Mumbai Customs agents protest theft

CUSTOMS agents at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai (India) went on strike yesterday (26 May) bringing cargo processing to a standstill. The agents claimed to be protesting against poor facilities at the airport. This is the second time there has been a strike at the airport over the same issue.

“Due to the inaction by MIAL [Mumbai International Airport Ltd] over the years, the operating staff of customs house agents, along with IATA agents, [went on strike] on Thursday,” reported a Customs house spokesperson. “Our prime demands are better infrastructure, more manpower, and sufficient equipment to handle the existing volume of cargo, among others. The inaction on MIAL’s part has also resulted in unwanted practices by labourers [and] loaders.”

The agents say that MIAL’s inefficiency delays the processing of goods and therefore increasing the agents’ workload. “The cargo volume rose almost 350 per cent [over] the last five years, but there is no increase in manpower,” an agent said.

In addition, the agents claim, loaders are continually stealing consignments. “Right now, there are around 500 to 700 consignments that are untraceable,” confirmed another agent.

An MIAL official denied the charges. “The cargo complex has the required infrastructure now. A bigger cargo complex is part of the airport development plan and will be ready in a couple of years.”

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