IAG Cargo, the cargo division of International Airlines Group (IAG) hosted a panel discussion at the JW Marriott Hotel, New Delhi to discuss key air cargo trends, business updates and survey findings. Speakers included John Cheetham, Chief Commercial Officer of IAG Cargo, Yashpal Sharma, Chairman of Air Cargo Forum India (ACFI) and Managing Director of Skyways Group, and Pratul Shekhar, Senior Director of Air Cargo at DSV.
IAG Cargo recently conducted a global survey of freight forwarders and logistics industry professionals to find out their perspectives on the future of the sector. This served as a point of discussion, emphasizing developments in digitization and sustainability. According to the findings, the Indian market has widely adopted online booking for air cargo, with 76% of respondents stating it as their preferred booking method, compared to just 46% internationally. In contrast, the global market (53%) continues to rely on email as the primary freight booking channel.
Sustainability seems to be more important to Indian freight forwarders and logistics experts than to their counterparts around the world. 78% of respondents in India said their company had a sustainability plan (global response was 67%), and 68% said sustainability was “very essential”, compared to 38% of the global population . Panelists discussed how sustainability influences their business decisions and how the sector is progressing towards SAF goals.
The main concern of those interviewed was attracting and retaining talent. This was particularly pronounced among respondents in India, with 46% citing it as their top business challenge.
“Pharmaceuticals was mentioned in one of the survey responses. Over half of our customers in India expect this product to grow, and IAG cargo’s product is clearly seeing dramatic growth. compared to last year. When it comes to pharmaceutical production, India is an incredible powerhouse. When you think of 2021, you might think of temperature-controlled COVID-related vaccines and drugs, but that’s not is only a small percentage of what we advocate as pharmaceuticals. According to the numbers, 21% of pharmaceutical activity increased from January to August 2021, compared to the same period in 2020,” said John Cheetham, Commercial Director at IAG Cargo.
Yashpal Sharma, Chairman of ACFI and Managing Director of Skyways Group, spoke about ACFI’s 2030-2031 goal as the only organization with representation from all stakeholders on its Board of Directors.
ACFI organized an event in February this year attended by Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya M. Scindia where they discussed the current landscape of Indian aviation landscape ecosystem which includes domestic market, all exports and imports, and ACFI has decided that we want to get you to 10 million tonnes over the next eight years.
Sharma said: “It’s difficult, but we think it fits well with the broader Indian government’s goal of increasing the industrialization of the country. The kind of investments that go through various states and, through the center , where many foreign investments have Subsidies are put in place to improve the investment capacity of the country, and we have already witnessed tremendous investment growth and the influx of new properties in recent years.
The results of the remarkable Global Freight Trends Survey conducted by IAG Cargo ahead of the roundtable are truly interesting. The results indicate how people are supporting increased automation and digitalization around the world. It is heartening to see that the Indian representatives actively participated in the survey and mentioned the high levels of digital automation achieved, as well as the future expectations set in the companies. Additionally, the need to attract and retain the right talent has also grown in importance for businesses, globally.
It is our responsibility to step up and help build greener, more sustainable ways to operate and transact. Coupled with digitalization, innovation and the need to move away from legacy systems, each of us can help reduce the carbon footprint in our own way, for the air cargo industry.”
Pratul Shekhar, Senior Air Cargo Manager at DSV, commented on the market forecast. “The market is expected to grow at a rate of 3-4%. From an Indian perspective, there is a strong push towards manufacturing; nevertheless, globally, we are seeing the possibility of a recession. However, from an Indian perspective From this perspective, we estimate that export demand would remain flat or increase by 3-4% Airfreight rates have declined over the previous three to four months and are expected to return to levels from before the pandemic in the next six to seven months.
With so many flights and increased capacity, costs and global demand are likely to come down, which should help shippers and receivers add to the board. On the import side we are seeing something different due to the issues in Europe, labor costs, although India is talking about declining export prices, we are seeing that the costs of imports may increase due to all capacity reductions due to the winter timetable. “
IAG Cargo also announced that its winter 2022 schedule offers more weekly services in India than before the pandemic, with 112 weekly flights serving 5 Indian airports. IAG Cargo will also restart services to London and the Maldives from October 14, 2022.