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Technological advancements will propel India’s growth in the Air Cargo Industry

By Jaideep Mirchandani

The chairman of UAE-based aviation conglomerate Sky One, believes innovation can revolutionise operations, increase efficiency and facilitate uninterrupted movement of goods

 

According to the latest report by Mordor Intelligence, India’s Freight and Logistics Market size is estimated at USD 317.26 billion in 2024, and it is expected to reach USD 484.43 billion by 2029. The projected CAGR is 8.83% during the forecast period (2024-2029) with air cargo playing a major role. During the Air Cargo India Exhibition Conference held in Mumbai last month, attendees, including the heads of leading global air cargo operators, also expressed confidence that India will witness significant growth in the air cargo sector in the near future.

 

Aviation experts highlight that the anticipated growth will be based on key drivers, including the surge in e-commerce activities and increased demand for air cargo services from diverse sectors such as pharma, manufacturing, agriculture, and electronics. They suggest that a multi-pronged approach is necessary to propel the growth of the cargo sector.

 

“Construction of new regional airports and developing dedicated cargo terminals in more airports will help increase cargo volumes and transportation. Key infrastructure development activities, such as upgrading existing road and rail linkages and developing multimodal logistics parks and a greater number of warehouses, will also result in the growth of the sector. Using technology to streamline customs clearance processes, automation to reduce paperwork, and switching to digital solutions for streamlining the whole process is also necessary,” says Jaideep Mirchandani, the group chairman of global aviation major Sky One.

 He also praised the Government for launching key regulatory reforms through various initiatives, including the PM Gati Shakti Master Plan and the New Logistics Policy, which will help establish a cutting-edge air logistics ecosystem. “The PM Gati Shakti will aid in infrastructure development, while the regional connectivity scheme (RCS-UDAN) will assist in the development of new airports and the remodelling of existing air cargo ports with added facilities to strengthen export capabilities,” adds Mr Mirchandani.

 

 The aviation expert also highlighted the need for effectively incorporating technological advancements like Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the air cargo sector. “For instance, by integrating AI, airlines can analyse real-time data such as flight patterns and cargo demand, based on which they can optimise routing, and scheduling, and make decisions accordingly. The predictive analysis capabilities of the technology will also aid in early detection of maintenance needs, preventing disruptions, and reducing costs,” he says.

 

Mr Mirchandani also points out the need for launching more freighters on high-demand routes. Nowadays, most Indian airlines primarily use the belly cargo space in their fleet for cargo movement. “Inclusion of more wide-body aircraft and also rolling out more dedicated freighters can propel the growth of the cargo sector further,” he adds. 

 

The Sky One chairman also stressed the need to focus on exploring new routes and strengthening the existing ones through bilateral agreements with key trading partners to enhance cargo movement. “A collaborative effort between various stakeholders focusing on technology adoption, infrastructure development, policy reforms, and skill development is necessary to maintain the growth momentum of the cargo sector,” concludes Mr Mirchandani.

(The author is Jaideep Mirchandani, Group Chairman, Sky One, and the views expressed in this article are his own)