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Garment export surge chokes cargo space

Nina Varghese

CHENNAI, March 26

AT all Indian gateway airports, there is a scramble for cargo space on airlines as garment exporters rush to meet the deadline when the quotas for the first period expire. Airlines have also come in with flash or express rates to cash in on the surge.

Market sources said that some airlines were accepting only flash cargo and there was a huge backlog. With the capacity crunch, shippers will have to plan at least three to four days in advance to get a carting order from the airline to book the cargo, a cargo agent said.

The tariff rates to European hubs from Chennai range from Rs 90 per kg to Rs 100 for plus 500 kg break weight, while the average spot or express rates would be around Rs 130 per kg.

The tariff rate to New York from Chennai is around Rs 130 per kg for the plus 500 kg break weight category and the flash rate is Rs 184 per kg for the same break weight.

Gulf carriers, which were earlier accepting cargo for the US and Europe, have stopped doing so as this space has been booked for cargo from their respective hubs, airline sources said.

They said that not only were the gateway airports out of India jammed; international hubs such as Frankfurt, London, Luxemburg and Paris were all choked with cargo.

Sources said that it was not just cargo from India but there was a surge in cargo from other garment producing countries such as China, Vietnam, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

This increase in garment shipments had gone against retail advisories that predicted a dull retail sentiment at the beginning of the year.

According to available figures, textile exports out of China went up by 17.61 per cent during the first two months of 2002 compared to the corresponding period in the previous year.

Pakistan saw an increase of 1.4 per cent during the same period over the previous years.

Industry sources said that this year there had been an increase in cargo to Canada, especially to Montreal.

This cargo was also stuck at the various hubs, as there was

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