CBIC Sets Norms for Cost Recovery Charges Exemption at Air Freight Stations (AFS)
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has issued Circular No. 21/2023-Customs on September 14, 2023, outlining norms for posting officers and benchmark performance criteria for granting exemption from payment of Cost Recovery Charges (CRC) at Air Freight Stations (AFS).
Background: The Ministry of Civil Aviation introduced Policy Guidelines on Air Freight Stations (AFS) in 2014 to facilitate international air cargo operations, particularly in remote regions and to alleviate congestion at existing air cargo terminals. AFSs are off-airport Common User Facilities designed for handling and temporarily storing import and export cargo.
Customs Deployment: When a new Customs facility such as ports, airports, or inland container depots is notified by the Board under section 7 of the Customs Act, 1962, Customs staff is deployed to operate the facility. These deployments are on a Cost Recovery basis, as per guidelines issued by the Board in Circular No. 02/2021-Customs dated January 19, 2021.
AFS Staffing Norms: Given the imminent operationalization of AFSs, there was a need to establish norms for officer deployment and performance criteria to exempt AFSs from CRC payments.
Committee Formation: CBIC formed a Committee of Chief Commissioners of Customs to recommend staffing norms and performance benchmarks for AFSs.
Approved Norms: Based on the committee’s recommendations and with approval from the Competent Authority, the following norms have been established:
- Staffing Norms for an AFS:
- AFS Handling Both Imported and Export Goods: Deputy/Asst. Commissioner (1), Appraiser/Superintendent (4), Inspector/Examiner (2), STA/TA (2), Hawaldar (2), Total (11).
- AFS Handling Only Export Goods: Deputy/Asst. Commissioner (1), Appraiser/Superintendent (2), Inspector/Examiner (1), STA/TA (2), Hawaldar (2), Total (8).
- Performance Criteria for CRC Waiver:
- Handling Both Imported and Export Goods: Criterion-I – Minimum Annual Volume of Import & Export Cargo per year (4000 MTs), Criterion-II – Minimum number of documents (Bills of Entry/Shipping Bills) per year (14,000).
- Handling Only Export Goods: Criterion-I – Minimum Annual Volume of Export Cargo per year (2000 MTs), Criterion-II – Minimum number of documents (Shipping Bills) per year (7,000).
- Eligibility: An AFS will qualify for CRC waiver if it meets both criteria in the preceding two financial years or either criterion in the preceding four financial years.
Applicability: Customs facilities’ aspects outlined in Board’s Circular 02/2021-Customs dated January 19, 2021, such as cost recovery posts, payment of cost recovery charges, waiver procedures, withdrawal of granted waivers, de-notification, and cost recovery charges, will apply to AFSs.
Dissemination: Stakeholders should be informed of these instructions through Trade/Public Notices, and internal orders/instructions should guide officers.
Feedback: Any difficulties faced during the implementation of this Circular should be reported to the Board.
F. No. 394/51/2020-Cus(AS)/e-file-Part(1)
Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs
Customs Policy Wing
Room No. 244-A, North Block, New Delhi
Circular No. 21/2023-Customs Dated: 14th September, 2023
All Pr. Chief Commissioner/Chief Commissioner of Customs,
All Pr. Chief Commissioner/Chief Commissioner of Customs (P),
All Pr. Chief Commissioner/Chief Commissioner of Customs & GST,
The Directorate General of Human Resource Development,
Subject: Norms for posting of officers and benchmark performance criteria while granting exemption from payment of Cost Recovery Charges (CRC) at Air Freight Stations (AFS) — reg.
Ministry of Civil Aviation issued Policy Guidelines on Air Freight Station (AFS) on 28.10.2014. This initiative of AFS was to create an enabling environment for promoting International Air Cargo operations by reaching out to hinterland regions of the country besides de-congesting the congested Air Cargo terminals. An Air Freight Station (AFS) is an off-airport Common User Facility equipped with fixed installations of minimum requirements and offering services for handling and temporary storage of import and export cargo.
2. Whenever a new Customs facility like ports, airports, inland container depots etc. is notified by the Board in terms of section 7 of the Customs Act, 1962, there is deployment of Customs staff to operationalise the facility. Customs staff is deployed by respective jurisdictional Customs formation on posts created on Cost Recovery basis. Board has issued comprehensive guidelines in respect of posting of Customs officers and staff on Cost Recovery Charge (CRC) basis vide Circular No. 02/2021-Customs dated 19.01.2021.
3. Till date there was no functional AFS, however, it is expected that soon AFSs would be ready for operationalization. Presently there are no norms specified for posting of officers and benchmark performance criteria while granting exemption from payment of Cost Recovery Charges (CRC).
4. In this background, CBIC constituted a Committee of Chief Commissioners of Customs to recommend the norms for staffing of the Customs staff at AFS. The Committee of Chief Commissioners was also entrusted with the task of identifying the performance benchmarks that would make an AFS eligible for the grant of exemption from the payment of cost recovery charges for the Customs staff posted therein.
5. Based on the report, CBIC has obtained the approval of the Competent Authority for the staffing norms for sanction of posts on cost recovery basis at AFS and also for the performance norms that would make an AFS eligible for consideration of exemption from the payment of cost recovery charges. The recommendations as approved are mentioned as below,-
(i) Staffing norms for an AFS:
|Category of goods handled by AFS||Deputy/Asst. Commissioner/||Appraiser/ Superintendent||Inspector/ Examiner||STA/ TA||Hawaldar||Total|
|Both imported and export goods||1||4||2||2||2||11|
|Only Export goods||1||2||1||2||2||8|
(ii) Benchmark performance criteria for grant of waiver from Cost Recovery Charges for an AFS:
|Category of handled by AFS goods||Criterion-I: Minimum Annual Volume of Import & Export Cargo per year||Criterion-II: Minimum number of documents -Bills of Entry/Shipping Bills per year|
|Both imported export goods and||4000 MTs||14,000|
|Only Export goods||2000 MTs||7,000|
(iii) An AFS will become eligible for waiver of cost recovery charges if it achieves both the above mentioned criteria in the preceding two financial years or any one of the criteria in the preceding four financial years.
(iv) The other aspects prescribed for Customs facilities in Board’s Circular 02/2021-Customs dated 19.01.2021 such as creation of cost recovery posts payment of cost recovery charges, procedure for granting waiver, withdrawal of waiver granted, de-notification & cost recovery charges etc. will be made applicable to AFS also.
6. These instructions may be brought to the notice of the stakeholders by issuing Trade/Public Notices. Suitable internal orders/instructions may also be issued for the guidance of the officers.
7. Difficulties faced, if any, in implementation of the Circular may please be brought to the notice of the Board.
Hindi version follows.
Addl. Commissioner (Customs)