Our Agent in… South East Asia

Siddhant Iyer, Regional Head of Cargo, South East Asia

Tell me about yourself?

I have been in the airline industry since I started working. I started my career in 2001 in Mumbai and worked for a few airlines before joining Cathay Pacific in 2008. It has been a great journey and I have been fortunate to have had opportunities to work across different functions and ports across the world. This has helped me immensely in my personal and professional development. I have been in my current role since October this year and I am still learning about the region’s history, cultural diversity and dynamic markets.

I am married and have a five year-old daughter. When I have some free time, I enjoy reading about current affairs and playing badminton, cricket and tennis.

What do you like best about your role?

I meet, interact and work with such diverse and dynamic teams across my region so I get to experience about different cultures, from which I have learned a lot. Meeting customers from different countries also helps me understand more about the industry and how it has evolved and continues to do so. The air-cargo industry is going through a transformation as we make the move to a digital future and I am glad to be a part of it.

What are the main shipments and flows?

Southeast Asia is a booming region and in terms of exports, North America and the intra-Asia routes are our key sectors. We have a good mix of commodities shipping out from the region, including electronics from Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand, perishables from Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand, aircraft engines and garments from Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam. Handling special products is our strength and it will remain our focus.

What are the challenges and opportunities?

Declining yields continue to remain a challenge. Differentiating e-commerce from general cargo is another challenge and we would like to provide a customer-centric solution for the e-commerce demand that we are experiencing.

In regards to opportunities, we do see some of the business shifting from mainland China to Southeast Asia due to the recent escalations in economic tension with the US, particularly with exports to the US. This may result in increased demand and we are following the situation very closely.

How do you keep up with the needs of the local market?

Our teams in the region work very closely with the forwarders to provide solutions.

We are known for providing tailor-made solutions for our customers, especially for special products. Our focus will continue to be customer-centric and on ensuring we provide a seamless service at all times.

What is next?

We are keeping a close eye on the trade negotiations between mainland China and the US as it may have an impact in South East Asia. Besides that, we will keep looking to the long term by focusing on efficiencies we can make by investing in technology and working towards a paperless future.