In a move to improve the availability of containers for the trade, the government on Saturday announced to give three more months for the re-export of imported vessels lying at domestic ports.
As per the present structure, keeping containers beyond a period of six months attracts an import duty as deemed import.
The commerce and industry ministry said that it is a temporary measure to improve containers available presently for export of containerised cargo with the aim of promoting export of laden marine containers.
“Disruptions due to the Covid pandemic resulted in high shipping freight rates and shortage globally, a problem which has been raised repeatedly by exporters in india too,” it said in a statement.
The ministry said that during its stakeholder consultations, it was decided that the problem could be eased through creating policy incentives discouraging export of empty containers.
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs on Saturday asked its field officers to give three months more time for the re-export of imported containers lying at domestic ports. Time extension has to be sought by the concerned importer.
“This step is expected to reduce the export of the empty containers from the country on ground of imposition of import duty, thus increasing the availability of containers for the trade,” it said.
While the policy is designed to discourage long dwell time of containers and to promote faster turnaround, the government said that it has been reported that this sometimes creates perverse incentive among shipping lines to export empty containers to evade duty payment on containers which are lying empty.
Ajay Sahai, director general of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations said that this was one of the demands made by exporters to reduce exports of empty containers as shipping lines were saying that since the duty free import of containers was allowed with conditions to exports with a specified period, at times to meet this deadline, they are compelled to exports empty containers.