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   Vol. 16 No. 76
Friday September 29, 2017

Online Air Cargo Bazaar
Online Air Cargo Bazaar

     There has been a lot of talk on adopting technology to make air cargo more efficient. While air cargo regulators and industry stalwarts have never hesitated to talk about technology, only a handful from the industry has risen to do something.

Chennai Start Up

      Enter Air Freight Bazaar (AFB)! The Chennai start-up could well claim to be India’s air freight aggregator.
      With offices in Delhi, Mumbai, and Dubai, it provides freight forwarding rates and information related to the air cargo industry in real-time.
      Launched sometime ago, AFB is the brainchild of Nivesh Jain, Jose George, and Vinay Sethia.
      AFB’s platform aims at addressing all the needs and requirements of the air cargo industry, bringing transparency, simplicity and efficiency into the process.
      Speaking to ACNFT, Jain said:
      “We have been in the freight forwarding and import business for over two decades.
      “We have faced a lot of challenges during these years.”
      One such challenge he pointed to is the lack of “a single platform that gives consolidated global information real time.”

Putting Heads Together

      “That got the three of us thinking and we felt that there is a need to transform the logistics sector.
      “There should be more choices given to both the airlines (i.e. suppliers) and importers and exporters (customers).
      “We have enhanced our platform with a lot more features.”
      Nivesh Jain also mentioned that “our competitive edge lies in the value-added services we provide, such as user-friendly and user-defined quotation formats, printable formats of customized AWB printing, Barcode Generator, information regarding airport tariff, demurrage charges, facilities with charges, flight schedules, flight status, and AMS information.
      “We provide these services in addition to the regular ones like information on export rates, import rates, cross trade rates, India domestic rates, airport codes, and cargo tracking services.”

The Works

      Explaining how AFB works, Jain gave an example:
      “To import machinery, for instance, from China, one gets in touch with an agent who might take more than a couple of days to generate a quote from a provider.
      “There is a certain level of ambiguity involved, not to mention, the absence of real-time data,” he said.
      “In addition, there are also challenges—the first being the undercutting of prices among the parties.
      “This is where AFB can help out,” Jain said, mentioning, “our aim is to reduce the turnaround time significantly and bring down freight costs across the board.”  

Members Only

      The company works on a Membership Model with a basic annual fee of $100 charged per user-per city for its services.
      “Among AFB members are not only airlines and freight forwarders but importers and exporters, custom brokers, air charter companies, airports, warehousing agents and transporters. Jain, however, said that AFB had “multiple models of revenue—ranging from marine insurance to advertisements.”

Two Months & Counting

      “In our barely two months of existence, AFB has been able to get a sizeable membership,” Jani said, adding:
      “The response has been amazing. Organically, without any advertisements, we have over 1,200 members—all freight forwarders.
      “These are operational in eight countries: India, China, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Iran, UAE, and Qatar.
      “We will be opening up for importers and exporters soon,” he said.
      “In addition, AFB has tied up with agents “who provide us with these quotes, and depending on the choice of the customer, business can be initiated,” said George.
      The founders of AFB believe they will be able to change the air cargo business now that Air Freight Bazaar has come in.
      Said Jain, “Global logistics is one industry which has seen very little change in many years. 
      “With Air Freight Bazaar, we are certain the air cargo business will transform, for good.
      “People will get real-time information globally, at the touch of a button.
      “Freight forwarders and other vendors will now get business from different parts of the world.
      “All other services related to air cargo can be handled through one platform,” he said.

Bringing Costs In Line

      AFB said that it is also seeking to reduce the spend on logistics.
      India spends 14 percent of its GDP on logistics in comparison to the 8-9 percent spent by developed countries.
      “Today,” the AFB founders said, “air cargo stakeholders rely on emails and phone calls to make inquiries.
      “Once they start using AFB, they will understand that we are game changers.” The ADB’s founders assure the ultimate goal is to organize and digitize the logistics industry, making it more efficient and increasing its contribution to country’s GDP.
      “We look forward to cutting logistics cost and facilitating real-time information dissemination, which in turn will encourage small-scale importers and exporters to sprout up in the country.”

Tirthankar Ghosh

Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend •
Film Editor-Ralph Arend • Special Assignments-Sabiha Arend, Emily Arend • Advertising Sales-Judy Miller

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