India Customs Adds Advance Notice

Effective February 18, 2004, shipping lines and airlines will be required to file import manifests with the Indian government.

Modeled on the U.S. advance notification requirements, voyages exceeding four days (from last port of call) require ocean carriers to file the import manifest 48 hours before the vessel enters an Indian port. For shorter voyages, the timeframe for filing is 10 hours prior to entering the Indian port.

Flights of three hours or more must file import manifests two hours before the aircraft's arrival at the Indian airport.

On the export side, Civil Aviation authorities have made x-ray scanning mandatory for export cargoes moving out of international airports. The x-rays became mandatory Jan. 1, 2004. X-ray scanning will eliminate the current practice of physical security checks or holding cargoes for a mandatory 24-hour "cooling off" period.

In other security-related news, India's shipping industry and ports are implementing International Ship and Port Security code ahead of the July 2004 deadline.

Under the International Maritime Organization's security code, ocean carriers are required to identify and train company security officers, assess security requirements of ships, install additional security equipment as needed, prepare security plans for each ship, and obtain plan approval from respective governments. Verification audits of the Ship Security Certificate are also required. Ports will go through a process similar to the U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) in assessing the potential threats and vulnerability of facilities, obtaining approval of the assessment, preparing a security plan, and obtaining a statement of compliance. Reports indicate 12 major ports have completed the process to the point of obtaining approval for the Port Facility Security Assessment and the Port Facility Security Plan. They are expected to be compliant by April 30.

Of the 36 minor ports required to implement the security code, nine of the 31 ports that have completed the security assessment are receiving approval and the remaining 22 were expected to be approved by January 15.

The Directorate General of Shipping has approved 90 Ship Security Plans of the 117 it has received. (200 ships fall under the security code requirements.)

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