‘Com­pe­ti­tion keeps us on our toes’

With 183 weekly wide-body air­craft ser­vices con­nect­ing cus­tomers to 150 cities in 80 coun­tries on six con­ti­nents, Emi­rates Sky­Cargo is mov­ing on the right track. Jas­sim Saif, Vice Pres­i­dent, Cargo Com­mer­cial–West Asia & South East Asia, Emi­rates Air­line t

Cargo Talk - - International -

spares, per­ish­ables and elec­tronic items. Emi­rates Sky­Cargo is one of the key fa­cil­i­ta­tors of cargo from In­dia. We op­er­ate sta­tions in nine lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing Mum­bai, Delhi, Chen­nai, Hy­der­abad, Ban­ga­lore, Cochin, Ahmed­abad, Kolkata and Thiru­vanan­tha­pu­ram. What are your ex­pec­ta­tions for FY 2016-17?

We ex­pect to see healthy growth in all of our key mar­kets in the com­ing year, es­pe­cially in re­gions like Africa, the Mid­dle East and North Amer­ica. Be­sides grow­ing our net­work, we will con­tinue to grow our ca­pac­ity as the air­line re­ceives new air­craft. For In­dia specif­i­cally, we are op­ti­mistic about the air cargo in­dus­try. Air cargo de­mand out of In­dia is grow­ing in terms of ton­nage. At the same time, we have no­ticed an in­crease in the amount of ca­pac­ity of­fered in the mar­ket. This is mainly due to op­er­a­tors en­hanc­ing their pas­sen­ger air­craft fleet to wide-bod­ied air­crafts, which has led to in­crease in belly ca­pac­ity. Hence, cus­tomers have a wide range of choices for send­ing their freight any­where in the world. What is the cur­rent state of air cargo oper­a­tions in the country? There are cur­rently over 60 car­ri­ers op­er­at­ing from In­dian air­ports i nclud­ing i nte­gra­tors, char­ters, LCCs and full ser­vice air­lines like Emi­rates Sky­Cargo. The good news is that com­pe­ti­tion keeps us on our toes and cus­tomers get more choice. The chal­lenge is that ex­cess cargo mar­ket ca­pac­ity at most air­ports puts great pres­sure on yields and de­spite the over­all growth in air ex­ports, the de­mand has been er­ratic month-on-month and is ex­tremely sen­si­tive to fac­tors such as cur­rency ex­change rates and oil prices.

Air cargo de­mand out of In­dia is grow­ing in terms of ton­nage. At the same time, we have no­ticed an in­crease in the amount of ca­pac­ity of­fered in the mar­ket

Th­ese cur­rent chal­lenges and the in­dus­try changes of the past few years, in­clud­ing mar­ket volatil­ity, fi­nan­cial cri­sis, se­cu­rity and en­vi­ron­men­tal re­stric­tions, could turn out to be the cat­a­lyst for more in the in­dus­try to in­no­vate and em­brace tech­nol­ogy.

For Emi­rates Sky­Cargo, we be­lieve that the key to suc­cess for the air cargo in­dus­try lies in in­no­va­tion, par­tic­u­larly in IT, as a means to ex­cel across the en­tire air freight value chain, and not just within the con­text of an air­line, a for­warder, or a ground han­dler. This is an area that we con­tinue to in­vest in. Which are the top mar­kets to which cargo is trans­ported?

Emi­rates Sky­Cargo is the largest air­line cargo op­er­a­tor in the world, ranked #3 in RTKMs, af­ter the big con­sol­ida­tors FEDEX and UPS. The top mar­ket re­gions for cargo from In­dia in­clude the Mid­dle East, Europe, Africa and the US. We op­er­ate in many of the world’s fastest de­vel­op­ing mar­kets, in­clud­ing 27 gate­ways in Africa, 16 in the Mid­dle East and 18 in the Far East. For our cus­tomers, this means quick ac­cess to new mar­kets, and also ac­cess to pri­mary as well as sec­ondary cities in ma­jor mar­kets like the UK, Ger­many and China.

We con­tinue to ex­pand our global net­work, with Yinchuan and Zhengzhou com­ing on­line in China, Cebu and Clark in the Philip­pines, Yangon in Myan­mar and Hanoi in Viet­nam in the next few months.

In In­dia, where we have op­er­ated for over 30 years and have the ex­per­tise and prod­ucts to cater to all of In­dia’s key ver­ti­cals for air­freight. What are the vi­tal trends in the In­dian air cargo in­dus­try?

Ac­cord­ing to IATA’s air­line in­dus­try fore­cast (2014-2018), In­dia will be amongst the top 10 largest in­ter­na­tional freight mar­kets by 2018. It is also pro­jected to be the sec­ond fastest grow­ing mar­ket, af­ter Iran, with a CAGR of 6.8 per cent and adding over 600,000 of to­tal freight tonnes.

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