Export and import of goods have started once again at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. For more than a week, goods worth R100 crore were stuck at the airport due to a glitch in the software used by officials to clear them.
The cargo terminal was buzzing with activity this weekend as Customs officials came to work on their off day to clear the huge backlog of 1,000 tonnes of goods at the airport. Nearly 700 tonnes of export goods were lying at the terminal since the last of week of November after the technical glitch.
The snag took place after the Customs department upgraded the software used to clear cargo, Indian Customs EDI System (ICES), from version 1.0 to version 1.5. The system helps the department accept Customs documents electronically from importer and exporters for processing.
Exporters claim they were losing R5 crore daily due to the pileup of goods at the airport, which they were unable to send to their customers abroad.
"The system has stabilised now and we are trying our best to clear the backlog as quickly as possible," said a senior Customs official, requesting anonymity. "Though it was our off day on Saturday, we came to work to clear as much cargo as possible."
Sources at the Customs department said while the situation was under control at the import section, there was still a large backlog in the export.
"Customs officials have started clearing new consignments but problem with the goods lying at the terminal remain," said a city-based exporter, requesting anonymity.
"Trucks loaded with export goods are lined up near the terminal, waiting for clearance. The records of these goods were made in the old system and during the shift to the new software, these records have been lost," he claimed.