EFL celebrated a significant milestone in cross border trade in the Indian subcontinent when its shipment for Marks & Spencer crossed over seamlessly to India from Bangladesh. This marked the first occasion a truck carrying cargo was allowed to cross over to India from Bangladesh without requiring the consignment to be unloaded and transferred to another truck at the border as has been the practice.
Hanif Yusoof, Founder & President of EFL and Group CEO of Expolanka Holdings PLC noted that “This occasion heralds the beginning of an encouragingly simplified cross border logistics process which could accelerate and substantially increase bilateral trade between the two countries. I’m immensely proud of EFL’s role in working with our partners to open up opportunities for trade in the region.”
This feat was facilitated by an agreement signed in June 2015 between India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal known as the BBIN Motor Vehicles Assessment. Under its terms, the passage of cargo and passenger vehicles is expected to follow a smoother transition of movement between the four countries. EFL was the first freight forwarder to implement the passage of cargo from Bangladesh to India under its auspices. The simplified process is a welcome change for the apparel centric economies, making the region more competitive not just to global brands, but to the emerging domestic sector looking at regional growth.
Industry experts predict the agreement will effectively reduce transit time for cargo trucks by approximately three days, and overall logistics costs by up to 20%. Moreover, transforming what are traditionally perceived as transport corridors into economic corridors could potentially increase intraregional trade within South Asia by almost 60% and with the rest of the world by over 30%. The trucks now follow a new Customs inspection and verification procedure using the E-Seal, which was affixed to the EFL truck in Bangladesh. The trucks can be monitored via GPS enabling customers to track the much faster movement of their cargo. This streamlined solution will continue to offer complete visibility to global customers sourcing from the region.
The truck’s arrival in Delhi from Dhaka via Magura, Jessore, the Benapole-Petrapole border, and Kolkata was celebrated with a flag off ceremony at the Regional Transport Office in Kolkata on 30 August, followed by a press conference in Delhi on 5 September. Speaking about the accomplishment and what it could signify for trade between the two countries, EFL India Managing Director & EFL Group CEO S. Senthilnathan said, “This achievement is momentous because it will pave the way for enhanced bilateral trade between the two countries, which the Confederation of Indian Industry recently estimated could double to USD 10 billion by 2018 provided the right setup is in place. This is undoubtedly a firm step forward in the right direction, and we are very pleased to have been the first to take it. I commend the unwavering efforts of the ministries from both countries instrumental in signing the agreement, and in particular the efforts of EFL Bangladesh Managing Director Mahbubul Anam who ensured that EFL would be allowed to participate in the trial run.”
This development falls seamlessly in line with EFL’s vision to provide simple, efficient and deadline friendly solutions to its customers and partners. “We’re very grateful for the cooperative spirit between the Ministries of External Affairs and Road Transportation and Highways in the two countries,” expressed EFL Bangladesh Managing Director Mahbubul Anam. “Our task was also made much easier with the support given to this project by M&S. As a top client, they entrusted us with the safe, timely passage of their goods and we delivered.”
EFL (Expo Freight) is a leading provider of supply chain solutions across 20 countries and over 55 cities. Founded in 1982, EFL is headquartered in Sri Lanka and is ranked among the top five forwarders in the Indian Subcontinent and recognised as an expert in fashion logistics.
EFL’s foray into international markets began with the establishment of EFL Bangladesh in 1993. The operation has grown to include a state of the art airfreight hub in Tongi and a bonded QC inspection centre in Chittagong. EFL India was founded in 1996 and is the network’s largest single origin operation offering logistics services for multiple verticals across 19 offices.