India plans for around-the-clock ports
Indian government authorities are planning to provide 24 hour clearance services as the country’s major sea and air ports.
Extensive documentation requirements and procedural delays have previously been described as ‘major impediments’ to India’s trade development. The move follows pressure from the trade and maritime community, which has been calling for trade service improvements in order to speed the flow of cargo into the country.
“One of the major constraints for international trade has been the non-availability of customs clearance and other facilities at airports and seaports round-the-clock, seven-days-a-week,” an official statement said. “Currently, import and export shipments, delivered at a time when clearance facilities are unavailable, have to wait until clearance facilities are open to move onto their destinations. As a result, at airports and ports, which in any case normally operate round-the-clock, cargo piles up awaiting clearances.”
Starting as a pilot programme, officials suggested that only four seaports would be covered initially, namely Jawaharlal Nehru (Nhava Sheva), Chennai, Kolkata and Kandla, along with four airports: New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai.
Expected to start on the 25th August, the ‘seamless’ clearance services will cover certain categories of imports and exports. Import cargo falling under the ‘non-assessment-no-examination’ category (around 70 percent of inbound volume) and shipments not taking advantage of tax incentives are expected to be included.
“Depending on the outcome of the trial over a four-month period, efforts would be made to expand similar operations at other locations,” explained the Prime Minister’s Office.