Cargo that flies high with Air Freight Sta­tions

De­spite the sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion of Air Freight (AFS) to the speedy and timely move­ment of the ex­port and im­port goods in In­dia, it has been no­ticed that the con­cept is yet to pick up pace. In­dus­try ex­perts elu­ci­date on the im­por­tance of AFSs in the I

Cargo Talk - - Contents - Kal­pana Lo­humi

Keku Bomi Gazder Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, AAI Cargo Lo­gis­tics and Al­lied Ser­vices Com­pany (AAICLAS) In­spite of an AFS Pol­icy framed by MoCA in 2015, the con­cept of AFS, by and large re­mains a non-starter, at­trib­uted to the fol­low­ing: s 4HE AIR CARGO SEC­TOR FAILED TO UN­DER­STAND THE ben­e­fits of an AFS even having wit­nessed a pro­gres­sive air cargo vol­ume. s ,ACK OF CLAR­ITY IN THE RA­TIO­NAL­I­SA­TION OF REV­ENUE as­pects be­tween CTO and AFS op­er­a­tor. s )NSERTION OF CARGO HAN­DLING OPER­A­TION AND THE REV­ENUE EARNED OUT OF IT AS A part of air­port busi­ness in the OMDA be­tween AAI and JVC air­ports. s !&3 OP­ER­A­TOR FEELS THAT RUN­NING THE FA­CIL­ITY IS UN­VI­ABLE DUE TO LACK OF EN­FORC­ING pro­ce­dures in place for off-air­port clear­ance fa­cil­i­ties, ab­sence of le­gal frame­work to en­sure creation and util­i­sa­tion of AFS, in­stead of mere no­ti­fi­ca­tion of the fa­cil­ity, lack of en­thu­si­asm on the part of car­ri­ers even af­ter full sup­port to the con­cept from the state-run air­port op­er­a­tor. With the ad­vent of AAICLAS, we wish to carry for­ward the vi­sion and guide­lines con­tained in the AFS pol­icy of MoCA by creation of AFS at our own near AAI man­aged air­ports in the coun­try. AAICLAS is plan­ning to run the fa­cil­ity in the com­ing years ei­ther in­de­pen­dently or by ex­plor­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ties to be­come a mem­ber of a group on rev­enue and ex­per­tise shar­ing ba­sis. Once the fa­cil­ity is es­tab­lished, AAICLAS would be in a bet­ter po­si­tion to bridge the gaps be­tween the seam­less co­or­di­na­tion among all its stake­hold­ers such as air­lines, con­sol agent, cus­toms bro­kers, etc., which is a must for the suc­cess of the AFS. Ra­jesh Nee­lakanta CEO and Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor BVC Lo­gis­tics AFS was sup­posed to be an ex­ten­sion of the air­port or an off-ter­mi­nal fa­cil­ity. This is where all im­port for­mal­i­ties should be com­pleted without has­sles for cargo trans­port. Con­ges­tion and in­ef­fi­ciency in han­dling cargo re­sults in many air­ports los­ing the busi­ness and lo­gis­tics part­ners be­come vary of the fa­cil­ity. The AFS con­cept was aimed to tackle such prob­lems by ded­i­cat­ing a spe­cial fa­cil­ity for the pur­pose. The AFS helped re­duce con­ges­tion at the air­ports, by per­mit­ting trans­fer of cargo to des­ig­nated freight sta­tions — AFS or ICDs — through bonded truck­ing op­er­a­tions. This should help im­prove ef­fi­ciency and re­duce dwell time. The great­est ad­van­tage of an AFS is to the im­porters when it comes to penalty charges. Nor­mally, it takes two days to com­plete the han­dling for­mal­i­ties at the air­ports, which means that only one day or even less is avail­able for an im­porter/lo­gis­tic part­ner to clear the cargo without penalty. At an AFS, these for­mal­i­ties need to be done within eight hours upon the un­load­ing. The cargo is cleared in less than no time and the penalty charges could be avoided. AFS is the so­lu­tion to the equip­ment, man­power and man­age­ment de­fi­cien­cies at air cargo ter­mi­nals. While there are many ad­van­tages to the AFS sys­tem, lack of en­thu­si­asm from car­ri­ers and air­ports is ev­i­dently vis­i­ble. The key rea­sons for fail­ing of the AFS sys­tem would be a slack in pro­ce­dures for off-air­port clear­ance fa­cil­i­ties, no le­gal­i­sa­tion for creation and oper­a­tion of AFS and an over­all lack of par­tic­i­pa­tion by the author­i­ties.

T.A. Vargh­ese Pres­i­dent, Air Cargo Agents As­so­ci­a­tion of In­dia The pri­mary ob­jec­tive of an AFS is to de­con­gest the sat­u­rated air cargo com­plexes at the gate­way air­ports and pro­vide an al­ter­na­tive for the ex­pe­di­tious pro­cess­ing and trans­porta­tion of ex­port and im­port cargo. Such fa­cil­i­ties cre­ate an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment for the pro­mo­tion of in­ter­na­tional air cargo be­cause of their prox­im­ity to air­ports as well as the man­u­fac­tur­ing hubs. The nu­mer­ous pol­icy re­forms and ini­tia­tives which have been im­ple­mented by the in­cum­bent Union Gov­ern­ment have given a ma­jor thrust and fillip to the In­dian ex­port in­dus­try. In such a pos­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment, in­ter­na­tional trade is ex­pected to grow man­i­fold in the com­ing years. Many in­dus­trial and man­u­fac­tur­ing clus­ters and hubs are ex­pected to come up in the hin­ter­land ar­eas. AFSs can pro­vide a vi­tal link be­tween such hubs and the air­ports. While In­land Con­tainer De­pots (ICDs) and Con­tainer Freight Sta­tions (CFSs) cater to the re­quire­ments of sea freight, AFSs can play a sim­i­lar role for the air freight in­dus­try by link­ing the air­ports to the man­u­fac­tur­ing hubs and pro­vid­ing door-to-door ser­vice for the ex­porters and im­porters. To make the oper­a­tion of AFSs suc­cess­ful, the cur­rent sys­tems, pro­ce­dures and for­mal­i­ties should be stream­lined suit­ably to elim­i­nate the ex­ist­ing bot­tle­necks and de­lays. Is­sues which ham­per the devel­op­ment and smooth func­tion­ing of AFSs are: 1) 24x7 un­re­stricted and un­in­ter­rupted move­ment of ve­hi­cles be­tween the AFSs and the hub air­ports on a pri­or­ity ba­sis is es­sen­tial. 2) The se­cu­rity reg­u­la­tions of­ten ham­per the speedy pro­cess­ing of cargo at AFSs. It is es­sen­tial that the en­tire screening process of the ex­port cargo should be done at the AFSs and the built up ULDs from the AFSs should not be dis­man­tled at the air­port for fur­ther se­cu­rity screening. 3) Cur­rently, the Air­port Ter­mi­nal Op­er­a­tors (ATOs) and cus­to­di­ans levy the nor­mal TSP charges for ship­ments which are for­warded from the AFSs. Since the pro­cess­ing of the goods and the ULD build-up ac­tiv­i­ties take place at the AFS, the ATOs and cus­to­di­ans should only levy a nom­i­nal charge in­stead of the nor­mal TSP charges for such ship­ments. Sushant Nigam In­ter­na­tional Air Cargo Con­sul­tant AFS pro­vides a value-ad­di­tive and pro­cess­ing plat­form to make ex­port ship­ments ready for uplift­ment and de­liv­ery of im­ported con­sign­ments for home con­sump­tion. It should ide­ally be lo­cated within the easy reach of the man­u­fac­tur­ing/ex-im units and gate­ways to un­der­take ac­tiv­i­ties like re­ceiv­ing ex­port ship­ments, con­sol­i­dat­ing for eco­nom­i­cal freight rates, car­ry­ing out air­line’s ‘Ready for Car­riage’ checks, uni­tis­ing, X-ray scan­ning, cus­toms clear­ance, etc. to re­duce air­port ground time. Im­ported con­sign­ments can be shifted, without de-stuff­ing, to the AFS soon­est upon land­ing for cus­toms clear­ance for home con­sump­tion. Such pro­ce­dural ac­tiv­i­ties are oth­er­wise un­der­taken at the air­port. Rea­sons for ad­versely af­fect­ing this con­cept in In­dia are many like in­abil­ity of PGAs to post their staff, avi­a­tion se­cu­rity not re­ly­ing on AFS op­er­a­tors re­quir­ing uni­tised ship­ments to be off­loaded for X-ray scan at the air­port and re-uni­tised, which de­feats the pur­pose of uni­ti­sa­tion in AFS. Same thing is also done by cus­toms, if uni­tised ship­ments, un-cleared by cus­toms, reach the air­port. Air Cargo Ter­mi­nal Op­er­a­tors are re­luc­tant to let their ser­vices be un­der­taken at AFS which causes them rev­enue loss. Con­trary to their be­lief, AFS can save ex­penses on air­port man­power and in­fra­struc­ture. The AFS loads also run the risk of miss­ing the flight due to city traf­fic re­stric­tions/jams.

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