Delay in faceless assessment of imports causing pile up of cargo

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) recently rolled out faceless assessment of imports across the country. However, the delay in assessment of imported material is causing cargo to pile up at air cargo and inland container depots, according to customs brokers and importers. As a consequence, the cost of cargo handling goes up because warehousing charges keep adding up till it is cleared. Moreover, businesses also get affected due to shortage of raw materials and manufacturing is unable to run smoothly.

A representation on the matter was recently made before the CBIC and the Union government by the city-based Federation of Custom Brokers’ Associations.

“Examination orders for 100% of imports are raised, unlike earlier. Now queries about labelling are also raised which take time to clear. Moreover, there is no proper method or guidance for bills of entry or reassessment. Due to this and various other reasons, import clearance takes between four and nine days,” the representation says.

“The system, even though it is aimed at making things simpler, has only made them more complicated, time-consuming and expensive. This is not adding to the ease of doing business because clearance of imports has slowed down as clearance of imported goods is causing a pile up,” said Girish Shah, an Ahmedabad-based customs broker.

“Closure of queries raised by customs officials takes time to get cleared and this is leading to piling up of cargo,” Shah added.

Manufacturers are also adversely affected because their imports are getting stuck. “Business has barely come back on track after the pandemic-caused disruption and such delays have had a cascading effect on manufacturing because raw materials don’t reach factories in time. Moreover, the cost of doing business also increases because manufacturers are forced to pay warehousing charges because customs have not cleared the imports,” said Parthiv Dave, another city-based customs broker.