National Time Release Survey 2023

Context: Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) has released National Time Release Survey 2023 report. The National Time Release Study 2023 will establish baseline performance against National Trade Facilitation Action Plan Target 2020-2023 to reduce the overall cargo release time.

About Time Release Survey

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  • Time Release Study (TRS) is a performance measurement tool that aims to present quantitative measure of the cargo release time, defined as the time taken from arrival of the cargo at the Customs station to its out of charge for domestic clearance in case of imports and arrival of cargo at the Customs station to the eventual departure of the carrier in case of exports. Thus, it measures efficiency of trade flows. 
  • Import Release Time: Arithmetic mean of the period between ‘arrival of goods’ & customs’ granting of ‘out of charge’.
  • Export Release Time: Arithmetic mean of the time between cargo’s arrival at the port & its physical departure from port/customs station. 
  • It will help identify existing procedural bottlenecks impacting trade of goods & will recommend corresponding policy & procedural changes.

National Time Release Survey 2023

  • NTRS 2023 presents port-category wise average release time for the current year, based on sample period of January 1-7, 2023, comparing the same to the average release time during the corresponding periods 2021 and 2022:
    • Assess progress made towards National Trade Facilitation Action Plan targets.
    • Identify impact of various trade facilitative measures, particularly ‘Path to Promptness’.
    • Identify challenges to more expeditious reduction in release time.
  • Ports included: Seaports, Air cargo complexes (ACCs), Inland Container Depot (ICDs) and Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) accounting for 80% of bills of entry & 70% of shipping bills (approx) filed in the country.
  • NTRS 2023 has placed much greater focus on measurement of export release time by making a distinction between regulatory clearance, which gets completed with grant of Let Export Order (LEO) and physical clearance which occurs on completion of logistics processes with departure of carrier with the goods. 

Findings of NTRS 2023

  • Average import release time has improved by reduction of time by 20% for ICDs, 11% for ACCs & 9% reduction for seaports in 2023 over 2022. The measure of standard deviation is found to be lower, indicating a greater certainty of expeditious release of imported cargo.
  • Adopting the benchmark of regulatory clearance, NTFAP release time target has been achieved for all port categories. Extent of certainty regarding the bettered average release time has improved.

Reasons for the improvement of release times

Improved release time is the result of efforts of various stakeholders including Customs, Port Authorities, Customs Brokers & Participating Government Agencies in implementing various trade facilitation. 

National Trade Facilitation Action Plan 2020-23

Aims to transform the cross-border clearance ecosystem through efficient, transparent, risk-based, coordinated, digital, seamless and technology driven procedures supported by state of art seaports, airports, land border crossings, rail, road and other logistics infrastructure. 

National Trade Facilitation Action Plan will be National Committee on Trade Facilitation to be headed by Cabinet Secretary.

Bring down overall cargo release time

For imports: Within 48 hours for sea cargo, inland container depots & land customs stations and 24 hours of Air cargo.

For exports: Within 24 hours of sea cargo, inland container depots & land customs stations and 12 hours for Air cargo.


  • Improve India’s ranking on Trading Across Borders indicator of World Bank’s Doing Business ranking under 50.
  • Reduction in cargo release time.
  • Enables paperless regulatory environment.
  • Establish transparent & predictable legal regime.
  • Improved investment climate through better infrastructure.

Path to progress

  • Advance filing of import documents enabling pre-arrival processing.
  • Risk based facilitation of cargo
  • Benefits of trusted client program – Authorised Economic Operators.

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