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Shipments from China were being held for additional customs controls at the Indian port, sources say


CHENNAI / NEW DELHI, India, June 24 (Reuters) – Customs officials in Chennai, one of India’s largest ports, have sent shipments originating from China for additional checks, sources familiar with the delays told Reuters, amid a reaction against China over a border clash in which 20 Indian soldiers died.

The increased control of remittances from China to the Port of Chennai, which handles various cargoes including automobiles, automatic components, fertilizers and petroleum products, could disrupt supply chains.

While there is still no official order from the government, customs officials there have told importers not to allow goods coming from China to leave the port without being inspected, three sources said.

Shipments are usually subject to random checks and not mandatory review.

An official at India’s finance ministry, who oversees the customs department, declined to comment. And it was not immediately clear at which other ports in the country the deliveries were being held.

A consignment of vehicle parts sent by U.S. motorist Ford Motor Co from China to a plant in India has been kept at the port of Chennai for further checks, one source said.

A Ford India spokesman said a shipment of parts required for the production and export of the products is pending in Chennai.

“We are working with the authorities and supporting them with the necessary documents and the details required of them,” the spokesman told Reuters.

Pharmaceutical shipments are also stuck in Chennai and other ports and at an airport, and drug companies have been told their shipments will be issued after a rigorous check of each container, down to each drum, according to a senior executive of industry.

“This testing process will take at least a week to complete and will cause disruption,” the executive said.

The Chennai Customs Brokerage Association, a trade body for logistics companies, told its members on Tuesday to expect some delays after receiving an internal instruction from the customs department to keep all shipments originating from China.

“An official trade / circular notice (is) still awaited by customs,” the association said in a statement. (Additional report by Aditi Shah, Neha Arora, Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Edited by Euan Rocha & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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