Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Madurai airport gets cold storage facility

Madurai: Two cold storage units which will allow traders to store perishable items like vegetables and flowers have been setup at the cargo terminal of the Madurai airport. The two cold storages, one each for export and import, come with a five-tonne capacity. At present, they are being tested and will be made functional soon, officials said.
The facility, set up at a cost of Rs 10 lakh, will be useful to store perishable items in case the consignment misses the flight. Around 90% of freight sent through Madurai airport is vegetables and flowers. Till now the consignment used to be sent back to the sender. It has come up one-and-half years after international cargo operations began at the terminal.

Deputy general manager (operations) S S Raju said that temperature between 2C and 8C is ideal for keeping vegetables and flowers fresh. “Storage of seafood requires sub-zero temperatures. It was not considered for Madurai since there is hardly any seafood export here,” he said.

Exporters and traders have welcomed the facility as it will be very helpful in case of a situation like flight cancellation. However, their main concern is the appointment of a permanent plant quarantine officer. At present, there is an officer appointed only on deputation basis.

Director of ABS Xpress operations, S A Sayeed said the plant quarantine officer is not available during the weekends and on government holidays, due to which nothing can be exported. “Nowadays, officials from other countries are very strict and they will not allow any perishable item without certification from the quarantine officer. As Madurai exports mostly perishable items, a permanent officer is mandatory here,” he said.
02/07/19 Times of India
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