MADHYA PRADESH’S first international air cargo services commenced from Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar Airport on Wednesday with the first consignment from Ranbaxy and Tata International bound for Vietnam.
Air cargo complex custodian GSEC Director Samir Mankad said that the cargo complex will initially cater to only flights having three to five tonne capacity and will be expanded as and when a dedicated freighter commences operations from the City.
The cargo complex has been built on 3800 sq feet of space with a provision for expansion. It comprises warehouse, office spaces for Custom and GSEC officials, unloading section where goods are screened using an x-ray machine and the loading section from where the trolleys are taken to the aircraft hanger. There is also a separate section for imported goods and a strong-room for storing costly cargo.
Addressing an International Customs Day funciton at Hotel Fortune Landmark on Thursday, Customs and Excise Commissioner, Indore, Arvind Singh said there was huge potential for exports in the region and right kind of impetus was required to make the cargo complex among the best in the country.
Singh appealed to all the agencies involved includng custom house agents, airlines and the custodian GSEC to provide services at competitive rates for initial months to get the cargo complex going. He also urged Indian Airlines to dedicate at least one cargo plane for the complex.
Terming the launch of air cargo service as ‘dream come true,’ District Collector Vivek Aggarwal said the need of the hour was to think out of the box to bring the State at par with developed states like Gujarat.
“Ahmedabad air cargo complex is handling 1000 tonnes of cargo every month and importing one tonne of gold every day, and I don’t see no reason why this kind of potential can not be obtained in Indore”, he said adding, “we have a thriving pharmaceutical and automobile industry, the best agro and horticulture products and a major Sarafa market”.
Acknowledging the need to develop infrastructure like food-processing and cold houses in the region, Aggarwal said the time was ripe for all the agencies to come together to build a facility that will ‘take us to the future’.
Plegding his full support for expansion of facilities at the airport, Aggarwal however said the airport authorities should make use of the available land until such time as more land could be acquired.“The air cargo project has already been delayed by almost four years and we need to put in extra effort to get things moving”, he said.
Senior officials from Customs and Excise deparment, Airport Authority of India, GSEC and industry representatives were present on the occasion.