First cargo flight carrying perishables arrived in Mumbai from Kabul
December 29, 2017: It was a historic moment at the Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) when an aircraft carrying perishables arrived in Mumbai from Kabul, Afghanistan.
The move was a part of the government of India's agenda to strengthen the bilateral trade relations between India and Afghanistan.
According to reports, the opening of a dedicated air freight corridor between the two cities was planned during the meeting between of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan in Kabul in September 2016.
It was an initiative implemented with joint efforts of the Vice-President of Afghanistan, Danish Sarwar and Governor of Maharashtra, Chennamanneni Vidyasagar Rao. The connectivity established through the airfreight corridor will provide the land-locked Afghanistan greater access to markets in Maharashtra.
Additionally, it will allow Afghan businessmen to leverage the economic growth, enhance trade networks and offer Afghan farmers direct access to the markets in western India for their perishable goods.
The Kabul-Mumbai-Kabul flight carried 40 tonnes of fresh apples, and on the outbound 20 tonnes of bananas along with 20 tonnes of fresh tomatoes.
Currently, the volume of trade between the two nations stands at about $350 million, with both governments aiming to increase it to around $1 billion in next three.
The major exports from India to Afghanistan comprises man-made filaments, articles of apparels and clothing accessories, pharmaceutical products, cereals, man-made staple fibres, dairy and poultry products and spices. While major imports from Afghanistan include fresh fruits, dried fruits/nuts, vegetable, oil seeds, precious and semi-precious stones.
The inauguration of the Kabul-Mumbai air corridor received an overwhelming response from traders on both sides. With an expected increase in the frequency of cargo exchange in the coming months facilitated by the Mumbai airport, India and Afghanistan are on the threshold of becoming long-term trade partners.