Saturday, February 17, 2018

Cargo India optimistic for 2018

 The year 2018 has started on an optimistic note for India’s air cargo stakeholders.
      The person holding out the lolly of hope is none other than Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju.
      In an interview at the beginning of this year, Raju pointed out that though the potential for air cargo—especially domestic—was high, cargo unfortunately was only a very small part of Indian aviation.

Am I Raju?

      The minister went on to emphasize the fact that the country had only two domestic freighter operators—Blue Dart and Quikjet—though looking back in history, the India aviation story had started with cargo.
      Terming the mismatch as a “jigsaw puzzle” that has never been pieced together, Raju said, “Somehow the jigsaw puzzle never got put together.
      “At least there is an attempt to put it together.
      “Let's see where it will take us.”
      He was referring to the government’s formation of the Air Cargo Logistics Promotion Board (ACLPB) that will “strategize how to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and ensure inter-ministry coordination.”
      He was, however, quick to reiterate that “we are not know-alls.”
      “The aviation business is a continuous process of learning and working.
      “I will be very happy if cargo takes off.
      “Right now, it is very minuscule.”
      The Minister’s guarded optimism stems from the fact that air cargo promises to register a growth in double digits over the next five years.

Numbers Drivers

      In FY18 (April 2017-March 2018), air cargo India is on track to deliver 14-15 percent in comparison to the 12 percent in 2017, according to ratings agency Crisil.
      The growth figures were largely due to enhanced infrastructure, growing volumes, more connectivity, and a single window clearance system.
      A large percentage of the domestic growth has been due to e-commerce. Kolkata airport, for instance, has seen a huge jump in cargo volumes over the last few years, thanks to e-commerce.
      An international metro airport, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (as the Kolkata airport is called) is the eastern gateway and a major hub for flights to South East Asia.
      Once a major destination for European airlines like Lufthansa and British Airways, the airport saw traffic going down steadily due to a variety of factors. However, now the situation seems to have changed.
      No longer is weight an important criteria. With weight no longer critical, today the number of packages that are being shipped has grown by leaps and bounds.
16/02/18 Air Cargo News

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