Indian Transport & Logistics

WFS, BIAL sign deal to boost exports from South India

WFS awarded a 15-year licence to operate its first cargo handling operation in India.

WFS, BIAL sign deal to boost exports from South India

Left to Right: Pratik Mehta, Head – Cargo Business, Bangalore International Airport Ltd; Hari K. Marar, Managing Director & CEO, Bangalore International Airport Ltd ; Satyaki Raghunath, Chief Strategy & Development Officer, Bangalore International Airport Ltd; Francois Mirallié, Group CFO, WFS and Mohammed Esa, Senior Vice President, Group Commercial Business Development & Strategy at WFS.

Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) has been awarded a 15-year licence to operate its first cargo handling operation in India at the Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (BLR Airport).

WFS, a global air cargo logistics leader, is entering a new partnership with BIAL which, in May 2023, will assume responsibility for the development, operation, management and maintenance of one of the cargo terminals at India's third-largest cargo gateway for international import and export cargo, according to an announcement by WFS.

"WFS will also operate and invest in the expansion of the airport's dedicated cold chain facility," the statement added.

The cargo terminal has the capacity to handle 210,000 metric tonnes (MT) of cargo every year. From May 2023, it will be used exclusively by WFS to handle international cargo. "WFS will use its design, build, finance, process reengineering and development experience to reorganise and refurbish the facility to increase its throughput capacity to serve cargo volumes in excess of 250,000 MT annually."

As operators of the dedicated cold chain facility at the airport, WFS and BIAL will begin a two-phase expansion of the dedicated operation, initially doubling its capacity to 80,000 MT per annum before increasing to a throughput capacity in excess of 150,000 MT per annum.

"WFS has been waiting a long time to establish its own presence in India," says CEO Craig Smyth. "We are honoured to have earned this opportunity to work with the very accomplished and ambitious team at BIAL to realise the outstanding potential of BLR Airport. This is already a very successful airport, supported by a thriving manufacturing and services industry, and a highly skilled regional workforce. To this, WFS will add our highest international standards for safety, security and operational excellence, our ability to invest in optimising and expanding BLR Airport's cargo infrastructure, and our global relationships with airlines and freight forwarders."

Barry Nassberg, Group Chief Commercial Officer, WFS, added: "Few airports in the world combine the growth generators we see in Bengaluru, making this long-term partnership with BIAL a big step in our expansion in Asia. This is a premier airport that understands its potential and recognises the way to achieve its growth ambitions is to work with an industry-leading global partner like WFS. Together, BIAL and WFS will work to sustain growth in the long-term and to achieve the airport's goal of creating a robust ecosystem that can cater for up to one million tonnes of cargo a year."

Satyaki Raghunath, Chief Strategy & Development Officer, BIAL said: "We welcome this opportunity to partner with a world leading global cargo handling organisation such as WFS – this will support us in strengthening our position as the preferred cargo gateway in South India. With this partnership, BLR Airport will be able to offer more modern and efficient facilities to our customers. With these improvements, we are confident about being able to grow our cargo volumes and services even more rapidly to meet demand."

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