Shipping Lines Asked Not to Impose Detention Charges on Containers Due to Coronavirus

This advisory will be in effect from March 25, 2020, to April 7, 2020


The Directorate General of Shipping (DGS), Mumbai, has issued an advisory to shipping lines asking them not to impose any container detention charges on import shipments at Indian seaports to maintain proper supply lines in these turbulent times.

This advisory will be in effect from March 25, 2020, to April 7, 2020. It has directed all lines to not impose any charges over and above the free time arrangement already agreed upon and availed as part of any negotiated contractual terms. It added the decision was purely a one-time-only measure to deal with the disruptions caused by the spread of COVID-19.

While the Ministry of Home Affairs exempted seaports and its operational organizations from the nationwide lockdown to ensure the smooth supply of goods to the country, some delays in the evacuation of these goods have become inevitable because downstream services have been affected.

In light of this situation, some cargo owners have either suspended operations or are facing difficulties transporting goods from the ports and completing the paperwork, leading to the containers being detained due to no fault of their own.

This advisory may not affect the solar industry too much as shipping from China is yet to resume fully. However, the Indian solar industry depends heavily on imports. In the calendar year 2019, India imported solar cells and modules worth $2.17 billion. China was the largest exporter of solar modules and cells to India in CY 2019, with a market share of nearly 78%, followed by Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, and Hong Kong.

Recently, Mercom reported that amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the office of the Principal Commissioner of Customs (ACC-Import), has issued a public notice to clear imported cargo. According to the notice, late fee charge will not be levied on those bills of entry on the import general manifests (IGMs) that are filed between March 21 to 31, 2020, or filed late on or before April 3, 2020.

Earlier, India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced relief measures for taxpayers and businesses as the country is fighting to curb the pandemic. The relief measures were announced, especially on statutory and regulatory compliance matters related to several sectors.

Previously, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued an official memorandum which states that the time extension in scheduled commissioning of renewable projects due to the disruption of supply chains will be treated as a ‘force majeure’ event.