Import and export release times improve

Average import release time has continued to improve, reaching a 20% year-on-year reduction for inland container depots (ICDs), 11% for air cargo complexes (ACCs) and 9% for seaports in 2023, according to the latest National Time Release Study (NTRS) , which evaluates processing time for imports and exports. This is part of the government’s plan to improve overall logistics to facilitate trade and make doing business in the country easier.

The study includes four seaports, six air freight complexes, three inland container depots and two integrated checkpoints. Cumulatively, these make up around 80% of the incoming invoices submitted in the country and 70% of the freight invoices submitted in the country. The purpose of the study is to assess progress towards the National Trade Facilitation Action Plan (NTFAP) goals and to identify the impact of various trade facilitation initiatives such as Path to Promptness and the challenges of accelerating time to release.

The distance traveled to the NTFAP, a ready-made performance indicator for intertemporal comparisons, improved by 14 percentage points for ICDs and by 5 percentage points for ACCs and seaports, according to the study.

The study showed that higher levels of facilitation and more efficient interventions lead to shorter discharge times. This is further corroborated by NTRS 2023, which reports that the average eased entry permit release time was 55% lower than the average non-facilitated entry permit release time across all port categories.

The export release time in seaports has improved by 8% from 191:41 hours in 2022 to 175:55 hours in 2023, albeit with only a slight improvement in the time after the LEO (Let Export Order) is issued.

The focus on export facilitation assessment, which aims to simplify, modernize and harmonize export processes by measuring export clearance time, is consistent with the government’s high priority of export promotion, the study said. “CBIC is considering reducing the average clearance time to one hour by 2047,” Vivek Johri, chairman of the CBIC (Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs), said at an event on Friday.

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