Bid to bring down waiting time of container lorries

Having tried various methods to bring down the waiting time of container lorries at the zero gate, Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) has decided to shift the customs check points to terminal gates from September 1 onwards.

Though its is being tried on a pilot basis, the move assumes significance as Chief Secretary Debendranth Sarangi had asked ChPT and various stakeholders to devise ways to bring down congestion and inform him about the development. The meeting with Chief Secretary, which was scheduled to be held on Wednesday, has been postponed to next month.

Talking to The Hindu, a ChPT official said it was their long-pending decision to shift the customs check point to the terminal gates. However, it could not be implemented without the permission of Customs officials.

At the zero gate, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officials will continue to verify customs seal and whether the transporter had port entry pass.

Soon after the verification, container lorries have to travel one to 2.5 km to reach the respective terminals.

Customs officials, who were carrying out checks at zero point and terminal gate, will now verify export documents at the terminal gates of two container operators. Import containers will be checked at terminal gate and also at zero gate.

Three out of the six customised containers that acted as a temporary office for customs at the zero gate will be handed over to CISF, the official said.

A Customs official said they along with ChPT were trying out different methods to reduce the time taken by various agencies to check the laden containers.

They were also in the process of automating various systems by getting information various agencies.

Reacting to the new move, a port user said: “Out of the six leaves, presently only three leaves are used for exports and two for imports. Perhaps, they should post officials at all the leaves for smooth entry/exit.

The other option is to widen the 1.6-km road and complete the modernisation of zero gate at the earliest.”