MULTAN: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has directed the shipping vessels, engaged in the transportation of coastal goods from one port in Pakistan to another, to install online tracking devices for real-time tracking of vessels and follow the approved geo-fenced routes.
The FBR has issued Transportation of Coastal Goods Rules, 2021 under the new rules, the customs authorities shall have real-time access to online tracking of the vessel and can call any agency for checking the vessel en-route as per provisions of the Customs Act, 1969.The new rules shall apply to the goods transported in a coasting vessel from one port in Pakistan to another, excluding imported goods on which customs duty has not been paid and excluding baggage and stores. These rules shall also apply to the full container load (FCL) containerized cargo being carried in domesticated or imported containers or the less than container Load (LCL) or the bulk cargo as the case may be.
The consignor of any coastal goods or his clearing agent shall intimate to concerned Deputy or Assistant Collector of the customs at least two days before the shipping of intended goods from one customs port or coastal port to another customs port or coastal port, and the concerned Deputy or Assistant Collector shall depute an appropriate officer who shall scrutinize the documents for details of the goods, and examine the goods and ensure the transfer of goods to the coasting vessel. The terminal operator or port authorities shall intimate, the Deputy or Assistant Collector, the schedule of the coasting vessel in advance along with details of the goods, i.e., description, quantity, origin, etc., being shipped under these rules.
A specific timeframe shall be provided to any coasting vessel for the voyage, to be prescribed by the Board, and the vessel must report to the unloading port within that specified period. However, in cases of exceptional circumstances, the timeframe of the vessel may be extended by the Collector of Customs on the written request of the master of the vessel or his authorized agent after recording the reasons in writing.
In case, where the master of the vessel or his authorized agent fails to provide an appropriate explanation for the delay, the collector of customs unloading or discharge port collectorate may block the vessel from future carrying the coastal goods. The vessel carrying the coastal goods under these rules shall not call at any foreign port after departure from loading port and before arrival at discharging or unloading coastal port and shall not load or unload any other cargo during the voyage, FBR said.
No vessel which has been loaded with any coastal goods at any customs port or coastal port shall depart from such port until the concerned Customs officer signs the outward general manifest and gives port clearance.
The inward and outward coastal general manifest clearance shall be the responsibility of both the customs formations, i.e., customs collectorate at loading port and the discharging port. The reconciliation of inward and outward movement of coastal goods shall be carried out, on fortnightly basis. In case of any sort of discrepancy arises, an action shall be taken by the respective Collectorates under the Customs Act, 1969 and rules made thereunder as deemed appropriated.