The last two years have signalled a clear shift. From manufacturing cycles to mindsets, businesses of all sizes have had to respond to changing global market dynamics. The ability to remain agile and move products, materials, and supplies swiftly in line, with shorter planning cycles, requires an equally agile supply chain and air cargo infrastructure.
The government of India’s air cargo policy seeks to make India among the top five air freight markets by 2025 and to create air transport shipment hubs at all major airports over the next few years to support future industry growth.
India’s air cargo potential reflects its position as an economic driver in world trade. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is targeting an exponential jump in goods and services exports, $2 trillion by 2030. For the first time in FY22, exports surpassed $400 billion. This surge, if maintained, can help further consolidate 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 meet the international market’s demand for growth. This capacity can be created by deploying an efficient air network and freighters with lift capacity to support its demand. UPS’s largest freighter, the Boeing 747-8, now also loops Bengaluru. It means more capacity with a payload of 3,07,000 pounds, translating to lower emissions with fewer flights.
Clusters of the industries such as aerospace, defence, high tech, pharmaceuticals, apparel like high fashion garments, textiles, and automotives require faster connectivity, higher capacity, and smarter technology. Healthcare will increasingly require specialised movement of medical equipments to and from India. Air cargo and gateways will increasingly play a critical role in forging these connections. Airport gateways at Bengaluru and Delhi serve as key access points to connect businesses in India to more international trade 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 scale up further, thanks to strong airport cargo infrastructure, digital infrastructure for cargo handling, and airport gateways that facilitate efficient access to world markets.
Logistics partners must continue strengthening and expanding their network to support these business requirements. That’s how this ecosystem of demand, access, and growth succeeds. Access is about having an agile network, and demand is about anticipating and investing in capacities to support the growth of countries, companies, and communities.
The writer is UPS Managing Director for the Indian subcontinent