Express companies in India may manage own ground handling
India’s civil aviation ministry is considering a plan to allow express companies to operate their own ground handling operations at major airports in the country, according to a report this week in the Business Standard.
Companies like Blue Dart, India’s biggest courier company and now a part of DHL, as well as UPS would welcome the news, as they have grown tired of having their shipments handled by third parties at key cargo hubs like Delhi and Mumbai.
Blue Dart initiated conversation with the aviation ministry after the government agency announced a new ground handling policy would come into effect Jan. 1, a policy Blue Dart considered inadequate to meet cargo carrier’s needs. The government, which has enlisted PriceWaterhouseCoopers to undertake an examination of nationwide ground handling policy, admitted that it may allow major companies to handle their own shipments in dedicated facilities, much as takes place in the United States and Europe.
“The proposed ground handling policy would significantly impact the quality of air express airline operations and render the business untenable,” Tulsi Mirchandaney, managing director of Blue Dart, told the newspaper. “We would recommend a review of the policy to exclude air express airline operations because of the special needs of the segment that are completely different from the passenger segment and because of the significant role air express cargo plays in trade facilitation within the country and across borders.”
The report suggested that India’s express cargo industry has grown at a slower rate than in developed nations partially because of a lack of dedicated infrastructure and because of poor ground handling performance. The industry is valued at between $1 billion and $2 billion in India, compared to $95 billion in the United States.