Indian Exporters Challenged with Bangladeshi Shipments Clogging IGI Airport

delhi air cargo

In the bustling town of Ambur, Tamil Nadu, Imran, a logistics manager, faces an unexpected challenge. Despite being miles away from Bangladesh, the country’s garment industry is casting a shadow over his daily operations. The influx of Bangladeshi garments transiting through Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) en route to Europe and the US has created a space crunch for Indian exporters like Imran, making it increasingly difficult to secure room for their shipments.

This surge in Bangladeshi exports via Delhi stems from geopolitical disruptions in cargo movement through the Red Sea. Since February 2023, Bangladesh has shifted its garment exports route to Delhi, redirecting them from Kolkata. While this move may have eased Bangladesh’s export woes, it has led to congestion at Delhi airport and a significant spike in air freight rates, creating a difficult operating environment for Indian exporters.

The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) is advocating for solutions to alleviate the burden on Indian exporters. Suggestions include implementing a “landing charge” on Bangladeshi cargo and collaborating with airlines to increase capacity, thereby reducing freight costs and preventing shipment delays.

Echoing these concerns, the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) has urged the government to suspend transshipment of Bangladeshi export cargo via Delhi’s air cargo complex. They argue that this practice undermines the competitiveness of India’s local industry and exacerbates logistical challenges for Indian exporters.

Indian exporters, already grappling with the fallout from the Red Sea crisis, now face increased transportation costs and delays in cargo handling. The situation is worsened by severe congestion at Delhi Airport’s cargo terminal, further impacting the competitiveness of India’s apparel industry.

The space constraints at Delhi airport have cascading effects on other Indian airports, exacerbating an already dire situation. With air freight rates skyrocketing due to the Red Sea crisis, Indian exporters find themselves in a double jeopardy scenario, struggling to secure space and manage escalating costs.

As stakeholders seek solutions to alleviate congestion and reduce freight costs, the need for collaborative efforts and proactive measures becomes increasingly apparent to safeguard India’s export interests in the global market. In the face of these challenges, Imran and other logistics professionals across India navigate the intricate web of global trade, striving to ensure the smooth flow of goods amidst turbulent times.

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