Just earlier this week, Logistics Insider posted about the departure of the first freighter carrying cargo from Bangladesh to Europe via India. The first shipper to leverage the newly operational land-air corridor from Bangladesh to India was Inditex, and the cargo shipped by them consisted of mainly readymade garments amounting to 124 mt. A trial run for the corridor was done by the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) on 3rd March, following which the full freighter departed this week.
The first freighter service, a 747-8F operated by Atlas Air, departed from Delhi Airport on Monday for Zaragoza in Spain, where Inditex has a logistics centre. Readymade garments – the linchpin of Bangladesh’s export trade – has expanded its market share, as global importers increasingly search for alternatives to China. Booked RMG exports from Bangladesh for the first half are up 15.5%, year on year.
The transshipment cargo arrived in Delhi from Bangladesh in a convoy of around 20 trucks, completing the journey in 5 days. It was then processed at the Çelebi-operated terminal of Delhi International Airport, under the cross-border transhipment arrangement. Considering that Delhi Airport has a bigger flight network and wider market reach than Dhaka, the Indian transhipment connectivity is a big boost for Bangladesh exporters reeling under direct/reliable supply chain constraints
However, for the coming month, the cost of land transport in Bangladesh is expected to spike as Ramadan begins. Yesterday, trucking rates in Chittagong increased between 40% and nearly 100%. These trucks and covered vans were now charging about $200 to carry cargo to Dhaka, or garment district Narayanganj, from Chittagong, compared with $150 yesterday.
Road access between India and Bangladesh has seen significant improvement, thanks to a 1.9-km bridge over the Feni River that now connects Sabroom (Tripura) in India with Ramgarh in Bangladesh, providing a shorter and more economical alternate route. Transhipping Bangladesh cargo by sea and air routes could also bump up cargo volumes for Indian gateways, bolstering New Delhi’s goal of regional trade hub development.
Indian air cargo industry is on the cusp of major development and transformation because of a heavier government focus on airport expansion. Airlines operating out of India are now finding it more viable to carry cargo and increase their supply of freighters with dedicated infrastructure and digital platforms like air cargo community systems in place.
Likewise, Mumbai Airport has reported a near 30% increase in overall cargo volumes this year, with international freight up 26% and domestic shipments up 40%. Bangalore Airport has also seen strong cargo growth, emerging as the top perishables handler in the country.