination office for presentation by Cnee to the shipping line at destination for release of cargo.

We accepted this FE2 condition in the best interest of our country and industry but globally this practice is not adopted.

PAGE: A FREIGHT FORWARDER, WITH HARDLY ANY OFFICE SETUP AND HAVING A SIMPLE HANDBAG, HANDLES EXPORT CARGO WORTH MILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND HAS NOTHING TO LOSE EVEN IF THE GOODS ARE LOST OR DELIVERED TO PERSONS OTHER THAN THE IMPORTERS. YOUR COMMENTS.

ASIM SAEED KHAN: Pakistan's total exports are around $25 billion and only few associations, which are less than one per cent of the total exports are planning to sabotage the industry whose multinational companies have made investment in Pakistan for more than $200 million. Also, credit is provided to exporters up to Rs5 billion which is receivable. Piffa has 500 plus members in which there are small and big companies and for me all are respectable members.

The association's membership is only provided to companies, which have staff employment of more than seven persons. In order to maintain the discipline, we have initiated the LSP Bill and are supporting the same for the interest of all.

PAGE: ACCORDING TO PIFFA ESTIMATES, FOR THE HAULAGE OF NON-COMMERCIAL AFGHAN TRANSIT-CARGO ALONE, AROUND 250 LONG HAUL VEHICLES ARE REQUIRED DAILY, WHICH COMES TO AROUND 7,500 VEHICLES PER MONTH. WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON IT?

ASIM SAEED KHAN: In the past, only national logistic cell (NLC) was providing the vehicles for afghan transit commercial and non-commercial and now with the efforts of Piffa, the private bonded carriers holding valid license from FBR are now allowed to provide haulage for Afghan transit and Piffa members are now purchasing new friendly environment vehicles. Our target is to provide long haul vehicles and provide haulage up to commonwealth of independent states (CIS). Private bonded carriers have got around 25 licenses issued up to now and each license holder has to deploy minimum 25 long haul vehicles. Now, our industry is growing very fast and huge investment is taking place in the transport and logistics business.