The eight edition of the Air Cargo India Conference successfully took place in Mumbai, India, last week. In a country that has, in the last decade, jumped up from 9th to 5th place in the list of the world’s most powerful economies, and whose government is looking to construct over 100 airports as part of its UDAN scheme, the Air Cargo India 2020 conference promised to set the foundation for a whole host of discussion topics, and to allow for serious, future-oriented networking possibilities.
While Switzerland declared a complete and immediate ban on 28FEB (until 15MAR20) of conferences larger than 1,000 people in light of the coronavirus, Air Cargo India (ACI) 2020 celebrated the end
of its successful conference in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Mumbai, India, which ran from 25FEB-27FEB20, and saw the attendance of more than 2,000 visitors and 70 exhibitors from 15 countries
including the USA, UK, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium, Kuwait, Turkey and the UAE – figures that, according to organizer Bhupinder Singh, CEO, Messe Muenchen India Pvt. Ltd, were a “record
jump in visitor numbers,” at the eighth edition of the biennial event. Extra precautions due to the virus had been taken in advance.
Due to the Indian Government issuing an advisory to temporarily cancel all e-visas for Chinese passport holders, unfortunately no exhibitors or delegates from mainland China were able to attend. In addition, the Messe München India team organizing the conference, ensured the availability of onsite doctors and a clinic set-up, along with an ambulance on 24-hour standby, extra hygiene care (cleaning services, water, facemask and hand sanitizers supplies), and suggested the “Adoption of alternative greetings (Namaste) to reduce contact.”
“Promote Digital Freight Corridors” – Vandana Aggarwal, MoCA
The three-day exhibition was officially opened by the chief guest of honor, Vandana Aggarwal, the Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Civil Aviation of the Government of India, who also held a keynote speech outlining the government’s focus on ensuring that India, currently the fastest-growing of the world’s largest economies, is ready to make the most of the opportunities offered through supply chain management and e-commerce, and pointing to aviation playing a key role in the country’s many export products such as pharmaceuticals, gems/gold, automotive components, leather goods and textiles.
She underlined the need to move India closer, digitally, in the global supply chain, recalling the MoU signed between Schiphol, Amsterdam, Netherlands and Mumbai, India back in 2018, to set up a digital freight corridor, and telling the audience that: “The gap can be narrowed through digital connectivity, and the government is making good progress towards its ambition to see air cargo volumes grow from 3.56 million tons currently, to 6.5 million by 2024, and 10 million by 2027.”
Networking, Presenting and Discussing
Alongside the 70 exhibition stands where airlines, airports, service providers, IT services, ULD management providers and the like were present to demonstrate and discuss their products and services, eight panel discussions and round table discussions hosting over 65 expert panelists in total, made up the conference agenda.
The discussion topics on offer were: the state of digitalization in the air cargo industry, quality and compliance in perishable goods air transportation, pharma supply chain standards, trade tension drag on air cargo and building resilience, the Indian Subcontinent as a promising air cargo export region; building airports of the future for special cargo commodities, ecommerce logistics, and transportation support for the digital world.
Key messages that emerged were the need for standardization and more transparency throughout the supply chain, the use of KPIs and technologies to improve the quality of information along the value chain, the need to work on balancing supply and demand more, to name but a few.
“And the winner is…”
No event is complete without an awards ceremony, and at the end of the second day, The STAT Trade Times Award for Excellence in Air Cargo ceremony presented awards to, for example, DHL Global Forwarding for International Freight Forwarder of the Year, Chapman Freeborn for Charter Broker of the Year, IBS Software for International IT System Provider, Qatar Airways Cargo for International Cargo Airline of the year Award, Changi International Airport for International Cargo Airport of the Year (with Frankfurt International Airport a close runner-up, receiving “Highly Acclaimed” in the same category), and Bangalore International Airport receiving the Fastest Growing Cargo Airport of the Year for the India Region award, having become India’s 3rd busiest airport in cargo handling in the last few years.
“The future depends on what you do today.”
When so many experts get together, industry challenges, be they in adopting digital infrastructures, packaging quality issues, costs, or the uncertain effect of the coronavirus on the industry, and so on, can all be discussed, and experiences and ideas shared. Ideas, solution suggestions and agreements that the conference attendees can take away and implement before getting together again at the next Air Cargo India conference in February 2022. As the great Mahatma Gandhi once said: “The future depends on what you do today.”
We always welcome your comments to our articles. However, we can only publish them when the sender name is authentic.