Mumbai airport truckers and shippers blast 'extortionate' road toll

2012 03 29

A TOLL being levied by Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) to use the road leading to the cargo terminal at the Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) has been met with resistance from cargo operators, who have slammed the toll as being "arbitrary and extortionate."

The Express Industry Council of India (EICI), the Air Cargo Agents Association of India, the Indian Merchants' Chamber (shipping and aviation committee), the Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture, the Western India Shippers Association, the Manufacturers Association on Information Technology, the Association of Multimodal Transport Operators of India and the Bombay Custom House Agents' Association (BCHAA) are protesting against the toll.

Cargo operators have been up in arms with MIAL since the toll was introduced on every trip made to the airport's cargo terminal on February 9, reports India's Daily News & Analysis (DNA).

"There was no intimation of any kind. After our protests and repeated correspondence with the MIAL, it put out a note a fortnight later saying the toll was mandatory for all vehicles," Vijay Kumar, EICI's chief operating officer, was quoted as saying. "Around 700-800 vehicles ply on this road daily. In fact, most make several sorties. From a toll of INR50 (US$0.97) to INR200, depending on the vehicle, the MIAL makes more than INR1 million every day. And, it is not even a sovereign or constitutional body empowered to collect such a toll."

Mr Kumar was cited as saying that he has written to Aviation Minister Ajit Singh and Union Aviation Secretary Nasim Zaidi to seek their support in overturning the toll.

In response MIAL authorities said: "There was a toll of INR70 in place till about a-year-and-a-half ago for vehicles which arrived at the cargo terminal. This discontinued toll has been reinstated and that too at a lower rate than before," said an official, who added, "The Indira Gandhi International Airport at Delhi and Devanahalli at Bengaluru charge INR70 for every four hours."

According to Mr Kumar other airports charge a toll only for vehicles that use the cargo terminal to park and not for using the road leading to the air freight terminal.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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