The average clearance time for import cargo has been reduced by 9 to 20 percent, according to the CBIC

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Custom (CBIC) said on Thursday that the average time it takes for imports to clear customs fell 11 percent at air cargo complexes and 9 percent at seaports.

This is based on the 2023 National Time Release Study (NTRS), which represents the average cargo release time for seaports, air cargo complexes (ACCs), inland container depots (ICDs), and integrated control posts (ICPs), which account for approximately 80 percent of entry and 70 percent of inbound Country submitted bills of lading. The study is based on the sample period between January 1st and 7th, 2023 and compares this to the performance in the corresponding periods of 2021 and 2022.

“The average import release time has continued to improve, reducing the release time for ICDs by 20 percent; 11 percent discount for ACCs; and 9 percent reduction for seaports in 2023 versus 2022,” CBIC said in a statement. In absolute figures, the import clearance times for seaports, ICDs, ACC and ICPs are 85:42 hrs, 71:46 hrs, 44:16 hrs and 31:47 hrs respectively.

The study measures the time elapsing from the arrival of the cargo at customs until it is cleared for domestic clearance in the case of imports and from the arrival of the cargo at customs until the eventual departure of the carrier in the case of imports and exports.

The results of NTRS 2023 reinforce the three-pronged “path to expeditiousness” that includes pre-filing of import documents to enable pre-arrival processing, risk-based cargo facilitation, and the benefits of a trusted customer – Authorized Economic Operator – program.

“The improved clearance time requires the efforts of various stakeholders, including customs, port authorities, customs brokers and participating government agencies, in the implementation of various trade facilitation measures, which encourages continuous cooperation to further accelerate cargo handling and improve trade efficiency,” the CBIC said.

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