Vizag international air cargo terminal yet to take off; blame lack of infrastructure, staff

Visakhapatnam: Lack of infrastructure and insufficient staff have become major roadblocks for the international air cargo terminal to take off at Visakhapatnam airport.

The terminal was inaugurated almost two year ago, but the authorities concerned failed to acquire necessary logistics like cold storage facility, ground handling machinery, X-Ray scanners, additional customs personnel and more ground staff for dealing with large cargo. Owing to the delay in making the terminal operational, the government had been losing crores of rupees every year as many pharma and apparel companies in Vizag and flower traders from Kadiyam in Rajahmundry depended on Hyderabad and Chennai airports for exports, director of AP Chambers of Commerce and Industry O Naresh Kumar said.

“Currently, more than 4,000 tonnes of pharma cargo from coastal AP region is being exported from Hyderabad. If we can provide facilities, exports are expected to rise to 3,000 crore per annum from Vizag alone,” he added.

Brandix Apparel at Atchyutapuram SEZ has been depending on Chennai for its exports as well as imports of raw material from across the country and foreign nations. Speaking to TOI, company’s India partner Dorai Swamy said if Vizag international cargo terminal started operations, it would give them a big boost as manpower, money and time would be saved.

“We have to deliver our orders within a week’s time. But it has been getting delayed by 20 days as we depend on other states. We produce five lakh lingerie for Victoria’s Secrets every day. If we do not send the products in time, the style goes out of vogue. This is fashion market and, in case of delays, the value of the model comes down,” he said. According to sources, around 40 tonnes of finished products of Brandix would go for export from Chennai.

The AP Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, G Samba Siva Rao, said that apart from seafood, pharma and apparel exports, there were many sectors and much scope for growth in domestic and international cargo. He said even Vizianagaram had agriculture-based industries apart from food processing units. It also had iron alloy based industries. There were rich resources base of granite, cashew, rice, coconut, fruits, beach sand minerals in Srikakulam district.

Source: Siva G | TNN ! The Times of India.

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