Facing restrictions due to the nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19, perishable cargo processed in Bengaluru International Airport to be sent to global destinations witnessed a 49 per cent drop in April 2020.
According to estimates calculated by the airport authorities, Kempegowda International Airport processed only 1,425 metric tonnes (MT) of perishable cargo during April 2020, when compared to the 2,770 MT processed during the same month last year.
The perishables, which included vegetables and fruits, were transported from various parts of Karnataka.
“The countrywide lockdown and subsequent blockade of district borders by Karnataka had a significant impact on the movement of cargo, an official spokesperson of Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL) said.
Shortage of farmworkers and various other issues faced by farmers and shippers were among other factors identified for the fall.
However, BIAL officials claimed that the airport, backed with cutting-edge tech assets for cargo processing, ensured that products reach their destination while still offering the same freshness, quality and appeal.
“The timely delivery of perishable items with a limited shelf life to consumers, presents complicated challenges, in terms of maintaining quality and freshness,” the BIAL spokesperson added.
This year, Doha emerged as the top destination for perishables from Bengaluru, having received 834 MT while Dubai and London were second and third with 146 MT and 110 MT respectively.
As many as ten airlines, including two Indian carriers, transported perishables to 28 international destinations last month.
Explaining the process, officials said the infrastructure at KIAB has been built in a way to provide a solution for the rapid distribution of perishable cargo.
“With a dedicated cold zone – AISATS Coolport – with the capacity to handle 40,000 MT per annum with temperature zones ranging from -25 to +25 degrees Centigrade, under the same roof. Menzies Aviation Bobba Bangalore, too, has a cold zone, measuring 8,500 square feet with the capacity to handle 20 ULD (Unit Load Device) Pallets across temperatures ranging from 15 to 25 degrees Centigrade and 2 ULD Pallets across temperatures ranging from 2 to 8 degrees Centigrade,” the official said.
The perishables that were transported from the airport in April 2020 include 10 varieties of vegetables – baby corn, green chilies, ladiesfinger, ivy gourd, brinjal, onion, bitter gourd, cauliflower, drumsticks, raw mango – and six varieties of fruits – mangoes, bananas, papayas, pomegranate, pineapple, and jackfruit.
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