Category Archives: Aviation

Customs brokers facilitate trade with legal compliance: IFCBA

“Customs brokers play a key role in securing borders for the seamless movement of supply chains and facilitating trade with legal compliance at the national level,” says Shankar Shinde, Chairman, International Federation of Customs Brokers Associations (IFCBA) during a meet held at the World Customs Organization (WCO) headquarters in Brussels on June 3-4 wherein members from 12 countries with 40 delegates gathered.  The meeting underscored the collaborative spirit and mutual goals shared by both organizations.  “This collaboration with the WCO is crucial for creating a transparent, reliable, and trust-based environment in the ecosystem. It builds confidence through better understanding and supports the significant role played by the WCO in partnering with the IFCBA at the international level,” Shinde added. WCO Secretary General Ian Saunders welcomed the representatives, emphasizing the WCO’s theme for the year, “Customs Engaging Traditional and New Partners With Purpose.” As a longstanding partner of the WCO, the IFCBA brings fresh insights and expertise on diverse topics, including the review of the Harmonized System of Tariff Classification, developments in Rules of Origin, the challenges posed by E-Commerce, initiatives for Green Customs, and strategies for Business Resilience. Delegates engaged in fruitful discussions with WCO subject matter experts on each of these critical subjects. Highlighting the IFCBA’s active participation in the WCO Private Sector Consultative Group (PSCG), PSCG Chair Jaime King from Mexico presented the group’s ongoing work and initiatives. A major topic of interest among customs brokers globally is education, focusing on enhancing the knowledge base of IFCBA members and exploring opportunities for global certification. This meeting provided a platform for in-depth discussions with representatives from the WCO Academy regarding potential educational collaborations.

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Blue Dart starts drone deliveries with Skye Air

Blue Dart has successfully launched drone deliveries in collaboration with Skye Air, a leader in drone technology. This move marks a significant advancement towards cleaner and more efficient delivery solutions. Building on their pioneering VLOS trials in Vikarabad, Hyderabad, in September 2021, and BVLOS trials under the Telangana Government’s ‘Medicine from the Sky’ initiative, Blue Dart continues to lead in utilizing drone technology for logistics.Initially focusing on the growing e-commerce sector, this innovative approach is set to revolutionize last-mile delivery by offering same-day delivery for shipments, significantly reducing delivery time and environmental impact. This milestone achievement notably coincided with World Environment Day, emphasizing Blue Dart’s commitment to sustainable logistics practices. On this initiative, Balfour Manuel, Managing Director, Blue Dart, says, “The logistics sector in India is experiencing an exhilarating phase. The nation’s robust economic growth, coupled with the aspirations of its consumers and growth in Tier 2 & Tier 3 cities, has significantly boosted purchasing power. This surge in demand emphasizes the need for innovative solutions that drive growth while ensuring efficiency and sustainability. As we witness the marvel of drone technology, we eagerly anticipate extending this service further, with plans to cover additional pin codes in subsequent stages with our partners.”

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Etihad Cargo enhances e-booking connectivity with K+N Logistics

  Etihad Cargo has established a direct eBooking integration with global logistics provider Kuehne+Nagel. This strategic collaboration is the latest step in Etihad Cargo’s digitalisation journey, further streamlining the booking experience for its partners and customers and expanding its portfolio of eBooking integrations, which already includes industry leaders such as cargo.one, WebCargo, CargoWise and CargoAI. Etihad Cargo’s direct integration with Kuehne+Nagel leverages advanced web services developed by both companies, providing Kuehne+Nagel with seamless access to real-time capacity and pricing across Etihad Cargo’s network. This move is designed to offer greater transparency, efficiency, and flexibility in the booking process, ensuring faster and more reliable cargo services. “Etihad Cargo’s integration with Kuehne+Nagel represents another milestone in the carrier’s commitment to digital innovation and operational excellence,” said Stanislas Brun, Vice President Cargo at Etihad Cargo. “By providing Kuehne+Nagel with direct access to Etihad Cargo’s network’s real-time data, this integration enhanced their ability to make informed booking decisions, streamline operations, and ultimately deliver superior service to their customers. Etihad Cargo will continue to prioritise the carrier’s digital connectivity and development, ensuring technological advancements keep pace with industry demands and further elevate service standards.”

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Skye Air secures $4 mn. funding to boost pharma, healthcare deliveries

Skye Air, a drone logistics solution provider has secured $4 million (about Rs 34 crore) funding, which will be used to expand the company’s operations across Gurugram and other cities for healthcare, and quick-commerce deliveries. The Series A funding was achieved with backing from Mount Judi Ventures, Chiratae Ventures, Venture Catalyst, Windrose Capital, and Tremis Capital. Faad Capital, Misfits Capital, Hyderabad Angels, Soonicorn Ventures and other existing investors, family offices and angels also participated in the funding round. The fresh capital will help the company expand its last-mile network across Gurugram and other cities for healthcare, e-commerce, and quick-commerce deliveries,” said Ankit Kumar, Founder & CEO of Skye Air in a statement. He added that with the Modi 3.0 government at the centre stage, the company envisages a plethora of growth coming in the Indian drone sector, which will make Bharat a global drone hub by 2030. Maple Capital Advisors were the exclusive financial advisors to the company for the transaction. LexStart Partners were the legal counsel for the company. Skye Air said it is also the creator of Skye UTM, an advanced Unmanned Traffic Management system, which manages drone traffic, ensures safety, and facilitates efficient communication between drones and air traffic controls.

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‘Govt., terminal operators & airlines must build confidence in AFS’

Vipin Vohra, Chairman, Continental Carriers stressed, “The concept of air freight station (AFS) is new in the industry. It is being misunderstood by various departments and terminal operators. They have different charges—for the airlines as well as AFS operators. This is making AFS operations more expensive. The airlines are reluctant to offer pallets, we have spent 12 years to get permission for AFS, but the confidence of the airlines to use the AFS is low. This concept is very popular across the world. In India. I do not know why the concept is not being accepted. This is going to hurt the industry in the coming years. The way the cargo is going to increase, if there are no more AFSs, the industry will suffer a lot. Even the customs charges are high. The policy needs to be changed and then only we are going to survive.”  

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ESR acquires additional 27 acres of land to expand existing logistics park in Chennai

ESR Group has acquired an additional 27 acres of land to expand its existing industrial and logistics park at Oragadam in Chennai, says release. The enlarged area of ESR Oragadam Industrial and Logistics Park now spans 107 acres with a development potential of 2.5 million square feet. “The additional Rs 276 crore (over USD 33 million) investment signifies ESR’s dedication to bolstering Tamil Nadu’s industrial landscape,” states company’s official statement. ESR Oragadam Industrial & Logistics Park is strategically located in the heart of the Oragadam-Sriperumbudur cluster, which has witnessed robust growth in demand for Grade A assets. This latest expansion builds upon the success of ESR Oragadam’s first two phases, which have welcomed many high-quality customers, such as electromechanical solutions provider CUBIC, automotive research and development firm A2Mac1, and speciality labelling company CCL.

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‘Indian IATA agents must stand & collaborate with each other as domain experts’

“Freight forwarders, especially the Indian IATA agents, must understand their own importance as domain experts who could make a lot of difference to the trading community, rather than just focusing on rates and credits,” says Samir J Shah, Director, JBS Jeena Logistics. “Since the Indian freight forwarders don’t project themselves as domain experts, it has resulted in other international stakeholders looking down upon us. To avoid this situation and to be able to perform better, I feel it’s high time we start supporting each other rather than being competitors because unless we go out and tell the world about our capabilities, their view of us is not going to change,” Shah adds. Today, international custodians, they take us for granted. Customs officials at the top levels are trying their best to bring in changes, but there’s so much resistance at the lower level, which unfortunately is supported by us because we as normal IATA agents are not in a position, because of so many market forces, and the way international exporters behave with us, we are not in a position to stand up and say, no, it’s not possible. So I think we might still have to undergo a little bit more trouble before we all start realizing that we are indispensable and we can show the rest of the stakeholders our usefulness, our utility and the fact that they need to understand that without us, their cargoes are not going to move,” he adds.

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Pidge joins ONDC to boost e-commerce deliveries across India

Logistics technology provider Pidge has joined the government-run Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) to accelerate e-commerce growth, specifically hyperlocal and same-city deliveries across India, says reports. By utilizing Pidge’s extensive network, which includes over 200 regional and national partners, the initiative seeks to increase e-commerce penetration beyond the current 5% level in the country.

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Lufthansa Cargo launches freighter flights from Munich

Lufthansa Cargo is all set to expand its regional freighter network in July with the additional flights from Munich Airport for the first time, says release. The German cargo carrier said the flights will start on July 6, utilising its Airbus A321 freighters to connect Munich with Istanbul twice a week. Customers can already start booking flights on the service which will operate on Saturdays and Sundays with the flight numbers LH8350/LH8351 and LH8346/LH8347. Ashwin Baht, Chief Executive, Lufthansa Cargo said, “For our southern German customers in particular, Munich Airport offers ideal conditions for the fast and reliable transportation of airfreight, which ultimately also enables global business from another important European airport. With the launch of our cargo operations out of Munich, we are laying the foundation for aligning our network even more closely with the needs of our customers in the future and continuing to manage it flexibly.”

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IndiGo Cargo to expand capacity in India with A350Fs in 3 years

“In the next three years, we have got significant capacity coming in. IndiGo will be going into wide-body space with the A350, which presents a greater opportunity for cargo,” says Mark Sutch, CCO- Cargo, IndiGo. He adds, “The challenge I see in the short term is the imbalance between trade flows in India. For example, from the east, from China and North Asia, there’s a lot of import into India, and less export. To the west, there’s a lot of export out of India, particularly perishables and pharma into the west but on the import side, it’s slightly lighter. I think in the medium to long term, this will change significantly. Indian manufacturing is going to go up the value chain. Let’s take high-value goods such as mobile phones or tablets. China has been the center of manufacturing for those. But you now see quite a lot of China plus one strategy where organizations are moving their manufacturing to India. A lot of that is now for Indian domestic consumption. But in the next few years, that will also be for export purposes.”

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