Measures to reduce adverse impact of Global Container Shortage
Disruptions due to the COVID Pandemic resulted in high shipping freight rates and container shortage globalky, a problem which has been raised repeatedly by exporters in india too.
It has been brought out in stakeholder consultations by MOCI that the problem could be eased through creating policy incentives discouraging export of empty containers. As per the present structure, keeping containers beyond a period of six months attracts an import duty as deemed import. While the policy is designed to discourage long dwell time of containers and to promote faster turnaround, 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.
Working on one of the action tracks identified by the government to ease the problem, as a temporary measure to improve containers available presently for export of containerised cargo and with aim of promoting export of laden marine containers, the CBIC has issued a guidance to field offices to extend this period by 3 months where the container is being taken out of the country in laden condition provided the 6 month period falls before enforcement of FY22 (circular no. 21/2021-Customs dated 24th September 2021), Extension is 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.
Circular No. 21/2021-Customs
F. No.450/179/2021-Cus- IV
Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
(Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs)
Room No.227B, North Block,
New Delhi, dated the 24th of September, 2021.
All Principal Chief Commissioners/ Chief Commissioners of Customs/ Customs (Preventive),
All Principal Chief Commissioners/ Chief Commissioners of Customs & Central tax,
All Principal Commissioners/ Commissioners of Customs/ Customs (Preventive),
All Principal Commissioners/ Commissioners of Customs & Central tax,
All Principal Director Generals/Director Generals under CBIC.
Subject: Easing container availability for export cargo – reg.
Kind attention is invited to para 4 of Board`s Circular No.83/1998-Customs dated 05.11.1998 issued in connection with exemption to containers of durable nature in terms of Notification No. 104/1994-Customs dated 16.03.1994, as amended. This notification inter-alia specifies that in any particular case, the initial period of re-exporting said type of containers imported within 6 months can be extended by the Assistant Commissioner on sufficient cause being shown.
2. The Circular No. 83/1998-Customs has the provision –“The Assistant Commissioner may grant an extension beyond 6 months upto further 3 months for the reasons to be recorded in writing”.
3. As a temporary measure to ease containers available presently for export of containerised cargo and with aim of promoting export of laden marine containers, it is guided that, where the initial period of 6 months is till on or before 31.03.2022, the above provision of the Circular may also be applied on receiving intimation before expiry of initial period of 6 months from the concerned importer that the container shall be re-exported in laden condition within the next 3 months.
4. Any difficulty in this regard may be informed to Board.
5. Hindi version follows.
Deputy Secretary (Customs)