Each hero is equally significant. They both found the inner strength to continue. We honour the heroes who have paved the road for us, both the “sung” and the “unsung.” We frequently consider those well-known personalities who have left a lasting impression on history. Those who are unsung heroes in our own lives don’t get enough credit, sadly. Consider a period when a hero who went unnoticed helped you feel hopeful and resilient. Was it a professor, a preacher, a friend, a superior, or a relative? This is the moment to honour the unsung heroes.
CargoInsights covers one such hero in every issue, and this time we wish to bring to light the story of Sushant Nigam, Executive Director, Air Cargo Agents Association (ACAAI). He is also a consultant with International Air Cargo and AEO. Prior to retirement, he held various positions with Central Board of Direct Taxes, Ministry of Finance, Government of India; Air India cargo department; Airports Authority of India (AAI) cargo department; and Delhi International Airport (a GMR Group of Companies) as General Manager- Commercial (Cargo)
After being hired by Air India, I had the dream of working in a posh, air-conditioned office in the city or at the airport, with elite-class co-workers. However, when I arrived in the cargo warehouse, I was horrified to see the cargo packages, pallets, and trolleys scattered everywhere, loading and unloading activities going on, a loud noise level, the hustle and bustle of customs clearance, dust, and other things. Nevertheless, after working there for a few weeks, I had a change of heart. I began to look forward to working days and nights, and it eventually became my life’s love. I now take advantage of any opportunity to be somehow connected to the air cargo domain.
Working in the cargo domain at airports has always demanded prolonged working hours, irrespective of holidays or festivals. The work required error-free and time-sensitive operational services. One comes across a new challenge every day and has to find a solution on an immediate basis, protecting the interests of the customers, facilitators, service providers, and regulatory bodies.
Sincerity, dedication, and thorough domain knowledge pertaining to stakeholders such as EXIM players, airlines, custodians, transporters, regulatory bodies, and their compliances are some of the important qualities required to succeed in this industry. Empathy among all stakeholders is required to assist each other in the successful completion of the entire supply chain to ensure a win-win situation for all.
One comes across a new challenge every day and has to find a solution on an immediate basis, protecting the interests of the customers, facilitators, service providers, and regulatory bodies
In my profession, I’ve been lucky to see a lot of special moments. But there are a few significant and noteworthy ones in which I, as a service provider, significantly contributed to ensuring smooth transitions at Delhi Airport. The first occurred on May 1, 1986, when the Airports Authority moved all of the foreign airlines from their own warehouses at the then-Palam Airport to a common-user integrated cargo terminal at the newly built IGI Airport. Second, when AAI privatised IGI Airport on May 1, 2006, GMR’s DIAL took control. After three years of support, all AAI officials returned to their home company on May 1, 2009, and the management had to ensure that cargo operations ran smoothly with relatively few resources.
It has been possible to stay current with the newest trends and technologies in the cargo and logistics industry by taking part in a variety of webinars, conferences, cargo publications, government meetings, personal interactions, etc. There have been many informative platforms that have made this possible.
Despite the fact that the industry has changed dramatically over the last five decades, a few packages of international cargo were transported in a staff coach from Connaught Place in New Delhi to the then Palam Airport for upliftment. Manual handling and physical documentation have given way to automated handling and online documentation. The availability of various forums for all stakeholders to interact and collaborate has helped India excel in the global market. Every change introduced by each stakeholder, including regulatory bodies, has been welcomed by all players.
In all honesty, whether one works from home or an office, functioning in the air freight industry requires a lot of commitment
In all honesty, whether one works from home or an office, functioning in the air freight industry requires a lot of commitment. Due to the intense time constraints of one’s job, one could have to miss holidays, festivals, and other family gatherings. Even though it is exceedingly challenging, many nonetheless manage to balance their personal and professional lives. The Corona pandemic provided the best illustration of concentrating on one’s profession, as logisticians showed their commitment to the world by keeping the supply chain’s wheels turning to assure prompt supplies of life-saving medications, vaccines, everyday necessities, etc. I salute each and every one of them.
My advice to the people in this industry is that sincerity, dedication, hard effort, regular training, etc., are a few mantras that both new hires and potential applicants should keep in mind and put into practice. There are numerous prospects for a respectable career in this constantly expanding area.