India’s first private air freight station to open from August 1
JULY 20, 2015: Indev Air Freight Station, India's first private air freight station (AFS,) has announced commencement of its operations in Chennai. Spread over an area of around 20,000 sqft near Iringattukottai, the AFS is an extension of the airport or an off-terminal facility where all import formalities can be completed without hassles for cargo transmit.
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 airport boasts of a capacity to handle 5 million tons 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. The AFS aims to tackle such problems with the help of technology.
"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. According to him The AFS would also help in reducing the lead time and pilferage. " Now the clearance period at airport is 5 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 5 days," he said. Offering more efficient service to its customers at a cost 15-20 percent lesser compared to what is being paid currently at the airport; the AFS aims to obtain 5-10 percent cargo of the Chennai airport.
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 promised to move their ULDs to the new facility.
Airport officials and industry players too have welcomed the new move. "The AFS, which replicates the CFS (Container Freight Station) model at the ports, will ensure speed, safety and security," said a senior official at the airport, while another official at the AAI (Cargo) opined that this is the first step to move towards the international ways. Steve Sandell, General Manager at Renault Nissan automotive India, expressed hopes that the new facility will greatly enhance the services.