India set to showcase its expanding air cargo market

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India is emerging as one of the fastest growing air cargo markets across the globe and presents abundant opportunities for industry operators investing in one of Asia’s economic powerhouses.

The 6th Air Cargo India International Biennial Networking Conference and Exhibition at the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai from Tuesday, 23 February to Thursday, 25 February, will place the spotlight firmly on India’s rapidly expanding airfreight market.

When it was last held in 2014, hundreds of delegates packed into the Bombay Exhibition Centre in Mumbai. The theme of this year’s conference being run by the STAT Media Group is ‘Make in India – air cargo makes it happen’.

India certainly is a land of opportunity and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasted in its 2014-2018 report, that the South Asian country will grow at a compound annual growth rate of about seven per cent over the next five years. According to IATA, this expected market expansion ranks it second only behind the Middle East region.

Industry analysts also predict that India will be among the ten largest international freight markets by 2018 led by the United States supplying more than 10 million tonnes and China with around 5.6 million tonnes.

This forecast is supported by a number of factors, such as the rapid growth of international trade, India’s huge manufacturing engine and a growing population of more than 1.2 billion, which commentators say all bode well for significant air cargo market development.

India is also now a key aviation market and its potential for growth is supported by policy reforms by the Indian government like privatisation of airports and foreign investment in airport infrastructure around the country.

The Government of India’s minister for civil aviation, Ashok Gajapathi Raju says the air cargo industry is very crucial and plays a vital role in the development of any economy in the world, especially India.

He explains: “The air cargo industry plays an important role in the development and growth of any country. It has contributed a lot in the Indian economy as a result of which India is considered to be the second fastest growing air cargo market.”

Raju adds that Air Cargo India will prove a “valuable platform for networking the players in the airfreight industry round the globe”.

The minister will open Air Cargo India on Tuesday, 23 February and address delegates after a welcome address is given by the STAT Media Group’s editor-in-chief R.K. Patra.

The first round table discussion of the event will be ‘Delivering the make in India vision to the world the air cargo way’ – which will be moderated by IATA’s global head of cargo, Glyn Hughes.

Panelists joining Hughes for the discussion will include Emirates Airline’s senior vice president, Nabil Sultan; Chapman Freeborn chief executive officer (CEO), Russi Batliwala; Atlas Air Worldwide’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Michael Steen; the International Air Cargo Association’s (TIACA) chairman and Delhi International Airport head of cargo business, Sanjiv Edward; and Mumbai International Airport’s vice president and head of cargo, Manoj Singh.

One of India’s major growth markets is pharmaceuticals and India is now one of the world’s global players with the size of the market expected to reach more than $85 billion in 2020.

The second round table event of the day will see a Pharma Air Shippers’ Forum, where a debate will discuss why India is one of the prominent global export hubs for pharma, how this is being achieved and also how there is growing healthcare awareness in India.

Much of the discussion will be on how India as grown its pharma business, what the future holds for the industry, any opportunities that exist, putting this important sector into a global perspective and marketplace.

In the evening there will be a welcome reception poolside at the Grand Hyatt, where delegates will have the chance to discuss the day’s sessions and network with other delegates in the warm weather.

Delegates will be able to unwind with some canapes and drinks, discussing any positive and negative aspects of India’s growing arifreight market.