Container re-export rule eased
The government on Saturday allowed imported containers to remain at Indian ports for up to nine months to help solve the container shortage issue faced by exporters, according to an official circular.
At present, duty-free imports of containers are allowed on condition that it is re-exported in the next six months. However, keeping containers beyond six months is deemed as import and thus import duty is levied — a policy aimed at faster turnaround of containers.
To avoid such import duties, shipping lines export empty containers to evade duty payment. However, such practices further aggravate the problem of shortage of containers for exports.
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) on Saturday asked its field officers to give three months more for the re-export of imported containers waiting at domestic ports.
Rajat Mohan, senior partner at AMRG Associates, said: “The additional period of three months will give exporters enough time to re-export the durable containers without the fear of penalties.”
The acute shortage of standard 20-feet equivalent unit shipping containers, used to ship almost all merchandise goods, is part of the second wave of the shipping container crisis, which began in late June. Since then, average charges for renting containers have risen by 3-5 times, officials said.