M'lore airport ready for air cargo, needs custodian

Speaking at an interactive meeting with the stake holders on the establishment of air cargo complex at Mangalore airport, organised by the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) here on Monday, he said that space is available in the old airport at Bajpe as well as at the new airport to start the air cargo complex.

“As far as Airports Authority of India is concerned, we are ready for air cargo complex. If anyone approaches the airport for taking up the custodianship, then the process of air cargo complex can be accelerated and it can be operationalised within six months,” he said and added that even the customs department is ready to give the custodianship to the interested parties.

Deputy Commissioner of Customs Saundaryarajan said that customs department has issued a notification for handling cargo in the airports during June, 2010.

KCCI former president Giridhar Prabhu said that readiness to handle air cargo requires infrastructure, customs clearance, export produce and airlines willing to operate.

Prabhu said that there is a need to make feasibility study on how fresh produce are exported from Kochi and Mumbai along with the study on the import to Mangalore as well.

He said there is a need for scheduled airlines to carry cargo and not Express flight.
Phillp from Customs House Agents’ Association said “this is the right time we start air cargo complex at Mangalore airport as Kannur international airport will be inaugurated within few months and will have air cargo facility. If Kannur gets air cargo facility, then Mangalore airport will not get a chance to operate air cargo.”

He urged the KCCI to make a feasibility study and submit a report to the Commissioner of Customs, Aviation Minister and Central Board of Customs and Excise to facilitate setting up of air cargo complex in Mangalore airport at the earliest.

Official of the Central Warehousing Corporation said that they are ready to take up the custodianship of air cargo. To which, Airport Director asked them to approach the airport in writing. Air India Express Station Manager Chellam Prasad said “we will handle air cargo as soon as the infrastructure is ready. One tonne space can be made available in the Dubai flight of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.”

She promised to speak to the higher authorities and get clearance for handling air cargo by the Air India Express.

Marine Products Export Development Authority Assistant Director Rajkumar S Naik said that mud crab worth Rs 50 lakh is being exported from Dakshina Kannada and Udupi to Chennai port to be sent to other destinations. If there was facility of air cargo complex, then it would be much easier to export the marine products.

Earlier welcoming the gathering, KCCI President Mohandas Prabhu said the KCCI had conducted a feasibility study on the need for setting up of air cargo complex in 2007-08.
The products which will likely be exported from Mangalore airport are vegetables, processed food, garments and electronics.

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