Kathmandu, November 25:

Export and import from the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) Cargo Complex came to a complete halt today after Nepal Freight Forwarders Association (NEFFA) went on an indefinite strike.

Namgyal Lama, president of NEFFA informed that “not a single shipment passed through TIA Cargo Complex today.” He urged the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) to resolve the problems faced by exporters, freight forwarders and loaders.

NEFFA has protested the hike in freight charge from Rs 3 to Rs 7 per kg, reissue of identify cards for loaders breaching the earlier agreement between CAAN with NEFFA, and the lay off of 50 per cent loaders.

They have demanded implement of an international system at the ACC to boost exports. “Disturbances created by ACC parking contractor and his illegal deeds should be promptly stopped,” he said.

Similarly, issuing a press statement, Nepal Carpet Exporters’ Association (NCEA) has supported NEFFA’s protest against the CAAN’s wrong attitudes.

“At a time when carpet export has gone down by over 30 per cent, government attitude towards export sector is not encouraging,” states the press release by NCEA.

“If NEFFA’s demands are not taken seriously, NCEA will also be compelled to stop exporting carpets for an indefinite period that will ultimately hit the national coffer.”

According to the NCEA, “in the first month of the current fiscal year, export of carpet has gone down by seven per cent but in the fifth month, it went down by over 29 per cent.”

R M Singh, immediate past president of NEFFA stressed that the export and import should not be halted at any cost.

“Therefore, CAAN, who is responsible for monitoring and facilitating at the ACC should take NEFFA’s demands positively and talk immediately to them to resolve the present problems as soon as possible.”

Udaya Raj Pandey, general secretary of Garment Association of Nepal (GAN) said that the attitudes shown by CAAN in resolving the dispute with NEFFA is not encouraging.

“If we face hurdles in the export and import front on a regular basis, this trade will be costly,” he said. “If CAAN is not able to resolve the problems, the government should take action,” Pandey added.

However, Bharat Dhakal, security chief at the CAAN, said that they have been acting according to the government’s decision.

If CAAN does not take any step towards solving the problem, it might be a huge loss to the national coffer as the export from the ACC contributes a substantial chunk to the national revenue.