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Further Reforms on the anvil to Enhance trading across borders: Vivek Johri, Chief Commissioner of Customs, Mumbai Zone
May 17, 2018

The spate of reforms undertaken by the border agencies through an action-oriented approach based on delivering identified outcomes, has led to an increase in the facilitation levels for both exports and imports. This was stated by Mr Vivek Johri, Chief Commissioner of Customs, Mumbai Zone – II, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, Ministry of Finance at the Conference on Reforms on Trade Facilitation in Mumbai – Progress and Way Forward organised by CII, CBIC and JNPT in Mumbai today.

Mr Johri further maintained that the border agencies have taken firm steps to reduce the cargo dwell time by strengthening pre-arrival processing, differentiating between compliant and non-compliant behavior as also by distinguishing between risky and non-risky operations. Efforts are underway to reduce the physical interface between parties and streamlining export and import procedures. He reiterated the government’s commitment to improve trade facilitation by making the stakeholders aware about the plethora of reforms being undertaken by the government such as legal amendments for encouraging advanced filing, regular time release studies at all major ports, revamped AEO scheme, provision for integrated declaration on SWIFT, enhanced coverage of DPD scheme, e-SANCHIT amongst others.

According to Mr Johri, the government has taken major strides to improve port infrastructure with provisions such as labs of PGAs on ports and state of art scanners. Mr Johri mentioned that these reforms have already started showing results on ground as is validated by the reduction in dwell time from the earlier 267 hours for imports cargo to 144 hours at JNCH and even lesser at about 113 hours for facilitated bills of entry. Other benefits of the scheme include increase of advanced filing users to up to 60% and increased clients and coverage of DPDs. He also stated that more reforms such as an improved audit plan and an enhanced registration mechanism are in progress to facilitate trade. Mr Johri encouraged the industry to take advantage of the implemented reforms for increasing their competitiveness.

Mr A P S Suri, Chief Commissioner of Mumbai Customs Zone III, spoke about the National Action Plan which aims at reduction in cargo release time and Cost reduction, moving towards paperless environment, Transparent and predictable legal regime and improved investment climate through better infrastructure.  He stated that 98% of the export consignments at Air Cargo complex are cleared on the same day and average time taken by Customs from registration of goods and LEO (Let Export order) is less than 2 hours.

Mr Sunil Kumar Das, Principal Commissioner Mumbai Customs Zone I stated that the dwell time at ports has come significantly down as a result of regular monitoring by officers at the highest level led by the Chief Commissioner. He mentioned that other stakeholders also need to work with the government for improving the trade facilitation ecosystem.  He mentioned that the government proposes to reduce the dwell time to 48 hours for import consignments and 24 hours at ICD. And for export consignments, the aim is to reduce dwell time to 24 hours for ports and 12 hours for ICDs. 

Mr Das mentioned that the issues associated with IGST refunds/returns have been resolved. He also spoke about several training workshops and interactive sessions being organised on stakeholder awareness about AEO programmes, as a result of which 448 AEO applications have been received in zone 1 alone. He stated that at the Mumbai port and ICD, there is full utilization e-SANCHIT.  He encouraged all the stakeholders to come together for better trade facilitation.

Mr Milon K Nag, Co-chairman, CII Task Force on Ease of Doing Business, elucidated the key reforms initiated by the government in Mumbai such as e-Delivery Orders, Logistics Bank and road to rail conversion. He reiterated the importance of collaborative role among the government, exporters, importers, port officials, CFSs and CHAs for improving trade facilitation in India and helping improve its ranking on the Doing Business Report of the World Bank.

17 May, 2018



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