First shipper uses new land-air corridor to India for exports from Bangladesh

Inditex appears to be the first shipper to use a new land-air corridor from Bangladesh via India following a bilateral agreement.

The first freighter service, a 747-8F operated by Atlas Air, took off Monday from Delhi Airport for Zaragoza in Spain, where Inditex operates a logistics center and carries around 124 tons of cargo.

The shipment consisted mainly of ready-made garments (RMG), the mainstay of Bangladesh’s export trade, which has increased its market share as global importers increasingly seek alternative markets to do business with China. Booked RMG exports from Bangladesh for H1 increased by 15.5% yoy.

The first transhipment from Bangladesh to Delhi involved a five-day journey by road with a fleet of about 20 trucks, according to industry sources.

The shipment followed an attempt made by Delhi Air Cargo on March 3 under the cross-border transhipment agreement. Indian transshipment connectivity is a major boost for Bangladeshi exporters suffering direct/reliable supply chain constraints. Delhi Airport has extensive international flight connections and a wider market reach than Dhaka.

However, in the coming month, the cost of land transport in Bangladesh is expected to increase as Ramadan begins. Yesterday, truck rates in Chittagong rose between 40% and almost 100%.

Chowdhury Zafar Ahmed, secretary-general of the Association of Van Truck Prime Mover Covered Cargo Owners Association in Bangladesh, said some truckers are now charging up to $450 for a trip from Chittagong to Dhaka, instead of around $240.

He added that trucks and wagons now charge around US$200 to transport cargo from Chittagong to Dhaka or the Narayanganj garment district, compared to US$150 yesterday.

“The supply of export freight is now very tight. Some truckers are now charging two-way rates (backhaul and fronthaul) even though they are only transporting goods one way,” he added.

Ramadan in Bangladesh begins tonight and ends April 20, when interest rates are expected to fall again.

Road access between India and Bangladesh has been greatly improved thanks to a 1.9km bridge over the Feni River that now connects Sabroom (Tripura) in India to Ramgarh in Bangladesh, offering a shorter and more economical alternative route.

Handling cargo from Bangladesh by sea and air could also increase cargo volumes for Indian gateways and support New Delhi’s goal of developing a regional trade hub.

Vineet Malhotra, co-founder and director of Kale Logistics Solutions, tells The loading star The Delhi Air Corridor offers significant growth potential for Bangladesh’s export industry, adding that the Indian air cargo industry is on the cusp of major development and transformation due to increased government focus on airport expansion.

“India is currently the seventh largest civil aviation market in the world and is expected to become the third largest within the next 10 years,” he noted. “Airlines operating out of India are now finding it more profitable to carry cargo and increase their range of cargo aircraft with dedicated infrastructure and digital platforms such as air cargo community systems.”

Mumbai Airport has reported a nearly 30% increase in total cargo volume this year, with international cargo increasing by 26% and domestic shipments by 40%. Bangalore Airport also experienced strong cargo growth, becoming the country’s leading perishable handler. Source: The Loading Star

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