New Airport X-Ray Rule Halted After Cargo Chaos

Amid scenes of chaos at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport’s cargo terminal where freight piled up as courier employees picketed outside, the government made a hasty U-turn and agreed to delay implementation of a new regulation that caused the trouble.

The government, courier firms and state airport operator Angkasa Pura II agreed on Tuesday evening to postpone the policy on cargo processing — which included a massive hike in charges to inspect goods — until August at the earliest.

“We held a meeting with government officials and we agreed to resolve the case. There will be no more strike,” said M. Kadrial, chairman of the Indonesian Express Delivery Companies Association (Asperindo).

Hundreds of representatives from courier and expedition firms had protested since Monday, when the regulation, which was issued in April, took effect.

Among the demonstrators’ complaints was the government’s appointment of only three designated companies that were allowed to charge the couriers a higher inspection fee based on the weight of cargo. “The inspection tariff will be returned to the previous tariff until August 16,’’ Kadrial said.

The security charge — which couriers, importers and exporters must pay to the government — was raised more than 14-fold to
Rp 850 (10 cents) per kilogram from Rp 60.

The rise in costs reflected the need to tack a security label on goods that passed inspection, according to the companies.
Critics of the new policy issued by the Transportation Ministry said it had made the process of inspecting and loading cargo at the airport more laborious because it limited the number of accredited inspectors.

Bambang Ervan, a spokesman for the Transportation Ministry, said the regulation also allowed freight costs — separate from inspection tariffs — to be hiked to Rp 250,000 a kilo from Rp 60,000.

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