Category Archives: Shipping

Customs & ports urge to maintain flow of critical goods during pandemic

International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) urged that trade by sea must continue to flow to maintain the continued provision of essential goods, including vital medical supplies, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, IMO and Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General, WCO strongly urged customs administrations and port state authorities, together with all other concerned agencies, to establish a coordinated and proactive approach to maintaining the integrity of the global supply chain so that the flow of vital goods by sea is not unnecessarily disrupted. The joint statement comes as the demand for and the movement of relief goods (such as supplies, medicines and medical equipment) across borders is increasing dramatically. It notes that ports are being closed and ships denied entry, as travel is curtailed and borders closed to slow the spread of the disease and mitigate its impacts. Such restrictions, it says, may interrupt much-needed aid and technical support, and have negative social and economic effects on the countries concerned.

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Cargo agents to handle shipment against 100% advance payments by customers

The service providers are facing a cash flow crisis because of not getting payments on time from their clients. To tide over the crisis, apex bodies; Federation of Freight Forwarders Association in India, Association of Multimodal Transport Operators of India and The Air Cargo Agents Association of India has decided that for the next six months, logistics service providers will handle shipments only against 100 per cent advance payments by their clients. Generally, the payment by an exporter or importer to service provider is done only after handling the shipment and paid in advance. The service provider pays the bill and waits for the payment from their clients.

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CBIC allows eGatepass and OoC copy of Bill of Entry for custom brokers

CBIC has taken a number of measures to facilitate and expedite customs clearance process and making it more contact-less i.e. automated and online as well as paper-less in order to mitigate the unprecedented situation due to Covid-19 pandemic. These measures include the facility to clear goods on the basis of an undertaking (not bond), acceptance of electronic Country of Origin (CoO) certificate etc. These steps also complement the earlier reforms unrolled as a part of ‘Turant Customs’ such as online query module, eSanchit, web based goods registration, electronic processing of DGFT issued licenses, machine release of imported goods based on customs compliance verification and electronic transmission of PDF based first copy of Bill of Entry (BoE) to customs brokers and registered importers. The aforementioned reforms combine to expedite Customs clearances and reduce the transaction cost. At the same time, Board notes that the specific measures that reduce interface between the Customs authorities and the importers/exporters/Customs Brokers are especially relevant in these challenging times, to tackle the scourge of Covid-19 pandemic. In this direction, Board has now decided to enable electronic communication of PDF based Final eOoC (electronic Out of Charge) copy of BoE and eGatepass to the importers/customs brokers. This electronic communication would reduce interface between the Customs authorities and the importers/customs brokers and also do away with the requirement of taking bulky printouts from the service centre or maintenance of voluminous physical dockets in the customs houses. The Final eOoC copy of BoE and eGatepass copy will be emailed to the concerned customs broker and/or importer, if registered, once the Out of Charge (OoC) is granted.

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CCBA urges CM Kerala to intervene for smooth cargo operation

The Cochin Customs Brokers’ Association (CCBA) sent a letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala to request for guidelines to undertake export/import clearance under lockdown period at Cochin Port. Like other parts of the country most of the factories are closed down and inter-state transportation is also blocked due to nationwide lockdown. In this letter, Alan Jose, President, CCBA and Vice Chairman, Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India (FFFAI), sought clarifications from the CM on the following: • Can Custom Brokers (CBs) staff travel around freely as most of them are commuting from nearby districts, because local police are restricting movement due to lockdown? They would possess ID Cards of ports, customs or ICTT (DP World) and an authorisation letter from CBs. • Other employees, drivers, etc. of CBs have to visit or contact various offices; customs, port, CFSs, ICTT, PQ, FSSAI, etc. for collecting various documents or certificates. Will relaxation in travelling be given to them by local authorities? What document should they produce for free movement in and around the state? • If the employees are travelling, they are more susceptible to the Corona infection as they are coming into contact with many people. Whether all the above-mentioned government and private offices, CFSs, ports terminal, etc. will be taking ample precautionary measures to protect the personnel entering their premises. According to Jose, “In Kochi CFSs, Empty Container Yards, DP World Terminal, Customs Documentation Center etc. are within a 1 km radius which could potentially become a hotspot for COVID-19 if it enters this circuit.” He also highlights that CBs staff would be travelling and interacting with various people in the whole logistics chain, and under the current …

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Govt ask shipping companies not to take detention charges till April 14

The government has asked all the shipping companies not to collect any detention charges on export-import cargo in the wake of the situation arising due to coronavirus outbreak. Delays were reported in evacuation of goods from ports due to disturbance in the downstream services. “In order to maintain proper supply lines at the Indian seaports, the shipping lines are advised not to impose any container detainment charge on import and export shipments for the period from March 22, 2020 to April 14, 2020 (both days inclusive),” says the advisory issued by Directorate General of Shipping. During this period, shipping lines are also advised not to impose any new or additional charges, it said adding the decision is purely a one-time measure to deal with the present disruptions caused by spread of COVID-19. “Government is taking all-round actions to fight against COVIDー19 and its negative impacts on the economy,” says Mansukh Lal Mandaviya, Union Minister of State for Shipping, Government of India.

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Maersk sets up Inland Container Depot at Madurai

Maersk has announced the Inland Container Depot (ICD) Madurai as a new acceptance point to help the trade in the hinterland of Tamil Nadu. Equipped with a warehouse to support faster cargo clearance, the ICD will help reduce the overall logistics costs by up to 30 per cent, while also providing operational transparency to customers. Spread over a total area of about 70 acres, the state-of-art ICD is one of the largest in the country and will serve as a major infrastructural hub for South India. Steve Felder, Managing Director, Maersk South Asia, said “Our operations at ICD Madurai are aimed at reducing logistics costs for our customers by cutting the cargo transport journey by up to 150 km. We are also tapping into the hinterlands’ potential by opening up new trade possibilities and enabling ease of doing business for the trading community in the region.”

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Maersk begins cold chain logistics to export grapes from Nashik and Sangli to North Europe

Maersk has started end-to-end cold chain logistics solution for exporters shipping grapes from Nashik and Sangli to North Europe. With this service, Maersk offers end-to-end cold chain logistics solution for grapes’ exporters from Nashik and Sangli thus improving the overall turnaround time into North Europe by four days. Steve Felder, Managing Director – South Asia, Maersk, said “Nashik is a priority market for the exports of grapes from India. With our end-to-end cold chain solutions, we aim to enable the exporters to take their grapes from Nashik to North Europe with a fast turn-around time, and with more simplicity.”

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24×7 customs clearance at all seaports, airports till May: CBIC

A 24×7 customs clearance facility will be available at all seaports and airports till May 2020, to facilitate faster clearance of consignments to and from China once coronavirus diminishes. The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has written to all Chief Commissioners (Customs and Central Tax) asking them to immediately workout the arrangement and deployment of sufficient number of officers on 24×7 basis at sea ports, air cargo stations, Inland Container Depot (ICDs) and Container Freight Station (CFSs), etc falling in their jurisdiction to tackle any incipient instance of congestion/surge.

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JNPT & Antwerp Port ink MoU to develop Port & Logistics Training Centre of Excellence

The Port of Antwerp and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the JNPT-Antwerp Port Training & Consultancy Foundation as the ‘Port & Logistics Training Centre of Excellence’. This will enable the Centre to offer industry relevant courses with practical implications in the future. The MoU was signed by Sanjay Sethi, IAS, Chairman, JNPT, and Kristof Waterschoot, Managing Director, APEC. The first course on ‘Handling of Dangerous Goods’ was conducted at the Centre last week by Kurt Van Passen, an expert of the Port of Antwerp, together with Babette Desfossez, Belgium Customs Attaché. The facility will now be a Centre of Excellence for the maritime sector in India, for Indian and international port and logistics professionals, it was highlighted. Sethi stressed that the JNPT-APEC Training Centre has been hugely beneficial and that the Centre of Excellence will be enhanced in scale and scope to play a nodal role for all kinds of training and intellectual exchange, with a wide range of programmes. The Centre has the potential to become a very significant institution which all stakeholders can become part of, he added.

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ACHAA now named as ACBA

As per the nomenclature changed in Customs Brokers Licensing Regulations – 2013, Ahmedabad Custom House Agents’ Association (ACHAA) will now be known as Ahmedabad Custom Brokers’ Association (ACBA). The new name and registration have been also granted under the Societies Registration Act, 1660 and under the Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950. The announcement of new name has been made by Devang Joshi – the then President ACHAA, during the Annual General Meeting of the association. Parag Baraiya, the then Hon. Secretary, ACHAA, announced the first new managing committee formed under ACBA as: Samir Shah, Chairman Kartik Pancholi, President Devendra Thakker, Vice President Darshan Mashroo, Hon. Secretary Chinmay Kothari, Hon. Jt. Secretary Viral Zaveri, Treasurer Rakesh Oza, Managing Committee Member The new managing committee has taken the charge of association immediately after the AGM and the first meeting of ACBA.

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