The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Aerial trade gets a boost

Mumbai, Oct. 4: The commerce ministry has initiated an exercise to iron out glitches affecting trade via the air route. It has sought the advice of the courier and the airline industries in this regard. This initiative comes at a time when global courier and logistics companies are keen on enhancing their operations in the country.

Sources said the Centre wanted to attain a model role in trade promotion. “The government wants to do away with delays that hamper the export and import of commodities,” they said.

The ministry held a meeting with industry representatives last week where it asked for specific suggestions to bring down delays.

Industry circles said what irked many importers and exporters was the time lag in sending consignments.

While many domestic exporters and importers use international air express services for sending samples and freight across the world, sources say various restrictions continue to be in place causing delays and thus hampering the trade and the express industry.

For instance, rules stipulate a minimum 24 hours cooling-off period, particularly for electronic items, during which the consignment lies with the authorities.

“There are indications that a lot of these restrictions may soon go away,” sources said.

The government has begun putting in place few measures enabling quicker consignments and clearances, thus speeding up the processes. It has allowed the setting up of world-class courier terminals in major airports. The terminal will have an autonomous warehouse where the companies will have an independent custodianship of its customers' consignments.

Blue Dart Aviation, a subsidiary of Blue Dart Express Ltd, and DHL have already added a 630 square meter warehouse, adjoining to their existing airside hub warehouse at the international airport in Delhi. Similar facilities are expected in Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai airports.

Various global express and logistics companies have been focussing on small and medium enterprises as a major customer base.

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