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Indian government announces measures to tackle container shortage

Huge relief comes in for Indian exporters as the Indian government has extended the deadline by three months for the re-export of imported vessels lying at different domestic ports. Duty-free imports of containers are allowed currently with the condition of re-export in the next six months.

According to the government notification, this extension of the timeline for re-export of imported vessels will reduce the export of empty containers from the country on the ground of imposition of import duty thereby increasing the availability of containers for trade. The government has also chalked out several other relief measures that include turning the focus on bulk exports to tackle container shortage. Spaces in ships will be used with optimisation ensuring minimum use and unnecessary movement of containers.

Talks are also underway with the Ministry of Railways, Shipping, and Road Transport to reduce the turnaround time. Very soon railway wagons will be used in place of containers as per instruction received by the Railways. Transport and Management Assistance Scheme i.e TMA for perishable agro products has also been extended till March of 2022.

Container shipping Lines Association Executive Director, Sunil Vaswani told Container News that the shipping lines have so far repositioned 1.7 million empty TEU into India, at a huge cost, to help meet the demand.

"Besides, the shipping lines have also brought to the attention of the Government about almost 20,000 TEU of long standing import containers have been lying uncleared and abandoned. Cargoes from these containers need to be auctioned immediately by Customs and related agencies and release containers to the shipping lines for making them available for exports. Alternatively, cargo from these containers should be offloaded in some bonded warehouses and the containers released for exports to the lines", said Vaswani.

The CSLA member lines have placed orders for 500 new vessels which will start getting delivered by the second quarter of 2022 onwards which would help in easing the situation.

The Indian government is planning to incentivise the local steel manufacturing companies to boost box manufacturing in India.

Sheuly Ghosh
India Correspondent

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