AAI to improve cargo-handling capacity at Chennai airport

Airports Authority of India (AAI) is working to expand the cargo handling capacity of the Chennai airport by adding space to the export dock. AAI has floated a tender for the erection of a warehouse to transfer pellets into the cargo terminal. The new decision is a move to improve the infrastructure, an area where the Chennai airport is losing out to other airports.

AAI has been getting complaints of trucks queuing up at night at the export dock in the Chennai airport. Export dock is the facility where trucks unload export consignments in the cargo complex.  The dock is an automated facility which makes the unloading of pellets faster.

Ongoing work to expand taxiways has constricted loading and unloading of cargo at the Chennai airport. Freighters are being parked in remote bays as bays are not available for all flights near the cargo area.

An official said, “The export truck dock is being expanded near the cargo terminal to keep the airport ready to meet an increase in demand. When work to straighten the taxiway that runs parallel to the cargo terminal is complete and the land from demolishing the old terminal is ready, there will be more space.”

Chennai airport is also suffering a decline in cargo demand as per global slowdown. AAI data show that international freight movement in Chennai declined by 13.2% and domestic by 20.3% in April to July 2019, compared to the same period last year, making it the lowest when compared to major airports, except Kolkata.

Bengaluru suffered a decline of 8.4% in international cargo, Mumbai has seen a dip of 14.3% and Delhi saw a dip of 5.8%. Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Kolkata are improving their international freight handling because of better infrastructure. Domestic and international cargo is expected to increase further in Hyderabad as Amazon Inc has opened its biggest warehouse near the airport.

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