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Stuck despite clearance to go; here's how shipments from China remain held up at ports

Companies awaiting imports from China complain that their shipments, cleared for dispatch, have been held up at ports and airports without any legitimate reason provided by Customs authorities

Nirbhay Kumar | June 29, 2020 | Updated 22:09 IST
Stuck despite clearance to go; here's how shipments from China remain held up at ports

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Shipments coming from China continue to be delayed at ports and airports without any convincing reason provided by Customs authorities
  • Containers held despite receiving delivery order for moving them out of Container Freight Station at Chennai port
  • Consignments coming from China being subjected to 100% physical verification
  • On being approached by Custom House Agent (CHA), the authorities at Chennai port blamed shortage of labour and department staff for delay in physical verification and clearance

Even as scores of shipments coming from China remain stuck at ports and airports amid escalating border tensions, it has now emerged that those containers which had been checked by Customs officials and given delivery order (DO) were also stopped from being wheeled out.

Muzaffarnagar-based Chakradhar Chemicals said its consignments worth about $25,000 were about to be loaded on truck and moved out after Customs' clearance at Chennai port but were ordered to stop.

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"We had imported chemicals used in making water-soluble fertiliser. The consignment reached Chennai port last Friday and was cleared by Customs and issued DO, but it was stopped minutes before it was to be moved out. It is now lying at CFS there and no clear response is being given for holding it," Chakradhar Chemicals Chairman Neeraj Kedia said.

But he is not the only one impacted by delay in clearing shipments coming from China. Importers have complained of unexplained delays at ports and airports across the country.

Supertron Electronics' consignments have been held at the Chennai port for almost 10 days despite fulfilling all documentary compliances.

"Two of our shipments are pending over there (Chennai port). One is ready for delivery since June 20 but is still not out. The other was ready (duties paid and paperwork done) on June 26. The two shipments together would be valued at about Rs 2.5 crore," said VK Bhandari, Chairman and MD of Supertron.

Bhandari said that the shipments are open for physical verification but still haven't received clearance from Customs authorities.

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On being approached by custom house agents (CHA), the authorities blame shortage of labour and department staff for delay in physical verification and clearance.

Citing severe delays by Customs at various ports, German express logistics major DHL had last week decided to temporarily stop picking India-bound shipments from China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Ajay K Kadakia, Chairman of Basic Chemicals, Cosmetics & Dyes Export Promotion Council, popularly known as CHEMEXCIL, said he had been informed by members about delay in clearance of shipments coming from China.

"I have been informed that containers are not moving and I have been given an example of a particular consignment at Mumbai airport. In this case the consignment, which had come from China, landed at Mumbai airport. Duties were paid and everything was cleared but delivery has not been given," Kadakia said.

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