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   Vol. 16 No. 52
Thursday June 8, 2017

Afghan-India Deal Leapfrogs Pakistan

India Afghan Deal Leapfrogs Pakistan

     Starting on June 15, the first lot of Afghan goods will leave Kabul for New Delhi. According to a statement from the Afghanistan Presidential Palace on June 1, that will see the movement of goods by air on the Afghanistan-India air corridor.

Open Initiative
     The Afghanistan-India air corridor plan was conceived at Amritsar last December and entered a working stage on May 31, when a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the CEOs of Ariana Airlines and Afghanistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) in the presence of Ajmal Ahmady, senior economic advisor to the President of Afghanistan and other officials.

Cargo Leads The Way

     After the MoU, Ariana CEO Captain Nadir Omar announced the dates for the first two cargo flights to New Delhi: the first flight from Kabul to Delhi is on June 15 and the second from Kandahar to Delhi is on June 20.
     The Afghanistan government-funded air corridor program will help the private sector export their goods to India by air.
      In fact, Indian government sources have confirmed that plans had been chalked out to open not only a route between Kabul and Delhi, but also one between Kandahar and Amritsar. Incidentally, both routes will bypass Pakistan.
     The plans follow Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s decision on the sidelines of the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process or HoA-IP (part of a 14-nation process begun in 2011 to facilitate the development and security of Afghanistan) held in Amritsar in the beginning of December last year.

Indian Supermarket

Pakistan Closure Drives Deal
      The move to bypass Pakistan followed the realization that hampered trade would continue because of the political relations with Pakistan.
      A Reuters report about the Modi-Ghani meeting quoted Indian officials saying that the air cargo link would “boost the growth prospects of its fruit and carpet industries while (Afghanistan) battles a deadly Taliban insurgency.”
      The border between Pakistan and Afghanistan was closed in February this year after Pakistan claimed terrorists were using bases in Afghanistan.
      Pakistan closed its land route with Afghanistan citing border problems along the Durand Line.
      This prompted the Afghan government to tie-up with Delhi for airlifting fresh produce and fruits.
      According to ACCI, Pakistan’s closure of land routes caused immense losses to Afghan exporters.
      ACCI reported that around 40-50 percent of fresh fruits exported from Afghanistan landed in the Indian market.

Road To Nowhere
      There is a land route for trade between Afghanistan and India and it is controlled through the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), which allows Afghan trucks access to the Wagah border (near Amritsar in India).
      While Afghan goods are offloaded onto Indian trucks, APTTA does not permit loading Indian goods onto trucks for transit back to Afghanistan.

Nix Tax Aircraft At The Ready

      For its part, India has exempted Afghan produce from taxes.
      ACCI Deputy Chief Khan Jan Alokozay said the Indian government was also willing to provide planes to transport Afghanistan’s fresh fruits to India in emergency situations.
      According to the Afghan news agency, Khaama Press, the air link decision came at a time when “the main land transit route remains blocked along Durand Line located near Chaman.
      “The gate was closed after Pakistani officials claimed some of the Afghan demonstrators attacked the check post in Friendship Gate and set the Pakistani flag on fire.
      “Numerous attempts have been made to resolve the issue and reopen the crossing but no breakthrough has been made so far. Earlier, tensions intensified between the two countries on several occasions during the past, mainly due to the establishment of gates and other installations.”
      In April this year, Afghanistan complained to the World Trade Organization (WTO) about Pakistan’s “unilateral” blocking of the Durand Line and mentioned that the move had choked trade and caused damages of up to $90 million.
      “The measures taken by the government of Pakistan at the entry points at the Durand line, border with Afghanistan, were tantamount to a total ban of trade between the two countries,” Dr. Suraya Dalil, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN office at Geneva, told the WTO Council for Trade in Goods.

All About Upping Trade

      Today, there is little trade between India and Afghanistan.
     India’s bilateral trade with Afghanistan was $684.47 million in 2014-15, an increase of 0.20 percent over $683.10 million a year earlier, and 20.41 percent higher than $568.44 million in 2010-11.
      India’s exports to Afghanistan in 2014-15 were valued at $422.56 million, while its imports from that country were worth $261.91 million.

Air India Freighter Moves

      Air India has, in fact, increased capacity to Kabul by pressing into service a Boeing 747-400 craft on select days in the coming weeks, primarily to ferry cargo. The airline currently flies four times weekly using an Airbus 320. In a bid to clear the pending cargo, the Boeing 747-400 craft would be deployed to fly on seven days during May and June. An Air India official said that the 747 can accommodate at least 40 tons of cargo.
Tirthankar Ghosh


Constellation at Hahn

airplane bullet   Frankfurt-based ACD Aircargo Club Germany has planned one more meeting before closing down its regular monthly meetings for summer break 2017.
    On June 13, “The Group” takes a sentimental journey with a look ahead. From 16 to 1900 hours, conferees will meet at Frankfurt Hahn and catch up on the latest activities of the gateway, which is still seeking its greater future.
    Not that there has been bad news from “The Hahn” lately, as John Kohlsaat reported a 41 percent rise in first quarter cargo business to 23,700 tons.
    While those numbers may not set the world on fire, the figures are headed in the right direction.
    Looking ahead, ACD meets on September 12 from 16:00-19:30 at LSG, Jean-Gardner-Batten-Strasse 5 (Gateway Gardens) at
    Frankfurt am Main.
    More: http://www.aircargoclub.de/en/


airplane bullet    The news Monday that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Egypt, and the Maldives broke off diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar—accusing the country of supporting terrorism—has been described as “the worst diplomatic crisis to hit Gulf Arab States in decades.”

Alexandre de Juniac
    On Tuesday IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac spoke up, urging Gulf countries that have cut ties with Qatar to restore services.
    “Of course we accept that countries have the right to close their borders.
    “But connectivity with Qatar must be restored as quickly as possible,” the IATA DG told Agence France-Presse at the IATA annual meetings being held this week in Cancun, Mexico.
    “We hope the crisis will disappear and aviation will go back to normal,” Abdul Wahab Teffaha, head of the Arab Air Carriers Organization, told AFP in Cancun.
USA Interests Weigh In

    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he does not expect the action to sever ties with Qatar will have a significant effect on the fight against terrorism.
    Secretary Tillerson, who moved over to the U.S. State Department after serving as CEO of Exxon/Mobil, also said he hopes the nations will “sort out their differences.”
    In addition to the presence of more than 10,000 Americans at the Udeid Air Base, from which more than 100 aircraft operate, on April 25 the U.S. Department of Energy gave its approval for export of domestically produced LNG by Golden Pass Products, a joint Qatar (70 percent) and Exxon Mobile (30 percent) company.
    The 20-year deal allows Golden Pass Products to export up to 2.21 billion cubic feet of LNG per day from the U.S. (Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, and Maryland) to non free-trade agreement countries.
    That activity reportedly will create 45,000 new jobs over the next five years and position the U.S. to become the dominant LNG exporter in the world.

airplane bullet    Hands across the table…
    Delta and Aeromexico have been partners for 22 years.
    Now, with regulatory approval, Delta can launch a cash tender offer for acquisition of up to 49 percent of Grupo Aeromexico S.A.B. de C.V., capital stock.
    While all of that is underway, air cargo at both carriers is moving swiftly to combine services and cut costs.

Rafael Figueroa and Gareth Joyce
    “By working together on the cargo side we can really provide a seamless logistics experience in the U.S. and Mexico,” said Gareth Joyce, (R) Delta’s President – Cargo & Senior Vice President – Airport Customer Service.
    Rafael Figueroa, (L) CEO Aeromexico Cargo, added: “Aeromexico and Delta as partners have the largest, most comprehensive and expanding air cargo network in the U.S.-Mexico market.”
    The agreement will coordinate flight and combine trucking options and also integrate technologies.
    The carriers are launching joint sales and marketing initiatives in both countries and also cohabiting warehouses in Mexico, Boston, New York-JFK, Miami, San Francisco, and Chicago, with Orlando and Detroit opening later this summer, the airlines said.
    In a related development, Delta said it added DASH Critical & Medical to San Francisco (SFO) on June 1, 2017.  


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Letter for June 5, 2017

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