Shri Vivek Johri, Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) along with other Members of the Board released the National Time Release Study (NTRS) 2023 report.
Time Release Study (TRS) as a performance measurement tool aims to present quantitative measure of the cargo release time, defined as the time taken from arrival of the cargo at the Customs station to its out of charge for domestic clearance in case of imports and arrival of the cargo at the Customs station to the eventual departure of the carrier in case of exports.
NTRS 2023 presents port-category wise average release time for the current year, based on the sample period of January 1-7, 2023 (both days included), comparing the same to the performance during the corresponding periods of 2021 and 2022 to, inter alia,
- assess the progress made towards the National Trade Facilitation Action Plan targets;
- identify the impact of various trade facilitative initiatives, notably “Path to Promptness”; and
- identify the challenges to more expeditious reduction in release time.
The ports included in the study represent seaports, air cargo complexes (ACCs), inland container depot (ICDs) and integrated check posts (ICPs) which account for approximately 80 percent of bills of entry and 70 percent of shipping bills filed in the country.
The average import release time has continued to improve, achieving 20 percent reduction in release time for ICDs; 11 percent reduction for ACCs; and 9 percent reduction for seaports in 2023 over 2022. In absolute terms, the import release time for seaports, ICDs, ACC and ICPs is 85:42 hrs, 71:46 hrs, 44:16 hrs and 31:47 hrs, respectively. The measure of standard deviation is found to be lower, indicating a greater certainty of expeditious release of imported cargo.
Findings of NTRS 2023 reaffirms the 3-fold ‘Path to promptness’ comprising advance filing of import documents enabling pre-arrival processing, risk-based facilitation of cargo and benefits of trusted client programme – Authorised Economic Operators. Cargoes wherein all the three features under the Path to Promptness are combined, achieve the NTFAP release time target across all port categories.
Further, in line with the high priority accorded by Government of India on export promotion, NTRS 2023 has placed much greater focus on measurement of export release time. NTRS 2023 recognises the distinction between regulatory clearance (also referred as customs release), which gets completed with the grant of Let Export Order (LEO) and the wider aspect of physical clearance which occurs on completion of logistics processes with departure of the carrier with the goods.
It is observed that adopting the benchmark of regulatory clearance, the NTFAP release time target has been achieved for almost all the port categories. The extent of certainty regarding the bettered average release time has improved.
The improved release time involves the efforts of various stakeholders, including Customs, port authorities, Customs Brokers and Participating Government Agencies (PGAs), in implementing various trade facilitation measures which encourages the continued collaboration to further expedite cargo clearance and enhance trade efficiency.
The complete findings of the National Time Release Study 2023 can be accessed on CBIC website (https://www.cbic.gov.in/)