The announcement of a new international cargo terminal at the Pune airport has been happily welcomed by farmers in nearby towns and villages, who will soon be able to save both time and money shipping their produce out from Pune.

Pune airport
The cargo hold will be housed in the new building constructed near the airport terminal, and will help farmers in and around Pune considerably

Last year, over 18,211 metric tonnes were shipped from Pune International Airport, clearly indicating that the airport needed a separate terminal to cope with the burgeoning cargo movement. As on date, more than 50 per cent of shipments from Mumbai airport go via Pune.

However, the international cargo terminal project had been pending for the last two years. It was only in April this year, that a delegation arrived from the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and assessed the urgent need for a cargo terminal at the Lohegaon airport.

The cargo terminal will find enthusiastic takers amongst farmers in and around Pune, who have to make long and expensive trips to Mumbai to export their produce from there.

The farmers often have to travel 150 km or more to get to the Mumbai airport, spending on jeeps and trucks to carry their goods. The Pune terminal will shave off more than half of the travel distance and cost, helping them save in thousands.

The cargo hold, located in the new building constructed next to the airport terminal, is expected to be open for shipments within two months.

The airport director, Manoj Gangal, said, “We are working to get the cargo terminal in place at the earliest. Two
walk-in coolers from the Agriculture and Processed Food products Export Development Authority (APEDA) have already been positioned at the airport.

Each has a capacity of two tonnes, while the temperature can be maintained between two and eight degrees Celsius, so that the cold chain can be maintained for perishable goods.”

“With the cold chain ensured, perishable food products that are been currently diverted to Mumbai can now be shipped from Pune airport instead, resulting in revenue for the airport,” Gangal added.

S K Jain, president of the Mahratta Chambers of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture, an organisation which works to accelerate economic and industrial development in Pune, told mid-day, “It is essential that all types of cargo movement, be it perishable or non-perishable, from Pune and adjoining areas, should be sent from Pune International Airport. The development of the new cargo terminal will result in faster movement of shipments.”