Indian Customs Permit all Freight Stations at JNPT to Handle DPD Containers

(Image Courtesy: NewsX)

In a big relief to container freight station (CFS) operators servicing Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), the Customs has allowed shifting of direct port delivery (DPD) containers that are not cleared within 48 hours of landing in the port terminals to any of the 33 CFS.

Earlier, such boxes had to be shifted only to Speedy Multimodes Ltd, the CFS owned by JNPT, but run by a private firm on an operation and management contract, inviting charges of favouritism.

The CFS Association of India (CFSAI), an industry lobby, had urged the Customs to overturn the practice of shifting DPD containers that are uncleared for 48 hours after landing to a single designated CFS (Speedy Multimodes) and allow all CFSs to handle DPD containers.

“Considering the fact that there is increased compliance and steady growth in the volume and percentage of containers being cleared under DPD, it has been decided that port terminals in the following situations should henceforth transfer the container to any CFS as nominated by the shipping line instead of the designated CFS: consignment not cleared within 48 hours from port terminal in respect of DPD clients (Risk Management System or RMS facilitated) and damaged containers or those with tampered seals,” Subhash Agrawal, Commissioner of Customs (NS-III), wrote in a public notice issued by the Jawaharlal Nehru Custom House.

Shipping lines and the concerned CFS have to inform the importer/customs broker on shifting of such DPD containers.

Revised Rule

In case the importer requests for change of CFS, this may be considered by additional / joint commissioner in-charge of ‘RMS Facilitation Centre’ on a case to case basis. The revised rule will come into force from April 20.

Mumbai-listed firms such as All cargo Logistics Ltd, Navkar Corporation Ltd, Gateway Distriparks Ltd, Container Corporation of India Ltd (Concor) and Balmer & Lawrie Co Ltd are among the 33 CFS operating near JNPT hurt by the government’s decision to raise the quantum of DPD containers first to 40 per cent and later to 70 per cent of the overall imports through JNPT.

AP Moller Maersk Group A/S, which runs Maersk Line, the world’s top container shipping company, also runs two CFSs near JNPT. French line CMA-CGM, S A also runs a CFS near JNPT.

DPD essentially means import containers are delivered directly to pre-approved clients at the port itself instead of waiting in a CFS located outside for clearance, which reduces cargo dwell times and cost for shippers.

The decision to name Speedy as the designated CFS for keeping containers that are not cleared by DPD clients within 48 hours of landing was seen as a sign of favouring Speedy at the expense of 32 other CFSs that service JNPT. The Customs had defended its decision to designate Speedy citing distance factor, since it is closest to the port, located 7 km away.

But, other CFS don’t buy this argument, mainly because the Speedy CFS is owned by JNPT but was given to Speedy Multimodes for operation and management for 20 years beginning January 1, 2006. This also explains why Speedy is the only CFS out of the 33 servicing JNPT that is regulated by the Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP).

(Source: Hindu Business Line)

Sea News, April 16