INDIAN AIR CARGO SUPPLEMENT~ The Indian infrastructure crunch

While progress has been in righting India's woefully inadequate transport infrastructure and outdated regulatory and business regimes, is it fast enough and forward thinking enough to keep up with the rapid economic growth?

If there was a singularly clear message from from the delegates attending the recent Air Cargo India conference and exhibition in Mumbai, it was that planning and development of India’s air cargo and overall logistics infrastructure must be based on long term growth forecasts and not current or near-term growth.

"Too much of India’s infrastructure has been planned around short-sighted growth forecasts,"noted one air cargo executive.

"There’s a saying that in India once you’ve built something its already out of date,"he added.

While speaker after speaker acknowledged that meaningful progress had been made, it was not fast enough nor was itsubstantial enough.

Highest landed costs

India currently has one of the highest landed logistics costs anywhere in the world, nearly 13 per cent of GDP compared with Germany for instance, at about 8 per cent of GDP, according to Ram Menen, senior vice president at Emirates SkyCargo, speaking at the ACI event.

This is due to inefficiencies at various levels, including slowness of roads, lack of widespread technology, slow turnaround times at sea and airports, administrativedelays, fractured political environment and bureaucracy, to name only a few.India is made up of 28 states, each witha border that is often regarded as beingsimilar to that between two countries,he noted.