Customs clearance of cargo at ports was handled by three kinds of people who were regulated by the customs. Dalal or “pass writer” was the oldest known category predating even the establishment of the Bombay Port Trust in 1873 and the enactment of the Customs Act in 1878.

Dalals were responsible for preparing documents at the customs. The first known dalal was said to be DosabhoyMistry who secured a licence to transact business as far back as in 1858, the year East India Company made its exit from the country. Muccadams were another kind of people engaged in the physical handling of cargo at the docks and had no authority to process documents through Customs. The firm CurumseyDamji was said to be functioning as Muccadams around 1858. The third kind of people emerged towards the end of the eighteenth century. They were clearing agents licensed by the Sea Customs Act, 1878. They could assume the activities of both the Dalals and Muccadams and they also had the added authority of signing documents on behalf of merchants.

In 1960, with the New Custom House Agents Licensing Rules with modifications to the then existing CHA Licensing Rules 1957 were notified. A need for a joint representation to the Government and common action was felt. Accordingly a joint conference of all Clearing Agents Associations of Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Cochin, and the Karachiwala Association was held in Mumbai. It was during this meeting that it was resolved to form a federation of all the customs clearing agents association in India. On 2nd December, 1962, the then Union Minister of Finance Late.ShriMorarjee Desai inaugurated the Federation of Customs Clearing Agents Associations Of India (now, Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India).The Bombay, Calcutta, Cochin, Jamnagar, Goa, Kandla and Bhavnagar Associations formed the Federation.


Today, Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India (FFFAI) is the Apex Body and the Sole Representative of 24 Member Associations from all over India representing 5000 Custom Brokers and Freight Forwarders (employing over 1,00,000 people) and controlling ninety per cent of India’s international logistics trade. In addition, organisations who are directly or indirectly connected with freight forwarding, shipping and commerce are also associated with FFFAI.


Main object of FFFAI is to organise united action to project and promote the interest of the professional in all its aspects at the national level; and for that purpose to co-ordinate the activities of the Custom House Agents’ Associations and their members; to collect and disseminate information to members on subject of common interest; to take part in conference; to help members to acquaint the authorities with their common problems, to protect and to improve the common benefits, to get redressal of legitimate grievances by all peaceful and constitutional means and procedures to exercise beneficial supervision over the logistics trade with a view to maintain a high standard of integrity and public confidence; to evolve a code of conduct of ethics for Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers

International Participation

FFFAI the only national body in the filed of freight forwarding and logistics, which is has representation on international associations like International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) and International Federation of Freight Brokers Associations (IFCBA). FFFAI has actively represented in these international bodies and past Chairmen of FFFAI have been at the helm of affairs of these international associations.

  • Mr.Arvind Parikh was the first Asian President of FIATA
  • Late Mr.Mayur C Contractor was the Senior Vice President of FIATA
  • Late Lt. Cdr (Mr.) R. Srinivasan was the Managing Director of IFCBA
  • Mr. Shantanu Bhadkamkar is the present Chairman of IFCBA

FFFAI has hosted international meetings of FIATA and IFCBA

  • FFFAI hosted the FIATA Region Asia Pacific meeting in conjunction with UNESCAP meetings of National Freight Forwarders Logistics Association in 2008
  • FFFAI hosted the IFCBA Board of Directors Meeting in 2013
  • FFFAI FIATA Multimodal Transport Institute (Working Group Sea Transport) meeting in February 2014

Participation and Representation

With all Government Authorities, Organizations, Ports / Airports, Trade Bodies and other stake holders in International Trade recognizing FFFAI as a sole representative of Custom House Agents and International Freight Forwarders, FFFAI enjoys consultative status on all the matters of importance concerning International Trade. FFFAI is the Largest Non-Governmental Organisation in the field of International Transportation in India and is recognized by the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Shipping, and Ministry of Civil Aviation and consulted on issues, policy decisions and procedures for Custom House Agents, Freight Forwarders, Multimodal Transport Operators, Shipping, Aviation and EXIM Trade.

FFFAI actively participates, represents and provides inputs in meetings and conferences organized by departments of Ministries of Government of India. FFFAI participates in:

  • Pre-budget meeting held by Ministry of Finance for suggestion to Annual Budget
  • Customs Consultative Group meeting held by Central Board of Excise & Customs, Ministry of Finance
  • SCOPE SEA & SCOPE AIR meeting held by Ministry of Commerce and industry
  • FFFAI has been granted audience by the former President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil
  • FFFAI has participated in a joint conference joint conference with Secretary General of World Customs Organisation Mr.Kunio Mikuriya and Senior members of the CBEC and Customs department held in New Delhi in 2012
  • FFFAI participates in pre-budget meeting held by Ministry of Finance with respect suggestion for the Annual Budget of India
  • FFFAI participates in the Customs Cons
  • FFFAI participates in SCOPE for resolution of issues facing EXIM trade and discussion on measures to boosts exports
  • FFFAI participates in grievance committee meetings organized by Ministry of Shipping for addressing grievances of the shipping and logistics fraternity
  • FFFAI participates in meeting of Ministry of Civil Aviation for formation of policy with regard to Air Freight Stations

Former President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil, granted audience FFFAI in Rashtrapati Bhavan. FFFAI has also been invited for a Joint Conference with Secretary General of World Customs Organisation Mr.Kunio Mikuriya and Senior members of the CBEC. FFFAI. Ministry of Commerce & Industry had invited FFFAI to do a sample run on the Bottlenecks in The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) project and submit recommendations.


FFFAI and its members have been felicitated for their efforts and achievements in the field of logistics. On the occasion of International Customs Day in 2013, was FFFAI was recognized with World Customs Organization – Certificate of Merit for its contribution to the logistics and maritime fraternity and services to the nation. Former Chairman of FFFAI -Late Mr.M.K.Ghosh, former Vice- Chairman of FFFAI – Mr.Nailesh Gandhi and Advisor of FFFAI – Mr. Naval Mehta have also received the same recognition.


FFFAI has undertaken lot of initiatives and activities for the furtherance and growth of the logistics sectors and for benefit of members.

  • Launched FFFAI-SBI (State Bank of India) co-branded ATM imprest card which is the first of its kind in the country.
  • Formed Maritime Forum with representation stakeholders in Maritime fraternity for resolution of common issues and to emerge of as one voice and single pressure group in the logistics and maritime sector in India
  • Launching of Women’s wing to encourage women to engage in logistics profession to assist them in their activities
  • Launching of Youth Wing to create a platform and harness talent for developing future leaders
  • Launching of Coastal Shipping and Inland Waterways Council for promoting Green Initiatives
  • Launching of quarterly bulletin of FFFAI, ‘FFFAI BULLETIN’, which is registered with Registrar of Newsprints India
  • Organizing FFFAI Biennial Convention once in every two years which has massive attendance of Freight Forwarders and Custom Brokers, Members of the EXIM fraternity and Government Departments
  • Organizing Trade Fairs to create a platform for players in the logistics industry to display their skills, expertise and efficiencies.
  • Organizing knowledge seminars and trade facilitation seminars for members of freight forwarding and customs brokers fraternity

International Outreach

  • Leading initiative for co-operation between freight forwarding associations of neighbouring countries
  • Participated as speaker in 1st Annual Multimodal Transportation & Logistics Conference in Karachi
  • Participated as Key Note Speaker in Nepal World Cargo Day in KathmanduMade presentation along with IFCBA to World Customs Organization -Permanent Technical Committee on World Economic Competitive Package – First presentation ever made by a Private Sector

Training and Education

FFFAI imparts formal vocational training to members of logistics fraternity to improve their knowledge and skills thereby increasing the quality of personnel engaged in the profession. FFFAI through its educational wing INDIAN INSTITUTE OF FREIGHT FORWARDING (IIFF) conducts a six months part-time DIPLOMA COURSE in FREIGHT FORWARDING, which is recognized by FIATA. FFFAI has successfully completed 5 batches of this course and assisted in placement of students in the industry. FFFAI also organizes Training of Trainers Workshops to develop Trainers within the industry.

CSR Initiatives

FFFAI as a socially responsible corporate body recognizes people who made the nation proud. FFFAI has felicitated:

  • Sport Personnel for their achievements in Sports and bringing laurels to the country
  • War Veterans and Police Personnel for their bravery, sacrifice and for putting nation above self.

Welcoming the Future

FFFAI envisages

  • To make International Freight Forwarding and Customs Broker a profession of first choice
  • To transform Freight Forwarding Profession into a Vital Profession
  • Integration of Supply Chain Professional as not just a Logistics Expert but also as a Key Stake Holder and as a Central Nervous System of Planning and Execution

FFFAI Endeavours

  • To work towards migration from Licensing to SELF REGULATION
  • To provide Global Thought Leadership
  • To undertake Public Relation Activities
  • To enhance Brand Image and build Greater Public Confidence
  • To be the Voice of Change in Policy Direction in pursuit to attain Global Recognition
  • To strengthen FFFAI to be the largest and strongest body in the Logistics Sector in the World.