Policy and Guidelines for setting up of Inland Container Depots (ICDs), Container Freight Stations (CFSs) and Air Freight Stations (AFSs)

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CBIC vide Circular No. 06/2021-Customs dated February 22, 2021 issued policy and guidelines for setting up of Inland Container Depots (ICDs), Container Freight Stations (CFSs) and Air Freight Stations (AFSs).

The Board had issued new set of policy and guidelines for setting up of ICDs/CFSs/AFSs vide Circular No. 50/2020-Customs dated 05.11.2020. The said circular laid down various criterion for new approvals, applications and procedures for approval, post approval obligation, regulatory & other compliances, and performance monitoring etc. Post issuance of the Circular, the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) was further reconstituted vide Board’s order dated 18.01.2021.

Para 5.1.5 of the said circular states that the IMC meeting will be held twice a year. It also prescribed that the jurisdictional Commissioners of Customs and the Members of IMC will furnish their comments/recommendations on the applications received in this regard within 30 days. However, there was no cut-off date prescribed for submitting the applications and there were instances where applications were received just prior to the IMC meeting. Late submission of application poses two challenges. Firstly, there is no sufficient time for the jurisdictional Commissioners and IMC Members to examine the applications and to furnish their comments on the same. Secondly, if an application is not placed in time before the scheduled IMC meeting, the applicant needs to wait for another 06 months for the next IMC meeting which in turn hampers the investment activities of the stakeholders, particularly in the logistics sector.

Further, on scrutiny of the applications and the comments/ recommendations as forwarded by the jurisdictional Commissioners, it has been noticed that there is no objective evaluation of the proposal and many a times the recommendation of the jurisdictional Commissioner does not provide a holistic picture of the feasibility of the proposal. Accordingly, it is felt that there is a need for structured reporting system which will not only minimize the ambiguity but may also help in automation and online processing in the future.

Accordingly, the following further guidelines are being prescribed:

i. The IMC meeting would be held on quarterly basis as per the following schedule-


Cut-off date receipt application

Receipt of comments from IMC and Customs formations

Date of issuance of Meeting Notice

Date of Meeting


By 30th of preceding November

By 20th of preceding December By 25th of preceding December

2nd Tuesday of January


By 28th of preceding February

By 20th of preceding March By 25th of preceding March

2nd Tuesday of April


By 31st of preceding March

By 20th of preceding June By 25th of preceding June

2nd Tuesday of July


By 31st of preceding August

By 20th of preceding September By 25th of preceding September

2nd Tuesday of October

(in case the 02nd Tuesday of the respective month is a holiday, the next working day will be considered as date of IMC meeting)

ii. All the jurisdictional Principal Commissioners/ Commissioners may forward their comments/ recommendations on the application for setting of ICDs/CFSs/AFSs as per Annexure-A within the time as stipulated above.

The above amendment may be circulated amongst the stakeholders and public at large and the field formations may suitably be sensitized.

In Circular No. 50/2020-Customs dated 05.11.2020, any aspect which is inconsistent with this circular shall be brought to notice for suitable modification. In case of a conflict, the provisions of this circular will prevail.

The Circular along with Annexure can be accessed at: https://www.cbic.gov.in/resources//htdocs-cbec/customs/cs-circulars/cs-circulars-2021/Circular-No-06-2021.pdf