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            august 23, 2019

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JNPT's fast-track customs clearance fails to get boxes out of port


India's supposed remedy for Mumbai's Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) congestion - direct port delivery (DPD) - has proven to be a mixed blessing, according to customs official and stakeholders, reports IHS Media.
Admittedly, DPD's fast track customs clearance has been partly credited by the World Bank for having India jump 23 spots to 77th place out of 190 nations in efficiency, but it also has had its downsides.
Customs officials say dwell times remain a big problem, despite DPD popularity, which allows importers to clear their cargo directly from the wharf within 48 hours, instead of having it sit an off-dock container freight station (CFS).
But some 75 per cent of cargo declared "out-of-charge" under DPD is shifted off-site for storage. Though out of the clutches of customs, it still contributes to greater harbour congestion.
For example: out of 61,729 TEU booked/cleared through DPD during September, only 14,861 TEU, or 24 per cent, were directly transported to designated delivery points.
Nonetheless, DPD is still the darling of government, which believes the elimination of 3PL intermediaries, can reduce logistics costs substantially.
Furthermore, with intense government pressure, DPD has grown in popularity, rising to an average of 62,000 TEU per month, or about 47 per cent of the port's total monthly laden import volume, according to statistics.
The continued pile-up at container freight stations (CFS) undermines the DPD aim, say the customs men. Thus, import dwell time reduction has failed to meet government expectations - averaging 157.5 hours during August, much longer than the 72-hour goal.
"All stakeholders need to work together and bring down the dwell times, ie, 72 hours by January 2019," officials stated.
Customs officials urged new incentives for shippers able to clear DPD cargo within 24 hours, versus the stipulated 48-hour timeline.
JNPT officials highlighted various DPD-facilitating steps already put in place by them, including a dedicated truck lane at PSA International's Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals (BMCT), and daily separate time slots - dubbed "happy hours" - at APM Terminals Mumbai; meanwhile, DP World Nhava Sheva has agreed to explore additional pro-DPD services.

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