The sixth edition of AIR CARGO INDIA, the most popular and the best networked global biennial trade exhibition cum conference of the air cargo industry in India that just concluded recently in Mumbai saw the largest gathering of shippers ever to attend any air cargo event in world.
The Air Shippers’ Forum, themed ‘Forum for facilitating Indian exporters and importers’, on February 24, the second day of the three-day event, was hosted by Frankfurt Airport and supported by Federation of Indian Export Organisation (FIEO). The record turnout surpassed the total number of attendees and the number of shippers who participated in the previous Air Shippers’ Forums held both in AIR CARGO INDIA and AIR CARGO AFRICA.
Of the total 140 participants present for the session this year, 85 of them were shippers representing different export segments from around India. There were also other air cargo industry stakeholders from around the world present for the one-of-its-kind forum launched by STAT Media Group at the fifth edition of AIR CARGO INDIA in 2014. Air Cargo India pioneered the unique concept of putting shippers at the heart of air cargo supply chain conversations. It was a STAT Media Group initiative to bring shippers to matters where they matter. The unique concept was also tried out in the third edition of AIR CARGO AFRICA in 2015 in Johannesburg.
“The Air Shippers’ Forum exceeded our expectations in many ways,” said Dirk Schusdziara, Senior Vice President Cargo, Fraport AG (the Frankfurt Airport Company). “First of all, we were overwhelmed and very pleased with the number of Indian shippers who attended the event. Our idea was to facilitate the session jointly with FIEO and STAT Trade Times and to start a dialogue between manufacturers, airports, airlines, governmental bodies and other members of the global supply chain. The lively discussions during the session demonstrated a huge interest of the participants in this dialogue and we see the event as a start of lots of fruitful meetings to come where open issues relating to import and export processes can be tackled and hopefully solved,” added Schusdziara, who was also a speaker on the panel that had representatives both from trade and government regulatory bodies.
Schusdziara acknowledged that the forum was a confirmation of the importance of the need for an enhanced dialogue between manufacturers/shippers and Frankfurt Airport in order to inform the supply chain managers of offerings and ways to ease and to speed up the process via the global logistics hub at Frankfurt. “Our aim is to make air freight even more competitive and Frankfurt the preferred gateway for global air cargo shipping,” he said.
The session moderated by Roland Weil, Vice President Sales Cargo, Fraport, had panelists representing both the trade and the government regulatory organisations. They included M Thakur, joint Director General of Foreign Trade, Government of India; Prasad Sahu, commissioner (Information Technology) Central Board of Excise & Customs, Ministry of Finance; Dr Sudhanshu, deputy general manager, Agricultural & Processed Food Products Development Authority (APEDA); Krishna Mhaskar, vice president & secretary Foreign Exchange Dealers Association of India; Jayan T, executive manager, Worldwide Logistics - India, John Deere.
Des Vertannes, Retired Air Cargo executive and former Global Head of Cargo at IATA, played an active role in the forum to steer the debate in the right direction so that shippers benefit to the maximum. Commenting on the Air Shippers’ Forum, Vertannes said: “It was extremely satisfying to engage with the largest collection of shippers ever to attend an air cargo conference during Air Cargo India 2016. Their vocal passion to understand and overcome existing roadblocks was clearly evident so I am confident they will be the driving influence along with the users of e-commerce in the evolution of the air cargo supply chain by the turn of this decade.” “The participation of government and regulatory officials is key to highlighting the value of air cargo as the pillar of sustaining human life and the driver to economic prosperity and job creation,” he added.
The sixth edition of AIR CARGO INDIA also attracted more delegates and visitors than its previous edition in 2014. There were 434 delegates and 3450 trade visitors. 70 leading companies exhibited their products and services at the three-day event held in Grand Hyatt in Mumbai from February 23 to 25.