After dna carried a story last month about how large multinational cargo companies are allegedly indulging in malpractices by diverting bigger consignments from the air cargo terminal to the courier terminal and thereby causing revenue losses worth crores of rupees, the customs department has now ordered for strict implementation of the law.
In a complaint to the customs commissioner, MIAL has alleged that the big players, including DHL Express Pvt Ltd, were found to be indulging in this controversial practice. At the same time, some trade association members have named FedEx and a few other biggies in connection with the same. Both DHL and FedEx have refuted the allegations.
Industry insiders said following the MIAL letter, customs commissioner APS Suri had in November issued an order, referring to a 1998 circular, stating that parcels weighing more than 70 kg and arriving in courier mode must be transferred to cargo terminal.
However, on December 4, another notice from acting commissioner Roopam Kapoor stated that the earlier notice had been kept on hold. Sources attributed this to hectic lobbying by cargo firms at the central government level.
As per the prevailing laws, the courier terminal is authorised to handle documents and samples weighing not more than 70 kg. A letter from Manoj Singh, vice-president, cargo (MIAL), states that the firms are diverting about 1,000 metric tonnes of cargo to the courier terminal every month.
Sources said MIAL is worried at the prospect of losing business as the courier terminal is managed by a different agency – Express Industry Council of India (EICI).
Trade association members said companies are taking advantage of the absence of an electronic data interchange system, which can track all details pertaining to a parcel, at the courier counter.
“The 70 kg limit will continue for now till an electronic data interchange system is put in place,” said Suri.