Mr Ramesh Mamidala, CEO, Celebi Delhi Cargo Terminal Management, who has recently been appointed as the TIACA Board member to represent Asia, is bullish about increasing share of this region in global air cargo trade, and TIACA’s focus on Asia accordingly. Endorsed by Mr Sanjiv Edward, the immediate past Chairman of TIACA and his initiatives for Asia region, Mr Mamidala would quintessentially emphasise on standardization and international best practices that TIACA can facilitate to bring in.
TIACA is predominantly a US and Europe based organization. However, of late the association put significant efforts to make Asia lucrative from air cargo industry’s point of view. “It’s a great honour for me to represent Asia in TIACA’s Board of Directors. Asia is as a region providing huge opportunities to air cargo industry stakeholders amidst its own challenges. In this region there are some countries have done commendable job for the growth of air cargo industry and India is one of them. In India, despite huge challenges, we have seen lot of progressive changes during last 4-5 years. We are looking forward a collaborative and concerted development in this region with guiding spirit from TIACA,” said Mr Mamidala. Accordingly, his objective would be to involve more companies with TIACA’s activities in Asia as its members, to bring best practices in this region. “These companies should be part of various working groups and working committees of TIACA in future,” he observed.
TIACA has formed three think tanks, and under these there would be sub-groups specific to respective regions to develop air cargo industry there. Being a very experienced air cargo and airport terminal operator Mr Mamidala is expected to chalk out a blueprint for this region for making it one of the TIACA’s effective agendas and priorities.
Cargo hubs in the making
Zeroing in on India Mr Mamidala maintained that Delhi and some other airports in India have tremendous potential of becoming cargo hubs in this region thanks to huge opportunities in transshipment cargo and preferred geographical position. “Though the transshipment policy is not very clear as of now, we have significantly endeavoured for generating transshipment cargo. Now we have adequate infrastructure capacity and policy framework to reduce hassles or congestion at airports. New initiatives as regards to customs clearance like Single Window, 24×7, AEO, Advance Clearing and reduced dwell time etc are conducive enough to start promoting Delhi and some other airports in India as cargo hubs. TIACA would further provide its inputs on how to make successful air cargo hubs,” Mr Mamidala added.
Presently, the share of international transshipment cargo at Delhi Airport is about 6-7 per cent which was only a little above one per cent until the recent past. And, for transshipment, neighbouring country Bangladesh (Dhaka Airport) will likely to play a very crucial role. Add to this, Afghanistan (Kabul Airport) is also feeding Delhi airport very well. From Dhaka lot of garment shipments are being exported to west Asia and beyond by making Delhi airport as transshipment hub. Mr Mamidala was confident that if planned well and supported by regular charter operators, presently up to 4000 tonne cargo per month can be air lifted from Bangladesh. Similarly, from Kabul primarily dry fruits are being transported via Delhi airport and growth potential is tremendous. Interestingly, in the recent past there were 25 to 30 per cent increase of charter flights in addition to capacity enhancement of regular freighter services to Delhi from different parts of the world and the trend is growing. It signifies the viability of Delhi airport as a successful cargo hub.
Mr Mamidala is also highly optimistic about cargo transportation from North East part of India to Delhi airport, mainly fruits and vegetables for domestic as well as international markets. In addition, according to him, there is huge possibility of air cargo movement between India and South-East Asian countries by making Guwahati and Delhi as transshipment points for both export and import cargo. It is pertinent to mention that the Government of India through its ‘Act East Policy’ and the new State Government of Assam have taken several effective initiatives to make the State a manufacturing and logistics hub in North East India, South Asia and South East Asia region. Already the State has set up the manufacturing clusters and special zones which include pharma, handicrafts, textiles and food processing to name a few. The State Government is also wooing investors from India and abroad by organizing road shows in different parts of the country and the world. In addition, the government is hosting the first Investors’ Summit called “Advantage Assam” to strengthen manufacturing, logistics infrastructure and multimodal connectivity for connecting other parts of India and South & South East Asia.
“We are foreseeing a very encouraging days ahead for the air cargo logistics industry. At present international air cargo market is showing remarkable growth with significant improvement of yield for airlines, which indicates optimism in reality check,” Mr Mamidala concluded.