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Customs delays at Vallarpadam may drop anchor on Kochi-EU shipping service
November, 22nd 2011

The shipping line, which launched its weekly service recently from Vallarpadam terminal linking Kochi to various European destinations, has threatened to suspended the service if the procedural delays by Customs at the terminal continues.

The shipping line is learnt to have told the Kochi port authorities that they may not be able to continue the service if issues related to the Customs procedures are not resolved.

According to reports, the second ship from the new liner service which called at Vallarpadam last week, could load only 250 out of the 350 containers as Customs insisted verification of the containers which came from Tuticorin. These containers were already customs-cleared at Tuticorin.

The Customs officials at Kochi were understood to have demanded verification of customs seal on the containers. They have offloaded 20 containers from the ship.

This delayed the ships schedule and it departed only with 250 containers.

Since Vallarpadam terminal is in special economic zone and it is also a transhipment terminal, the port authorities think there is no need for verification of transhipment containers by Customs at Kochi.

As per According to the transhipment procedure set out by the SEZ Development Commissioner, all transhipment containers arriving at ICTT are manifested by the SEZ officers in the terminal in a document and given to Customs.

The problem is that the Customs officials are insisting checking seals of all the transshipment containers that arrive at the terminal. This is taking time.

The trade fears that the process is impractical, unnecessary and will only delay the containers at ICTT making the whole objective of transshipping these containers through Kochi futile.

Shipping lines point out they have no benefit in calling at Kochi compared to Colombo port where they have better logistics support and faster transshipment procedures.

They say in Colombo where the same containers that have arrived from Tuticorin are not to subject to any Customs verification.

The new service from Vallarpadam was launched by CMA-CGM Hapag-Lloyd group.

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