Embracing digitalisation for a better tomorrow

In Conversation With Tushar Jani, Chairman, Cargo Service Centre

Air cargo veteran Tushar Jani, Chairman, Cargo Service Center has seen the industry transpiring through several ups and downs in his four-decade-long career. In the current scenario, Mr Jani feels digitalization of processes has become the need of the hour for the air cargo industry as now demands of clients are not just restricted to the booking of space in airlines and handling of documentation. He believes the air cargo industry should prove its value proposition by going beyond the client’s expectations. Mr Jani also wishes all his fellow industry professionals for the success of the upcoming 45th ACAAI Convention. Excerpts:

Recently, Union Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman has announced in a press conference that Union Government is working on a digital initiative to display turn-around-time of airports and ports on a real-time basis. How this initiative will help in bringing down dwell time of cargo and increasing operational efficiency at Indian airports?

The digitalisation initiatives of the union government have brought a huge positive change in the handling of cargo at airports and seaports across India. It has also reduced the human intervention up to some extent. It is very evident that the dwell time of cargo at airports has been reduced by 1/3rd of the time taken in the earlier regime. Further initiatives in this direction will help in ease of doing business, reducing transaction cost, multiplying infrastructure; and India will be able to have a bigger share in the international trade which the government wishes to triple in the upcoming times.

Digital disruption has become a catalyst for change in almost every industry. How do you foresee the Indian air cargo sector embracing digitalisation in comparison to the international air cargo sector?

Distribution is a way of life and Indian cargo sector cannot remain far away from this phenomenon. Digitalisation has already started in some pockets of the air cargo sector in India. And I believe, in the next few years, we will witness the Indian air cargo sector embracing cargo digitalisation in a big way.

Global air freight business is going through a rough phase in the current situation. In such a scenario, how do you think can global air cargo business be revived back to the growth path? Please comment.

In the current situation, countries are proactively engaging themselves in protectionist measures and building boundaries to protect their own businesses. The global trade is being clearly impacted by the growing protectionism tendency and anti-trade measures such as imposing tariffs,
restricting imports and strict regulations. We believe the prevailing global, political and economic situation will get stabilised soon and countries will put the perspective of international trade in the right manner. Revival
will happen through various routes including forming a consortium of countries to tackle the present situation.

What are your expectations from the Ministry of Civil Aviation which can take air cargo sector on a growth trajectory?

In the transportation sector, no single mode of transport can see growth unless the multimodal system of transportation is developed in the country. Union government has to create a conducive environment for growth multimodal between air and road transport and create the path and corridors both in the virtual and physical sense to bring growth in the air cargo sector. India is a huge consumption market and we have a large population of youth in our country. So, it’s obvious that consumption will always remain on the higher side and it demands new innovative, disruptive and digitalised logistics processes. In order to evolve these processes, the government will have to act as a catalyst by making enabling policies for the betterment of the sector.

You have more than 4 decades of industry experience and are known for navigating organisations through complex situations. Could you please share some words of wisdom on how to steer clear through a tough business situation?

Complex situations always erupt in any growing economy or an organisation. I believe, the key to surviving in such a situation is by keeping
clarity on the path one is ought to take and the benefit it will bring to the trade at large and to the country. If one keeps such clarity, then in a country like India, any complex situation can be handled with ease. And, one comes in a position to evolve new sets of businesses and opportunities.

ACAAI is organising its 45th Annual Convention in Phuket, Thailand on the theme ‘End-to-end logistics: the way forward’. How does an industry association like ACAAI help in the growth of the air cargo sector and solve issues being faced by the sector? What message would you like to give to air cargo fraternity of India?

ACAAI is an institution which has nurtured air cargo sector over a period and I’m happy they are discussing ‘End to end logistics – the way forward’ in their 45th annual convention. Discussions on Total Distribution Cost have become very relevant in the present competitive environment. In this era of digitalisation, I would like to say to my friends and colleagues in the industry that the time has come to prove our value service proposition to our clients beyond just booking space with an airline or handling their documentation. Clients need much more service than what we are offering and the big challenge is that they are not in a position to offer you higher
charges for services. We all have to embrace digitalisation in a big way and survive in this competitive disruptive world. I wish good luck to all air cargo agents and have a successful convention this year.

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