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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                       26  August 2011

Too soon for Indo air cargo inspections

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The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday called for an additional six-month postponement of a new cargo inspection process at international airports, saying lack of infrastructure and manpower will cause bottlenecks.

Ahead of the planned commencement of the cargo inspection process next week, Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) chairman Suryo Bambang Sulisto said on Thursday that companies were not ready with the implementation of cargo-processing inspections at the country’s airports.

“There are only four cargo inspection agents handling 900 tons of merchandise per day. This will cause bottlenecks in airports, not to mention additional fees,” he said.

The regulation, designed to improve security surveillance at the urging of the International Civil Aviation Organization, was first implemented in July at Soekarno Hatta International Airport.

Packages are to be inspected individually, incurring an additional fee of 10 to 14 times the normal rate of Rp 60 (0.7 cents) per kilogram.

When the system was implemented, chaos immediately ensued. A long backlog developed of cargo waiting for inspection, prompting cargo forwarding companies to strike.

Hundreds of tons of cargo, including newspapers, medicines, and even human remains awaiting repatriation were stranded, incurring losses estimated in the billions of rupiah.

Hundreds of workers back in early July staged a one-day really to protest the regulation issued by the Transportation Ministry which stipulated that only three companies — Duta Angkasa Prima Kargo, Gita Afian Trans and Fajar Anugerah Sejahtera — would be responsible for security screening of cargo shipments.

The three companies replaced eight that had been contracted to do the job previously.

After negotiations between Kadin and the government, the regulation’s commencement date was postponed until Sept. 3.

Hariyadi Sukamdani, a deputy at Kadin, said that if the government decided to proceed with the regulation next week, chaos may return to the airport’s cargo terminal.

“It’s a risk that the government will have to take [if they implement the regulation],” he said.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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