The Delhi airport boasts of one of the biggest passenger terminals in the world but exports and imports from the airport is getting delayed due to lack of space at its cargo terminal.
For more than a month, hundreds of trucks waiting endlessly for days outside the Indira Gandhi International Airport's cargo terminal has become a common sight. Exporters say that this is resulting in losses in crores of rupees every day. They allege that the ongoing renovation work at the terminal has crunched space inside the terminal, leading to delays.
"Usually custom clearance of export and import goods take about a day but the time taken now ranges between four to seven days," said a cargo agent who didn't wish to be named. "Since trucks are stuck outside the terminal for days, we are shelling out R5,000 to R15,000 extra on them instead of R400 to R600. All this is due to the construction work going on inside," he said.
"Exporters are facing this problem for the last one month. While the government asks us to increase exports, the required infrastructure is not present to handle the cargo traffic," said SP Agarwal, president, Delhi Exporters Association. "The terminal can only handle 550 tonnes of good every day, which is not enough in this peak summer good export season."
Agarwal said if the delays go on, countries importing goods from India will lose confidence and move to other countries for their needs. "There is just not enough space at the terminal and it is taking three to four days for the trucks in queue to just get inside," he said.
Private airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL), however said that the truck processing time at the parking area has reduced significantly. "All the agencies including customs have been working closely together to bring about this improvement," said a DIAL spokesman.