Vol. 9  No. 113                                                     WE COVER THE WORLD                          Monday October 18, 2010


The entrance to Surat Airport

 Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Civil Aviation Praful Patel at the inauguration of the new terminal at Ahmedabad International Airport early this year.

Surat, the diamond capital of the world and the commercial capital of the state of Gujarat in India, will be able to get its cargo hub in the near future. Through its secretary, D. S. Rawat, the Associated Chamber of Commerce (ASSOCHAM), the apex body with more than 300 Chambers and Trade Associations, has sent out a request to Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel, and the state’s Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, to upgrade the existing airport in the city and set up a cargo hub.
      The immediate reason for the request is the large-scale investment the city has seen over the last year. In 2008-09, 6,645 industrial units were registered in the city. ASSOCHAM forecast that over the next few years, investments would rise, leading to jobs for more than 50,000 persons. The South Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry has made a similar demand for a cargo hub in Surat.
      Surat is well known for its textile and diamond businesses. In fact, the city polishes 9 out of every 11 diamonds in the world. The rough stones come to the city for polishing, after which they are exported. The April-February 2010 figures show that the export of cut and polished diamonds from the city had gone up by 20 percent over the same period in 2009. In the near future, the volume of diamond exports will certainly go up, primarily due to a recent move by the newly formed Surat Diamond Sourcing India Ltd (SDSIL), which could see more rough stones coming to the city’s 4,500-odd polishing units. In addition, Surat’s textile hub produces 40 percent of world-class manmade fabrics in India and exports 18 percent of it. Despite these high figures, the city lacks proper air connectivity with the rest of the country. Today, it is only linked to three destinations:       Delhi, Jaipur and Gujarat’s capital, Ahmedabad; hence the request from ASSOCHAM.
      While the ASSOCHAM secretary pointed out in his letter that "besides being the diamond capital of the world, Surat could also become hub for textiles, trade, intricate zari (silver embroidery) works, chemical industries, engineering, logistics and petrochemicals,” the South Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently met some of the leading domestic carriers of the country to ask them to start more flights to and from the city. On its part, the Airports Authority of India (AAI), which manages the airport, sent two of its officials on a survey to find out whether the airport could be upgraded and a cargo hub set up.
Tirthankar Ghosh


FRA Cargo City Moves Up

     In the next two years, an additional 27 hectares will be added to Frankfurt airport’s Cargo City South.
     “We found it necessary to increase the area for facilitating much needed logistics and air freight facilities since we are building a new runway and a passenger satellite at the former U.S. Air Base site,” states speaker Thomas Uber, about airport owner Fraport AG. This is a more than necessary and pressing endeavor, as cargo tonnage has been going through the roof for months.
     “From January until August, we had a plus of 29 percent,” stated Martin Bien, head of terminal management and cargo facilities at Fraport, at the latest meeting of the Air Cargo Club Deutschland (ACD) in Frankfurt. According to him, FRA’s volume will surpass 2 million tons in 2010, after 1.8 million last year. The airport expects an annual throughput of as many as 3.16 million tons for 2020.
     “The only big uncertainty is what effect a possible night flight curfew might have for Europe’s biggest cargo airport if imposed by the German Federal Administrative Court,” questions Uber. Aviation experts expect some cargo airlines to re-route their flights and land in Amsterdam or Paris instead. Both places, together with smaller airports like Liege,
     Cologne/Bonn, Leipzig/Halle or Frankfurt-Hahn, facilitate 24/7/365 traffic for air freight carriers.
     The first client to quit Frankfurt is U.S. integrator FedEx, which will soon move its freighter fleet from Rhein-Main to Cologne. Commencing October 27, FedEx will operate 60 flights per week out of Cologne instead of Frankfurt.
     With the new 27 hectares in the backhand, last August Fraport initiated a worldwide “Call for Expression of Interest”. This is an invitation to the logistics and air freight industry to specify their needs for space and room if they intend to build warehouses, office space or other facilities in the newly developed area at Cargo City South. So far “the feedback is very encouraging,” says Uber, with more than two dozen enterprises expressing their interest in eventually investing and settling there. The completion of the first construction phase is expected between 2013 and 2014. It will cover one third of the newly developed area.
Heiner Siegmund  


Price Fix Pales Next
To Digital Pirates

     We have been faithfully reporting for some years now about the ongoing investigations into air cargo price fixing, with the latest wrinkle of high-powered lawyers emerging on a global scale to carry forward the continued harpooning of the air cargo business. They look to uncover wrong doers whilst winning huge sums of money from the airlines for USA, EU and other government treasuries (minus their cuts).
     No doubt: this is the new world order. Liabilities unexpected just a few years ago now have many among us looking uneasily over our collective shoulders at what might be creeping up behind us.
     It’s quite difficult nowadays to know if what you are doing is legal or illegal, as the landscape is shifting at an incredibly fast rate.
     Take the “free” worldwide Internet for example.
     The amount of information online increases every second as terabyte upon terabyte of new images, songs, films and other forms of digital content are being uploaded.
     “New digital content is being created, consumed, modified, shared and disseminated virally with no loss in quality at low cost,” says Thomas Dapp, in an article he authored for Deutsche Bank Research titled, “The Pirate Inside Us: In The Depths Of Copyright.”
     “The internet is altering our requirements and our consumption habits.
     “Many consumers find themselves faced with the question of whether to buy digital content stored on a physical medium or to simply download their preferred artists or favorite films online.
     “While the sales of physical media are trending down, fans are using their computers to download individual songs or entire albums by their favorite bands.
     “The majority of files downloaded from the Internet are pirated copies since they infringe copyright.
     “This is the fate being suffered by the music and film industries, along with the computer games and digital book markets.
     “Is this solely a threat or is it also an opportunity for change?
     “The new digital era with the technological opportunities that it provides in everyday life means that suddenly millions of people can simultaneously encounter copyright issues.
     “The loss-free copying of digital content means freedom for some, while others see their artistic control over their work restricted and they lose income.
     “Furthermore, creativity is increasingly being expressed collectively. Works are being created in virtual spaces by cooperative communities.
     “With these new ways of being creative and exploiting the finished works, copyright is becoming an exceptionally explosive issue.
     “The digital age opens up new avenues for creative people to establish contact with users.
     “The digital world offers new forms of marketing.
     “The Internet enables anyone to establish direct contact with users (without an intermediary).
     “The boom in downloading and the online piracy of films, music and other copyright digital content, whether knowingly or unknowingly, has become accepted behavior for many people who otherwise conform with social norms.
     “And just between us: haven’t you also illegally downloaded music from the Internet?
     “Consumers – and especially those belonging to the young generation of so-called ‘digital natives’ – are not always aware that they are doing anything wrong.
     “They have grown up with the relevant technologies, such as computers, the Internet, mobile phones and a varied range of data formats and/or with relatively free access to digital goods.
     “Also, online piracy is virtually uncontrollable and untraceable because of the ease with which files can be exchanged and the decentralized nature of the activity.
     “If a law is difficult to enforce, then there is a risk of a decline in the general perception that committing such acts is illegal.
     “Nevertheless, although the Internet is a neutral platform, it is by no means a legal vacuum.
     “Simply because digital goods are freely accessible does not mean that they are per se free of charge.      “Richard Stallmann, the U.S. free software movement activist, never tires of reiterating that when he uses the word ‘free’ he means in the sense of ‘free speech’ and not as in ‘free beer.’”


Gabriela Ahrens

Carine Zablit

Bettina Jansen

Karen Avestruz


Puddle Jumping Lake Zurich

      I am high above the lake of Zurich, wrapped in the surprisingly low hum of two old-fashioned open engines, wrapped in the intoxicating smell of fuel, climbing at a soothingly slow pace over some of the region’s most beautiful mountains. I’m chatting away with the pilot, who is not separated from me by so much as a curtain. My general feeling? Heightened.
      I am sitting in precisely the same Sikorsky C38 water plane used by Leonardo di Caprio while playing the role of Howard Hughes in the movie “The Aviator” (Charles Lindbergh was another user of this type of aircraft).
      It is really refreshing (well, at least windy) to experience flying as it was a long time ago: boarding with neither security check nor document control, smelling an exhilarating mix of wood and metal, oil and the aroma of the two wicker chairs (!) in the passenger compartment as our beautiful flying machine takes off from the first airport of Switzerland, Dübendorf.
      Puttering along at an alarmingly slow speed, taking in the glittering lakes and shiny mountains all around us, counting the (countless) boats on the lake awaiting our return, marveling at the mixture of state-of-the-art and art-deco instruments on the tiny dashboard and infinitely enjoying the ride.
      Best of all, my adventure served a higher purpose, aimed at raising awareness of a charity which is only recently established in this country, “Luftfahrt ohne Grenzen” (aka “Wings of Help”).
      This lean and enthusiastic team delivers relief shipments of all shapes and sizes by airfreight to victims of natural and unnatural disasters by collaborating with airlines, such as mine and logistics partners on the ground.
      So after touchdown (or, in our case, splash-down), while I am on my knees rummaging through the luggage locker looking for “that yellow rope” the captain asked me to fetch so that we could be towed back to the pier, I think:
      We are already working in an industry that really makes a difference by bringing fast and reliable relief to those in desperate need of it, but still I have a feeling that there always is a little bit more we can do.
      Like finding this darned rope, for example.
      Or going to www.wingsofhelp.
Oliver Evans
Oliver Evans is chief cargo officer SWISS World Cargo.



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