Saturday, April 18, 2020

Lockdown hits movement of air and sea cargo via Kochi, exporters lose Rs 4000 crore

Kochi: The COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown have severely hit the movement of cargo, especially via air. While the transport of cargo via Kochi airport has shrunk by nearly 70 per cent, the port too has reported lower movement of containers.

“We are doing only 15-20 per cent of normal air cargo operations now,” said A C K Nair, director of Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL). “Before the lockdown, around 200 tonnes of cargo moved via the airport daily. Following the lockdown and the closure of passenger airlines due to fear of contagion, air cargo operations plummeted to 30-40 tonnes,” Nair said.
Export of vegetables and other perishables, mostly to Gulf countries, account for the bulk of outgoing air cargo from the airport. The incoming cargo comprises medicines, kits and the like. With passenger services halted, cargo movement has been hit as more than half of the global air cargo volume is carried in passenger airlines. Flights carrying cargo to and from Kochi airport include Emirates, Fly Dubai, Qatar Airways and Spicejet.

At Cochin port, the movement of containers is normal, said Jimmy George, senior deputy traffic manager at the port.

“On Thursday, the Vallparpadam terminal saw a movement of 1,100 containers, against the normal figure of 1,300 containers. As far as the port is concerned, the cargo movements are normal,” he said.

“Of course, there are days when container movement is as low as 400. This happened during Easter and the Vishu days too,” he said.
Seafood, coir products and spices are among the major exports via the port, which, George said, receives goods from China.

“It takes a vessel 14 days to reach Kochi. Hence, there's no need to fear that they could bring the coronavirus with them,” George said, referring to the 14-day incubation period of the virus.
17/04/20  Rajesh Abraham/New Indian Express
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