One of the major
constraints for international trade has been the non-availability of
customs clearance and other facilities at airports and seaports round
the clock, seven days a week. This 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, cargo piles up awaiting clearances.
In order to remove this bottleneck, it has now been agreed that customs
clearances will now be available at identified sea-ports and airports
24x7 in order to facilitate trade services.
The four airports where this 24x7 facility would be available are Delhi,
Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai. The four ports where this facility would
be available are Chennai, Kolkata, Kandla and JNPT, Mumbai.
The 24x7 operations would 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/airport
authority, drug controller, FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority
of India), quarantine, etc., and private players such as custodians,
CHAs (Customs House Agents), banks, transporters, etc., shall also have
to work 24x7 to synchronize with the extended work hours. This would be
initially for four months after which efforts would be made to expand
similar operations at other locations.
The 24x7 operations would be available for certain categories of imports
and exports. For imports, the category “No Assessment No Examination”
will be covered. This would account for 70% of imports. For exports, the
24x7 facility could be extended to those exports not claiming benefits.
For smooth operationalisation of 24x7, the Commissioner of Customs
concerned at these locations shall hold meetings with all stakeholders.
Such additional staff that is required to start these operations shall
be redeployed from existing resources. Secretary, Commerce and the
Director General, Foreign Trade shall also hold meetings with other
support agencies to facilitate and ensure 24x7 operations. A notice in
this regard shall issue by 10.8.2012, with 24x7 operations to commence
after two weeks from that date, on 25.8.2012.
The Department of Revenue shall assess the pilot and propose expansion
of coverage if it is required.