KERALA

Airport cargo centre to be commissioned

A Correspondent

Nedumbassery: The inauguration of the Centre for Perishable Cargo (CPC) at the Cochin International Airport by Jairam Ramesh, the Union Minister of State for Trade and Commerce, in February will mark the full scale-up and running of the long-awaited facility, said sources in the airport.

The CPC, a project approved by the State Horticulture Corporation, is expected to usher in a host of opportunities at the Kochi airport by converting it to a hub of international cargo movements. The centre is built on a floor area of 20,000 sq. ft. at the cargo terminal and has facilities like temperature and humidity control systems required for different types of perishable cargo, including vegetables, fruits, flowers and non-vegetarian items. Three cold storages with a total of capacity of 30 tonnes have been set up for stocking non-vegetarian items.

The total cost of the project was shared between the Centre and the State governments with the former contributing Rs.13 crore in instalments as the project progressed. The airport management has been in consultation with various airlines to start cargo flights to Kochi.

The local farming community is also expected to benefit from the new facility. The volume of the export of their products could be augmented and the brand name ‘CIAL’ (Cochin International Airport Ltd.) may provide an edge to their products in markets abroad, say airport officials.

Last year alone, about one lakh bunches of banana were exported by CIAL in association with the block panchayat and this year, efforts are on to keep up the momentum by doubling the exports and to augment the earnings.

Strategic location

The officials also said that the strategic location of the airport, with its proximity to various production centres, both inside the State and in the neighbouring States, makes this as an ideal place for cost-effective freight movement than that of its counterparts in Bangalore and Chennai. Further, the proposed installation of the Electronic Data Interchange Message Exchange Services along with the CPC would bring in an IT-enabled customs clearance system here, they said.

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