site.btaFIATA President: Multimodality, Digitization, Good Infrastructure Are the Future
Multimodality, digitalization and good infrastructure are the future, Ivan Petrov, President of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) and vice chair of the Bulgarian National Freight Forwarding Association (NSBS) Board of Directors, told BTA. Petrov believes that the current crises and constraints on the freight forwarding and logistics business can also be seen as new opportunities to be acted upon wisely.
"We are talking about disruptions in supply chains, because we have overdone it with outsourcing and horizontal integration. This integration has become too complex and globalized, while COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine have amplified the disruptions many times over," Petrov said.
Petrov said that new opportunities are emerging for Bulgaria and Southeastern Europe in general, however, "we have to act smart in order not to miss them".
No infrastructure means no development
According to the FIATA President, automotive transport is traditionally dominant, and it has been enjoying growth. Investment in logistics centres is also increasing to meet demand, but sustainable development requires responsible government policy to build rail and road infrastructure, so that Bulgaria becomes part of the new corridors linking Asia and Europe.
"Our infrastructure is one of our weaknesses. Railway infrastructure is not developing at a good pace," Petrov said.
Digital transformation in transport
According to the FIATA President, international trade and transport processes must be digitized and simplified as much as possible. "A standard should be created for documents in digital form," Petrov added. He noted the introduction of an electronic bill of lading as the most significant achievement in FIATA's history.
"Digital transformation has two sides: technological and regulatory. Technologically, many companies have come forward and created the prerequisites for digitalization. However, in regulatory terms, things are not the same," Petrov explained. The NSBS is trying to engage in dialogue with the government in order to initiate legal changes in this area.
COVID-19, increased fuel prices, and war in Ukraine
There has been no significant change in the freight forwarding sector structure in Bulgaria. The inflation in the transport sector caused by the energy crisis and high fuel prices, combined with the new tolls introduced, has led to one of the highest inflation rates in the country.
Freight forwarding and logistics companies are experiencing serious recruitment difficulties, given that the sector is highly labour intensive, Petrov shared. One of the NSBS's priorities is to train staff through the organization's vocational training centre, which is working to train some 250 current and future professionals in transport, freight forwarding, and logistics.
NSBS's 30th anniversary
The Congress of the Southeast European Freight Forwarders Association will take place in Sofia on September 29, marking the association's 30th anniversary.
Road and rail working groups will also meet the following day. The forum will be comprised of three panels: Digitalization, Multimodality and Sustainability.