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CPEC WILL BRING A HOST OF ADVANTAGES PARTICULARLY TO LOGISTICS INDUSTRY.

Byline: AMANULLAH BASHAR

PAGE: Would you like to share about Agility business performance especially in the back of visible improvement in economic indicators 2015

MOIN AHMED: Agility's contract logistics is expanding over 1.5 million sq ft with its constant growth based on two-tier factors. The first factor is customers' organic growth due to positive indicators in the economy. The second factor is customers' inclination towards outsourcing logistics as the businesses have much more realization on focusing upon their core activities.

PAGE: What is the market share of Agility in Pakistan

MOIN AHMED: In terms of Pakistani market Agility has been leading overall.

Being one of the major players it also happens to be one of the market leaders in warehousing, transportation and freight forwarding.

Agility's current warehouse footprints makes it by far the biggest player in the market; covering approximately 1.5 million sq ft. Our fleet portfolio is 400 plus vehicles of different sizes, including reefer, dry and liquid transportation. With regards to freight forwarding we are again one of the major players with a considerably strong hold of both import and export cargos.

PAGE: There is a huge change expected on the economic landscape of Pakistan with the arrival of China as major investors especially under the flagship of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC). What do you expect from this project Do you endorse that it will be a game changer in Pakistan

MOIN AHMED: In 1997, the Pakistan Army explored possibilities of an inter-linked road network. A network which ran across all the provinces by simply connecting Gwadar and Karachi and the rest of the country. The CPEC project reflects the practical aspect of that research done 18 years ago.

The CPEC is not only a magnificent investment by China and Pakistan but it also marks the historic moment for Sino-Pakistan relations. The project in particular will bridge the gap between China, Middle East and Europe through Pakistan by generating employment and increasing the education level. The increase in education level will in return help by creating a demand for a skilled labor force to enter the job market; and lastly the CPEC project will also help in increasing the overall welfare for the economy.

More so, for the sustainability of this project the need for a developed infrastructure will put a strain on Pakistan's energy sector. A strain to reduce the energy shortfalls around the country, along with the need to develop road networks to provide easier transportation upcountry and also encourage development of small towns and cities. Gwadar, has vast scope of attracting tourist as its coastal area is one of the best coastlines in the world which in return is a way of generating revenues.

This would undoubtedly be a game changer for Pakistani economy for the very obvious reason and being the most shortcut route for Western China. There would be a major shift of manufacturing base towards Western China making Pakistan the only gateway to connect with Middle East, Central Asia and Europe. The Corridor would open up a lot of joint venture opportunities for Pakistani and Chinese investors. More so, China again may need to support Pakistan by requiring it to open trade routes just so that Chinese goods can be passed into Afghanistan, Iran and India depending on the economic situation.

Additionally, the CPEC project might require Pakistan to look into granting India the "Most Favored Nation (MFN)" status, something Pakistan has not done up till now.

PAGE: In your opinion what is the outlook of logistics industry in Pakistan keeping in view of CPEC impact on economic front

MOIN AHMED: The CPEC project will bring Pakistan and in particular logistics industry a host of advantages. Shipping goods to and from Pakistan would potentially be quicker and cheaper than using sea/airport, cutting costs and time in half.

Furthermore the CPEC project will provide an alternative route to logistic companies in case of narrowed sea channels in event of war in future. Additionally seaport and airport traffic will be diverted through land routes for exports and imports.

Logistic companies will also come across the opportunity to expand their operations and networking there by hiring more skilled laborers and in essence raising the logistic standards.

PAGE: Would you like to comment on government policies of generating revenue especially in the context of increased tariff on certain areas, do you think it would help generating revenue or have a counter-productive impact on investment climate in Pakistan

MOIN AHMED: Imposition of new taxes reflects that our government was under pressure by IMF or in other words they were not able to meet their targets which they claimed to achieve from the start. It was also failure of the government because of the measures it took in introducing Filer - Non filer and increased tax rates on services sector.

According to IMF authorities Mr Herald Finger, IMF's Pakistan delegation head, said Pakistan faced Rs40 billion revenue shortfall in the first quarter. "We worked out with authorities the strategy to meet fiscal deficit target and the government will take measures of that amount to bridge the gap."

In order to cover the Rs40 billion deficit, which cannot be ignored by government authorities and nor by IMF as they monitor Pakistan's economy and their instructions are like a command to be followed in the case of current economy situation. In fact, it showed that government again failed to bring taxpayers under tax umbrella, which they had claimed earlier.

Current government policy shows that government has short term policy to achieve current targets and they do not have any future plans to meet their objectives, which shows instability in their policies which is creating negative impact on the economy. Further to add imposition on duties and taxes will also have negative impact as it will result in smuggling and theft of taxes, which at the end will just expand the gap rather than decreasing it.

PAGE: Do you think with the improvement of macro economic indicators there is a possible increase in opportunities and challenges for Agility business regime

MOIN AHMED: Economic growth is central to economic development. When national income grows, real people benefit because it increases their purchasing power and raises their standard of living.

Improvement in macroeconomic indicators will definitely prove to be beneficial for Agility because expanding the business will be welcomed by the society as consumers will have more money to buy products/services.

Agility is on a rise and with more educated people entering the labor force, it creates more opportunity for employment and Agility to expand and broaden its horizon. However, on the contrary, with booming economy it creates cut throat competition as more and more people will enter the industry. Agility has well established quality standards and services that it offers to its clients which gives it edge over many other logistic companies trying to compete with it. Agility welcomes any challenges with open arms that comes its way.

Having real long-term strategy, we will continue to invest, grow and offer unique supply chain solutions to the market.
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Publication:Pakistan & Gulf Economist
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jan 3, 2016
Words:1178
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