Freight forwarders to go on indefinite strike from today

Kathmandu, November 24:

Nepal Association of Freight Forwarders (NEFFA) — the umbrella organisation of freight forwarders — announced indefinite strike from tomorrow at the Tribhuvan International Airport Cargo Complex (ACC), protesting Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN)’s move.

Namgyal Lama, president of NEFFA, today at a press conference in the capital announced the strike. “All the work will be stopped at the Airport Cargo Complex (ACC) until CAAN meets our demands. This is going to affect 40 metric tonnes of cargo being passed from ACC every day,” he said.

Lama alleged that the move by the CAAN is not fair as they plan to install their own men. “In the name of security, CAAN is re-issuing identity cards to the loaders who are hired by NEFFA and employ their own men.” “For the past five years since the ACC has been operational, not a single accident has happened,” he said adding that the move to control loaders and freight forwarders is suspicious. He said that one of the staff hired by Quality Freight was beaten up yesterday by a gang of contractors, who are responsible for collecting parking fees in the ACC premises.

NEFFA’s has also condemned the act. “If one loader is displaced, we will not be able to work smoothly, as it will directly hit us as there is already a shortage of professional loaders,” Lama said accusing the CAAN of breaching the contract reached between them. “The government is thinking to lay off about 50 per cent of loaders in the name of security which we do not agree,” he said. “The parking contractor charges high parking fee, including the entry fee, which is totally illegal,” he accused demanding a fair system at the ACC to make it of an international standard to boost export.

“As per international norms in other countries, customs agent’s licence-holders and freight forwarders are allowed in ACC but in Nepal, we lack such regulations,” he said. NEFFA on the occasion also demanded one window system at ACC for facilitating export. Rajan Sharma, general secretary of NEFFA said that CAAN is ordering us to move our loaders in the name of security at a time when there is an acute shortage of staff. “Instead of helping boost the export, CAAN’s attitude is irresponsible,” he said. Meanwhile, freight forwarders have also protested the freight forwarding charge hike. Earlier it used to cost Rs 3 per kg but from tomorrow the government is increasing it to Rs 7 per kg. “The move will hit the export hard,” they complained.