Embark on the inspiring journey of S.L. Sharma, Chairman, Skyways Group, from humble beginnings to leading India’s top air freight forwarder. This tale encapsulates resilience, leadership, and industry insights, offering timeless wisdom for young professionals in logistics and cargo.
Hailing from a modest background with limited financial resources, S.L. Sharma embarked on a professional journey in the logistics industry in 1968. Initially motivated by the pursuit of financial stability, his involvement evolved into a passionate connection with the unique and progressive nature of logistics and air cargo. Encouraged by his brother-in-law, who recognised his capabilities, S.L. Sharma found himself driven each morning by a fervent desire to accomplish more.
As an individual who initiated the establishment of a small air freight forwarding company over 40 years ago in August 1983, S.L. Sharma faced the challenges of the first decade, marked by limited resources and the necessity to garner support from personal connections. Despite the tough circumstances, his immense zeal propelled him to surpass previous achievements. With dedicated efforts, Skyways, the air freight division, was elevated to a commendable level before expanding into diverse spheres of logistics, including ocean freight, trucking, and express services.
Today, S.L. Sharma’s visionary leadership has transformed the once-small enterprise into a respectable multinational brand. This narrative not only reflects personal triumphs but also underscores the realisation of a visionary’s dream—a testament to Sharma’s passion, perseverance, and the transformative power of the logistics industry.
In his remarkable five-decade journey as Chairman of Skyways Group, S.L. Sharma takes pride in pivotal achievements that have defined the company’s legacy. Leading his company to become the No. 1 air freight forwarder in India for six consecutive years (2017–2022) and securing a position among the top 30 global forwarders in e-AWB highlights Sharma’s strategic prowess. The company’s success is rooted in his transparent, reliable, and customer-centric philosophy, earning trust from clients, airlines, and service partners. However, beyond industry accolades, Sharma’s immense satisfaction stems from the love and affection received from team members. His commitment to adding value to their lives, aiding in the realisation of aspirations, and fostering a safe and progressive office environment stands out as a testament to his leadership, shaping the group into a symbol of excellence in the freight forwarding industry.
In the intricate landscape of stakeholder management, S.L. Sharma’s strategic acumen shines through. Over the course of five decades, he ensured effective collaboration and alignment by adhering to key principles and fostering a harmonious working environment. Actively engaged with industry trade bodies like ACAAI, FFFAI, DCBA, and ACCD, Sharma held esteemed positions, including National President of ACAAI, showcasing his influential role in association leadership. His commitment to collaboration extended to community service, partnering with the Rotary Club (Delhi) to support underprivileged sections. Through these engagements, Sharma not only honed exceptional interpersonal skills, allowing him to work alongside industry luminaries, but also played a pivotal role in building his own company. His leadership transcends corporate success, emphasising the transformative power of strategic collaboration within and beyond the logistics industry.
S.L. Sharma, the harmony architect, strategically fostered industry engagement, promoting collaboration and alignment. Cultivating inclusivity, open communication, and shared goals, he built a dynamic stakeholder community. Sharma’s visionary approach prioritised continuous improvement, propelling collective industry and economic growth. Leading associations, he implemented impactful engagement programmes, from knowledge workshops to direct government interactions, maximising industry benefits. These initiatives served as platforms for insight, issue resolution, and community unity. Sharma’s clear communication with trade associations, regulators, and government bodies established him as an influential advocate for the air cargo industry, leaving a lasting legacy of collaboration and commitment to industry progress.
In his insightful perspective, visionary leader S.L. Sharma explores India’s changing cargo, logistics, and airport operations landscape. Recognising opportunities driven by technology, e-commerce, infrastructure, regulations, and sustainability, Sharma envisions a promising future. He acknowledges challenges—capacity, talent, compliance, and security—but emphasises resilience and adaptability as keys to sustained growth. Advocating for industry leaders to guide and mentor youth, Sharma sees their support as a catalyst for accelerated growth through innovation. His forward-thinking approach underscores the industry’s potential amidst challenges, urging strategic engagement to steer India’s logistics industry towards a dynamic and competitive future.
In sharing his sage advice, industry luminary S.L. Sharma emphasises a holistic approach for aspiring young professionals aiming to make a lasting impact in logistics and cargo. Advocating continuous learning, strategic thinking, effective communication, relationship-building, and adaptability, Sharma underscores the importance of embodying these qualities for a meaningful and influential career. He urges respect for experienced colleagues, recognising valuable lessons from challenging situations. Emphasising the limitations of books and digital platforms, he stresses problem-solving skills honed through hands-on experiences guided by seasoned mentors. With a forward-looking perspective, Sharma advises against excessive reliance on remote work, highlighting the importance of continuous growth through interpersonal interactions and promoting collaboration and shared experiences for professional success in the dynamic industry.