NBR drafts rules on transit, transhipment of Indian goods
The National Board of Revenue has formulated customs rules to facilitate the movement of Indian goods via Bangladesh to northeast India and other countries under the transit and transhipment deal signed by New Delhi and Dhaka.
The "Customs Transit and Transhipment Rules 2021" aims at bringing the transportation of transit or transhipment goods under a specific guideline and proper authority.
The rules will be effective soon, said the NBR in a gazette notification on May 27.
The rules will be applied to the transportation of transit or transhipment goods using the soil of the country in all cases where Bangladesh is a party to the international transit or transhipment system.
As per rules, the tenure of the transit or transhipment will be seven days from the moment Indian goods leave the port of entry in Bangladesh.
In case of failure to carry out the transit or transhipment, the authorised person will have to submit a written application to the customs authorities within the stipulated time, explaining the delay.
The NBR will appoint a customs commissioner as the national transit or transhipment coordinator, who will resolve queries and proposals related to transit and transhipment and coordinate with other agencies.
An officer will assist the commissioner at each of the entry and exit ports of Bangladesh.
Provision has been made for the physical inspection of the consignment by the customs authorities if there is information about illegal goods in the imported consignment.
An official of the NBR said before enacting the rules, there were no specific guidelines for transporting transit and transhipment goods in the country.
There were proper authorities who will look into the whole process.
The rules will act as the guiding principle for the transportation of transit and transhipment goods, he said.
The customs office at the entry port will scan the transit and transhipment goods, and if it suspects any wrongdoing, the officials can examine the goods.
Besides, any shipment can be selected for a physical examination based on intelligence information.
The transit or transhipment goods will be transferred from one vehicle to another in the presence and supervision of the officers nominated by the customs.
The Chattogram Customs House will collect six types of tariffs on Indian goods, as per a letter sent from the foreign affairs ministry of Bangladesh to the High Commission of India in Dhaka on July 5, 2020.
The tariffs include Tk 30 for document processing per consignment, Tk 20 per tonne of goods for transhipment, Tk 100 per tonne as security charge, Tk 50 per tonne as escort charge, Tk 100 for other administrative charges, and Tk 254 per container for scanning. Electric lock and seal fees will be charged as per rules.
The letter did not mention the road charge. On December 19, 2020, the Road Transport and Highways Division set a fee of Tk 2 per tonne per kilometre on transporting Indian goods.
MV Shejyoti, the first ship under the trial run of transhipment of Indian goods, berthed at Chattogram port on July 2020, carrying 100 tonnes of goods for north-eastern states through Bangladesh.
The Chattogram Customs House collected $330, or Tk 26,000, from four containers from the shipment. The port authorities received Tk 30,899 in various charges.
Dhaka and Delhi signed a memorandum of understanding on the use of the Chattogram and Mongla ports in 2015, following years of persuasion from India.
The two sides penned an agreement in 2018 and a standard operating procedure during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India in 2019.
Goods reaching Chattogram and Mongla seaports would be carried by four road, rail, and water routes to Agartala (Tripura) via Akhaura; Dawki (Meghalaya) via Tamabil; Sutarkandi (Assam) via Sheola; and Srimantpur (Tripura) via Bibirbazar.