Billion dollar future for Indian air cargo under Vision 2040

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India’s “Vision 2040” outlines a global player status for its air cargo sector via lots of new infrastructure and widespread use of new technology. The country projects its annual throughput as quadrupling to 17 million tonnes which will move freely off the back of a completely paperless process with dwell times reduced to just 1-2 hours.

“India (is) to become a trans-shipment hub, with trans-shipment accounting for at least 30% of India’s total international cargo throughput,” Vision 2040 added.

This turnaround will be achieved by a lot of new airports with Delhi planning to double the number of airports nationwide to around 200 by 2040 with Mumbai and Delhi having three each.

All major airports are set to have cargo villages. “This would help consolidate all government agencies, regulators and service providers within the airport’s cargo facility and help decongest the cargo terminals,” according to Vision 2040.

Backing this up will be dedicated low-frills cargo airports close to industrial and logistics centres and facilities in the smaller cities. “The government should incentivize development of cargo handling and processing infrastructure in Tier 2/3 city airports to decentralise cargo operations at metro airports,” it added.

Vision 2040’s Executive Summary estimates this “conservatively” will cost between $40 and 50 billion and urges a high level task force to push the issue through and across government as well as a boosted Air Cargo Logistics Promotion Board (ACLPB) to tackle transhipment.

A strong emphasis is the digitisation of the entire process.

Customs should go for full EDI adoption for import and export registration, clearance, drawback and e-payment of duty, Vision 2040 said. This in turn shall release several Customs officers, who can contribute in part to 24×7 operations – something currently very much lacking at many Indian facilities.

The government and industry should work together to ensure its rollout in India at the earliest it added of IATA’s e-freight initiative.