Mangaluru Airport: No solution in sight for direct cargo export

10:59 AM Jul 01, 2024 | Team Udayavani |

Mangaluru: Despite having an international airport, products from Dakshina Kannada and Udupi regions must route through Bengaluru, Mumbai, New Delhi, or Kolkata for exports to international destinations.


Direct cargo export is not permitted from here. An Integrated Cargo Terminal (ICT) was inaugurated on May 1 last year, capable of handling up to 9,000 tons of cargo annually. However, currently, only domestic cargo transport is allowed.

According to some sources, the ‘terminal does not meet international standards’ for cargo export. Airport officials say ‘customs approval has not been received’.

Benefits of Direct Cargo Export

Currently, various items including fish and nuts are exported by ships through New Mangalore Port. However, perishable goods such as fresh fish, jasmine, vegetables, and food products must be sent via other air cargo. Direct cargo export would reduce transportation costs and increase supply based on demand, benefiting the local coastal economy.


Vegetable Export to Dubai Stopped

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, around 10,000 kg of vegetables were exported daily to Dubai. After the pandemic, this reduced to 2,000 kg. Following the suspension of SpiceJet flights, vegetable export has been halted for the past six months.

Air Cargo: A Distant Dream

Currently, domestic cargo is handled by passenger flights. Even if international cargo is allowed, it must be transported via passenger flights due to insufficient cargo for a dedicated air cargo service. Moreover, large cargo planes cannot easily land on the table-top runway in Mangaluru.

Flight Fare War

“During SpiceJet’s operations, shippers paid Rs 30 per kg. Now, this has increased to Rs 42 per kg, causing a daily loss of Rs 10,000 for shippers. Thus, small cargo shipments have also stopped. If airlines reduce fares and the airport provides suitable facilities, more cargo can be transported,” says Pushparaj Shetty of Fourwings, a company that exports goods abroad.

Convenience for the Coastal Exporters

If international cargo operations start from Mangaluru, it will open new opportunities for the coastal industrial sector. This has been brought to the attention of airport officials, said Ananthesh V. Prabhu, President of the Canara Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


Translated from a Kannada article by Dinesh Ira


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