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Post-EDI, export cargo profile remains static at Tiruchi airport

Shippers say there has been no shift in the cargo profile due to absence of dedicated cargo air freighters at Tiruchi airport.FIle PhotoB_VELANKANNI RAJ

Contrary to expectations of visible change in the commodity profile of export cargo at the Tiruchi International Airport post the launch of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), the situation remains the same months after its introduction.

Perishables continue to remain the major commodity exported from Tiruchi airport to various overseas destinations. This has been the scenario even after 10 months of introduction of EDI which was commissioned at Tiruchi airport on July 1, 2017, for speedy clearance of freight.

Stakeholders say there has neither been a significant shift in the commodity profile of export cargo nor a rise in import cargo after introduction of EDI.

Vegetables, fruits and flowers are the commodities that continue to account for nearly 99% of export cargo shipped to select overseas destinations everyday, say the stakeholders.

The international cargo terminal at the Tiruchi airport witnesses robust movement of perishables daily to countries including Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Sharjah, Dhoha, Maldives and Colombo for onward movement to other foreign destinations.

Around 18 to 22 tonnes of export cargo were being shipped daily, says a senior airport official adding that cargo exports clocked around 6,600 metric tonnes last fiscal. Stakeholders say Tiruchi was surrounded by agrarian districts which is the main reason for perishables continuing to remain the major export commodity. Shippers say in the absence dedicated cargo air freighters from the Tiruchi International Airport, they had to solely rely on overseas passenger flights for export. The cargo is lifted in these flights and accomodated in the available belly space. But, after the EDI launch, too, there has been no significant rise in the export quantum.

Further, some restrictions were imposed for export of general cargo at Tiruchi airport unlike neighbouring ports such as Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai prompting exporters to move to those ports to dispatch their freight, claim those in the trade.

Restrictions were also being imposed in import cargo even after EDI launch. If these were to be eased to some extent similar to the procedure in neighbouring ports, Tiruchi could witness a definite change in commodity profile, say those in the export trade.


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