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Tuesday, Nov 02, 2004

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Fears on delay in cargo clearance with EDI allayed

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(From left) Mr Jayant Lapsia, President of All India Liquid Bulk Importers and Exporters Association (AILBIEA), Mr Ahmad Hussain, Commissioner Customs (Imports), and Mr N.B. Godrej of Godrej Industries, at the fourth anniversary function of AILBIEA. - Shashi Ashiwal

Mumbai , Nov. 1

SENIOR Customs officials in Mumbai sought to allay fears of the liquid bulk importers and exporters that implementation of EDI system for processing of export-import documents would continue to result in delays.

The officials told a meeting of All India Liquid Bulk Importers and Exporters Association (AILBIEA), which celebrated its fourth anniversary in Mumbai, that the delay the trade was facing on account of EDI at the moment was only a "teething trouble".

Mr N.B. Godrej of the Godrej Group and Mr H.K. Mittal, Chairman of Mercator Lines, were among those who were present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr K. Tewari, Chief Commissioner of Customs, Mumbai, said implementation of EDI would facilitate faster processing of documents and ensure more transparency in the transactions. He pointed out that the Customs Department was increasing the penetration of Icegate (Indian Customs and Excise Gateway) across the country, as part of its strategy to increase on-line processing of documents.

"We are also planning to introduce the concept of risk management, which can enable you (exporters and importers) to clear your consignments very quickly, sitting in your office," Mr Tewari said.

Members of AILBIEA had been complaining that since the introduction of EDI for document processing in Mumbai port from September, there had been delay, as compared to the manual system of processing

Mr Jayant Lapsia, AILBIEA president, suggested that the Customs department set up a separate cell for liquid bulk exporters and importers. He pointed out that while liquid bulk cargo traffic was increasing from year to year, the share of this traffic handled by Mumbai port declined from 20.3 million tonnes in 1994-95 to 17 million tonnes in 2002-03.

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