MUMBAI: A year after the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in which a dedicated freight corridor between two countries was discussed, the dedicated freight corridor has become a reality; the first cargo flight with perishable goods reached Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport from Kabul on Wednesday, 27 December, 2017.
It must prove a welcome facility particularly to the businessmen in Afghanistan since it provides a direct link to trade and the farmers get a direct access to markets in Maharashtra. This will give a boost to the economic growth of the country also.
On Wednesday, Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao and the consulate general of Afghanistan along with senior diplomats welcomed the first cargo carrier that carried 20 tonnes of apples to Mumbai. The outbound flight was loaded with 20 tonnes of bananas and 20 tonnes of tomatoes
The major exports from India to Afghanistan constitute of man-made filaments, articles of apparels and clothing accessories, pharmaceutical products, cereals, staple fibres, dairy and poultry products, spices to name a few. While major imports from Afghanistan include fresh fruits, dried fruits/nuts, vegetable, oil seeds, precious, semi-precious stones etc.
Earlier, transporting cargo by road, comprising of mostly perishable goods was difficult since it not only faced logistical problems but also added to the cost of the goods while they passed through various states.
The two Governments aim to increase the volume of trade between the two countries to about $1 billion in the coming years from the current volume of trade which stands at roughly $ 350 million. This will make both the countries long-term partners and it is a part of the government’s agenda of strengthening the bilateral trade relations between India and Afghanistan.