Growing appetite for airfreight

Air India Airbus A310 Freighter

A growing appetite for Indian produce abroad by foreign nations coupled with a steady demand from Indians living abroad bodes well for the country’s perishable market in the years to come. Add the ingredient of improved quality and you have key factors in place to underpin growth in perishables.

India’s agricultural production continues to show robust demand both locally and internationally and one airfreight player expects the perishables market to end the year on a high note. India ground handling company Cargo Service Centre (CSC) has seen this increase take place. CSC’s chairman, Tushar Jani, tells Air Cargo Week (ACW) that the perishables market has been showing, “reasonable growth,” and is likely to continue doing well in the months ahead.

“In the past, restrictions and bans on selected fruit and vegetables have dampened volumes being exported from India, but these situations are mostly temporary. For example, the ban on mango imports into the United States was recently lifted and so we are already seeing an upturn in mango volumes this season.” The CSC is pursuing an aggressive national expansion strategy to extend its air cargo footprint across India. “We are already present at the leading airports of Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai,” says Jani. “The country’s aviation authorities are increasingly inviting reputed organisations to operate and manage airports through contractual bidding.”

The centre’s overall objective is to be present at every major domestic airport within India and create a pan-Indian domestic air cargo network connecting the various airports together. “This connectivity, coupled with our aim of single window clearance for cargo, will create a truly seamless cargo network for air cargo across India and boost the domestic growth of air cargo volumes,“ Jani says.

He adds that recent restrictions on the exports of certain fruits and vegetables from India have made exporters more quality conscious when it comes to perishables. “As a result, we are witnessing quality exports from India to leading international destinations including the US, UK, Europe and Middle East markets,” he explains. “We believe increased acceptance and demand for perishables on account of better quality exports will keep perishable exports elevated as more and more exporters adopt a quality focused, professional approach to their produce.” Jani also expects India’s e-commerce sector to boost domestic air cargo movements in the coming months on the back of the entry of international e-commerce operators.

After it begun operating the domestic cargo terminal at Mangalore International Airport at the end of June, CSC says it wants to develop a domestic airport network for cargo movement across the country and will participate in all future domestic airport tenders.