MUMBAI: The Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India (FFFAI) on May 12 made a Representation to the new Chairman, CBEC, Mrs. Vanaja N. Sarna, on various working problems pertaining to smooth functioning of Customs ICEGATE and related issues across the Country.
“FFFAI expects the proposed new ICEGATE System of CBEC would resolve the prevailing problems faced by Customs Brokers and Shippers owing to the slow System, which sometimes remains down for 5-6 hrs in a day. Add to this, the Customs System does not work properly for at least one hour after 3pm every day. These lead to undesirable increase in dwell time,” said Mr Samir J Shah, Chairman, FFFAI in his recommendations submitted to the Chairman, CBEC on behalf of the Federation.
Commending the recent initiatives from CBEC on speed of Customs clearance and bringing in working discipline in this area with the help of appropriate technology, FFFAI also urged for certain urgent steps from the new Chairman for further development and to reduce pressure on export-import trade. Currently, the areas of concern include: the existing Customs System, its hardware and software responsiveness, and technical proficiency of the officers at executive level.
FFFAI also highlighted one very crucial aspect as regard to working schedule. “While all businesses in India including the Departmental function for different periods are between 9:30 am and 8:30 pm, in the present circumstances it would be incorrect to expect that private business or professional services would function between 8:30pm to 9:30am on the next day,” Mr Shah pointed out.
Meanwhile, till the proposed new Customs System is in place, FFFAI has appealed for relief by presenting the following recommendations:
• Automatic concession to late fee under Section 46 (3) or interest for RMS facilitated import bill of entries should be relaxed for 24 hours
• Senior Customs officers are required to be sensitised to resolve the System related issues urgently
• A system of manual out of charge, let export order (LEO) and carting required to be evolved, whenever the System is down for more than one hour
• Software corrections are desirable to stop repetition of filing the same documents (under same invoice/AWB number/ Bill of Lading number) by all assesses.