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F. No. 473/19/2009-LC

New Delhi dated, the 9th May, 2011,
Room No.15, RFA Barracks, Church Road.


Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
Central Board of Excise & Customs


All Chief Commissioner of Customs

All Chief Commissioner of Central Excise & Customs

Subject: Import of Liquid bulk cargo and storage of the same in Bonded Warehouse outside the Port Area by transporting through Pipeline – regarding.


A reference was received from some field formations on the issue whether imported liquid bulk cargo could be directly discharged into bonded storage tanks located outside the ‘Customs area’ of the port. It is reported the different practices are prevalent in this regard.

2. In the case of liquid bulk cargo, the importers who have bonded storage tanks would prefer to get the cargo discharged from the vessel directly into their bonded tanks through pipe lines. However, as per Section 2 (11) of Customs Act, 1962, “Customs area” means the area of a Customs station and includes any area in which imported goods or export goods are ordinarily kept before clearance by Customs Authorities. As per Section 2 (13), “Customs station” means any customs port, customs airport or land customs station.

2.1 As per Section 7 (1) of Customs Act, 1962, the Board may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint -

(a) the ports and airports which alone shall be customs ports or customs airports for the unloading of imported goods and the loading of export goods or any class of such goods;

2.2 As per Section 8, the Commissioner of Customs may:

(a)approve proper places in any customs port or customs airport or coastal port for the unloading and loading of goods or for any class of goods;

(b) specify the limits of any customs area.

2.3 A harmonious reading of the above provisions indicates that imported goods may be unloaded only in a Customs area which is located in a Customs Station or a proper place approved under Section 8 in a notified Customs port, airport etc.

3. However, as per Section 33, “Except with the permission of the proper officer, no imported goods shall be unloaded, and no export goods shall be loaded, at any place other than a place approved under clause (a) of section 8 for the unloading or loading of such good”. Thus, with the prior permission of the proper officer, imported goods can be unloaded at a place other than a place approved under clause (a) of section 8 for the unloading or loading of such goods.

4. Therefore, unloading of liquid bulk cargo from the ship to the bonded storage tanks through pipe lines may be allowed under the provisions of section 33 of Customs Act, 1962 subject to the conditions that the cargo is liquid bulk in nature; the premises where the goods would be received through pipe lines should be a bonded warehouse under Section 58 or 59 of Customs Act, 1962; permission of the proper officer is obtained for such unloading prior to discharge of such cargo and other requirements under the Customs Act are fulfilled. In case the bonded tanks are located outside the jurisdiction of the port Commissioner, permission may be granted by port Commissioner subject to concurrence by Commissioner in whose jurisdiction the bonded tanks are located, and other safeguards as necessary.

5. The clearance for home consumption from the bonded tanks will be subject to fulfilment of requirements under Customs and Allied acts.

Yours faithfully,


(Rajendra Meena)

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