CHENNAI : Direct Port Delivery (DPD) programme that allows importers to take delivery of their cargo directly at the container terminals is picking up at Chennai Port. Nearly 19 per cent of all import cargo at the port is cleared under this programme, which was launched in September last.
It was a gradual pick up because of last mile connectivity issues at the terminals. Also, terminal operators are charging nearly Rs. 2,500 per box as shifting charges, which according to a leading freight forwarder, are not permitted as per the regulations of the Tariff Authority for Major Ports.
However, the charge was for shifting containers under DPD as they need to be stacked separately, said an official of a container terminal. The trade is negotiating with operators not to levy this charge, said sources. The usual practice is that an import container on landing at container terminal is first taken to a designated container freight station (CFS) from where importers take delivery of cargo. However, with DPD, importers can take the cargo directly to the factory saving nearly Rs.5,000 per box, said sources.
Clearance under DPD picked up momentum in the last three-four months due to aggressive awareness campaign by the Customs department, and also the Centre for speedy clearance of cargo. Chennai port has the highest percentage of clearance under DPD in any Major Port. The Centre wants the port to achieve nearly 40 per cent, sources said.
Some of the cargo cleared under DPD include machinery, automobile spare parts and paper products. Most of the large automobile and auto ancillary companies are clearing cargo under DPD, said sources. At present nearly 200 top importers are eligible for DPD option including the automobile sector. These top 200 importers handle nearly 60 per cent of import cargo at Chennai Port, sources said.