The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has issued an instruction to customs authorities all over India to allow special category importers to pay terminal handling charges directly to the terminals for clearance of their containers at sea ports. This will put an end to the current practice of routing the container clearance charges through the shipping lines. The CBIC took the action as the shipping lines were paying Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 extra on each container. The stakeholders’ complaints were addressed and the fees can now be paid directly to the terminals.
In an instruction provided to the field offices, CBIC chairman – John Joseph said that the action will facilitate 'ease of doing business' immediately as importers will save a huge amount that is currently being paid as excessive charges as India has traffic of almost one crore containers a year. The importers who will be allowed the direct payment facility are those who have availed the direct port delivery facility offered by the terminals and the importers who are classified as the authorized economic operators by the customs department.
The direct port delivery customers are those importers who are allowed to take delivery of their containers directly from ports without first routing it through container freight stations which involves several days of procedural delays. Whereas, authorized economic operators are also a certified trade companion entitled to a lower rate of physical inspections and preferential treatment by customs authorities.
Through the permission which will speed up the process, CBIC has helped the traders as well as the industry by reducing an unnecessary cost levied on the traders.