Thursday, December 07, 2017

BIAL gearing to become South India’s cargo hub

The cargo business at Bengaluru International Airport (BIAL), which operates Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) contributes 11 percent of Karnataka's GDP (approximately Rs 12,50,000 crore), substantially higher than the global average of 2-3 percent. To sustain this growth in the long term, BIAL has embarked on a journey to enhance and build on its infrastructure, standards and best practices ensuring that they consistently raise the bar in easing the movement of goods and products to and from South India.

Next on the cards, is the creation of a free trade area (FTA) or a special economic zone (SEZ) on the campus in an effort to make the airport a cargo hub for the region.

“At this point, we are exploring multiple options. We know that we have to start thinking of what next when the current cargo facility reaches its capacity (5.7 lakh tonne annually) - whether we want to expand by scaling up the current facility or setting up a multi-model logistic hub or a free trade zone is currently under consideration,” revealed Raj Andrade, vice-president (business development, marketing & strategy), BIAL during a recent interaction with media.

According to Andrade, close to 100 acres of land has been earmarked in the masterplan for the FTA or SEZ. The feasibility study for the same is currently underway. The airport’s expansion plan also involves the Terminal 2 and a second runway.

“To enhance the passenger experience, we are already developing Terminal 2 and the second runway, which will be operational in the next few years. With the free trade zone, we can develop the airport as the single gateway for cargo traffic,” he added.

According to statistics provided by the airport, cargo operations have grown by 142 percent from May 2008 when the airport started operations. In the current financial year, cargo handling at the airport is set to scale 3.5 lakh tonnes, up from 3.2 lakh tonnes in 2016. Cargo business is growing at over 8 percent, a release from BIAL stated.

“We are expecting to reach the capacity over the next five years, and we need to consider ways of expanding cargo handling business,” said another official representing BIAL’s cargo operations. He further added that the final feasibility report is likely to be out in the next couple of months.
07/12/17 Stat Trade Times