Sea Cargo Manifest and Transhipment (SCMT) Regulations 2018 put on hold for third time

By Sradha Meloot

With ocean carriers and other stake holders raising concern over the Sea Cargo Manifest and Transhipment (SCMT) Regulations 2018, the government has been forced to further delay its implementation to August. The Sea Cargo Manifest and Transhipment (SCMT) Regulations 2018 is just like the United States of America’s advance cargo declaration.

The postponement of the date was announced by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC). This is the second time that the CBIC has deferred the date. At first they had postponed the date from August 1 to November 1. Then the second time it was deferred to march 1. And now the implementation of the new regulations has again been shifted to August 1.

This time again, the trading community had raised serious concern over the implementation of the stringent regulations and the shipping industry has been given three months time.

As per the new regulations, it has been made mandatory for the carriers to submit data in electronic format before berthing and leaving an Indian port. The CBIC has made it mandatory for the vessels to fill in the Import General Manifests prior to its departure from the last foreign port of call. And the Export General Manifests should be filled before the carries leaves any Indian port.

At present Import General Manifests are filled and submitted only 48 hours before the carrier’s arrival for long haul voyages and ten hours for short voyages. In case of Export General Manifests, the vessels are only filing it online three days beforehand and seven days in manual filings.

India has come up with the new regulations for bringing in efficiency and transparency in supply chain and also for easier security checks.

The Maritime Association of Nationwide Shipping Agencies-India and Container Shipping Lines Association of India, who are leading associations in the industries, had voiced their concern against the new regulations. They had said that the new regulations would only lead to over-landing or short landing of the vessels. They also said that the new regulations would pave the way for cost increase of doing business that would only lead to increase of the consignees cost.

The associations have also asked for a one month trial period before the new regulations are fully implemented.

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