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General cargo shipments and imports yet to take off post EDI launch

Image result for cargo trichy airportAs exports of perishable goods such as vegetables and fruits continue to remain robust at the Tiruchi international airport, overseas shipment of general cargo and imports has not taken off.
Even after introduction of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) facility at Tiruchi airport over two months ago, not much has happened in the import front or in the export of general cargo from here.
The situation with respect to imports and export of general cargo has practically remained the same as it was prior to the launch of EDI, say stakeholders.
When EDI was introduced on July 1 at the fast growing Tiruchi airport which has a dedicated international freight terminal, there were expectations that the online facility would usher in change in the profile of commodities exported from here.
More than two-and-half months have passed since the introduction of EDI, nevertheless there has been no appreciable change in the export commodities profile. Perishables such as vegetables, fruits and flowers continue to occupy lion’s share in the export of freight from here through various international carriers to different foreign destinations.
Stakeholders and those in the export circles say shipment of general cargo was not taking place despite EDI introduction. On the import front, barring human remains and airlines stationary items there is no import of any other commodities, say airport officials.
The Tiruchi airport clocks about four to five tonnes of import cargo every month of which two to three tonnes account for human remains alone. A couple of months before introduction of EDI at Tiruchi airport, a dedicated import cargo processing area was established adjoining the existing export freight terminal to exclusively handle import cargo.
Stakeholders strongly feel that there was good scope and potential for imports at Tiruchi which could be tapped by the overseas airlines operating from here besides tapping the goods trans-shipped through their respective hubs.
Imports would fetch more revenue to airlines, cargo and customs authorities as well, they say. Tiruchi airport with restricted runway length presently is directly connected only to select overseas destinations – Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Sharjah and Colombo – right now.
“In the domestic front, the direct connectivity is only to Chennai despite repeated demands for operation of flight service to the country’s financial capital Mumbai and other key cities. Every import would fetch customs duty and service tax for the Customs authorities which appears to be nil right now,” say a section of stakeholders.
Given the rapid pace of growth witnessed in passenger and overseas freight movements and enhancement of infrastructure coupled with introduction of EDI, it is strongly felt that stakeholders should work in tandem to tap the import potential at Tiruchi which would be hugely beneficial in yielding revenue to all connected agencies.
Source: The Hindu

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