Technology glitch holds up 10,000 boxes of import cargo at freight stations

T.E. Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on March 22, 2011 Published on March 22, 2011

The problem cannot be rectified at Chennai or Nhava Sheva Custom House but can be done only at the central server in Delhi.

Over 10,000 containers with import cargo are held up at various container freight stations (CFS) due to a technology glitch at the Customs House even as filing of document between the trade and the Customs department is being migrated to a new platform.

The cargo could not be unloaded till the Customs department gives its clearance post-verification and payment of necessary duty online.

Processing hit

The Chennai Sea Custom has been migrated to ICES 1.5 version from 1.0. Due to this, ICES (Indian Customs EDI System) and ICEGATE (Indian Customs and Central Excise Electronic Commerce/Electronic Data interchange (EC/EDI) gateway processing is expected to be down till further notice. All user filing, bank and custodians are affected, says a notice put up in the ICEGATE Web site run by the Ministry of Finance.

The processing of documents through the Customs at Nhava Sheva was also affected due to the migration (from ICES), the Web site says.

In Chennai alone, nearly 10,000 import boxes are moved to the CFSs every week. Operations at the container terminal have not been affected.

Central server

According to an official of a leading Custom House Agency, the problem started a week ago when the migration was done ‘without any intimation to the trade.' The problem cannot be rectified at Chennai or Nhava Sheva Custom House but can be done only at the central server in Delhi, he said quoting officials of the Chennai Customs.

The ICES is operational at 40 major Customs and handles nearly 75 per cent of India's international trade in terms of import and export consignments. The ICEGATE enables electronic filing services of documents to the trade and cargo carriers and clients of Customs and Central Excise Department. Currently, about 8500 users are registered with ICEGATE.


The ICES was introduced as an internal automation of the Custom House for a paperless, fully automated customs clearance system that makes the functioning of Customs clearance transparent. It was also an online, real-time electronic interface with the trade, transport and regulatory agencies concerned with Customs clearance of import and export cargo.

Meanwhile, sources said the problem was sorted out in the afternoon but the server was very slow and it was taking time to file the documents.

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Published on March 22, 2011
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