Do­ing away with pro­ce­dural has­sles

Cargo Talk - - Editorial - San­Jeet Edi­tor

The air cargo in­dus­try in In­dia is poised to leap for­ward. The projections and ini­tia­tives sug­gest that the coun­try has im­mense po­ten­tial to po­si­tion it­self as one of the at­trac­tive hubs, in re­spect of man­u­fac­tur­ing and dis­tri­bu­tions. How­ever, the coun­try has to take some dras­tic steps to make the en­tire air cargo sup­ply chain, smooth and has­sle-free. Reg­u­la­tions have to be sim­pli­fied with a trade-friendly mind­set. There should be a col­lec­tive and col­lab­o­ra­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity for ev­ery­one to do away with the pro­ce­dural has­sles.

At the op­er­a­tional level, the in­dus­try stake­hold­ers may adopt some prag­matic steps for mu­tual ben­e­fit. In­dus­try ex­perts say, there are a num­ber of pro­ce­dures which are the best and are im­ple­mented in some in­ter­na­tional air­ports. How­ever, it is not easy to im­ple­ment them on an­other in­ter­na­tional air­port within In­dia. Un­der these cir­cum­stances, the Min­istry of Civil Avi­a­tion and Cus­tom Board should have an open ses­sion with the trade mem­bers and im­ple­ment the same by way of no­ti­fi­ca­tion. For in­stance, the gen­er­a­tion of ship­ping bill by cus­toms which is later handed over to car­ri­ers is not re­quired and there should be a min­i­mum num­ber of phys­i­cal sets of documents for cus­toms. More­over, very less han­dling agents are re­quired at cer­tain in­ter­na­tional air­ports in In­dia.

It is also sug­gested that there should be Doc­u­ment and Su­per­vi­sion Ser­vices to man­age all the doc­u­men­ta­tion on be­half of air­lines, in­clud­ing man­age­ment of counters and back of­fice sup­port. For im­port cargo, de­liv­ery should be within four hours from the ar­rival of an air­craft. For ex­port cargo, ac­cep­tance and load­ing should be within four hours from ETD for RFC AWBs.

Dwell time is the cu­mu­la­tive re­sult of var­i­ous fac­tors and Cus­toms clear­ance plays a cru­cial part in this re­gard. In In­dia, Cus­toms in­tro­duced the EDI in 1997. How­ever, we are still deal­ing with man­ual in­ter­ven­tions as our mind­set is more on polic­ing rather than on trust based ac­cep­tance. In­dus­try stake­hold­ers firmly be­lieve that the coun­try should cre­ate a proper in­ter­linked EDI plat­form ca­pa­ble of han­dling cargo with­out any hu­man in­volve­ment. Ef­forts should also be made to move to a com­plete and com­pre­hen­sive mode of safe, se­cure data trans­fer that can be shared by the dif­fer­ent play­ers of the air lo­gis­tic chain. In ad­di­tion, a com­pre­hen­sive skill de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme has to be ini­ti­ated jointly by the in­dus­try and the govern­ment to adopt mod­ern meth­ods of cargo han­dling pro­ce­dures.

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