MSME importers crying as search of fake currency chokes container operations at ICD
Updated: Mar 27, 2017 11:17:27am
SME importers crying as search of fake currency chokes container operations at ICD
New Delhi, Mar 27 (KNN) The ongoing search operations at the ports to check import of fake currency notes in the country through containers has created a backlog of consignments at the ports due to which heavy demurrage, detention and other costs will be incurred by the MSME importers.
The delivery of import containers at several ports across the country has been severely delayed since last ten days following search by various intelligence agencies on a tip-off that large consignments of fake Indian currency notes have come in containers from Bangladesh and West Asia.
This has created four major problems for the MSME importers: Demurrage, Detention Cost, Cost to Container Corporation of India, and Capital problem.
“We understand this is very important for the nation and we fully support this. But the delays in container clearance is putting so much financial burden on the MSME importers that their entire business might be badly affected if the containers are not cleared anytime soon,” said an MSME importer on condition of anonymity.
Talking to KNN, he said, “There are some intelligence inputs that some containers are being shipped which have fake currency notes. Now due to this the containers are being held at the ports since 10 days.”
Explaining further he said, “Container Corporation of India, whose ground is used for keeping the containers, doesn’t charge just for 3 days. After that the charges are Rs 10,000-Rs 15000 per containers.”
Also, detention charges are applicable after 14 days. It means when the container arrives at the port of destination, it has a maximum of 14 days before the owner of the container can be charged for the space the container is occupying at the port of discharge. So if the container arrives at the port of discharge and custom clearance takes time before the goods is cleared, the importer won’t be paying any charge provided it does not exceed 14 days.
“They already have 4 to 5 thousand containers are already held and many more are arriving each day. MSMEs have to worry about bank credit also.
In addition to this the importers have to bear demurrage, a cost charged by steamship lines which occurs at the port area when the containers are held longer than the agreed standard free time for the use of their shipping containers,” he added.
The importer, however, acknowledged that the DRI officials are vigorously checking around 40-50 containers each day.
He said, “We have not been told that how much more time will it take for our containers to be released. I have around 23 containers stuck for last 10-15 days, and if it is stuck for another few days, I will have to bear a cost of atleast Rs 2 lakh per day.”
Reacting to the plea of MSME importers and exporters, Anil Bhardwaj Secretary General of Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME) has said, “a serious crisis may build up if the problem is not addressed soon”.
Another import-export expert told KNN that since it is a necessary task for national security so it has to be performed. But the need of the hour is that the Containers Corporation of India should be asked not to charge MSME importers as of now and also the demurrage period should be extended from 3 days to 10 days to 15 days.
Meanwhile, some of the customs have asked all container freight stations to remain open on Sunday and its officers to be present. They have also asked all CFSs to have sufficient manpower and required equipment operators for carrying out examinations of containers. (KNN Bureau)