Jogging & swimming for this Volga-Dnepr Group Marketing Director

Fedor Novikov graduated from university majoring in analytics, at the same time, paying particular attention to languages. Fresh out of university, he began his career as a logistics specialist of Borets Company, LLC in 2010 responsible for supply-chain development and precise attention to import-export flows to/from Russia and international logistics.

He joined the international team of AirBridgeCargo Airlines (part of Volga-Dnepr Group) as analyst in Route Network and Fleet Development Department in 2012 and built a career up to the position of Marketing Director, Volga-Dnepr Group.

“I think that a major part of my career path is driven by my innovative, forward-thinking, and result-oriented approach towards work, coupled with leadership skills (which I work on to upscale), personal commitment, and business-related knowledge. At the same time, I still pay particular attention to lifetime learning – I am a Master of Science (PhD in 2018) in Organizational management (transport) at Moscow State Technical University of Civil Aviation, have broadened and deepened my knowledge with IATA CEIV Certificate (2016), IATA Cargo IQ Certificate (2015), IATA Quality, Audit and Risk management, Temperature-Controlled Cargo Operations diplomas, and Various Executive Management Development Courses, both in-house and external,” he tells Air Cargo Update.

Fedor’s hobbies include jogging as it helps him relax. He is also a big fan of swimming.

“I love jogging as this is the perfect time for me to relax, think over everything what is on my mind, structure it and head for a new day. I am also a huge fan of swimming and have been preparing for triathlon competition, however, the pandemic has slightly changed my plans. Hopefully with the ease of situation I will be able to move one step closer towards my goal.”

Fedor believes that being agile, resilient and taking an extra mile is the solution to battling COVID-19 in the air cargo industry,

“I think the company, as well as all the workers, have become more agile and resilient. It seems like there is a solution to every problem, sometimes you just have to go an extra mile, but everything is possible. Also, the pandemic has shifted our mindset and served as a trigger to go beyond our regular air freight services embracing the whole spectrum of logistics solutions and the whole supply chain journey.  This is not only about the company but also about the people who are behind the scenes and ramp up this ‘forward motion’”.

Fedor is a fan of Elon Musk, CEO and Founder of Tesla Company. He believes Musk to be one of the forward-thinkers who goes beyond his time. According to Fedor, Musk’s revolutionary ideas are transforming our world and might influence the way people we live in future.

“One of my favorite quotes is – ‘We need to figure out how to have the things we love, and not destroy the world’ as it echoes not only my beliefs but also Volga-Dnepr’s DNA and values – my second home and family. We have spent a lot of time thinking how we could adapt our strategy, map out ESG focus to guarantee life-saving logistics solutions for our customers worldwide.

“2021 has been challenging both from professional and personal perspective. But this has also been the year of massive opportunities and rapid growth. We think that 2022 will not be easier, however logistics has never been an easy industry to work in. There is something new every day and this is what still fascinates me – lifetime learning and ability to develop,” Fedor concludes.

‘Truck It In’ raises largest seed round in MENAP trucking space

Startup seeks to transform Pakistan’s $25B road freight market to help SMEs and truckers grow their business

KARACHI, Pakistan—Homegrown logistics tech startup “Truck It In” has closed a $13 million seed round jointly led by venture capital firms Global Founders Capital and Fatima Gobi Ventures—the largest of its kind in the MENAP (Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan) region, blowing out previous highs seen in 2021, which was already a banner year for Pakistani startups.

The latest seed round brings the total raised capital to $17.5 million, which will support Truck It In’s mission to transform Pakistan’s road freight industry. The round also saw participation from Wamda, Picus Capital, Millville, Zayn Capital, i2i Ventures, ADB Ventures, Cianna Capital, Reflect Ventures, and K3 Ventures.

Pakistan is one of the largest road freight markets in the Middle East and North Africa, representing a $25 billion annual opportunity, 10% of national GDP. Truck It In aims to be the nexus of road freight in the country by simplifying business for Pakistan’s three million SME businesses and SME truckers (80% of the supply market), who operate in an increasingly complex and deeply fragmented industry.

Muhammad Sarmad Farooq, CEO of Truck It In, said, “This seed round comes at an opportune time, as the funds will be deployed to expand our business, driving hiring across all functions, focusing on engineers to help double down on product development and increase our digital penetration in the market.

SMEs are reliant on mental notes and telephone calls to run their businesses. Truck It In is leading efforts to bring efficiencies here by building a platform to ensure that SMEs have the right tools and services to thrive today. We are looking to transform the experiences of shippers and truckers, heralding them into the digital future.

We are on an exciting journey creating value and solving deep-rooted challenges. In the past year, our revenue has grown 37x, we have expanded into 100+ trade lanes, and added  200 talents, as Truck It In continues to create impact every day. The impact generated allows truckers to lead better economic lives while serving the country.”

Truck It In is another key investment by Global Founders Capital that partners with fast-growing companies with huge potential to transform their industries. Tito Costa, the partner at Global Founders Capital, said: “The team at Truck It In is transforming the logistics industry in Pakistan at an unprecedented pace. We are honored to back them again to expand their coverage further and bring their solution to shippers and truckers across the country.”

Fatima Gobi Ventures (FGV), a VC focused on backing promising early-stage Pakistani ventures, is also excited to play a role in developing such an impactful company.

Ali Mukhtar, General Partner of FGV, said, “The pandemic has accelerated digital adoption among larger players, widening the gaps of the haves and have-nots in the logistics world. We believe Truck It In is key to closing this gap by making it easy for SME truckers to streamline operations and compete on a more level playing field while keeping costs competitive and serving as a vital lifeline for Pakistan’s thriving economy. With Sarmad and his team at the wheel, Pakistan’s SMEs are in pole position for a strong, sustainable, digital future.”

Alejandro Montealegre from Millville Opportunities Master Fund said, “We are excited to back Truck It In’s high caliber team who are providing tremendous value to a critical sector of Pakistan’s economy.”

Kalsoom Lakhani, Co-Founder & GP at i2i Ventures, said, “Pakistan’s trucking industry presents an enormous opportunity for innovation & disruption, and we have a deep conviction in the Truck it In team, who are tackling this head-on. We are impressed by their execution and honored to support them on their journey as their investors.”

Faisal Aftab, Co-Founder Zayn Capital, said, “The Truck It In team has exhibited exceptional scaling ability by rapidly capturing significant market share in this fragmented industry. The team has the tenacity to solve problems unique to Pakistan, creating efficiency for customers and suppliers.”

UD Trucks ends 2021 with exceptional growth across the MEENA region 

 The Japanese commercial vehicle manufacturer recorded an increase in sales in most markets, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Pakistan and a number of countries in East Africa

MANAMA, Bahrain – UD Trucks, a member of the Isuzu Group, saw its sales in the MEENA (Middle East, East and North Africa) Region grew by approximately 30 percent in 2021, toppling in multifold its 6 percent growth the previous year.

The Japanese commercial vehicle manufacturer recorded an increase in sales in most markets, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Pakistan and a number of countries in East Africa.

UD Trucks’ flagship market, Bahrain, saw an increase of around 40 percent, reinforcing the brand’s number one status in the country. The trucks brand also saw an increase in sales by about 30 percent in Qatar. Sales also grew in Saudi Arabia, which is UD Trucks’ biggest market by volume, by 24 percent. The United Arab Emirates, which hosted the regional launch of the brand’s Euro 5 models, registered an increase of 22 percent compared to 2020.

“The resilience our brand showed in 2020, built around a consistent and comprehensive strategy and supported by our strong regional partners, provided a solid platform for us to build on in 2021. Registering about a 30 percent sales increase in one year is a remarkable feat. I am grateful to the UD Trucks MEENA team, our customers, partners, and stakeholders throughout the region for their hard work and dedication. Together, we look forward to another positive year as we continue on our path to become a sustainability leader,” said Mourad Hedna, President of UD Trucks MEENA.

Outside the Middle East, UD Trucks earned positive traction in Pakistan where it enjoyed an impressive year. Similarly, the brand registered significant growth in East Africa in 2021, where a number of strategic deals for both heavy-duty and medium-duty trucks were signed off, despite the challenging business climate.

The growth came as a result of a fantastic collaboration and coordinated effort by UD Trucks and its partners throughout the region and their joint focus on supporting UD customers.

‘Better Life’ Strategy

 The brand’s well-built and robust products, the introduction of the Euro 5 range and upgrades to the Euro 3 line-up, a strong retail network and partnerships, and the impact of its ‘Better Life’ strategy, have all played significant roles in the company’s success.

UD Trucks’ widest-ever range, which covers almost all segments in the heavy-duty and medium-duty truck sector, and the nature of the brand’s product portfolio have also been crucial factors in this growth. The range has been developed to meet the market’s needs by covering all key segments in the industry.

The company’s focus in launching new trucks that will enhance profitability for customers by lowering the total cost of ownership has also been crucial.

An important factor in the Japanese brand’s expansion has been the introduction of upgraded Euro 3 models as well as the brand’s new Euro 5 range of its popular Quester and Croner trucks. The launch of the Euro 5 models is a result of UD Trucks’ strategic vision and objective to ensure peace-of-mind for its customers by allowing them to better prepare for running more environmentally-friendly fleets as new regulations are introduced across the fast-developing region.

The new range reduces NOx emissions by about 43 percent compared to Euro 4 models, while providing an enhanced driving experience and safety. The upgrades to the Euro 3 trucks are centered around creating a more driver-centric experience. They receive similar upgrades to the Euro 5 range, including a new instrument cluster, the ESCOT automated manual transmission, body builder module and the UD Trucks Telematics Services.

Another factor in the brand’s growth is its exceptional regional retail network. Their commitment to providing and delivering the highest quality customer service and aftersales support is supported by comprehensive warranty offers and readily available spare parts, which prioritise the smooth operation of customers’ businesses.

UD Trucks’ Telematics services allow its customers and retail partners to follow the trucks’ performances over time, creating a closer relationship with the brand’s customers.

2021 was also the year that saw UD Trucks implement its ‘Better Life’ strategy. The strategy has allowed the truck brand to demonstrate its commitment to providing sustainable logistics solutions and to delivering a better life for both people and the planet.

The delicate but rewarding global food business shines at Gulfood 2022

Food & retail industry projected to soar to $17 trillion in value by 2027 but food wastage is also a major concern with 1.3 tons wasted annually worldwide costing US$1 trillion

More foods are being transported from one point to another across continents to satisfy the world’s growing demand for different cuisines and tastes, especially in affluent cities.

From agriculture, to manufacturing, to processing, tech companies, groceries, restaurants, supermarkets, etc., so many industries and subsectors have their business anchored on food, including the air cargo industry, which transports on a daily basis countless tons of perishables like fresh vegetables and fruits, meat and meat products, seafood and related products, shellfish, fresh fish, spices and dried herbs, flowers, processed foods, cheese and dairy products, among other things.

The global food & grocery retail market had grown enormously that in 2020, despite the pandemic, its value reached USD12 trillion with an annual forecast growth rate of 5% over 2021-2027, thereby accumulating to USD17.29 trillion by 2027, according to MarketStudyReport.

The intelligence research firm attributed the global food industry’s growth to the rise of the middle class, increase in retail sales, rising demand for different food products, increasing e-commerce sales, and growing food processing verticals.

Ironically, while the global food industry is growing, the number of people facing hunger has also grown, largely fueled by the negative impacts of the pandemic.

In her speech at the opening of Gulfood 2022 in Dubai, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment Mariam Al Mheiri said almost 811 million people are facing hunger, with one in three people on earth denied access to adequate food due to conflicts, climate change and the ongoing pandemic.

She urged the world to explore innovative ways to stop global hunger and to address food insecurity and global food waste.

 Game-changer Gulfood 2022

Gulfood, the world’s largest annual F&B sourcing in-person event was held as scheduled for five days (13-17 February) at the Dubai World Trade Center, bringing together more than 4,000 companies and industry thought leaders from 120 countries.

It was a joyous moment for exhibitors who brought in the best of their products to showcase for business opportunities and for everyone to see and enjoy.

But this year’s Gulfood, the 27th edition, made a difference with the launch of  Gulfood Zero Waste, a global campaign in partnership with restaurants and hotels driving the zero-waste initiative globally.

The latest data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations indicates that one-third of the world’s food is wasted, equating to 1.3 tons annually at a cost of US$1 trillion. Beyond the detrimental environmental impact, wastage also translates to the loss of nutrients and resources (water, land, labor, energy, and cost) invested in food production.

The Gulfood 2022 onsite Zero Waste Mega Impact resolved to collect 1,000kg of food wastage to produce 400kg of compost, equating to a CO2e emissions saving of 1,000kg.

Across the five days of Gulfood 2022, food wastes were collected from exhibitors as well as the live-cooking stations and sent for compost production. The initiative also provides a platform for impact-driven, homegrown companies, including a partnership with The Waste Lab, which is implementing solutions to repurpose food, such as compost, with societal and economic benefits.

Gulfood also took the lead to address this issue by launching a first-of-its-kind citywide activation that will see chefs from 30 UAE restaurants, cafes and dark kitchens making the best of ‘ugly’ produce and eliminating waste.

Trixie LohMirmand, executive vice president, exhibitions & events, DWTC, said: “E-commerce in F&B is experiencing a meteoric rise thanks to a number of key factors. In this region specifically, it is flourishing thanks to increased high-income potential, high internet penetration, developed logistics network, modern digital payment systems, a growing tech-savvy youth population, and strong government support. As the F&B industry’s undisputed transformative powerbroker, Gulfood will connect and create the future course of the digital marketplace, with crucial insights from producers and aggregators.

“It will be a coming together of an industry in need of addressing ecosystem challenges and opportunities, which if surmounted can be a huge engine of growth and transformation. What consumers are looking for from the food and beverage industry is very different from just a few years ago, and these new expectations are here to stay beyond 2022. Gulfood will focus the industry-wide debate on the trends and new value-chain networks that will shape the future,” LohMirmand added.

Major global challenges, trends and change drivers were also examined, including e-commerce, technology, sustainability and disruptive cellular agriculture bio-innovation (the production of animal-sourced foods from cell culture methods) and emerging slow and plant-based food trends.

GCC food consumption to reach 52.4 million metric tons

Food consumption in the Gulf region is anticipated to grow at 2.3 percent to reach 52.4 million metric tons by 2025.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, whose members include the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, has remained relatively conservative, growing at a slower pace amid economic and geo-political concerns in recent years.

While demand has been supported by growing population and evolving consumer preferences, the fall in per capita income since the slowdown in oil prices in mid-2014 has led to the growth of food consumption to remain flat between 2014 – 2019, according to the UAE-based investment banking advisory firm, Alpen Capital’s latest report on GCC Food Industry report.

The continuous collaboration between the public and private sector and the ongoing efforts of the governments to increase food security has helped the GCC nations build a strong food ecosystem, withstanding the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2020, the GCC consumed 46.8 million metric tons of food, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE consuming a combined 77.9 percent due to greater population. Outside the two most populous nations in the region, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain are forecast to grow at 4.2 per cent and 4.1 per cent taking higher growth rates in the region.

Cereals will remain the staple food of the region, the report predicts, albeit with much slower growth as most food categories experience minimal change in share through to 2025. However, the ‘others’ food category comprising of eggs, fish, pulses, oils and fats, potato and honey is expected to witness the highest growth rate of 3.7 percent driven by pandemic-led changes in eating habits.

“Food consumption in the GCC has been relatively stable in the past years with a few lows and highs depending on the economic situation. In terms of the type of food consumed, staples such as rice, wheat and other grains have always seen a steady to high demand, but in recent years, boosted by the impact of the pandemic, we have also witnessed increased sales in the health food category. Foods such as quinoa, chia seeds, sprouted brown rice are quickly picking up demand with the increasing percentage of health-conscious consumers. Moreover, initiatives taken by the government in line with food security, local production, and support towards the health and wellbeing of the population has changed the overall outlook and dynamics of the food sector in the region,” said Priyanka Mittal, director, India Gate KRBL Ltd.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with high-incidence of lifestyle diseases is encouraging healthy food habits in the GCC region, which has led to a boost in demand for organic food, with consumers seeking more home-cooked dishes and plant-based products with high nutritional value.

Ready-to-cook packaged variants have grown in popularity with the advent of global food retailers to the region, alongside demand for private labels. With population estimated to reach 66.5 million by 2025, consumers have become increasingly price sensitive, prompting large retailers to turn to private labels to safeguard revenue.

“Over the past few years there has been a greater focus on enhancing agricultural capability by implementing technologies like vertical farming, aquaponics, hydroponics, etc. to improve self-sufficiency. Many deals concluded as part of the region’s strategic plan to improve food security and reduce dependence on imports. Companies pursued the path of inorganic growth to focus on the growing food demand in the region and thus expanding their offerings. Going forward, food aggregators are expected to transform the industry dynamics, and are likely to see traction as consolidation is imminent in the backdrop of Covid-19 to ensure survival,” said Sanjay Bhatia, managing director, Alpen Capital.


Indian Airports Outlook Pan-India connectivity at core of rapid expansion

Recently the Minister of Civil Aviation, Jyotiraditya Scindia announced that India had become the third largest domestic aviation market in the world, behind the United States of America and China. “We all know that in this densely globalised economy, air transport is a key element in the country’s transport infrastructure and plays an important role in the country’s economic growth.”

The present dispensation, National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is precisely doing that, creating the necessary infrastructure with many private players having set up some of the best airports in the world. The government’s focus on infrastructure development is reflected, among many other decisions, in exiting from the hugely loss-making national airline – Air India, now back with the Tata Group. The government is keen on creating an eco-system for aviation growth and at the core is the development of airports.

487 airports / airstrips coming alive

Presently, there are 487 airports / airstrips in India, out of which the Airports Authority of India (AAI) manages 137 (29 of them are international airports).  However, only 10 airports contribute over 75% of passenger traffic and they are Delhi; Mumbai; Bengaluru; Hyderabad; Kolkata; Chennai; Pune; Kochi; Ahmedabad and Goa. Indian airports are garnering world attention and four Indian airports — Delhi (at 45), Hyderabad (64), Mumbai (65)  and Bengaluru (71) — found a place in the 2021 Skytrax World Airport Awards.

Exponential passenger growth expected

From April 2021 to January 2022, Indian airports registered 16.39 million and 130.49 international and domestic passengers respectively, total being 146.88 million passengers (as against 81.56 million during the same period in 2021 – (nil international passengers). The freight handled during this period was 2619 metric tonnes (1641.45 international and 977.76 domestic), up from 1946.53 during the same period in 2021. The projected passenger traffic for FY 2040 is 1.1 billion, comprising 821 million domestic and 303 million international passengers, six times the traffic recorded in FY 2018.

With this being the large picture, the top Indian airports continue to focus on capacity expansion as passenger movement is expected to grow phenomenally.  India’s top airport is Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi and it is in the process of revamping Terminal 1 to double its capacity from 20 million passengers per annum to 40 million passengers. The Delhi airport will be the first to have a fourth runway.

Delhi leads the pack

Even as Delhi airport is expanding, there is work going on for another airport – Noida International Airport, Jewar  in the National Capital Region (NCR). The GMR Group which runs IGIA had objected as the Noida airport is within 150 km. But then there is so much potential for growth that a second airport seems a necessity.

Adani Group takes charge of Mumbai, sets goals

Similarly in Mumbai, where the Chatrapathi Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) is bursting at its seams, is to get another airport in Navi Mumbai, in the pipeline for a very long time. With the Mumbai Airport management changing hands from the GVK Group to the Adani Group, there seems to be some stepping up in the project.

The Chairman of Adani Group, Gautam Adani said “Our larger objective is to reinvent airports as ecosystems that drive local economic development and act as the nuclei around which we can catalyse aviation-linked businesses. These include metropolitan developments that span entertainment facilities, e-commerce and logistics capabilities, aviation dependent industries, smart city developments, and other innovative business concepts.”

Mumbai International Airport is the country’s second busiest airport. With eight airports (in its management and development portfolio), Adani Airport Holdings is now India’s largest airport infrastructure company, accounting for 25 per cent airport footfalls. With the addition of MIAL, AAHL will now also control 33 per cent of India’s air cargo traffic.

Navi Mumbai happening, albeit slowly

Navi Mumbai has a 4 phase master plan to handle over 60 million passengers per annum in the future. Initially, the new airport will be capable of handling 10 million passengers a year upon completion of the first phase, 25 million passengers a year in the second phase, and finally, 60 million passengers a year by 2032 with two 3700m x 60m runways.

Bengaluru preferred transfer hub in south

The IT capital of India – Bengaluru which has the Kempegowda International Airport has taken the third spot and has become the most preferred transfer hub for South India. Currently, BLR Airport serves 74 domestic destinations, the highest ever since airport opening date, as compared to 54 routes during pre-Covid and is also the highest amongst South Indian Airports.

Work is going on at frenetic pace (yes, Covid had disrupted it) for the construction and development work for Terminal II. The first phase of the new terminal will have a capacity to cater to 25 million passengers per annum. The construction work of Terminal II is making good progress. The Terminal I, which was initially built to handle 20 million passengers per annum (MPPA), is now capable of handling 36 MPPA, thanks to smart digital interventions such as Digi  Yatra, Smart Security System and Contactless, Self-Bag Drop. This 36 MPPA-capacity Terminal is enough to cater to the growth in traffic for the next 18 months at least.

Hyderabad on an award-winning spree

Coming to the city of Hyderabad where Wings India 2022 will be held, the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport is also expanding. The GMR Group is planning to invest $840m (Rs63bn) here to increase the  capacity to 34 million passengers per annum by 2024. During the fiscal year 2020, the airport handled over 21.50 million passengers and 148,000 tons of cargo. It serves 17 international destinations.

Today, Hyderabad Airport is rated among the best airports in the world and has set benchmarks in operations, service quality and passenger experience. It has been consistently rated among the best airports, having been ranked as Global Top 3 airports in 5 – 15 million passenger per annum category for 9 consecutive years by Airport Council International (ACI) – Airport Service Quality (ASQ) passenger survey and as World No. 1 for 4 times.

Regional Connectivity Scheme or ‘UDAN’, a catalyst

Moving away from these top four airports, India is looking at pan-India air connectivity. It is only in the recent past, smaller airports are seeing growth as the government continues to push the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) initiative called ‘UDAN’ which is a Hindi acronym for ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik’ which translated means ‘the common citizen will fly’. The ‘UDAN’ scheme launched in October 2016 has logged in till now (upto January 1, 2022) 8.6 million passengers, reflecting the propensity for further growth from under served and unserved regions of the country. Till date, out of 948 valid routes, 403 routes involving 65 airports (including 8 heliports & 02 water aerodromes) have been operationalised across the country under the RCS initiative. UDAN has transformed the way people travel in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. Regional airports like Jharsuguda, Kishangarh, Belgaum, Darbhanga, etc. have been witnessing exponential growth in air traffic.

The growth figures would have been far more impressive, if not for the pandemic and the subsequent travel restrictions. According to rating agency ICRA, domestic air passenger traffic remained 44 per cent lower in the April-December 2021 to 111 lakh against the corresponding period of FY20.

Over 13 billion USD mid term capital outlay

To cater to future demand, the government is focusing on expanding air connectivity like never before. AAI and other Airport Developers have targeted capital outlay of approximately USD 13 billion in airport sector in the next five years for expansion and modification of existing terminals, new terminals and strengthening of runways, among other activities.

Greenfield airports sprouting

Under the Greenfield Airports Policy-2008, the Government has so far accorded ‘in-principle’ approval for setting up of 21 Greenfield Airports across the country namely Mopa in Goa, Navi Mumbai, Shirdi and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra, Kalaburagi, Bijapur, Hassan and Shimoga in Karnataka, Datia (Gwalior) in Madhya Pradesh, Kushinagar and Noida (Jewar) in Uttar Pradesh, Dholera and Hirasar in Gujarat, Karaikal in Puducherry, Dagadarthi, Bhogapuram and Oravakal in Andhra Pradesh, Durgapur in West Bengal, Pakyong in Sikkim, Kannur in Kerala and Hollongi (Itanagar) in Arunachal Pradesh. Out of these, eight airports  namely Durgapur, Shirdi, Sindhudurg, Pakyong, Kannur, Kalaburagi, Oravakal and Kushinagar have been operationalized.

Till 2014, there were 11 domestic air cargo terminals and 19 international air cargo terminals in India. Airports Authority of India (AAI) / AAI Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company Limited (AAICLAS) have created another 27 domestic air cargo terminals. These terminals are in Amritsar, Madurai, Mangalore, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Indore, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Raipur, Aurangabad, Bhubaneswar, Varanasi, Goa, Srinagar, Ranchi, Trivandrum, Guwahati, Vijayawada, Bagdogra, Jammu, Leh, Surat, Bhopal, Dehradun, Rajahmundry, Tirupati and Hubballi.

In addition, there are joint ventures (JVs)/ public private partnerships (PPP) and State Government airports which are also engaged in the process of establishment of cargo terminals, thus expanding infrastructure to facilitate enhanced trade. The overall freight handled by the country’s airports during the first two quarters of FY21-22 (combined) has recovered to more than 80 per cent (15.36 lakh MT during April-September) of the pre-pandemic level.

Huge civil aviation market

With a market size of US$ 16 billion in July 2021, the country is the tenth-largest civil aviation market. AAI plans to invest US$ 3.58 billion in the next five years to augment facilities and infrastructure at airports. It has opened the airport sector to private participation as six airports across major cities are being developed under the PPP (public private partnership) model. Investment to the tune of US$ 6-6.5 billion is expected in India’s airport infrastructure between FY18-23.

     Year-on-year change in passenger traffic FY2021 vs. FY2020

  Delhi Mumbai Bangalore Hyderabad   Kolkata India
Domestic -60.8% -70.7% -62.4% -58.5%   -60.2% -61.8%
International -82.0% -90.1% -89.8% -85.3%   -95.1% -84.8%
Total -66.4% -75.9% -66.3% -63.4%   -64.9% -66.3%


Year-on-year change in cargo volumes FY2021 vs. FY2020

  Delhi Mumbai Bangalore Hyderabad   Kolkata India
Domestic -22.7% -46.1% -20.6% -23.9%   -28.7% -27.9%
International -22.9% -24.1% -7.4% -22.4%   -36.6% -24.0%
Total -22.9% -31.3% -12.7% -23.0%   -31.6% -25.6%

Source: CAPA India research and analysis; Airports Authority of India

Menzies Aviation holds air cargo technology showcase at Heathrow Airport

Menzies Aviation recently held an air cargo technology showcase at Heathrow Airport to find new solutions to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of its cargo operations.

The technology showcased in March is the first initiative of its kind for Menzies and technology solutions will range from truck management and security scanning to employee wellbeing and training.

Microsoft, Ricoh and Vodafone are among 14 suppliers set to pitch and demonstrate their systems to Menzies executives, including Mervyn Walker, chief operating officer, and Mark Reid, chief information officer. .

Menzies cargo facility at Heathrow Airport serves as an innovation space, which aims to foster a creative environment for the development of new technology to be rolled out across its global network.

There are already a number of new solutions being put in place, such as Menzies’ new robot ‘Mimi’. Developed by BotsAndUs, the autonomous robot tracks goods at every stage of the warehouse process, enhancing inventory management and slot utilization.

Robert Fordree, executive vice president – world cargo services at Menzies Aviation, said: “We are very excited to be hosting this showcase at our innovation space at Heathrow Airport, which will shine a spotlight on the latest cargo technologies. This initiative is designed to ensure Menzies remains at the forefront of the cargo industry.

“Digital capabilities are becoming increasingly critical for an industry with a need for speed as cargo volumes continue to rise. The showcase is the perfect opportunity to identify solutions that have the potential to transform our global network of cargo handling operations. We’re looking forward to the presentations and thank all of the participants for their involvement.”

Teleport to launch online accessibility to its air capacity in Asia

Teleport will launch online accessibility to its air cargo capacity in Asia with WebCargo soon.

Teleport, the logistics venture of Capital A (formerly AirAsia Group), said it will improve access to Teleport’s fleet capacity for over 3,000 freight forwarders around the world.

Since 2020, Teleport has built a cargo-only network to key markets in Asia, connecting via its hubs in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok to cater for the increasing e-commerce and overall cargo demand and also offers extensive bellyspace via Airasia’s passenger flights in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The company recently announced it was restoring its cargo-only network with the launch of 12 destinations across Asia this month.

Teleport’s capacity will initially be available for customers in Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Australia, Korea, Manila and India before rolling out to WebCargo’s user base later in 2022.

With this, over 31% of global cargo capacity will be available for real-time freight pricing and booking on WebCargo, a Freightos Company.

Adrian Loretz, chief operating officer of Teleport, said: “Global supply chain disruptions have made flexible air cargo in the Asia-Pacific region critical, both to support the region’s broad manufacturing base and to compensate for ongoing ocean freight port challenges.

“Against this backdrop, it was important for us to join forces with WebCargo as we expand our logistics footprint across Asia. Coupled with our robust and extensive cargo network, we are certain WebCargo will be advantageous for more freight forwarders and direct shippers not only in Southeast Asia, but those in other regions as well. More of our network capacity will now be accessible for online booking which will enhance the cargo booking experience, making it a streamlined process with a fast and intuitive experience for all.”

“The past year has proven the sheer demand for air cargo digitization,” said Manel Galindo, the chief executives of WebCargo. “It’s no coincidence that during one of air cargo’s busiest periods, eBookings on WebCargo increased by over 1,000%. Through this partnership, leveraging our established technology with Teleport’s innovative drive and customer reach, we’re excited to improve air cargo bookings for thousands of shippers.”

TAROM signs up for CHAMP’s Traxon cargoHUB

TAROM has signed to join CHAMP’s Traxon cargoHUB community. The long-time CHAMP customer joined the largest air cargo community service, in addition to renewing for CHAMP’s Cargospot suite – including renewing for Cargospot Airlines and Revenue. These solutions are serviced through CHAMP’s state-of-the-art data center using industry-leading technologies, which offer enhanced security and optimum connection speeds.

Building on its relationship with CHAMP – TAROM will now benefit from Traxon cargoHUB which is a platform featuring one of the largest air cargo communities. It provides TAROM with digital access to thousands of stakeholders throughout the supply chain – enabling doing business efficiently with all community players via a single system regardless of format or protocol.   Furthermore, TAROM has also renewed for Traxon Global Customs. With the solution, it has benefitted from regulatory compliance to over 60 regulatory authorities worldwide.

“TAROM has benefitted greatly by CHAMP’s products,” says Mihaita Ursu, Chief Executive Officer at TAROM. “We are eager to continue our relationship and take advantage of the CHAMP ecosystem and further evolve our digital business strategy together with CHAMP in the years to come.”

“We are pleased to expand our relationship with TAROM,” says Nicholas Xenocostas, Vice President Commercial & Customer Engagement at CHAMP Cargosystems. “Traxon cargoHUB connects the supply chain and is a trusted partner to guide TAROM through its next steps of digitalization and automation. TAROM will continue to have access to the most up-to-date technologies. We are pleased to have the opportunity to further serve a long-time partner and expand our services.”

Exfreight expands its digital functionality to boost supply chain efficiency

ExFreight has expanded the digital functionality of its instant rating, booking and map-based tracking platform for trucking, ocean freight, and airfreight services to boost supply chain efficiency.

Customers can now obtain an instant airfreight shipping quote rate across multiple carriers with real-time visibility of flight details and available capacity. Options can be sorted by price, transit time, and reliability.

Bookings and space can be secured via a direct connection with the respective carrier’s air cargo management system, along with receipt of space confirmation.

ExFreight said it can provide instant door to door international airfreight rates with multiple carrier and routing options coupled with space confirmations. This is augmented with up-front carrier reliability ratings, carbon emission estimates and the optional addition of cargo insurance.

Customers are able to login to a central dashboard to access active shipment, carbon footprint, billing, and quote history reporting. On an individual shipment basis, detailed information is provided that shows every step of the shipment plan and process throughout the cargo journey.

ExFreight chief executive Charles Marrale said: “Our existing system functionality has been enhanced once again to provide shippers with a valuable tool to facilitate their supply-chain needs.”

QTLC explores potential for zero emission freight truck

Queensland Transport and Logistics Council (QTLC) has today released a market-leading report exploring the current and near-term potential for Zero Emission (ZE) freight trucks.

Focusing on the factors that fleets say are constraining growth, the report provides recommendations for all key stakeholders to support transition.

“Significant deployment of zero emission trucks will be required to meet the Queensland and Australian Government’s net-zero targets, yet today, less than 0.2% of new truck sales are zero emission,” says QTLC CEO Lauren Hewitt.

“The Queensland freight task can provide great early deployment opportunities – particularly in urban operations which represent 70 per cent of all rigid truck activity’ QTLC partnered with specialist consultancy MOV3MENT to analyze the suitability of ZE trucks in different market segments.

“There is a lot of focus on hydrogen for heavy vehicles. While it is technically suitable, we don’t see that being commercially viable by 2025 or even 2030 without significant government subsidies. But the report shows battery electric trucks can be financially viable even today in the right application – including urban delivery, low frequency waste compactors and regional haul,” Director Mark Gjerek noted.

QTLC’s consultation with fleets and transport precincts highlighted a market that is underdeveloped due to a range of market maturity and cultural barriers.

While many of these barriers will be addressed over time, some will require significant leadership, collaboration, and investment.

“We need to get beyond limited trials of one or two vehicles to achieve mainstream adoption,” says Gjerek.

To that end, the report identifies some accelerator opportunities to address the confidence barriers the industry faces.

QTLC is proud to support investment in into one of these project areas – zero emission transport hubs and precincts.

In the coming months, we will be rolling out a program for these high traffic areas which can act as a launch pad by providing aggregated demand for vehicles and fuels.

QTLC will share the learnings gained through this for the benefit of all fleets, industry and government.

“We look forward to collaborating with our members, fleet precincts and their customers to provide something that delivers both lower emissions and reduced costs for the sectors,” says Hewitt.

A difficult time for the freight sector as Russia-Ukraine conflict continues

The forwarding sector said the airspace restrictions imposed by Russia, European states, Canada, the UK and in North America were forcing airlines to cancel and adjust services.

“Adjustments to flight schedules are unavoidable and increased transit times must be expected. As a result, we also expect a financial impact on airfreight rates,” warned Copenhagen-headquartered forwarder DSV. “We are not able to provide an exact estimate of the impact at this stage.”

It added: “Due to ongoing developments in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, several air carriers have stopped using Russian airspace. This will have a direct effect on air freight services in the coming period.

“DSV is in close dialogue with our carriers to find alternative routings to ensure we provide the best possible service for our customers.”

Kuehne+Nagel warned: “Due to the closure of the air corridors over Russia and Ukraine and the mentioned sanctions, we foresee capacity restrictions and, as a consequence, longer lead times.”

Scan Global Logistics (SGL) said that fuel prices will contribute to higher rates.

The forwarder pointed out that one of the most affected airlines will be Russian carrier AirBridgeCargo, which is blocked from European and North American airspace, two of its biggest markets.

“Overall we expect the current situation will trigger an immediate capacity constraint across transport modes, as well as pressure on freight rate levels, including oil price increases.”

SGL said that many airlines have already initiated to suspend a number of flights and design alternative routes, leading to extended flight time and increased fuel cost.

“Russian freighter carriers Airbridge and Volga are significantly impacted. They have canceled the majority of flights to/from Asia, with this having a significant overall capacity impact. Asian airlines are not banned from Russian airspace, however, note, we also see Asian-based carriers cancelling flights.”

Singapore Airlines, Swiss, Japan Airlines, FedEx and UPS have suspended direct flights to/from Russia, SGL said.

Flexport said its research showed that average flight times on six key trade routes from Asia to Northern Europe have increased by 3.4% (range 0.6% to 6.9%) in the five days to February 28 compared to the December 1 through February 22 period.

“The most significant impact is the need for rerouting around the conflict zone, extending transit times, and increased carbon emissions,” Flexport said.

“Some flights between Asia and Northern Europe will need to be rerouted via new southerly routings over Saudi Arabia, amid restrictions linked to Iran, Syria, and Yemen.”

The company added: “It is worth noting that many flights from China and the northern part of Southeast Asia as well as South Korea and Japan typically travel north of the affected region.”

The forwarder pointed out that Antonov’s fleet of freighters – mainly used for heavylift operations – are also affected.

It said that all but five of its freighters were in Ukraine in the days before the start of the conflict.

The remaining five, all AN-124 class with 150 tons capacity each, landed in Europe or the US in the days before.

The forwarder added that several lease firms have reportedly confirmed they will end their contracts with Russian airlines.

The 43 jets of the Volga-Dnepr Group, which includes AirBridgeCargo, features 27 Boeing and 11 Antonov jets. For Aeroflot, 82% of its fleet are Airbus or Boeing planes.

Sanctions could also hit the provision of aircraft parts making maintenance operations difficult.

Despite this, AirBridgeCargo has continued flying since the start of March with more than 15 flights completed, according to FlightRadar24. Destinations include Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Dubai, Shenzhen, Seoul and Bahrain.

However, Flexport said the loss of Russian cargo capacity will have less of an impact on the overall market than the extended transit times.

“The impact on global airfreight may be minimal given both airlines each represented less than 0.5% of global airfreight carried in 2019,” Flexport said.