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The customs authorities temporarily cancelled the licence of a private Inland Container Depots (ICD) and similar cancellation of licences of two other off-dock ICDs is under process after a probe found out that they are not following the rules.

Sources said the customs authority cancelled the licence of Messrs Seafarers Ltd following the submission of a probe report jointly prepared by members of customs authority and the taskforce engaged in the Chittagong Customs House.

The probe into allegations of irregularities of private ICDs started in the middle of last month.

According to sources, all 13 ICDs with licence from customs authorities have been operating without following rules properly.

As per customs rules, a private ICD requires 15 bighas of land, well-secured warehouse, and tight security system with installed close circuit TV (CCTV) cameras.

However, none of the ICDs operating in the country has the land required. They are all yet to set up proper security systems and warehouses. They even lack container handling equipment and proper offices.

The report, which unfolded a long list of irregularities and illegal practices of private ICDs, was presented Thursday during a meeting held between National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Muhammad Abdul Mazid, Taskforce B (Bravo) Commander Brig Gen Hasan Nasir and officials of Chittagong customs and port authorities.

Discussions were held on customs related issues and irregularities practised by the private ICDs.

The meeting decided to closely monitor all ICDs and issue letters to owners concerned asking them to improve their ICDs and start following the rules properly within 3-4 weeks. The authorities would start issuing the letters this week, sources said.

The meeting also decided to bring freight forwarders under licensing system by July 31, make installation of radar-controlled capacity meters compulsory in every refinery, declare customs survey open for all and make coordination between Bond Commissionarate and customs regarding risky bonds.

It also decided that clearing and forwarding (C&F) agents would have to pay document processing fees, VAT and income tax on C&F commission.

The C&F agents realise the fees and taxes from the importer.

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