have never seen such a change in my 40 years in the
air cargo industry,” said Tushar Jani, Chairman,
Delhi Cargo Service Center. A veteran in the cargo business,
Jani is well known as an innovative entrepreneur—he
was one of the founders and former Chairman of Blue
Dart Courier Services and Blue Dart Aviation—and
was speaking about SWIFT, the Single Window System introduced
recently at international airports around the country.
Start For India
A significant part in
the ‘ease of doing business’ project initiated
by the government of India, the Central Board of Excise
and Customs (CBEC), of which Customs is an integral
department, debuted SWIFT (Single Window Interface for
Facilitating Trade) on April 1, 2016, and, according
to users FlyingTypers talked to, the move has
hastened clearances for import consignments.
Step SWIFT Exports
In gathering this story
FlyingTypers learned that a Single Window System
would come into effect in the USA by 2018, although
at this point exact details are sketchy.
Currently, the countries
where such a system is in operation include Singapore,
South Korea, Japan, Australia, Thailand, and Malaysia.
For India, SWIFT is in
use on the importer side at the moment, with a similar
platform to be built for exporters.
Among other benefits,
once completed shippers to and from India will be able
to access and obtain online clearances as required from
Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) such as Animal Quarantine,
Plant Quarantine, Drug Controller, Food Safety and Standards
Authority of India, Textile Committee, etc., without
the importer/exporter having to separately approach
The Word Out
To trumpet introduction
of a single point interface for clearance of import
and export goods, thereby reducing dwell time and cost
of doing business, interestingly CBEC has issued circulars
to the SWIFT era in India.
Importers were delighted
to discover as the new service took hold April 1st an
example of the immediate impact of SWIFT—‘No
Objection Certificates’ (NOCs) were no longer
required (SWIFT replaced nine separate forms required
by six different government agencies and Customs) for
clearance of goods.
Impact Across India
online clearance under the Single Window Project has
been rolled out at main ports and airports in Delhi,
Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai so far.
SWIFT will gradually extend
across the country.
Estimates predict that
before too long SWIFT will benefit more than 97 percent
of the country’s imports, connecting India Customs
with 50-odd offices of six government agencies.
As Najib Shah, (left)
Chairman of CBEC stated, “An importer can electronically
file a common integrated declaration with the Customs
department from the comfort of his office.”
was introduced after a concerted training and familiarization
effort by Satya Prasad Sahu, (right) Commissioner Customs
and the leader of the Single Window project team that
addressed stakeholders at different forums, including
detailed presentations and interactive sessions held
at all major Custom locations across the country.
“This is a major
initiative of the Customs Department to significantly
simplify and expedite the clearance process,”
said Sahu. “The single window implementation is
primarily for promoting the ease of doing business and
it happens in small steps.”
He went on to add that,
“Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and timelines
are really important for the Custom Clearance Facilitation
“The purpose of
the CCFC,” he explained, “is not to get
bogged down with individual cases, but to drive ports
and airports into a cycle of continuous input where
issues are taken up, leading to continuous improvement
are requested to use CCFC to achieve efficiency in work,”
Sahu, it should be mentioned,
is a lead resource on WCO instruments like the compendium
on “How to Build a Single Window Environment.”
Elsewhere, TIACA Chairman
Sanjiv Edward—who is also head of Cargo Business
at Delhi International Airport—mentioned that
the Single Window Clearance system is of vital importance
and the industry is committed to this initiative.
he told ACNFT, “is not new.”
Amsterdam, for example,
had been working on such a move and has progressed,
but “they are still far away from what would be
a single window concept.”
Edward emphasized that
as a community “we must come together and make
“The Single Window
will showcase India as a country, which has made this
concept a reality,” Edward said.