The lack of wide-body aircraft and storage facilities is hindering Vizag’s potential of increasing its air cargo operations by 35% to 40%, taking it from the present 14000 tonnes to 24000 tonnes per year.
The airport asks for at least two wide-body cargo aircraft, a facility of pellet packing, and a different temperature storage facility to reach its full potential.
The Visakhapatnam Air Freight Forwarders Association feels that air cargo from AP, especially from Vizag has exceptional potential which currently is not met due to lack of connectivity and facilities such as pallet packing scanning for pharma products, insufficient warehousing storage, different temperature storage compartments for perishable cargo, lack of dedicated cargo flights or wide-body aircraft and lack of space in direct international flights in passenger-cargo have become hurdles.
This lack of facilities and flight connectivity at the Vizag has led Thirteen air cargo forwarding agents to send their cargo by road to Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad airports by picking up the materials from various locations in North Andhra regions.
Vizag Development Council member O Naresh Kumar shares that Because of this, AP is losing a lot of GST also.
Through AP cargo, Telangana state, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka states are getting revenue. A few products from Guntur, Vijayawada, and other areas are also going to Hyderabad and Chennai airports, he said.
A VAFFA member reflecting on the situation says that Vizag airport has the facilities to accommodate the wide-body aircraft while highlighting that currently, no airlines are operating wide-body aircraft to Vizag due to lack of international exposure.
The city needs direct cargo flights to international cargo hubs such as Dubai, Hongkong, Singapore, London, and Amsterdam, besides Domestic hubs such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore.
As per the current statistics, around 1,200 tonnes of air cargo per month, including 543 tonnes of pharma products, 274 tonnes of general cargo means automobile wheels and machinery parts, 122 tonnes of apparel industry Brandix cargo, and 12 tonnes of perishable cargo including marine products such as frozen shrimp and fish is being exported every month from Vizag, besides another 119 tonnes of imports of various materials.