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Pharma associations to make joint representation to govt over delay in custom clearance

Delay in custom clearance may lead to a shortage of medicines in the global pharma market, caution industry stakeholders

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The delay in customs clearance of China originated products is causing problems to the pharma industry. There is also a lot of confusion and ambiguity. Hence, pharma associations are planning to make a joint representation to the government and seek solutions on a priority basis.

M Madan Mohan Reddy, Director, Aurobindo Pharma, informed, “It’s been almost a week now and there is no official communication, either from the government or customs officials, addressing the issue and providing a reason for the delay/stoppage of China originated products. Although, we have not heard any adverse reactions from Chinese suppliers, if the situation continues for a few more days then such delays in clearance will ultimately affect production. Therefore, we are planning to make a joint representation to the government and seeking clarity as well as immediate intervention.”

Dr Dinesh Dua, Chairman, Pharmexcil informed, “This issue needs to be addressed by the top officials on a priority, as it is going to become a global issue. The Indian pharma industry supplies medicines to more than 200 countries in the world. If consignments don’t get cleared by the customs, the industry will not be able to supply medicines to the global pharma market. And therefore, we are considering making a joint representation, highlighting the severity of the matter, not only in the domestic market but also to the global pharma market.”

Reportedly, there is an unofficial instruction from customs to all the custodians of cargo including Port Terminal, Airport and all Container Freight Station (CFSs) to hold all consignments, which are originated from China from June 22, 2020. And the consignments which are given the out of charge (OOC) also remain on hold and subject to re-examination before release from CFSs and port.

A circular issued by RN Sekar, Secretary, Chennai Customs Brokers Association to its members, communicated, “The decision on release of goods of Chinese origin cannot be decided at the local level. As such, we are unable to any light on these shipments because our query and request are unanswered so far. Hence members need to wait for proper direction on the release of goods. As and when any update is received, we will communicate the same, please escalate the same to your customers.”

Earlier, DHL Express has also issued an official statement stating the problems. Sandeep Juneja, Vice President Commercial, DHL Express informed through a statement, “Over the last few days, we are witnessing a severe lag in customs clearance for shipments originating from China, Hongkong and Macao across all the ports in India. This has led to uncontrollable queuing, congestion and delays of shipment in our clearance ports across the country. And we want to ensure that shipments originating from other countries around the world are not impacted by this congestion. Therefore, with immediate effect, we will be temporarily suspending pick up of import shipments from China, Hongkong and Macao for the next 10 days.”

These indicate the severity of the matter and it requires immediate action from the government. The industry also needs to find short term and long term solutions to deal with this issue.

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