Airport authorities are in talks with the AP State Trading Corporation Limited (APSTC) to launch the long-pending demand for an international cargo terminal facility at Visakhapatnam Airport.
Airport sources said discussions were recently held between Visakhapatnam Airport officials and APSTC to launch the terminal facility in the next couple of months.
Confirming the development, Vizag Airport director Vinod Kumar Sharma said, "We are finalising the allotment for the international cargo terminal with APSTC. We have already held talks with them and 95% of the work is over. They have also agreed. The final talks are being held now. We will have an agreement once the terms and conditions are jointly accepted by the APSTC and the airport."
Noting that APSTC holds the custodianship for all import and export cargo, he said once the agreement is signed between the two agencies, it may take a couple of months for APSTC to launch the services.
Industry sources said apart from seafood exports, the international cargo terminal has the potential to tap into pharma products and also textiles and jewellery exports from the region. Currently, a large portion of the pharma and seafood products are exported either via Chennai or Hyderabad, as per industry sources.
The airport had earlier floated a tender inviting private operators to operate the international cargo facility. However, only one bidder had evinced interest in the proposal, but it was rejected by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) as the bidder had not met the requirements.
Domestic air cargo operations are witnessing a huge growth in the current fiscal. Visakhapatnam Airport has handled 3,748 tonnes of air cargo during April 2016 to January 2017 as against 1,639 tonnes during the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, registering a growth of 128.7%.