Air cargo target of 10 mn tons by 2031 can be achieved with efficient ecosystem: Gen (Dr) V K Singh

Dushyant Chautala, Deputy CM, Haryana: We foresee India will become big player in cargo industry

FPJ BureauUpdated: Tuesday, October 11, 2022, 02:08 AM IST
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Air cargo plays a pivotal role in the economy of any nation and a nation can truly leverage this advantage if it makes its effort where air cargo is concerned, said Gen (Dr) V K Singh, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation on Saturday. While being Chief Guest in a seminar organised by Foundation for Aviation Sustainable Tourism (FAST), he added, “Somehow we have focused more on passenger traffic than air cargo. I think the air cargo ecosystem needs to become much more efficient then only we will be able to take air cargo services to the targets of 10 million tons by 2031 easily.”

He said, “We could have become an air hub for central Asia 10 years back but we kept waiting and Turkish airlines took it from us. The change in air cargo will come by both government and industry approach together.” “Today by adopting technology everything can be simplified but our mental blocks have to go. The whole paperwork should go and it should be tech based. From the warehouse, the whole chain should start, all permissions should be on tech and not paper. There is a need for much faster clearance for perishable cargo.”

Dushyant Chautala, Deputy CM Haryana, who was Guest of Honour, said, “We saw in covid times how critical role cargo played when we could send medicines and vaccinations in real time, which was not possible via waterways. We foresee India becoming a big player in the cargo industry. The beauty of air cargo is that you can order a pen from one corner of the nation and it gets delivered by the evening in another corner.”

Speaking on the occasion, Piyush Srivastava, Sr. Economic Advisor, Ministry of Civil aviation said, “We need to have a manufacturing base of aircrafts and aircraft components, leasing capability in the country, and the role of drone in cargo industry is only said to expand exponentially. The biggest challenge is that we have been late mover in the race and we need to reach to the heart of the race quickly. Even our consumers have developed plasticity in their demand. We can begin with having supportive infrastructure. PM Gati Shakti, which is National Master Plan for Multi-modal Connectivity, is at the heart of infrastructure development.”

The welcome address was given by VP Agarwal, former Chairman AAI and Vice President FAST on behalf of Lt Gen. KM Seth, PVSM, AVSM, (Read), former Governor of Tripura and Chattisgarh and President of FAST and quoted, “I think time has come to focus on important facet of aviation industry. During Covid, India’s cargo industry played a sterling role. I think one of the major drawbacks of our cargo industry is that 6-7 major players are involved in moving products from manufacturer to transportation to airlines and at each stage there are hurdles which cause delays. This aspect if managed through proper integration and regulatory mechanisms can bring positive changes. The Cargo industry has a major role in achieving climate friendly targets of the Government of India.”

Key keynote address was delivered by Yashpal Sharma, President ACFI and MD, Skyways Group and said, “Role of logistics was always there but after covid everyone has got to know how important role logistics plays. In the last 100 years there has been huge growth in countries’ GDP and a major reason is the role played by the airline industry and especially cargo. India stood at 3.14 million tons last year in cargo, which means we are behind even some individual airports of some countries, but it also signifies how great potential we have here. This signifies that we have a huge opportunity in cargo. When we look at wealthiest cities in the last 2000 years , they were cities located on ports where movement of goods was easy and similarly in the last 3 decades the major growing cities are those having big airports because it is where robust business can stand. It improves the supply chain. We are planning for 10 million tons of cargo which is more than Hong Kong airport, it includes 1/3rd in domestic, 1/3rd in imports and 1/3rd in exports.”

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