More Cus­toms op­er­a­tions should be brought on EDI and Cus­tom House Agents need to en­hance aware­ness of gov­ern­ment rules and reg­u­la­tions says Atree, as he points at the need for more ship­ping lines should em­brace dig­i­ti­za­tion

Maritime Gateway - - Contents - By Vi­jay Ku­rup


Q What are the chal­lenges fac­ing Cus­tom House Agents?

The most im­por­tant chal­lenge is to fa­cil­i­tate im­porters and ex­porters for quick and timely de­liv­ery and ex­port of goods. The CHAS are fac­ing a few acute prob­lems with re­gard to fa­cil­i­ta­tion to the in­dus­try. Firstly, at times, due to slow or break­down of the EDI sys­tems in the Cus­toms, there is a de­lay in pro­cess­ing of Bills of En­try/ Ship­ping Bills. As a re­sult, in im­ports for ex­am­ple, the de­liv­ery of the cargo is de­layed to the con­signee. Fur­ther, this de­lay causes an au­to­matic im­po­si­tion of penalty on us which is `5000 per day. Though the penalty is re­peal­able, the process of waiver is time con­sum­ing.

Se­condly the re­stric­tion of move­ment of com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles, by the traf­fic po­lice, in the NCR re­gion, is fur­ther adding to the de­lay. Ve­hi­cles car­ry­ing heavy goods can only ply be­tween 11pm and 7am. How­ever, the de­part­ment has launched their project ‘SAKSHAM’ which will def­i­nitely im­prove the work­ing of the system.

Q How do you plan to bring trans­parency in Cus­toms clear­ance?

Trans­parency is pos­si­ble only if max­i­mum pro­cesses are shifted to the EDI. There has to be min­i­mum of di­rect in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the Gov­ern­ment and the trade.

Q What are the new trends in Cus­toms clear­ing busi­ness?

CBEC has re­cently launched e-san­chit that en­ables regis­tered per­sons to file doc­u­ments on­line. Any document per­tain­ing to ex­port or im­port can be up­loaded on the web­site. This process re­duces pro­cess­ing time and brings in trans­parency.

Q Do you feel there is a lack of skill among CHAS, par­tic­u­larly in view of the Gov­ern­ment go­ing dig­i­tal in a big way?

No. Ma­jor­ity of the CHAS have man­aged to pick up the nec­es­sary re­main com­pet­i­tive it is nec­es­sary to keep abreast with the lat­est in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy. They are up­grad­ing their knowl­edge ac­cord­ing to the need. The num­ber of new mea­sures in­tro­duced by the Gov­ern­ment it­self pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties to grow. The CHAS will have to be cog­nisant of the poli­cies that are be­ing in­tro­duced by the var­i­ous min­istries from time to time.

Q Do you think that the Ease of Do­ing busi­ness has been en­hanced?

Yes very much. The Ease of Do­ing Busi­ness has re­sulted in in­crease of man­u­fac­tur­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in In­dia.

To be more spe­cific, it has im­proved the dwell time in clear­ance of exim goods. It has also sub­stan­tially re­duced trans­ac­tion cost for the busi­nesses.

Re­cently on In­ter­na­tional Cus­toms Day two new tech­nol­ogy plat­forms were in­tro­duced, namely ICETRAK and and ICETAB. ICETRAK is a one-stop Por­tal for ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the trade and the de­part­ment of Cus­toms. It is an ap­pli­ca­tion that fa­cil­i­tates track­ing of ex­port /im­port doc­u­ments, duty cal­cu­la­tor etc. ICETAB is a Tab with which an Ap­praiser in the ware­house is able to up­load the re­port of his ex­am­i­na­tion di­rectly into the system. He can also take the pho­to­graphs of the con­sign­ment and up­load them di­rectly into the system. This brings in cer­tainty and ac­cu­racy to the en­tire process of ex­am­i­na­tion.

Q What is your re­quire­ment from the ship­ping lines?

I re­quire more trans­parency from them. All charges per­tain­ing to a ship­ment should be re­flected on a BL. The con­signee or the ship­per should not be charged any­thing more than what is re­flected on the document. Fur­ther, their work­ing hours should be in tan­dem with the Cus­toms. If need be the ship­ping lines should work in shifts. A few lines have in­tro­duced E De­liv­ery and E BL which I find very con­ve­nient. I would ex­pect other ship­ping lines to fol­low suit.

PS Atree Pres­i­dent, Delhi Cus­toms Clear­ing Agents As­so­ci­a­tion (DCCAA)

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