Blue Dart confident of its network and strategy

Fresh from picking up the Regional Express Provider of the Year award at the annual Payload Asia Awards 2013, Blue Dart Express, India’s leading domestic integrated express company says it’s confident its unique air network and outsourced ground delivery service is well placed to ride out the current economic malaise and continue its growth track as the economy recovers. By Donald Urquhart.

Blue Dart confident of its network and strategy

Currently Blue Dart estimates it has an air express market share of nearly 52 per cent and is the only domestic express company having its own aircraft fleet. While other major players are in the market Khanna notes it is a highly fragmented market with nearly 3,500 players. On the ground side it has an express market share of about 14 per cent with the entire vehicle fleet operated by long-time, third party vendors whose vehicles all ply under Blue Dart branding.

Expansion plans

While fleet expansion is definitely in the cards, timing is crucial. “Right now we are managing with whatever fleet we have and the commercial uplift for the remainder, but whenever we see it’s the right time, we will add. So it’s not that we aren’t going to add, just a matter of when – if not in 2014, definitely in 2015 we will need more aircraft.” This includes he adds, the possibility of moving up to B767 freighters, but this is still under evaluation.

As for geographic scope, Sri Lanka is a market Blue Dart has looked at a number of times, but the problem is the imbalance, with little in the way of return loads back to India, creating a 30-40 per cent load imbalance. The company has and will continue to do charters out of the Bangladesh market when peak demand for textiles requires it. “Going forward we would probably look at doing international operations – Hong Kong into India, or India into Dubai – something that complements the DHL network,” Khanna said.