PHDCCI Air Cargo Summit 2023: Scaling Sustainable Growth”

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The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted the 9th edition of its Global Aviation Air Cargo Summit. The event, which was themed, ‘Scaling New Horizons – Trends for Future Sustainable Growth’, was hosted at the PHD House in New Delhi on July 26th. The event brought together the best minds in the Indian air cargo industry and addressed the most critical challenges and opportunities in the market.

After the auspicious lamp lighting ceremony, the event commenced with a welcome address by Mr. Saket Dalmia, President, PHDCCI. Next was the keynote address by Mr. Vipin Vohra, Chair-PHDCCI Civil Aviation Committee. He shared the industry perspective and highlighted some of the ground-level challenges faced by India’s air cargo industry. 

Thanking the government of India for being an aid to the sector and resolving their issues in actuality, Vohra said, “There are some of the issues that I would like to highlight and bring forth to the government like the high logistics cost, the lack of clarity in warehousing & the logistics policy, the need to promote more air freight stations and the need to include freight cost in the ECGC policy. Resolving of these issues will provide a conducive environment for private investment and PPP in the logistics sector. Encouraging investment will spur innovation technological advancement and overall growth of the industry.”

After Vohra’s address, a Special Address was delivered by the Guest of Honor, Ms. Sumita Dawra (IAS), Special Secretary (Logistics), DPIIT, Ministry of Commerce, during which she expressed her happiness to be a part of the event and discuss the important issues related to logistics, infrastructure, collaborations, technology, the requirement of industry and the growth opportunities. She went on to talk about PM Gati Shakti and the NLP and gave an overview on how they will help propel growth for the sector. 

“India is at a crossroad of unprecedented growth, and by 2047 the vision of the PM of India is to make India a developed nation with a GDP of around USD 33 trillion at least. For that, infrastructure is a very important growth driver, and we have seen a capex push towards infrastructure, If we look at the recent Union budget there is a 37% hike in the capital outlay for investments for infra development, which is a historic high for INR 10,00,000 or more.”

Sumita Dawra

Further, talking about Gati Shakti she said, “In less than 2 years we have had a significant usage of the Gati Shakti National Plan, whereby the MoRTH has planned more than 7500 kms of road on the Gati Shakti master plan, bringing about multimodality on the existing roads, state highways, to the existing railway networks, to the ports. We have a comprehensive port connectivity plan whereby the first and last mile connectivity gaps have been identified and works have been sanctioned.”

After Dawra, a Keynote address was given by the Guest of Honor, Mr. Rajiv Bansal (IAS), Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation. Bansal talked about the growth of the Aviation sector and put forth a positive outlook for the Civil Aviation sector.

“The nation is undergoing a period of unprecedented infrastructure growth, which is being led by Civil Aviation. The last couple of years for aviation have been years of unprecedented growth.  Our airports are doubling, Delhi Airport is reaching 100 per annum capacity by September. And, this growth is across the spectrum.”  

Rajiv Bansal

“While we are still far away from having Indian capacity in large freighters, what I feel like is that in the coming time, we will be more integrated globally and work with international freighter companies to move our cargo from A-B,” he said as he talked about the lack of financial mechanic of the Indian airlines to compete with global counterparts such as FedEx or DHL.  

Lastly, he asked the industry to come together and document a hub strategy for cargo and work selectively to help it grow further. This was followed by a facilitation ceremony of the Industry leaders for their contribution to making the industry glorious.

Business Session 1 – Air Cargo Sector: Sustainability Initiatives for Future

Moderator: Mr. Keku Bomi Gazder (Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Avipro Logistics Services)

Speakers: Mr. Ramesh Mamidala (Head Cargo, Air India), Mr. Nitin Mittal, (Head Cargo, Noida International Airport), Mr. Cyrus Katgara (Partner, Jeena & Co.), Mr. Satish Lakkaraju (Sr. VP-Wiz Logitec Solutions), Mr. Yashpal Sharma (MD, Skyways Group & President, ACFI), Mr. Kawarjeet Singh Wadhwa ( Chairman, Grace Group)

“Jeena & Company has been there for over 100 years, but still we have not been able to go completely green. We have put in a lot of effort and made tremendous progress, but it’s not good enough to go completely green, in the sense of digital. On our path of going digital customs have come a long way. But, there is still a ‘but’. We do everything to go digital but when you go to customs, you have to carry a hard copy of all shipments you are sending. Also, the security declaration could also be made digital.”

Cyrus Katgra, Partner, Jeena & Company

Business Session 2 – Aviation Industry’s Sustainable Growth Blueprint

Moderator: Mr. Sanjiv Edward (CEO-Cargo and Logistics, GMR Airports Ltd.)

Speakers: Mr. Mohammad Sarhan (VP- India & Nepal, Emirates, India); Mr. Rakesh Raicar, (Regional General Manager- South Asia, Middle East and Africa (SAMEA), Cathay Pacific); Mr. Salil Nath (General Manager-Indian Subcontinent, Global Sales, Etihad Airways), Mr. Satyaki Hingorani (Chief Strategy & Development Officer, BLR Airport), Mr. Kamal Hingorani (Chief Customer Officer, SpiceJet and Chief Officer, SpiceXpress) and Ms. Jyoto Mayal (President-TAAI-Travel Agents Association of India)

“It’s all looking good. There is optimism in the industry when it comes to outlook whether you talk about short-term, medium-term, or long-term. In fact, all the key indicators are pointing in the right direction. Airlines are building back capacity and that too quite strongly and swiftly. The demand for travel is robust in the country, which will stay that way for a while. The government is also investing heavily in infrastructure. All around there is a good sense of positivity. I feel it’s a good position to be in post-COVID and if anything our industry has always been resilient and we have become more resilient and added agility to that.”

Mr. Rakesh Raicar (Regional General Manager- South Asia, Middle East and Africa (SAMEA), Cathay Pacific)

Business Session 3 – New Business Profit Models & Sustainable initiatives-Allied Aviation Industry

Moderator: Mr. Amber Dubey (Senior Advisor, McKinsey & Company & former Joint Secretary at Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India)

 Speakers: Mr. Ashutosh Sharma (General Manager, International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA)), Mr. Pulak Sen (Secretary General, MRO Association of India), Mr. C.S Sharma (Joint Director & head PMU, QCI-Quality in Drone ecosystem), Mr. Balasubramaniun P (Founder & CEO, ACCIS-Air Cargo Consultancy International Services), Mr.Abhinav Jain (Co-founder & CEO, Almonds AI), Mr Rajan Sehgal, Co-Chair, PHDCCI Tourism Committee)

“A huge initiative was taken during COVID where ICAO-body of all the governments in the world, 193 members countries talked about taking all the laws hindering the international trade by air are being re-looked at. A laws ecosystem will be built on the interoperability of all 193 countries, and a committee for the same has already been formed. In the coming two to three years, all the legal shackles that are hindering air cargo growth will be devoid.

Mr. Balasubramaniun P (Founder & CEO, ACCIS-Air Cargo Consultancy International Services),

The conference highlighted India’s current infrastructure growth and talked about building a sustainable future, which is green, integrated, and well-supported by technology. The PHDCCI Global Aviation Air Cargo Summit 2023 was a resounding success. It provided a platform for various stakeholders to come together, and share their experiences, and collaborate to drive the growth of the Indian air cargo industry.