Bird-UTi JV to run export cargo terminal at Delhi airport

Bird-UTi JV to run export cargo terminal at Delhi airport

Mumbai: A joint venture of Bird Travels Pvt. Ltd and UTi Worldwide (India) Ltd has won a licence to operate the export cargo terminal at the Delhi airport from the Delhi International Airport (Pvt.) Ltd (DIAL), a consortium of the GMR Group and Fraport AG.

The cargo handling business is expected to grow on the back of an economy thatexpanded at more than 9% in 2006-07 and in the first quarter of this fiscal. At least 15 bidders were in the race for the licence.

Hawk Cargo & Logistics Pvt. Ltd, the 50:50 joint venture of Bird Travels and UTi Worldwide (India), will manage the cargo terminal which handled 165 million kg of cargo in 2006-07. Its initial mandate is for one year.

The financial terms of the agreement between it and DIAL were not disclosed.

“We have taken over the operations and management of this cargo terminal," saidRajeev A. Bhatnagar, managing director of UTi Worldwide (India).

“We are now in the process of implementing space optimization and operations improvement programmes at the terminal."

The Indian arm of UTi Worldwide Inc., a freight forwarding company, is one of the largest air freight handling companies in the country certified by International Air Travel Association, a global trade association. It has 23 offices in the country and manages 600,000 sq. ft of warehousing space in nine cities.

“We were already doing ground handling operations for airlines. This is a natural extension to that," said Ankur Bhatia, executive director of Bird Group .

Roger I. MacFarlane, chief executive of UTi Worldwide Inc., said the partnership with the Bird Group could extend to other airports also.

“This joint venture with Bird Group will be looking at various other similar projects in the country. We bring in complete automation in all levels, against manual operations practised in most of the areas. Our expertise will help in reducing the cost and lead time," said MacFarlane.

UTi Worldwide Inc. had $3.6 billion annual gross revenues in 2006-07.

MacFarlane added that the other businesses UTi could look at are “ocean freight forwarding and surface transport projects" in India".