New Delhi: Recognizing that efficient and expeditious release of temperature-sensitive vaccines would be a critical requirement in the collective fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has proactively put in place a COVID Response Plan (CRP) for speedy clearance of COVID-19 vaccines at all major airports.
The new plan provides for setting up of a COVID-19 Vaccine Response Team (CVRT) at each Air Cargo/Courier Terminal. The CVRT will function as a single point of contact for all the clearances related to COVID-19 vaccine shipments and coordinate among the concerned stakeholders to ensure that vaccines are given instant delivery upon arrival. For this, the CVRT will develop a SoP (covering Customs, local PGA and other stakeholders) and sensitize traders on the requirements for instant release of vaccines.
Additionally, CBIC has enabled the import/export of vaccines in relation to COVID-19 through Courier, by issuing the Courier Imports and Exports (Electronic Declaration and Processing) Amendment Regulations, 2020.
The Courier Regulations earlier had certain limits on the value of goods that could be brought in through courier, whereas the amended regulations allow the import and export of COVID vaccines through courier without any value limit.
As the vaccines would be transported through special containers equipped with temperature monitoring and tracking devices, provision has also been made for their duty-free temporary admission.
CBIC would closely monitor the vaccine logistics to ensure their seamless movement at the borders and address any challenges that may arise in this regard.
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges disrupting global supply chains and slowing down economic activity. CBIC has tackled the crisis by introducing simplified customs procedures, reducing the scale of interventions, increasing the use of automation and instituting staff health protocols.