The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised a virtual conference on “Air Cargo Sector Transformation – Way Forward” on September 18 which came with different opinions expressed by government officials, airports, airlines and industry veterans. “We have mega challenges and opportunities in the air cargo industry. During the times of pandemic, air cargo has been strong on the pillars with the help of strong infrastructure, equanimity, robust versatility business model and innovation,” shared Vandana Aggarwal, IES, Sr. Economic Advisor, Ministry of Civil Aviation.
With the initiatives are undertaken by Indian enterprises, we can say that Indian enterprises are beginning to look towards the future and find ways forward that transform their business in these changing times, she added. Talking about the initiatives undertaken by the Government of India, she mentioned that despite the challenging times, we ensured the swift movement of carriage on passenger aircraft by increasing dedicated freighters and ensuring the shift movement of cargo at airports. She highlighted that we grew hugely in the export of agriculture produce.
Keku Bomi Gazder, CEO-AAICLAS (AAI Cargo Logistics, and Allied Services Company) discussed that COVID-19 helped in the rearranging of business engineering, understanding process simplification, lifestyle disruption, identifying and mitigating risks. Talking about mitigating risks, he mentioned that it is important for us to understand, appreciate, deliberate, and find ways to ensure that we don’t face similar risks in the future. The risk we faced had been related to infrastructure; cyber and IT; physiological fear of COVID-19; business continuation; operational; communication and skilling and, reskilling of the team. We need to ensure that we need to resolve these risks in such a way that we are ready to take any challenge in the future and help the industry to meet the demand of the nation.
Steven Polmans, Chairman of TIACA & Director Cargo & Logistics, Business Development, Brussels Airport Company in his address deliberated about the change of lives and business conduct due to the pandemic that will have an impact in the long term as well. We understood the challenges, strengths, and weaknesses of the industry and making it flexible, speedy, and change in working in this industry. We need standardization, digitization, increase efficiency, upgrade technology, speeding up sustainability, and collaboration of all stakeholders for curbing the challenges. Satyaki Raghunath, Chief Strategy and Development (S&D) Officer Bangalore, International Airport Limited (BIAL) while deliberating on the potential of Air Cargo said that Covid19 allowed us to value the cargo and logistics to the widen supply chain to keep our economy running during the period of lockdown. He mentioned that in these times of crisis, the industry has come in a collaborative way to help each other to make sure the business is running.
Sanjiv Edward, Chief Commercial Officer & EVP, Delhi International Airport Ltd & Secy, Air Cargo Forum India sharing his insights on the Air Cargo in terms of airport perspective mentioned we have opened India’s first transshipment center and building a strong pillar of infrastructure by adapting to innovations which were pivotal for air cargo and working on a system of processes driven by digitalization. We have been trying to build strong connectivity across the world for smothering movement of goods. He shared that Delhi Airport has handled the transportation of a lot of medical supplies and adapted to the changes in a speedy manner.
Roland Weil, VP Sales Cargo, Frankfurt Airport mentioned that our main goal has been on connecting global airports for connecting with the global supply chain, especially in the Asian market. We are looking for increasing business volumes and cooperation among counties. He highlighted that Digital data transformation and transparency is the key to transformation in the future. Sanjiv Gupta, CEO, SpiceXpress discussed that innovation and collaborations driven by the Government of India have led to swift movement in the industry. India’s cargo fraternity has mostly seemed like an area of massive opportunities and, at least a few months are a very significant transformation across most of the industry. We have realized that we need to have a system of digitalization, ease of doing business, and use the geographical advantage of India.
Cyrus Katgara, Partner, Jeena & Company & President, Air Cargo Forum India said that the luggage section id ready to go digital but, to go digital it will take some time and we have the block and piece ready in terms of digitalization. He also said that embracing the true spirit of digitalization we cannot do without exporters and, he urged PHD Chamber to take a lead on it to embrace it. Lesley Cripps, Sales Director, Cargo Flash giving a perspective about digitalization in the Air Cargo discussed the importance of integrating digitalization in the process of the system of air cargo making is smoother, efficient, transparent, and globally integrated. With the help of analytics, machine learning one can manage the operation in a better manner making the process more streamlined and monitored.
Arun Bhagat Chairman, PHD Civil Aviation Committee deliberated about the future of Air Cargo where air freight market and air freight forwarders are the backbones of the global trade system as they are the fastest and economical way to carry goods to different parts of the country. Talking about the current pandemic situation, he discussed the effect of the pandemic on the aviation and cargo sector disrupting the product cycle, supply chain, and hitting the air freight market. Despite the challenges, the air freight sector has done well in sectors like healthcare, life science equipment, and agro-food and eco commerce. We need to find new ways to capitalize on the opportunities coming our way. We need to look at the utilizing of passenger aircraft, expanded use of charter flights, and demand for flexibility bilateral and multilateral arrangements. The future challenge will be to increase air freight growth, we have to look air cargo, make it more resilient and, fast-moving.