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Global airfreight/express parcel carriers are rapidly beefing up operations out of India amid expectations of sustained demand growth.
Atlanta-based UPS is the latest mover: the logistics giant has announced the opening of a new airport gateway facility at Bengaluru (Bangalore), its second in India.
The 1,500 sq metre centre is equipped with cargo sorting and in-house customs clearance facilities.
UPS said the Bengaluru facility would serve as a cross-border trade link for the southern India corridor, offering customers an extended pick-up time of up to two hours, which it claimed would make export-import trade “more seamless”.
It added: “With this added capacity, a new Boeing 747-8 flight will now be able to further connect our customers in India with more international trade opportunities in Asia, Europe and the Americas.”
Deepak Shrivastava, UPS MD for the Indian Subcontinent, added: “According to the [Indian] ministry of commerce and industry, for the first time, in financial year 2022, exports have surpassed $400bn, demonstrating the strength of India’s supply chains and the resilience of its small businesses. We’re here to support that growth.”
UPS has a dedicated airport gateway facility at Delhi,which opened in 2020.
With the new infrastructure, UPS said it would fly a 747-8F to Bengaluru five times a week, in addition to its six a week to Delhi.
“The 747-8 is the largest aircraft in the UPS fleet, which means more capacity, with a payload of 307,000 pounds, translating to lower emissions with fewer flights needed,” it said.
Satyaki Raghunath, chief strategy & development officer at Bengaluru Airport, said: “Our airport is on track to become a world-class cargo hub, powered by a leading global logistics provider like UPS meeting the exponential growth of e-commerce and boosting trade for businesses in southern India.”
Kale Logistics, which has a cargo community system (CCS) at Bengaluru, sees significant value in the new UPS facility.
“As this is UPS’s second dedicated airport centre, it will give a great boost to the air cargo sector in southern India,” Kale CEO Amar More told The Loadstar. “This centre will fast-track [Bengaluru Airport’s] growth.”
Other global airfreight market leaders are also boosting Indian operations. DHL Express recently opened its DHL Aviation Bahrain direct freighter connection to Delhi, with six services a week. This brings the number of DHL freighter services out of Delhi to 17 a week.
“We constantly look for opportunities to expand the capacity of our dedicated air network and invest in ground infrastructure and processes to enhance our service quality to our customers,” said RS Subramanian, SVP & MD at DHL Express India.
Last year, DHL added six flights out of Bengaluru.
Industry observers believe booming e-commerce demand in India, in large part, is driving the airfreight buzz.
Delhi-based Pradhaan Air Express. a domestic all-cargo start-up airline, is set to begin operations, having taken delivery of its converted A320 aircraft last week, while Mumbai-based freight forwarder Jet Freight (JFL) is another home player looking to grab a slice of the market with a cargo airline project.
Buoyed by a record fiscal year 2021-22 performance that saw consolidated net profit swell 275%, DHL partner Blue Dart Express, India’s only freighter airline, is also looking to enhance its air capacity and ground infrastructure to meet expected demand.
“It is important to pre-determine customer needs before they even arise,” said Blue Dart MD Balfour Manuel. “We continue to remain an insanely customer-centric organisation and, therefore, innovation to deliver excellence at every touchpoint continues to remain a major priority.”
Meanwhile, MOVIN, an ‘express end-of-day’ logistics brand set up through a joint-venture between UPS and Gurgaon-based InterGlobe Enterprises, today announced it had added seven more Indian cities to its network, thus covering more than 1,000 locations for guaranteed time-definite deliveries.
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