At present, there is no customs clearance after 5.30 pm. This is considered a major constraint.

International traders can breathe easy as customs clearance will be made available round the clock at four major airports and ports. The new system will be in place from September 1.

The Prime Minister’s Office has issued a directive in this regard. The four airports where this 24/7 facility would be available are Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai. Chennai, Kolkata, Kandla and JNPT, in Mumbai, are the four ports that will get this facility.

Pilot project

Round the clock operations will begin on a pilot basis with customs operations, along with all other complementary services. Along with customs clearances, other government agencies such as the concerned port or airport authority, drug controller, FSSAI, quarantine etc, and private players such as custodians, CHAs, banks, and transporters will also have to work accordingly to synchronize with the extended work hours.

This would be initially be for a period of four months after which efforts would be made to expand similar operations at other locations.

Certain categories

The 24/7 operations would be available for certain categories of imports and exports. For imports, the category ‘No Assessment-No Examination’ will be covered. This will cover nearly 70 per cent of imports. For exports, this facility could be extended to those exports not claiming benefits.

At present, there is no customs clearance after 5.30 pm. This is considered a major constraint.

According to the PMO, such a system means that import and export cargo, delivered at a time when clearance facilities are unavailable, have to wait till clearance facilities are open to move on to their destination. At airports and ports, which in any case normally operate round the clock, cargoes pile up awaiting clearance.

(This article was published on August 7, 2012)
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