R K Mehrotra : Exim trade facing problems from other related agencies for Customs 24x7 Clearance

Exim trade facing problems from other related  agencies for Customs  24x7 Clearance
Round-the-clock non-availability of customs clearances and other facilities at airports and sea ports is seen as a major constraint for global trade. The Government of India therefore formulated 24X7 clearances to meet the global challenges & the CBEC issued a Circular No. 22/2012 dated 7th August 2012 to begin a pilot project from September 1st 2012 at selected Air Cargo Complex and Sea Ports to facilitate EXIM trade.  The four airports where the facility would be available are Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai; for the four ports the locations are Chennai, Kolkata, Kandla and JNPT and Mumbai. 
The facility would be made available initially on a pilot basis. To facilitate smooth customs clearances, other government agencies, such as the concerned port or airport authority, drug controller, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, quarantine and private players, Customs House Agents, banks and transporters, would also have to work 24x7 in tandem.
The facility would be available for certain categories of imports and exports. For imports, the category “No assessment no examination” will be covered, accounting for 70 per cent of imports. For exports, the 24x7 facility could be extended to those exports not claiming benefits.
Despite  the pilot project  started  by the Customs authorities the trade is continuing to face a lot of difficulty from other EXIM agencies to get this 24x7 custom clearance service, notwithstanding the  total cooperation & facilitation from Customs authorities.  To make this project a result oriented one the CBEC needs to address the following issues to facilitate the trade and to achieve its 24x7 customs clearance target:
Issues with Airlines/ Consolidators:-
1. Airlines provide very limited time for release of Delivery Order.  There is no system of D.O. release after normal office hours.
2. On arrival of a flight, there is no uniformity in flight check, segregation.  The IGM filing/inward date updating time taken  by airlines/ consolidators are  not uniform .
3. The short or part landed shipments related prior Bill of Entry gets regularized once the IGM is filed. The amendment of such B/E with two IGM is a very long process and time consuming task. No advance information is given either by airlines or consolidators for such short or part landing shipments to concern besides not taken on priority, causing inordinate delays& heavy demurrage charges for no fault of importer.
4. IGM/inward date updating in the system are not done on time by the Airlines/Consolidators. This leads to substantial time loss and delays for document filing.  This also effects prior B/E regularization and ultimately results delays in import consignments deliveries.
Issues with Custodian :-
1. No uniform time for flight check and segregation  of consignment appears to be laid down by the custodian and if so it is not widely circulated.
2. Packets are not properly stored. This causes delays in delivery of consignment.  The improved storage system of import consignments is the need of the present time & will avoid last minute shortage /delays& make faster deliveries. The custodian may consider putting conveyor system in operation for faster deliveries of consignments at the delivery point. This will help them reduced noise and dust problem besides substantial reduction in man power and handling equipment.
3. Present system of refunds in case of erroneously levied demurrage charges are time consuming and therefore amendment should be done upfront. 
4. Despite all computerization ,  insistence for hard copy of B/E to get delivery is redundant &  needs to be discontinued because out of Charge ( O/C ) B/E is always available with  the custodian on his  system.   Since the Customs officers does not sign on the hard copy of Bill of Entry as per Public Notice No. 02/2013 dated 26.02.2013the system of presenting hard of B/E ought to be discontinued.
5. The issue of manual gate pass system may be stopped instead it should be made available on the system of warehouse in charge. This will help in negligible chance of faults and will help to make deliveries fast.
Issues with Customs:-
1. The name & cell nos. of the officers on duty, for after office hours clearance duty may be displayed each day on  Notice Board for easy accessibility by trade.
2. Since the part delivery system is available for sea shipments, the same may be introduced for air short/part landed import consignment. The delays in such cases cause serious production loss and heavy demurrage charges.
3. The short or part landing of import consignments of air shipments have become very frequent issue due to surge in import volumes in recent past.  This is a major problem to be addressed on priority by customs to provide trade facilitation.
4. The system of hard copy of B/E print out collection by the CHA, after the out of charge is given by Customs, from printer terminal should be stopped. Since, as per R.N. 02/2013 dated 26.02.2013, no signatures are put of the computer generated Out of Charge copies of B/E. The option of print outs may be made available to CHA RES terminals through ICEGATE.
5. It is well known that in case of multi item air shipment O/C given B/E (100 to 250 items) printout normally takes 1-11/2 hours.  This holds the printout of B/Es having 1 to 5 items for that period. It has also been noticed that in such big Bill of Entry, some time the print out are not complete. A second print out request is made to the custom and again the same time taken for such prints. Thus it is appropriate to allow computer print out of O/C B/E option to collect from Custom printer or from RES terminals.
6. The manual Gate pass system for Custodian may be stopped, since all details and O/C Bill of Entry documents are available at custodian system.