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SHB urges AAI to speed up work on strongroom facility at airport.

Date: 13-02-2019
Subject: SHB urges AAI to speed up work on strongroom facility at airport
Surat: With Surat airport all set to get direct international flight to Sharjah, Surat Hira Bourse (SHB) has urged Airports Authority of India (AAI) for providing strongroom facility at the premises for carrying out customs clearance of valuable goods imported and those that are to be exported. 

SHB authorities stated that a strongroom is needed for direct import and export of polished diamonds and jewellery from the airport. The application was submitted to the AAI well in advance and that they are waiting for approval. 

SHB chief executive officer KK Sharma told TOI, “Once Surat-Sharjah international operations commence from February 16, it will pave way for direct import and export of valuable goods from the airport. The strongroom will allow us to carry out smooth operations from the airport as we have our own customs clearance house at SHB.”

SHB, operated by Diamond and Gem Development Corporation (DGDC), was recently granted authorized economic operator (AEO) certification. 

Official sources said the AEO certification will boost export of polished diamonds from the city and that it is likely to increase 20% in 2019. At present, SHB exports polished diamonds to the tune of Rs30,000 crore per annum and that the import of rough diamonds was around Rs15,000 crore. 

Sharma said SHB had to earlier pay bank guarantee for export of diamonds of the equivalent value due to absence of the AEO certification. Diamonds are precious cargo and that their value is in crores. However, most of the diamond exporters preferred to export their parcels through Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) in Mumbai. 

Sharma added, “Sharjah and Dubai are key destinations for diamond trade. At present, export and import of diamonds and jewellery are done through Mumbai. But, things are going to change in the next couple of years as Surat has now got international flight services.”

An AAI official said, “The existing terminal at the airport is undergoing modification to add about 1,300 square feet space. The final call for allotting strongroom space to SHB will be taken by AAI headquarters. However, expansion of the airport terminal building will have all the facilities in the coming years.”

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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