NAFL to raise freight forwarding standards.. Members urged to get ready for VAT

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Representatives from freight forwarding and logistics industry at the meeting of the members held in Dubai recently.

Dubai: The National Association of Freight and Logistics has successfully concluded its annual networking event where its President Nadia Abdul Aziz highlighted that the Association wants to raise the freight forwarding standards in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The President also talked about the challenges to the logistics industry and said NAFL members should be ready and prepared for the forthcoming Value Added Tax (VAT) and Blockchain technology.

The NAFL’s annual event was attended by a majority of its members and non-members in addition to representatives of Emirates airline, flydubai, Etihad Airways, Dubai Customs, Dubai Airport, Head of Air Cargo operations, IATA, officials from airlines and United Advocates.

Top officials from United Advocates, IBM, and Deloitte addressed the networking event and talked about the issues related with VAT and Blockchain and how it will enhance the industry.

Earlier addressing the annual event, NAFL President Nadia Abdul Aziz presented the progress report of the Association. The president informed its members about the important global exhibitions related to the industry coming up in 2017. She urged the members to get the benefits of important industry-related courses being offered by the NAFL. She also welcomed Mr. Abdulla Bin Khediya, who has been appointed as the Senior Executive Coordinator between NAFL and His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum’s office, Honorary patron of NAFL.

“The main reason of this workshop and networking event is to talk about various initiatives of NAFL and exchange experiences. We want to raise freight forwarding standards in the UAE. To achieve this goal, we do training workshops and networking events and many of them are complementary to our members,” she explained.

She added: “Here at the event we have airlines and they can give NAFL members better services. We, as a National Association want to fully support our national airlines.”

NAFL works with a lot of vendors and tries to get as much as possible discounts for its members, she informed and listed the latest reputable vendors of NAFL.

Giving an example, she said a couple of NAFL members have excellent knowledge regarding Africa market, Iraq and other important markets. They can exchange the business and knowledge within the network of members so others can get the benefit of it to expand their business.

NAFL has more than 380 members including 20 associate members. The association provides more than 16 quality workshops annually in addition to free lawyer services to its members.

She mentioned that VAT is an important topic and NAFL wants its members to be prepared before it becomes effective from January 1, 2018. The blockchain is another area where members should get knowledge. “We have brought industry specialists to talk about the VAT and Blockchain here at the event as we want to be proactive and prepare our members for any innovative changes taking place in the UAE,” she said. NAFL will also be organising a second event on Vat & Blockchain by mid-May for those who were not able to attend this session.

Addressing the event, United Advocates’ Finance & Tax Advisor Markos Brotzakis highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of VAT. He also put the spotlight on its impact on businesses.

He also talked about VAT rates and penalties in case of default of payments, registration dates as well as technical issues.

Deloitte VAT Manager Andreas Agapiou highlighted technical aspects of VAT and procedures to be adopted by businesses.

Iqbal Ali Khan, Strategy and Business Development Executive for the Global Payment Industry & Blockchains at IBM, explained the importance of Blockchain. Khan said it’s a shared ledger technology allowing any participant in the business network to see the system of record. He also talked about the benefits of Blockchain.

Most of the Dubai government transactions will move to blockchain by 2020 as per directive of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai.

The market size of Blockchain is estimated to increase from $210 million in 2016 to $2.3 billion by 2020.

NAFL’s upcoming ventures including promoting the UAE logistics industry at the Africa & Middle East conference in Casablanca and also later in Malaysia at the FIATA World Congress.