The Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Custom (CBIC) on Thursday said that the average time taken for customs clearance of imports has dropped 11 per cent at air cargo complexes and 9 per cent across seaports.

This is based on the National Time Release Study (NTRS) 2023 which present average cargo release time for seaports, air cargo complexes (ACCs), inland container depots (ICDs) and integrated check posts (ICPs), which account for approximately 80 per cent of bills of entry and 70 per cent of shipping bills filed in the country. The study is based on the sample period between January 1 and 7, 2023, and compares the same to the performance during the corresponding periods of 2021 and 2022.

“The average import release time has continued to improve, achieving 20 per cent reduction in release time for ICDs; 11 per cent reduction for ACCs; and 9 per cent reduction for seaports in 2023 over 2022,” CBIC said in a statement. In absolute terms, the import release time for seaports, ICDs, ACC and ICPs is 85:42 hrs, 71:46 hrs, 44:16 hrs and 31:47 hrs, respectively.

The study measures the time taken from the arrival of the cargo at the Customs station to its out-of-charge for domestic clearance in case of imports and the arrival of the cargo at the Customs station to the eventual departure of the carrier in case of exports.

Findings of NTRS 2023 reaffirm the 3-fold ‘path to promptness’, comprising advance filing of import documents enabling pre-arrival processing, risk-based facilitation of cargo and benefits of trusted client programme - Authorised Economic Operators.

“The improved release time involves the efforts of various stakeholders, including Customs, port authorities, Customs Brokers and Participating Government Agencies, in implementing various trade facilitation measures, which encourages the continued collaboration to further expedite cargo clearance and enhance trade efficiency,” the CBIC said.