During a panel discussion on ‘Leveraging Nagaland’s potential by boosting logistics’ on Saturday at the ongoing 2nd Nagaland International Trade Expo in Dimapur, the need for Naga entrepreneurs to aggregate a minimum of 23 tons of supplies and products at a single instance to attract airlines or couriers for dedicated cargo flights was brought up.
This initiative aims to enhance logistics in the region and stimulate economic growth.
Let’s break down the key points discussed during the panel:
Current Cargo Scenario
According to panelist Gheeta Sahu, Director of Dimapur Airport, the lone airport in the state currently lacks a representative from AAICLAS (Airport Authority of India Cargo Logistics and Allied Services), hindering the investment in heavy infrastructure for cargo operations.
At present, Air India and Indigo are handling cargo, but not through dedicated cargo flights.
Cargo Capacity Figures
According to Sahu, Indigo could transport around 500 kg per day in winter months (October to March) and 1000 kg during summer. Air India’s cargo figure could average around 800 kg.
Infrastructure and Investment
Sahu highlighted that there’s not enough cargo flowing through Dimapur Airport to attract AAICLAS for significant infrastructure investments.
Potential Solutions and Suggestions
Joint Secretary IDAN and Finance Department, Reny Wilfred suggested BAN (Business Association of Nagas) to compile a report on the potential quantity of cargo to support the request for a cargo terminal. According to Reny, the minimum cargo load of 23 tons was an “achievable number” for Nagaland.
Praloy Goswam, Regional Manager of Blue Dart Express Limited, Guwahati, announced plans to launch a dedicated daily cargo flight from Guwahati on January 29.
He informed that Blue Dart has acquired two new Boeing 737 aircraft with the capacity to carry 23 tons of cargo. “Now that we have started our service from Guwahati, the next logical thing would be to extend it to the other parts of the Northeast and Nagaland has immense potential. Nagaland would be a rightful choice for our next step because Manipur and all are connected to Nagaland.
“We have plans and as things develop as the ecosystem develops here volume starts increasing here in Nagaland, we will start the cargo facility from Nagaland as well,” he said.
Challenges and Proposed Solutions
Ababe Ezung, OSD to Nagaland Transport Department, highlighted a 2011 survey indicating that cargo exists but faces challenges reaching Dimapur from producing places across Nagaland.
“It is not that there is no cargo, but that the cargo from the producing places, villages across Nagaland has no way to reach Dimapur.” Ezung proposed the establishment of small airstrips across Nagaland to facilitate transportation from villages to Dimapur.
KK Sharma, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager of NFR mentioned the existence of two trains running from Shokuvi Railway Station to Guwahati twice a week. According to him, these trains could transport 4 tons of goods at a lowly charge of Rs 50 paisa per kg. The morning train would ensure that the goods arrive at Guwahati by 11 am, thereby ensuring smooth connectivity with the Blue Dart cargo flight.
In summary, the discussions at the expo underscore the importance of addressing logistical challenges, including infrastructure development, cargo aggregation, and transportation connectivity, to unlock the economic potential of Nagaland. The proposed solutions involve collaboration between stakeholders, including entrepreneurs, associations, and transportation services.