Exporters seek Govt’s intervention to tackle rising freight rates and container shortage

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The issue of increasing freight rates and shortage of containers has been a prime issue for the exporters, and it has been going on for a long period of time. Concerned about the same, exporters on Monday have sought the Commerce Ministry’s intervention in the matter.

Exporters are of the view that this could severely impact the outbound shipment. During a meeting with Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, the exporters raised these issues along with others. Representatives of different export promotion councils participated in the deliberations.

Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President S K Saraf said freight charges have increased significantly by about 30-50 per cent depending upon the destinations.

Further, he said protests by farmers in states like Punjab have also impacted the movement of containers which are used to ship goods.

“We raised these issues in the meeting. These are big challenges for exporters,” he said.

He added that about 10,000 containers are being held up and it has created a mismatch for export and import purposes.

The other issues raised by exporters were about MEIS (Merchandise Exports from India Scheme) funds and faceless assessment by customs authorities.

A delay in assessment of imported material is being observed by custom broker and importers, which is causing cargo to pile up at air cargo and inland container depots.

This is also resulting in increased cost of cargo handling.

Indian Oilseeds and Produce Export Promotion Council (IOPEPC) Chairman Khushwant Jain said agri products should be included in Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Product (RoDTEP).

During April-September 2020 period, India’s exports declined 16.66 per cent to USD 221.86 billion, while imports fell 35.43 per cent to USD 204.12 billion over the same period last year.

It is observed that the nation’s commitment towards self-reliance along with government initiatives to promote Made in India has caused a decline in import, which is one of the major reasons for the increased freight rates and shortage of containers. While the industry was moving towards the new normal, the rising issues faced by the exporters are holding them back from making a come back.

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