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With the Director-General of Export Promotion issuing a detailed procedure for cargo clearance, the enduring dispute over Customs inspection of containers at the Vallarpadam container terminal is likely to be resolved soon. The Additional Director in DGEO issued a notice on May 18 in accordance with the decision arrived at the meeting conducted by the Principal Secretary at the PMO.

According to the notice, containers from a foreign country headed for another foreign country (moving through sea) via ICTT will be cleared by Customs at the Special Economic Zone.

Containers starting voyage from India and going to a foreign country (sea to sea) will be also cleared by SEZ Customs.

However, containers originating in India and headed for a foreign country and moving either on road or rail to the port will be cleared by Department of Revenue Customs.

Similarly, containers from a foreign country and headed for a destination within India and moving from sea to road or rail transportation will also be cleared by Department of Revenue Customs. Containers originating in a foreign country and headed for a destination in India, but moving by sea will be cleared by SEZ customs.

Norms spelt out for cargo clearance at Vallarpadam terminalThe new system will be put in place with immediate effect. The decisions have been communicated to ships calling at Indian ports.

This would ease hassles for mainline shipping vessels as it brings clarity in procedures and also makes the terminal at par with competing international terminals in terms of procedure, the sources said.

According to shipping circles, the new system comes as a breather for container movement as vessel operators experienced inordinate delays in clearance of containers.