Import duty norm relaxed to improve containers availability

The Centre has relaxed import duty norm on empty export cargo containers to improve their availability.

At present, keeping containers beyond a period of six months attracts an import duty.

The policy was designed to discourage long dwell time of containers and to promote faster turnaround.

However, an official communique, cited that the policy has been reported to “sometimes create perverse incentive among shipping lines to export empty containers to evade duty payment on containers which are lying empty”.

As per the communique, the problem was brought out in stakeholder consultations held by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

“Working on one of the action tracks identified by the government to ease the problem, the CBIC has issued a guidance to field offices to extend this period by three months where the container is being taken out of the country in laden condition provided the 6 month period falls before the end of FY22.”

“Extension is to be sought by the concerned importer.”

Accordingly, the move is expected to reduce the export of empty containers from the country on ground of imposition of import duty, thus, “increasing the availability of containers for the trade”.

Lately, disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in high shipping freight rates and container shortages globally.