Reviving businesses will benefit from the growth in air freight

The last two years have marked a marked change. From manufacturing cycles to mindsets, businesses of all sizes have had to respond to changing global market dynamics. The ability to stay agile and move products, materials, and supplies quickly, with shorter planning cycles, requires an equally agile supply chain and air cargo infrastructure.

The Indian government’s air cargo policy aims to make India one of the top five air cargo markets by 2025 and establish air transport dispatch hubs at all major airports in the next few years to support the future growth of the industry.

Economic engine

India’s air cargo potential reflects its position as an economic powerhouse in global trade. The Department of Trade and Industry is targeting an exponential jump in exports of goods and services, of $2 trillion by 2030. For the first time in FY22, exports exceeded 400 billions of dollars. This surge, if sustained, can further solidify India’s position globally and support the growth of local businesses.

I see it as an intrinsically linked ecosystem of demand, access and growth, and air cargo is a key connector in this ecosystem. As the economic wheels begin to turn again, businesses of all sizes will increasingly need air capacity to provide access that meets growing international market demand. This capacity can be created by deploying an efficient air network and freighters with transport capacity to meet its demand. UPS’s largest freighter, the Boeing 747-8, now also loops through Bangalore. That means more capacity with a 3,07,000-pound payload, which translates to lower emissions with fewer flights.

Clusters of industries such as aerospace, defense, high technology, pharmaceuticals, apparel such as high fashion garments, textiles and automotive require faster connectivity, higher capacity and smarter technology. Healthcare will increasingly require specialized movement of medical equipment to and from India. Air cargo and gateways will increasingly play a vital role in establishing these connections. The SME airport gateways in Bangalore and Delhi serve as key entry points to connect Indian businesses to more international business opportunities in Asia, Europe and the Americas.

International trade agreements are also likely to be a lever for trade in Tier Two and Tier Three cities. Regional air connectivity will be important to support these trade corridors.

India’s air cargo industry is well positioned to grow further, with strong airport cargo infrastructure, digital cargo handling infrastructure and airport gateways that facilitate efficient access to global markets.

Logistics partners must continue to strengthen and expand their network to meet these business needs. This is how this ecosystem of demand, access and growth succeeds. Access is about having an agile network, and demand is about anticipating and investing in capabilities to support the growth of countries, businesses, and communities.

The author is the UPS General Manager for the Indian Subcontinent

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