Indian decision to operate major ports 24/7 elates Nepali traders
BHOJ RAJ POUDEL
KATHMANDU, Aug 9: India has decided to operate its customs at leading airports and sea ports, including Kolkata, round the clock throughout the week. The move is expected to speed up clearance of goods in transit to Nepal.
The decision, if truly implemented, is expected to speed up customs clearance, thereby lowering detention and demurrage charges for Nepali traders. Thus lowering of the transit cost can impact the final pricing as well, ultimately bringing some respite to general consumers who have been bearing the brunt of high transit and transportation costs.
“This is really a good decision for us,” said Rajan Sharma, president of Nepal Freight Forwarders´ Association (NEFFA). “It will ease our day-to-day business and made trading cost effective.” He also said decrease in detention and demurrage charges will benefit Nepali consumers.
The Prime Minister´s Office of India had decided to facilitate round the clock customs operation at major seaports and airports on Tuesday in a bid to remove the constraints for international trade. It has instructed the customs and other authority to implement the decision within 15 days.
“In order to remove this customs-related bottleneck, it has been agreed that customs clearances will now be available at seaports such as Kolkata, Chennai, Kandla and Mumbai and airports such as New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai round the clock in order to facilitate trade services,” reads a press release that the Indian PMO issued on Tuesday.
So far, the cargos dispatched to and send out of Nepal were required to wait for days at Kolkata port and airports in India due to the lack of prompt and round the clock clearance facilities.
“Hopefully, the decision will significantly cut those detentions now,” Nikhir Jaisani, a Biratnagar-based trader told Republica over phone. “We hope our consignments, once this decision is implemented, will not be forced to be parked in the port by paying everyday demurrage and detention charges.”
Along with the customs, the Indian PMO has also asked other agencies such as port and airport authority, drug controller office, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, quarantine and private players such as custodians to operate round the clock to facilitate international trade.
Once the new arrangement comes into force, the customs house agents, banks and transporters also will need to work round the clock to synchronize with the extended work hours.
As Nepal uses only Kolkata port to carry out its imports and exports, the goods that are imported won´t be piled up due to closure of customs clearance during the weekend. “We have to wait for two days to get the customs clearance if it comes on Friday,” Sharma said. “We won´t have to waste time and money after customs offices at ports started operating round the clock.”