Maritime trade goes all electronic

P. Manoj | | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021

E-filing made mandatory for the trade across major ports to speed up approvals

P Manoj The government has made the use of e-Invoices, e-Payments and e-Delivery orders mandatory across the maritime trade as it seeks to push digitisation of trade processes to improve the ease of doing business.

Stakeholders across major ports (owned by the Central government) and terminals therein, private ports, private terminals, container freight stations (CFS) and inland container depots (ICD) have been directed to use e-Invoices, e-Payments and e-Delivery orders, according to an order issued by the Shipping Ministry, with effect from April 2.

The government has also directed stakeholders to use the Port Community System (PCS), a centralised web-based message exchange platform for the Indian maritime community run by the Indian Ports Association (IPA), to exchange the documents.

PCS is linked to the Indian Customs Electronic Commerce/Electronic Data Interchange Gateway or ICEGATE, a portal that provides e-filing services to trade and cargo carriers and other clients of the Customs Department, enabling faster clearance.

e-Invoice, e-Payment and e-Delivery Order features were added in the PCS over the past year.

Ministry order

“On a review of the use of these functionalities in PCS by various stakeholders, it is seen that many stakeholders are yet to use these features. In order to improve the flow of sea trade among PCS and for the benefit of all stakeholders concerned, it is essential that all stakeholders across the maritime trade flow use these features. Wherever the link is broken, manual processes are resorted to resulting in increase in dwell time of cargo,” the Shipping Ministry order said.

“In view of the above, it has now been decided that the use of e-Invoice, e-Payment and e-Delivery order, across the entire maritime trade through PCS shall be made mandatory for all stakeholders across all major ports, all terminals within the major ports, private ports, private terminals and CFS/ICD,” it added.

“This will improve the turn-around time of shipments,” says Anand Dikshit, Commercial Director at freight forwarding firm Clearship Forwarders Pvt Ltd. “We can get shipments out in a couple of hours. Earlier, these documents had to be physically transferred to the point of delivery, entailing delays.”

Published on April 09, 2018
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