Taking into consideration the hardships that the nation is reeling under, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has taken a few steps to ease the customs clearance of emergency medical equipment, which according to industry experts will help logistics companies in faster delivery of the consignments amid a huge surge in imports of coronavirus-related emergency products.
The CBIC, through a notification, recently provided clarity besides further simplifying procedures for clearances of certain items.
It has waived off the basic customs duty for critically required oxygen concentrators citing the acute shortage of medical oxygen in the country.
This will enable express and logistic companies to speed up clearances for emergency medical equipment while bringing the spread of the pandemic under control, DHL remarked.
Due to COVID-19 and the new lockdown protocols on social distancing, most of us including Customs are forced to operate with reduced manpower. At this time, there is a need to ensure that shipments for supporting COVID-19 treatment like oxygen concentrators, medicines, and other equipment are cleared and delivered without delay.”~ R S Subramanian, Senior Vice-President, DHL Express
Calling the actions taken by the Customs department to clarify and simplify procedures and expedite clearance of medical equipment a welcome move, Subramanian says, “With these measures, oxygen concentrators entering the country, will be pre-approved and can be shipped to the destination immediately after arrival. This will help logistics companies like us to ensure faster delivery.”
He informed that while basic duty has been exempted on oxygen concentrators and Remdesivir, the IGST is payable. He suggested that the exemption of IGST for import by individuals will further expedite the time-sensitive deliveries.
We are happy to note that in this crisis situation, Indian Customs have proactively waived off basic customs duty for critically required oxygen concentrators to save lives. We are engaging with the logistics service providers, including express operators, to ensure seamless logistics by mitigating customs clearance.”~ Vijay Kumar, CEO, Express Industry Council of India
The express delivery services, despite the constraints faced on the ground since the beginning of the pandemic, are ensuring critically needed medicines.
Mr Kumar informed that equipment are being moved into the country using their global network, including freighters and on ground support systems.