KATHMANDU, April 25: Import and export of goods via aerial route has come to a grinding halt since Saturday.
Opposing a decision to hike cargo handling fee by as much as four times, importers and exporters have halted all cargo handling process at the Cargo Terminal of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).
Talking to Republica, Sundar Prasad Dahal, the general secretary of Nepal Freight Forwarders Association (Neffa) said that the importers and exporters had no option but to launch protest after the government implemented the decision which was withdrawn some six years ago. “We will draw attention of the finance minister and other concerned government authorities to withdraw the decision at the earliest,” he added.
According to Dahal, cargo handling fee has been increased by as much as four times. “Handling fee of consignment weighing 50 kg has been increased to Rs 200 from existing Rs 70,” he added.
A recent decision taken by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) says an importer has to pay Rs 2.85 per kg or Rs 200, whichever is higher, as handling fee. Earlier, such fee was 80 paisa per kg or Rs 43 for each consignment whichever is higher.
The new cargo handling fee for exportable commodity is Rs 5.35 per kg or Rs 100, whichever is higher. The rate for such export was only Rs 70 for up to 50 kg, Rs 140 for consignments between 51 to 500 kg, and Rs 220 for consignments of up to 1,000 kg. For consignments above 1001 kg, CAAN used to charge Rs 280.
But CAAN has now imposed a flat rate for all consignments. Similarly, CAAN used to impose same fee for all types of goods in the past. Now, it is levying different fees for different valuable and perishable goods as well as express courier bag, express courier parcel and express cargo.
According to the new rule, importers have to pay demurrage fee if goods are not cleared from the terminal within five working days. Earlier, CAAN used to waive off such fee for up to seven working days. However, exporters have to pay demurrage fee if goods are not remove from the cargo terminal within 24 hours.
Issuing a public notice on Saturday, Nepal Transit Warehousing Company Ltd, which looks after the management of the cargo terminal, said the fee has been raised based on the decision taken by CAAN three weeks ago.
Thirteen private sector associations, including Neffa, Nepal Chamber of Commerce, Nepal Carpet Exporters Association, Nepal Pashmina Industries Association, have protested the decision, saying that it would increase the price imported goods as well as affect overall imports.