Courier operators welcome the customs notification as the clearance is faster than general cargo

The Central Board of Excise and Customs has issued the much-awaited notification allowing international courier operations through the Tiruchi Airport.

Courier operators here have long been demanding issue of the Customs notification to allow courier operations through the airport. The demand became more vocal after the international cargo complex was opened at the airport in December 2011.

In the absence of the notification, all international courier shipments to and from Tiruchi had to be routed via other airports such as Chennai and Bangalore.

After sustained lobbying, the notification was issued on Friday. Terming it another milestone for the airport, Airport Director S. Dharmaraj said the notification would give a boost for all courier operators.

Courier shipments would be cleared faster than general cargo. They would help increase the cargo volumes for the airport and bring in more revenue for both the Airports Authority of India and the Customs.

Mr. Dharmaraj said the actual operations consequent to the notification would take a few more days. “We will hold discussions with the Customs officials and the operations will begin soon after their requirements are met,” he said.

The Customs notification for handling courier shipments would help tap a huge market potential, courier operators say.

“The notification is a victory for all of us who have been lobbying for the cause for long,” S.A. Sayeed, Managing Director, ABX Xpress Pvt. Ltd., and member of the Express Industry Council of India, a representative body of the trade, told The Hindu over the telephone.

Mr. Sayeed and others had been pleading for the issue of the notification with the Union Finance Ministry since 2009.

The express cargo industry here is expected to gain growth momentum following the issue of the notification. At present, courier shipments are being sent through other airports resulting in delays.

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.

The move would come as a big boon for the central parts of the State as many Non-Resident Indians regularly send and get courier shipments. Kith and kin of persons residing abroad prefer to send essential items, which are peculiar to our way of living and culture, mostly through courier shipments.

Although Coimbatore airport had been notified for handling courier shipments, there has not been much movement owing to limited number of international flights from there, airport sources said.

If the volumes of the courier shipments were to be high, there is a possibility that the AAI may set up a separate courier terminal as in the case of some bigger airports, with necessary infrastructure, the sources added.