International courier operations are yet to begin through the Tiruchi International Airport although the Central Board of Excise and Customs issued a notification allowing the operations nearly three months back.
Officials of the Airports Authority of India and Customs here are said to be “still working” on the modalities of handling courier shipments and the infrastructure required for starting the operations. Among the requirements cited are dedicated area for handling courier shipments and an x-ray machine to scan the same.
Courier operators here have long been demanding issue of the Customs notification to allow courier operations through the airport. The issue of the notification in July this year was described as a boon for courier operators and a milestone for the cargo terminal.
Courier operators said it would substantially cut transhipment time of consignments. At present, courier shipments were being sent through other airports such as Chennai and Bangalore resulting in longer transhipment time.
“We can ensure next day delivery between the central and southern districts of the State and foreign destinations such as Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Dubai once the international courier operations begin at the airport,” said S.A. Sayeed, president (South India), Express Courier Operators’ Association.
Besides, they would help increase the cargo volumes for the cargo terminal and bring in substantial revenue for both the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Customs. “The AAI, as the custodian, should create the necessary infrastructure or outsource it to enable the commencement of international courier operations,” he said.
Industry sources say there is scope for handling about two or three tonnes of courier shipments every day from Tiruchi if only the notification was issued.
Commencement of operation at the airport, would benefit a large number of people in central and southern districts as many Non-Resident Indians regularly send and get courier shipments.
Kith and kin of persons residing abroad prefer to send essential items, which were peculiar to South Indian lifestyle and culture, mostly through courier shipments.
Airport Director S. Dharmaraj, when asked about the delay, said discussions were on with the Customs authorities on the modalities and infrastructure requirements for starting international courier operations. “We are working together on the matter,” he said.