Solution-centric approach needed to create a world-class cargo and logistics industry: Jayant Sinha

HYDERABAD : The air cargo industry has high potential to be developed as a major industry and economy enabler like the passenger aviation industry. Highlighting this at ‘WINGS INDIA 2018’, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mr. Jayant Sinha said that there is a need for a collaborative, consultative and a comprehensive approach between the private sector air cargo and logistics industry and the government.

Addressing the Roundtable on Cargo and Logistics at ‘WINGS INDIA 2018’, organized by FICCI jointly with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airport Authority of India, Mr. Sinha stated that the need of the hour is a solution-centric approach to creating a best in world-class industry. He said that government will play a facilitator role in regulation and policy and initiatives are already underway for a comprehensive involvement of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Department of Revenue.

Growing at about 15% annualised growth and a 20% EBITDA, the air cargo industry ships about 3.7 lakh metric tonnes goods every year. The primary sectors are agri and food products, pharmaceuticals, leather and textiles.

India and the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) today exchanged an understanding for skill development.

For simplifying air cargo movement, two e-freight portals were launched, which are among the first in the world. It was also announced at WINGS India that a committee under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary has taken an important step towards removal of detained cargo within 120 days from airports. This will help create more infrastructure and physical space for cargo sat airports in the country.

Today, 65% of air cargo, including domestic and international are moved by top 10 airlines  and the vast majority of air cargo is concentrated at the top 10 airports of the country. The forward-looking agenda of the government would be to distribute the shipment of air cargo to regional airports.

During the roundtable, theme presentations were made by Mr. D K Singh, Chairman, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority on Perishables; Mr. Ravi Uday Bhaskar, Director General, Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India on Pharmaceuticals; and Mr. Vijay Kumar, Chief Operating Officer, Express Industry Council of India, on E-commerce.

Ms. Vandana Aggarwal, Economic Advisor, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, shared her perspective and the context setting presentation was delivered by Mr. Peeyush Naidu, Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP.

Earlier, at the Roundtable on Tourism and Civil Aviation, Ms. Usha Padhee, said that digitization of data of tourists would be beneficial to both tourism and civil aviation. Towards this end, a forum could be created for sharing of this data. Also, airports should be a symbol of the state’s culture and heritage. Underling the tourism perspective, Mr. Satyajeet Rajan, Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, said that the government was focusing on regional connectivity and in the next five years, in-bound tourism will witness a growth.

While sharing the industry perspective, Mr. Sunil Kumar R, President, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), said that infrastructure was one of the biggest challenges for the sector and the government needed to address it. He added that trained manpower was required in the sector and taxation on airline turbine fuel (ATF) should be brought down and made uniform across states. Summing up the discussion, Mr. Pronab Sarkar, President, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), said that open sky policy and capping of airfares were some of the issues that were raised by the stakeholders, which needed the government’s attention.

Later, addressing the Roundtable on Skills and Training, Mr. Rajesh Agrawal, Joint Secretary & CVO, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said that besides skilling manpower which is joining the industry every year, the challenge was skill upgradation of existing workforce. The government was focusing on creating an ecosystem for scaling up skilling and on creating capacity by providing standardized and right quality skills. While setting the context for the roundtable, Mr. D Peter Immanuel, CEO, Aerospace and Aviation Sector Skill Council, said that the aviation sector could take the county to a higher GDP growth trajectory. However, this growth could be hampered with the lack of skilled manpower. He added that skill development needed to be demand-driven with industry-led initiatives.

Giving the industry perspective, Mr. Palash Roy Chowdhury, Co-Chair, FICCI Civil Aviation Committee and Managing Director – India, Pratt & Whitney and United Technologies India Pvt Ltd., said that providing effective and efficient skill training would allow India to emerge as an exporter of talent to the world. To achieve this, long-term structured approach standardization of skills, robust public-private partnership and strengthening of industry-academia linkages, were needed.

Summing up the deliberations, Ms. Vandana Aggarwal said that assessors, students, trainers and curriculum were integral aspects of skill development. Though training the trainer programmes were being organized but the need was to scale them up.

Ms. Usha Padhee graced the roundtable. Mr. Dilip Chenoy, Director General, FICCI, moderated the roundtables, which provided the industry a platform to interact and exchange their views and raise issues with the government officials to pave the way for the speedy growth of the aviation sector.

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