Staff Reporter

It will help to clear most of import consignments without inspection

Trials of the risk management system began at Mumbai airport 2 months ago It will help Customs handle more volume of cargo with same number of staff Trials of the risk management system began at the Mumbai airport two months ago It will help Customs handle more volume of cargo with same or lesser number of staff Decision to subject consignment to verification will be based on certain parameters

CHENNAI: Chennai Custom House plans to adopt a new software that will help it to clear most of the import consignments without inspection and subject only a few to verification.

The trials of the risk management (software) system began at the Mumbai airport two months ago. It will help the Customs department face the challenge of handling an increasing volume of cargo with the same or lesser number of staff members, said Chief Commissioner of Customs J.K. Batra here on Wednesday. The system was expected to be in place by April.

Addressing a meeting to mark International Customs Day and, later, during an informal chat with reporters, Mr. Batra said the decision whether to subject the consignment to verification would be based on certain parameters, including the country of origin, supplier's background and the importer's record.

He said with cargo volume increasing annually by 25 per cent, on an average Chennai Custom House handled 1,400 import consignments. "The computer programme will help us."

Highlighting the initiatives taken by the office in Chennai to facilitate trade, Mr. Batra said 300 clients were to be covered under the 'accredited clients programme' that would not entail any inspection of consignments. The benefits would be reduced dwell time, quicker clearance for importers and increased cargo handling capacity at sea and airports.

Sea change

N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu , who was the chief guest, said there was a sea change in the Customs Department, particularly Chennai Customs, in terms of continuous improvement of the systems, practices and performance.

Describing Customs operations the world over as one involving smartly dressed people with more than average intelligence, who were good at judging people from their body language, he said in India, the department brought in considerable revenue. This, in turn, was helpful for the development of the social sector. Mr. Ram commended the positive attitude of Chennai Customs and its electronic data interchange.

The top five importers - Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, Tata Teleservices Limited, Sony India and Volvo India - and the top five exporters - Hyundai Motor India Limited, Indian Oil Corporation Limited, MMTC Limited, JSW Steel Limited and MRF Limited - were felicitated by Chennai Custom House.