CHENNAI: Cargo shipment, which had fallen considerably over the last few years, is finally showing signs of making a recovery, with domestic cargo showing more than 10 per cent growth over the previous year.
Within the first half of 2015, international cargo has shown a rise to 1,10,691 metric tonnes while domestic cargo has shot up to 41,488 metric tonnes. “Globally the market has slid and that is what led to a slowdown forbid too, but with key airports like Chennai the slump has more to do with administrative issues. They have been fixed now and that his why the numbers have improved,” said a senior AAI official involved with cargo handling. After the massive cargo revenue that the airport had witnessed between 2005 and 2011, the numbers began to slide exponentially. This is believed to be a fallout of clearance delayed despite the automatic cargo storage and retrieval system installed by AAI. “It would take 8-9 days for some shipments to come through which is why even smaller importers began using Bengaluru airport to fly their cargo in and have it shipped by road,” said a clearing agent at the airport.
These numbers are expected to get much better over the next year because of the opening of the new privately managed air freight station at Irungattukottai, from August 1. With a promise of quicker clearance times and less paperwork and red tape from customs and clearing agents, the AFS run by Indev is looking to cash in on a lot of the material being shipped by sea instead.
“It is an undeniable fact that because of various issues, the cargo business has moved out of Chennai and companies have begin to use Bangalore and even Hyderabad as a serious option. We are working hard to bring the cargo business back and increase revenue,” Airport Director Captain Deepak Shastri had said.