PMO facilitates round the clock Customs operations at Major Seaports and Airports

In order to facilitate imports and exports, CBEC has introduced, on a pilot basis, 24X7 customs clearance with effect from September 1st , 2012 at identified Air Cargo Complexes and Seaports in respect of following categories of imports and exports:
(i) Facilitated Bills of Entry where no examination and assessment is required; and
(ii) Factory stuffed export containers and export consignment covered by Free Shipping Bills

One of the major constraints for international trade has been the non-availability of customs clearance and other facilities at airports and seaports round the clock, seven days a week. This means that import and export cargo, delivered at a time when clearance facilities are unavailable, have to wait till clearance facilities are open to move on to their destination. At airports and ports, which in any case normally operate round the clock, cargo piles up awaiting clearances.

In order to remove this bottleneck, it has now been agreed that customs clearances will now be available at identified sea-ports and airports 24×7 in order to facilitate trade services.

The four airports where this 24×7 facility would be available are Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai. The four ports where this facility would be available are Chennai, Kolkata, Kandla and JNPT, Mumbai.

The 24×7 operations would begin on a pilot basis with customs operations along with all other complementary services. Along with customs clearances, other government agencies such as the concerned port/airport authority, drug controller, FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India), quarantine, etc., and private players such as custodians, CHAs (Customs House Agents), banks, transporters, etc., shall also have to work 24×7 to synchronize with the extended work hours. This would be initially for four months after which efforts would be made to expand similar operations at other locations.

The 24×7 operations would be available for certain categories of imports and exports. For imports, the category “No Assessment No Examination” will be covered. This would account for 70% of imports. For exports, the 24×7 facility could be extended to those exports not claiming benefits.

For smooth operationalisation of 24×7, the Commissioner of Customs concerned at these locations shall hold meetings with all stakeholders. Such additional staff that is required to start these operations shall be redeployed from existing resources. Secretary, Commerce and the Director General, Foreign Trade shall also hold meetings with other support agencies to facilitate and ensure 24×7 operations. A notice in this regard shall issue by 10.8.2012, with 24×7 operations to commence after two weeks from that date, on 25.8.2012.

The Department of Revenue shall assess the pilot and propose expansion of coverage if it is required.

Circular No.  22/2012 – Custom Duty,  New Delhi, dated 7th August, 2012.

Subject: 24×7 Customs clearance operations – regarding

In order to further facilitate importers and exports the Board has decided to begin on a pilot basis 24X7 Customs clearance with effect from September 1st. 2012 (1.9.2012) at identified Air Cargo Complexes and Seaports in respect of following categories of imports and exports:

(a) Facilitated Bills of Entry where no examination and assessment is required; and

(b) Factory stuffed export containers and export consignment covered by Free Shipping Bills.

2. The Air Cargo Complexes and Seaports identified for 24×7 Customs clearance are:


Air Cargo Complexes














 3. It is clarified that in the case of exports, the 24X7 Customs clearance facility shall even extend to processing of Free Shipping Bills. At present, the Shipping Bills can be filed 14 days in advance in case of export by sea and 7 days in advance in case of export by air. Therefore, for smooth clearance of export goods the trade may be advised to file the Shipping Bills well in advance.

4. It is also clarified that 24X7 Customs clearance facility in respect of factory stuffed export containers  that is presently available at specified Customs stations viz. Vishakhapatnam, Kolkata, Mundra, Okha, Sikka, Mangalore, JNPT, Mumbai, Paradeep, Gopalpur, Ennore and Chennai would continue to be operational. Besides, the normal round the clock boarding of vessels would also continue.

5. In this regard the Board appreciates that additional Customs staff will be required for the 24X7 Customs clearance facility to be provided w.e.f. 1.9.2012.  It is, however, also seen that after introduction of self assessment the responsibility has shifted to the importers and exporters to make a correct assessment of Customs duty.  Thus, the Customs can now focus more on consignments that are interdicted on basis of risk assessment for purpose of Customs assessment and examination. Further, as a result of self assessment, Board has decided to increase the level of facilitation (refer Circular No.39/2011-Cus dated 2nd September, 2011) to 80% in case of Air Cargo Complexes and 70% in case of Seaports (and 60% in case of ICD/ CFS). Risk Management Division has also carried out necessary changes and facilitation level has been substantially enhanced with an average of approx. 70% Bills of Entry being currently facilitated. Thus, there has been a reduction in the requirement of Customs staff for purpose of routine assessment and examination. This allows the relocation of staff for various other items of work such as PCA, SIIB etc. to ensure compliance of legal provisions and correct payment of Customs duty.  In the light of these developments the officers required for 24×7 Customs clearance operations of facilitated Bills of Entry on import side and factory stuffed containers and Free Shipping Bills on exports side should be deployed from within the available staff strength. This shall be ensured by all Chief Commissioners of Customs.

6. Customs clearance on 24×7 basis would require concurrence of Custodians and other stakeholders such as CHAs. Further, Customs duty payment is necessary to ensure 24X7 Customs clearance. Therefore, Board desires that Chief Commissioners should begin immediate consultations with other stakeholders including custodians to make necessary arrangements that allow 24X7 Customs clearance and physical delivery of goods.

7. In addition to above, Board is exploring the possibility of full fledged roll out of  24X7 Customs clearance for ALL import and export goods. This would certainly require additional manpower that cannot be met from the presently sanctioned strength. Therefore, all Chief Commissioners are also directed to work out the additional manpower requirement and intimate the same to the Board so that a consolidated proposal may be processed to enable 24X7 Customs clearance operations at all Customs stations.

8. Board desires that wide publicity by way of Public Notice / Trade Notice may be given to the scheme of pilot 24X7 Customs clearance facility as detailed in paragraph 2 above to be extended w.e.f. 1.9.2012.  Also, a detailed fortnightly report on the extent to which the facility is being availed should be sent so as to reach Board positively by the 2nd and 17th of each month. The first such report is expected on 17th of September, 2012. The report should inter-alia contain details of documents filed (imports and exports separately) and number of containers/ packages imported or exported in aforementioned categories in normal working hours and in extended hours separately. The reports should be faxed to Board on Fax No.23093859 and e-mailed at [email protected]

9. he receipt of this letter may please be acknowledged.

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