Srinagar Airport to get international Cargo facility, major boost for exports

Customs office for clearances to be set-up: Director Airport
File Photo of Srinagar Airport. [Image for representational purpose only]
File Photo of Srinagar Airport. [Image for representational purpose only]

Srinagar: In what would help boost exports of horticulture produce, handicrafts and other goods from Kashmir, an international Cargo terminal facility at the Srinagar International Airport shall be set-up. Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials told Greater Kashmir that the facility is aimed to provide a thrust to exports, as and when international air-traffic, which is presently in suspension mode owing to Covid-19 gets resumed.

Officials said a threadbare discussion regarding the proposed cargo facility was held during a recent visit of the Department Related Standing Parliamentary Committee on Commerce to the Srinagar Airport. The officials said members of this Committee were also accompanied by the Commissioner of Customs Department.

“We would be applying for custodianship from the Customs department. Its office will be set-up at the new cargo facility. This will help in the process of inspecting all the international cargo goods right here ” Director, Airports Authority of India (AAI), Srinagar, Kuldeep Singh told Greater Kashmir.

Singh said the move will help boost exports of handicrafts and local perishables, such as horticulture produce. He said the caro facility at the Srinagar Airport will also help in imports of several goods to Kashmir, such as automobile spare parts and other products that are brought here.

The proposed cargo terminal is expected to be beneficial for the 20 lakh metric tonnes of fresh fruit annual exports from Kashmir worth Rs 7,500 crore which includes apple, cherry, pears, plum etc. 2.80 lakh MT dry fruits worth exported from Kashmir to the rest of the country and various parts of the world will also get an impetus from the proposed cargo terminal. The cargo terminal under Common User Domestic Cargo Terminal ( CUDCT) was first initiated in 2018 when setting-up of a Controlled Atmosphere Cold Storage was also a part of the project.

As per official data, approximately 25 to 30 metric tonnes of Cargo is processed from Srinagar on a daily basis. A positive growth is seen in the cargo operations and the Cargo terminal building will be able to handle the expected doubling of tonnage in the next one decade, Aviation experts said. The initial plan of the cargo terminal had envisaged that it will have latest and hi-tech facilities such as a truck dock area, acceptance, delivery, storage and a holding area which are an important part of this project.

As per the initial plan, a dedicated space for offices for airlines and AAI was to be kept at the terminal. The project plan has said that a canopy will be "put in place on the city side and air side for inbound and outbound cargo". There would also be a notified car and truck parking area. A tubular structure for trusses along with digital ISDN and IP exchange will enhance the process of cargo operations at the proposed terminal. X-ray machines, computer motor driven weighing machines , forklift and trolleys will make the process of cargo operations easier, the initial project plan had said.

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