Aimed at relieving the long winding queues of cargo near the airport gateways, Indev Air Freight Station, India’s first private air freight station (AFS,) has announced it will begin operations on 1 August. Spread over an area of around 1,858 sqm near Chennai the AFS is an off-terminal facility where all import formalities can be completed.
The facility which got license from the customs three years back, but was delayed due to lack of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) connectivity, is commencing its operation from August 1.
“The unit loads or ULDs will be moved directly from aircraft to bonded trucks and those will be moved to the facility where all similar operations to what is available at airport will be provided. The customs officers will be present there round the clock to do the entire formalities, including the online filing, assessment, inspection and delivery,” said Xavier Britto, chairman, Indev AFS.
While Chennai International Airport boasts of a capacity to handle five million tonnes of cargo, the lack of infrastructure at the airport to handle the growing cargo traffic has resulted in congestion and increased costs. “Madras airport lost out a lot of cargo because of congestion and inefficient ways of handling. Some of the clients have gone to Hyderabad, most of them have gone to Bangalore,” noted Britto.
“Our Web Management System or WMS allows you to sit at your office and track how your cargo is being handled. Through the web you can monitor your cargo movement, de-stuffing, handling and delivery,” said Britto.
Offering more efficient service to its customers at a cost 15-20 per cent less compared to what is being paid currently at the airport, the AFS will also help in reducing the lead time and pilferage. “Now the clearance period at airport is five days and demurrage charges are charged after 72 hours, but at AFS we want to give a second day delivery and demurrage charges will be collected only after five days,” he said.
The facility has also been licensed in such a way that it can consolidate import cargo not only to Chennai, but also to Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kochi and Coimbatore. Currently contracts are being signed with Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines who have committed to move their ULDs to the new facility.