Container lines get court stay against Customs decision on THC

- By Sagar Shere March 21, 2020


The customs order had allowed the EXIM trade to pay the charges directly to terminals, bypassing lines

A group of global container shipping lines operating from India has secured a court stay against a Customs Department decision allowing exporters and importers to pay terminal handling charges (THC) directly to terminals, bypassing carriers.

The Customs Department move, aimed at cutting logistics costs and enhancing the ease of doing business, was challenged in the high courts of Mumbai, Madras and the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court by the Container Shipping Lines Association (CSLA) India, a lobby group for global container carriers, which includes Maersk Line, MSC and CMA CGM.

“The High Court of Madras and the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court have stayed the Customs decision issued through public notices in separate jurisdictions,” a person briefed on the development said.

A spokesman for CSLA confirmed the stay orders but declined to comment further saying the matter was “sub-judice”.

The Mumbai High Court is yet to grant a stay on the petition filed by CSLA.

Exporters having authorized economic operator (AEO) status and importers having AEO status and those availing direct port delivery (DPD) facility for containerized cargo were permitted to pay THC directly to the terminal operators instead of paying through shipping lines from February 5, according to the Customs decision.

The CSLA is challenging the Customs Department’s “jurisdiction” over the issue.