Pain Points of Air Logistics

From the point of view of Airline Industry in India, 20% the total revenue comes from Air Cargo Services. For the purpose of comparison with the rest of the world, India lags behind as the world’s average is more than one-third of total revenue. Why is it so? India is a growing country, has the potential to become a super power, yet these statistics are not favourable. What are the hurdles that are dragging us behind?

For starters, airports were developed primarily from passenger stand point of view in India, and thus requirement of cargo facility development was not taken seriously. Cargo infrastructure at any airport is just not the cargo terminal building that houses the warehouse but also the related facilities including special facilities for express freight, frozen foods, airmail, and hazardous goods. In other words, the infrastructure facility of airports are inadequate as well as overloaded.

airport traffic

Let’s look at some of the key challenges that India is facing with regards to Air logistics:

  1. There are many gaps in Key facility infrastructure at Cargo terminals in Gateway airports, like these –
Global best practices Cargo operations in India
Segregated facilities for different types of cargo Most terminals don’t offer separate facilities, except cold rooms
Dedicated and specialized perishable handling facilities that cater to end to-end supply chain needs Inadequate investments in cold chain infrastructure (temp-controlled warehouses, trucks) to handle agricultural, pharma and other perishable commodities
Proper waiting area for trucks Agents use the cargo terminal landside as a truck parking / holding area, leading to congestion
Agent warehouses, office spaces and other processing facilities close to cargo terminal Agent warehouse are often located within the city
  1. There are inadequate X-ray screening facilities and also lack of associated trained manpower
  2. There is also an absence of off-site facility such as Air Freight Station (AFS) for cargo processing
  3. Special Cargo Infrastructure does not exist, not even in the major cities
  4. Cold chain facilities are in dire need for improvement
  5. There is a high turnaround time because of lack of skilled and Diploma/Graduate staff
  6. Security arrangements for the air cargo complex are not up to par as per global standards
  7. Requirement of 100% export shipment examination leads to delay
  8. Often there is duplication of documentation resulting because of multiple agencies exchanging shipments across its transit life
  9. Transhipment is a very cumbersome process
  10. Lack of close supervision during cargo offloading at truck dock
  11. Packaging quality is, again, not up to the global standards
  12. Restricted working hours lead to delay in cargo clearance

It is to be noted that, even though the above problems seem to be infrastructure and regulatory issue related, efficiency of air logistics in India can be improved with support from all the concerned players – airlines, air cargo terminal operators, ground handling service providers, integrated express service providers, forwarders, domestic cargo transport service providers and custom house agents. In simple words, the governing body of air cargo services cannot do it alone.

This report has mentioned many such problems in the air logistics industry and has also recommended a set of solutions that would require initiatives from all the above players. We urge you to read it if you found our article interesting.


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