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Indian air cargo moved 40k tonnes agri produce amid lockdown: Vandana Aggarwal

July 17, 2020: Senior economic advisor to the ministry of civil aviation, Vandana Aggarwal, today said that the Indian air cargo operators have transported more than 40,000 tonnes of agricultural produce alone from different parts of the country during the lockdown.

The webinar on %u2018Survive and Thrive: Air cargo%u2019s way out to tackle the Covid-19 crisis%u2019 was organised by Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI) &Indian Women Pilots'Association (IWPA) and produced by STAT Media Group.
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The webinar on %u2018Survive and Thrive: Air cargo%u2019s way out to tackle the Covid-19 crisis%u2019 was organised by Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI) "Indian Women Pilots'Association (IWPA) and produced by STAT Media Group.

July 17, 2020: Senior economic advisor to the ministry of civil aviation, Vandana Aggarwal, today said that the Indian air cargo operators have transported more than 40,000 tonnes of agricultural produce alone from different parts of the country during the lockdown.

As India is the second-largest producer of agricultural commodities in the world and the month of April has been an importing harvesting season the nationwide lockdown had a huge impact on the movement of these goods, particularly considering their nature of perishability.

While addressing a webinar on ‘Survive and Thrive: Air cargo’s way out to tackle the Covid-19 crisis’ organised by Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI) & Indian Women Pilots' Association (IWPA) and produced by STAT Media Group, she also noted that the Indian cargo operators have uplifted vital medical essentials to at least 118 countries around the globe and for these purposes, they have converted 136 passenger aircraft for cargo-only operations during the Covid-19 disruption.

Keku Bomi Gazder, chief executive officer, AAI Cargo Logistics and Allied Services, expressed his dissatisfaction regarding the degree of technology adoption in the air cargo sector even after being a hub country for information technology.

He said “There is no excuse that we still don’t have 100 percent digitalisation in Indian air cargo even after having many IT masterminds and heroes in the country. 30 percent of airway bills are still recorded on paper. Covid-19 pandemic is an opportunity for air cargo Industry and we should use this to achieve complete digitalisation.”

Glyn Hughes, global head of cargo, International Air Transport Association (IATA), noted that on one side it is sad to see that many people are suffering around the world and air cargo had to step in but on the other side it is also heartening to see that the air cargo industry rose to the challenge and helped humanity to fight this pandemic.

He said “The Industry was innovative by converting 2300 passenger aircraft for cargo-only operation worldwide. However, we also have the responsibility to enhance trust among stakeholders to embrace technology and go fully digitalised.”

Satish Lakkaraju, chief commercial officer, Agility India, commented that one of the reasons why Indian air cargo hasn’t still gone digital is that we have a huge number unorganised players in the logistics sector and to make something work in India, the government has to make it mandatory.

He said, “Covid-19 has thought us how to collaborate. Agility has started a portal where small logistics providers can register, get credit for their business and do their business uninterrupted.”

Meanwhile, Captain TS Ramanujam, chief executive officer, Logistics Sector Skills Council, said, "We are working with the civil aviation department on National Air Cargo Community System (NACS) to bring the logistics community on a single platform to make it paperless."

Libin Chacko Kurian

Libin Chacko Kurian

Principal Correspondent at STAT Media Group, he has six years of experience in business journalism covering food & beverage, nutraceuticals and now logistics. His current passion is to understand the nuances of global supply chains and their current turmoil. Outside work, he is also interested in philosophy, history, birding and travelling. Mail him: libin@statmediagroup.com


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