Kale Logistics Solutions, a logistics-focused IT solutions company, is to set up digital corridors between South India’s Bangalore and other cargo hubs, predominantly Dubai, to spur business, its CEO, Amar More, told CargoForwarder Global in a recent interview. “We are going to work on setting up digital corridors between Bangalore and its trade partners, so Bangalore and the other airports where they have maximum trade, (and) connecting the communities,” the manager said.
This looks likely to be a far-reaching initiative, not just in India. Dubai is a particular contact of Bangalore, so the plan is about “linking that community to Bangalore,” said More.
This has several benefits. Among them, end to end visibility, as well as what information is on the Bangalore platform being re-used by the cargo community in Dubai, he stated.
Kale “already starting” to work with India’s largest airport group, is also talking to other airports and cargo forums overseas, More illustrated.
“We are in touch with forty airports and ports globally, a lot in North America,” the executive confirmed, adding vaguely that Kale would be making other announcements soon.
Bangalore (BLR) rollout
Kale has recently installed an Airport Cargo Community System (ACS) at Kempegowda International Airport at Bengaluru (Bangalore), which has been adopted by 95% of airport stakeholders within seven months of its March 2021 launch – although it did build on a previous system.
The ACS brings together customs, customs brokers, shippers, freight forwarders, airlines, trucking companies, and cargo terminals on a single digital platform to create a seamless experience, a spokesperson for Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), who own and operate the airport, told CFG.
Multiple stakeholders meant each shipment, on an average, required over 30 types of documents in multiple copies, leading to delays and disruptions.
“The implementation of ACS has helped in eliminating paperwork at BLR Airport, enabling faster processing of transactions, reducing duplication of information, and streamlining processes, making information available prior to cargo reaching the Airport,” said the spokesperson.
Mr. More is a man of plain words about how the pandemic has accelerated the move to digitize, whilst acknowledging there is still much work to do: “I think we have seen three or four years of digitization packed into one,” he said of the past year.
Planning to deepen digitalization
Eliminating more paper documents will be the next move, More added, without saying which papers would be digitized.
“We are also looking at deep tech initiatives,” he stated, outlining its uses in temperature and condition monitoring of shipments at Bangalore airport. Here, Kale is “doing integration,” said More, with a company called Tag Box, that works with the pharma companies at Bangalore.
Also in the mix are the uses of the Internet of Things (IoT), interfacing with temperature sensors, among others, and sharing that visibility with Bangalore’s air freight community, noted More, adding there would be increased use of Artificial Intelligence.
Airport plans to expand
The current cargo capacity of BLR Airport is 715,000 metric tons (MT) annually, which gives it a 42% market share in South India, and 14% of Indian airports, although the airport itself is aiming higher: “Our vision is to expand the cargo infrastructure to provide a capacity of approx. 1.5 million metric tons by the mid-2030s. To achieve this, BIAL will continue to develop state-of-the-art infrastructure, introduce market-leading technology, and improve operational efficiency and customer service,” said the spokesperson.
Plans for cargo growth via specific facilities
“The expectation is that operations will grow on the current site up to perhaps 1 million metric tons per annum,” said the BIAL spokesperson, adding this will be done by developing infrastructure and using technology – although no specifics were given on the latter.
Two new facilities are key in terms of hardware: the Public Bonded Warehouse and Express Cargo Terminal, are both “amongst the first-of-its-kind in India,” emphasized the spokesperson.
The dedicated terminal for Express has enabled business and reduced transaction time and cost for the shippers, he reasoned.
“With express courier gaining greater significance following the exponential growth of e-commerce, the Express Cargo Terminal at BLR Airport is a significant step towards supporting and driving this growth,” said the spokesperson.
“The Public Bonded Warehouse is helping in the re-export of goods, long-term storage of bonded cargo, assisting in partial clearances, and allowing value-added services such as labeling, packing, and repacking services,” the official added.
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