Blue Dart plans connectivity with Pakistan, Sri Lanka

News Clip :The Hindu, Bangalore

24th July, 2008.

Transportation and logistics major Blue Dart Express is planning to establish connectivity with Pakistan and Sri Lanka even as it is mulling a price increase of about 15 per cent within this year, company managing director Anil Khanna said. At present the company has no exclusive connectivity with a foreign country.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday to announce a new India-Bangladesh trade land, Mr. Khanna said that while for the Pakistan connectivity, road links were being explored, in the case of Sri Lanka air connectivity was being looked at. "There are barriers at the border route with Pakistan, but going forward we expect them to be removed."

Referring to Bangladesh, the company also announced the setting up of a new warehouse in Kolkata which would act as a hub for shipment to and from Bangladesh. The India-Bangladesh trade lane was being launched jointly with Blue Dart's parent company, DHL, according to Amod Dasgupta, Vice-President-East, Blue Dart.

Blue Dart has a 41 per cent share of the Rs 1,260-crore organized air express movement .ndustry. It moved 1.9 lakh tonnes of consignments in 2007. In the first six months of 2008, the figure stood at l.08 lakh tonnes. Mr. Dasgupta said that the eastern region was an important market for the company with new malls and SEZs opening up new opportunities.

Along with its fleet of aircraft and as part of the DHL group (which has a 81.32 per cent shareholding), Blue Dart offers a spectrum of distribution services including air express, freight forwarding supply-chain solutions and customs clearance. It has 51 domestic warehouses and a fleet of six Boeing freighters operating each night to the seven metros in India. Its income stood at Rs. 808 crore for the year ended December 2007.

On any increase in rates, Mr. Khanna said that the cost of transportation had increased manifold not only due to increased fuel prices but also due to factors such as increased property prices. "While the cost is being controlled through rationalisation, some may have to he passed on to the consumer and a 10-15 per cent increase in prices may have to be effected within this year.

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