National Time Release Study (NTRS) 2023 Report

The recently released National Time Release Study (NTRS) 2023 report by Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) is a significant milestone in evaluating the performance of cargo release processes in India. This study aims to provide valuable insights into import and export release times.  

Understanding the Time Release Study (TRS) 

The Time Release Study serves as a vital performance measurement tool that assesses the duration of cargo release processes. It measures the time taken from the arrival of cargo at Customs stations to its out-of-charge status for domestic clearance in imports or the departure of the carrier in exports. 

Sample Period and Objectives 

The NTRS 2023 report analyzed data collected during the sample period from January 1 to 7, 2023. Its primary objectives include assessing progress towards the targets set in the National Trade Facilitation Action Plan, evaluating the impact of trade facilitative initiatives like the “Path to Promptness,” and identifying challenges hindering the reduction of release time. 

Inclusive Port Coverage 

The study encompasses a wide range of ports, including seaports, air cargo complexes (ACCs), inland container depots (ICDs), and integrated check posts (ICPs). These ports collectively account for approximately 80% of bills of entry and 70% of shipping bills filed in the country. 

Reduction in Import Release Time 

One of the key findings of the NTRS 2023 report is the continued improvement in average import release times. Comparing 2023 to 2022, seaports achieved a 9% reduction, ICDs achieved a remarkable 20% reduction, and ACCs saw an 11% decrease. The import release times for seaports, ICDs, ACCs, and ICPs were recorded as 85:42 hrs, 71:46 hrs, 44:16 hrs, and 31:47 hrs, respectively. Moreover, the measure of standard deviation indicated greater certainty in the timely release of imported cargo. 

The Path to Promptness 

The report highlights the significance of the three-fold ‘Path to Promptness’ framework. It encompasses the advance filing of import documents, risk-based facilitation of cargo, and the benefits of the Authorized Economic Operators. Cargo shipments that successfully incorporate these three features consistently meet the National Trade Facilitation Action Plan’s release time targets across all port categories. 

Export Release Time and Distinctions 

In line with the Indian government’s priority on export promotion, the NTRS 2023 report emphasizes the measurement of export release time. It differentiates between regulatory clearance, which concludes with the grant of Let Export Order (LEO), and physical clearance, which occurs upon the carrier’s departure with the goods. 

Collaborative Efforts and Trade Efficiency 

The improved release times highlighted in the NTRS 2023 report are the result of collaborative efforts by stakeholders such as Customs, port authorities, Customs Brokers, and Participating Government Agencies (PGAs). The implementation of trade facilitation measures has played a pivotal role in expediting cargo clearance and enhancing trade efficiency. These efforts not only benefit the domestic industry but also foster opportunities for exports to friendly countries. 



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