Govt and industry join hands to develop air cargo hubs

Air Cargo Forum India (ACFI) on completion of its successful two years, organised a full day seminar recently in Delhi on the theme of “transforming Indian airports into international cargo hubs”. Union Minister of Civil Aviation P Ashok Gajapathi Raju was the chief guest and released ‘The Air Cargo Forum India Yearbook’, which contains articles written by prominent names in the air cargo industry.
ACFI has been actively taking up various industry-related issues at various industry forums and government agencies. The symposium had speakers from ministries to industry players; from corporate shippers to research bodies; who from different areas addressed issues related to the future outlook of the air cargo business, current challenges being faced by the air cargo supply chain and available opportunities. However, the focus of the seminar was on the transformation of Indian airports into international cargo hubs with the adoption of a more systematic approach, observing international standards adopted at airports worldwide and this can only happen when the government and industry work together.
Showing interest in development of airports along with the industry, the minister of civil aviation said in his key note address: “The future is bright for the air cargo sector. Infrastructure and airlines have great role to play for developing cargo hubs. Now it is the right time to translate ideas into actions. We (the government) are eagerly looking for ideas from the industry players to work together. Let’s work together to turn our dreams into a reality.”
Pradeep Panicker, President, ACFI, said, “We welcome the government’s intervention into the airport developments. We welcome the policies and strategies streamlined by the new government and the new minister. The government is taking up many issues related to rules, regulations, procedures, infrastructure, etc., for review and change to make them contemporary and in tune with the requirements of business and industry. This will definitely enable India to become a major player in the global economy.”
The first panel discussion on ‘government support for developing air cargo hubs’ brought an air of optimism in the convention hall, when government representative Renu Singh Parmar, Economic Advisor, Ministry of Civil Aviation, welcomed three key issues from the air cargo fraternity to be presented to the government and for which both the industry and government will work together.
In another session moderated by Sanjiv Edward, head, cargo business, DIAL, Parmar said, “Things need to be streamlined and the government is taking initiatives for good infrastructure and multimodal connectivity. We are trying to solve hindrances.” She announced that the logistics board will meet the finance minister Arun Jaitley soon to launch a single window clearance soon.
“We are expecting stakeholders to work on the effect of developing hubs. Air freight stations are likely to come near manufacturing hinterland,” Parmar added.
Tulsi Mirchandani, managing director, Blue Dart Aviation said: “Effective logistics distribution system is required and for this, strong connection is vital. Mobile phones play a great role in this regard. We need to change the mind-set from survival to growth. If you have an efficient logistics segment, you can contribute more to the GDP of a country.”
EP Hareendranathan, ED, cargo, Airports Authority of India, said, “Smaller airports are also required to handle cargo. Transition is important. Parking base is a constraint now. Terminal is another problem. In addition, there is a need to reduce dwell time to one day. For international operations, international airports are required.”