‘Customs staff shortage likely to affect trade’

Shortage of customs staff may lead to a substantial shift of trade from Chennai’s port and airport to other cities, customs agents said.

The 40 per cent shortage in the strength of customs officials has caused a drastic slowdown in the clearance of consignments, according to members of Chennai Custom House Agents Association.

Cases against staff

“Among the remaining staff, half of them are implicated in cases that prevent them from being involved in the clearance process. Though there are services like 24x7 facilities and risk management schemes that speed up the clearance process, they have not been implemented well,” a member of the association said.

The association had written to the Ministry of Finance raising the issue of manpower shortage, but there has been no response as yet, he added.

On an average, Chennai customs — imports and exports — handles about 1,000 documents a day. “For a while now, the number of documents handled has come down by at least 40-45 percent,” the official said.

Also, agents are forced to pay demurrage charges when there is a delay of more than three days. In the recent times, the documents get cleared only after 10 days, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 10:21:16 AM |

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