India ready to take off as air cargo hub
The Indian government has made significant efforts and with the active participation of industry stakeholders, making India an air cargo hub is not a dream anymore.
The country has all the ingredients to be a successful air cargo hub, the only need is to improve upon its infrastructure and cost efficiency to make a mark in international market. CARGOTALK tries to explore the importance of creating India as one of the successful transportation and consolidation hubs. Let’s hear the industry expert’s perspective on, what the country already has and what else is needed to learn from the successful transhipment and consolidation hub overseas in order to make India a successful air cargo hub?
“A successful transshipment and consolidation hub not just boost tonnages of the airport but also contributes to growth of various ancillary industries linked to the airport,” informs SL Sharma, Immediate Past President, ACAAI, in adding, “We can learn a lot from hubs like Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, Amsterdam, etc, be it safety and security, sufficient cargo capacity, efficient cargo operation, competitive costs, infrastructure, IT, processes and the main being collaboration of various other forms of transport like ocean, rail and land with air cargo.”
According to Bharat Thakkar, Past President and Permanent Member - Board of Adviser, ACAAI and Founder Joint Managing Director, Zeus Air Services, “Getting an efficient and well planned air cargo hub is not difficult, especially if we could make Cochin International Airport (CIAL), the first PPP of its kind in India way back in late 90’s and now RGIA/BIAL/T3 on open plot in 36 months and T2 in Mumbai in 48 months without disturbing the old international terminal meters away.”
Venugopal Bangera, CEO, CSC India says, “To become India as an international hub, there is a need to connect tourists of SAARC countries to various international destinations via Indian airports such as • Nepal (Kathmandu), Pakistan (Lahore) & Afghanistan (Kabul) via Delhi Airport Srilanka via Chennai Airport Bangladesh , Bhutan & Yangon via Calcutta Airport Pakistan (Karachi) , Maldives, Mauritius via Mumbai Airport • • •
To have a successful hub-andspoke model, the theme of ‘bank of flights’ needs to be implemented. It is also important that Indian carriers should start using wide body aircrafts to these SAARC countries which will automatically lead to more and more passengers taking Indian airports for their onward destinations and hence air cargo capacity will get created from all these subcontinents.”
Cyrus Katgara, Partner, Jeena & Company, says, “The three important transshipment hubs; Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong succeeded because all three were free trade zones. And the key drivers for the growth in transshipment business were cheaper costs, ease of doing business, critical minimum volumes which in turn were driven by cheaper costs and ease of doing business.”
According to Huned Gandhi, Managing Director Air & Sea Logistics, DACHSER India, “The key factors to attract major airlines in India includes efficient and time-bound handling processes for transshipment cargoes with turnaround time (TAT), costs and streamlined regulatory processes.”
Sandeep Harit, Managing Director, Movex Services, feels, “Airports in India were developed primarily from the passenger standpoint, so we must learn from overseas hubs that cargo infrastructure is much more than the cargo terminal, but also includes special facilities for express freight, temperature-controlled goods, airmail and hazardous goods. The development of cargo villages is essential for India’s major airports to make these a
successful cargo hub.”
Talking about the location, Thakkar says, “Navi Mumbai offers a gateway for major exports/imports and serves three major locations of southwest, northwest and mid west manufacturing corridors.”
Establishing and operating an international air cargo hub in India requires a dedicated core group of decision making officials from the ministries supplemented by experienced industry players. Thakkar listed few challenges that are the roadblock to transshipment business at Indian airports: Policy Anomalies: • New harmonised and simplified transshipment procedures and clearance procedures at ICD’s/ CFS’s/air cargo terminals is required to promote international air cargo trade. Stringent procedures causing delays for shipments Liberalisation of trucking norms GST implementation Export-Import imbalance need to be addressed bonded Lack of strong regional connectivity: • Fragmented transportation network reduces reliability of air cargo supply chain Transportation systems linking the manufacturing units to highways that further link airports Dedicated cargo aircrafts connecting major gateway ports and regional airports Connectivity between air cargo facilities and ICD’s/CFS’s High speed road and connectivity to airports required Inter-continental connectivity need to be promoted • • • rail is
Higher dwell times: Average transshipment cargo handling dwell time is 10-12 hours as per the procedure defined by regulators globally. Current procedure in India needs refinement to bring down the dwell time.
Infrastructure awareness: Local and international awareness about the infrastructure and IT developments being carried out at Indian air cargo facilities. Intervention of government, ministry and regulators: • Effective coordination across
various government agencies
The NCAP permits 100 per cent FDI in Greenfield Projects and 74 per cent FDI in Brownfield Projects under automatic route An international air cargo hub requires a dedicated group of decision making officials from the ministries and experienced industry players