Monday, February 2, 2015

Missing round-the-clock Customs Clearance affects EXIM Trade


Port Wings News Network:
While the Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly  advocating for “Make in India” and emphasizing on increasing exports from the country on every business forum to infuse growth in the economy, lack of enthusiasm from Customs Department, mainly responsible for facilitating export and import (Exim) trade, is affecting the sector, traders say.

According to regular users, though the CWC Madhavaram in the outskirts of Chennai had been nominated as 24X7 facility by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) for seal verification and to issue Let Export Order (LEO) for factory-stuffed containers and for MOT stuffing about two years ago, Customs officials vanishes after 10 pm everyday and clearances of those containers reaching in the evening hours done only the next day afternoon.
Exporters from the state as well as from neighouring states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka , who stuff their goods in their factory and plan their shipment through Chennai Port, prefer the CWC Madhavaram facility as it is located along Inner Ring Road (IRR) with excellent road connectivity for all factory stuffed and Central Excise–sealed cargoes.
Though there were 30-odd CFSs in Chennai, the seal verification of factory stuff containers was being done only at the CWC Madhavaram CFS.

Speaking to Port Wings, a regular exporter seeking anonymity said, “We moved our factory-stuffed containers to CWC Madhavaram on one fine evening (9 pm) few weeks ago thinking that it would be cleared soon and can be moved to Chennai Port within hours as it is round-the-clock facility. However, to our dismay, we have been told by the staff at the facility that Customs officials left for the day and they will be available only by noon the next day.”
“I don’t understand the concept and meaning of round-the-clock facility when its being just 10 or 12 hours a day at CWC Madhavaram,” lamented the exporter.

Due to the Customs Officials’ “fixed vanishing act” at CWC Madhavaram, container trailers loaded with commodities including seafood, automobiles, cocopeat and so many other high-value products, are forced to make long queue inside as well as outside the facility just for a 5-minute work.

According to port users, about 500-600 factory-stuffed or MOT-containers reach the CWC Madhavaram facility every day and in the absence of practical round-the-clock Customs clearance, more than 50 percent of them are forced to wait for more than 12 hours until the Customs officers resume the clearance.
Due to the delay, container trailers, for not of their fault, get accumulated in and around the Madhavaram facility.
“If the Customs clearance happen round-the-clock as promised to us by the Customs and the Chennai Port, it will not only reduce congestion of trailers on road upto Chennai Port, but also increase productivity and bring more revenue for the government of India,” said another exporter, who is also facing  problems at Madhavaram.
“Just like Railway counters that operate round-the-clock, Customs should also be forced to work like them wherever it is 24X7 and only then, the Prime Minister’s dream of becoming a developed economy turn true. Until unless CBEC board make its field staff accountable for any delay, it will not happen and becoming a Developed Nation will remain as dream only,” added the exporter.


Irked over the sullied image of Exim fraternity from the region before the international customers due to delays in shipments, they have appealed to the Union Minister of State for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Mr Pon Radhakrishnan to intervene at the highest level, either with the Finance Ministry (under whom the CBEC Board falls) or with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and bring real changes in Customs approach towards trade.
According to a section of exporters, it is high time that the Finance Ministry directly monitor the EXIM affairs, especially in Chennai, to ensure timely movement of goods.

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