Trade Promotion Assistance
Guidelines for setting
up of ICDs CFSs
* * PART A * *
1. DEFINITION OF ICD/CFS
An Inland Container Depot / Container Freight Station may be defined as :-
A common user facility with public authority status equipped with fixed
installations and offering services for handling and temporary storage of
import/export laden and empty containers carried under customs control and with
Customs and other agencies competent to clear goods for home use, warehousing,
temporary admissions, re-export, temporary storage for onward transit and
outright export. Transhipment of cargo can also take place from such stations.
2. DISTINCTION BETWEEN AN ICD & A CFS
Functionally there is no distinction between an ICD/CFS as both are transit
facilities, which offer services for containerization of break bulk cargo and
vice-versa. These could be served by rail and/ or road transport. An ICD is
generally located in the interiors (outside the port towns) of the country away
from the servicing ports. CFS, on the other hand, is an off dock facility
located near the servicing ports which helps in decongesting the port by
shifting cargo and Customs related activities outside the port area. CFSs are
largely expected to deal with break-bulk cargo originating/terminating in the
immediate hinterland of a port any may also deal with rail borne traffic to and
from inland locations.
Keeping in view the requirements of Customs Act, and need to introduce
clarity in nomenclature, all containers terminal facilities in the hinterland
would be designated as " ICDs".
3. FUNCTIONs OF ICDs/CFSs
The primary functions of ICD/CFS may be summed up as under:
Receipt and dispatch/delivery of cargo.
Stuffing and stripping of containers.
Transit operations by rail/road to and from serving ports.
Consolidation and desegregation of LCL cargo.
Temporary storage of cargo and containers.
Reworking of containers.
Maintenance and repair of container units.
4. The operations of the ICDs/CFSs revolve around the following centres of
Rail Siding (in case of a rail based terminal)
The place where container trains are received, dispatched and handled in a
terminal. Similarly, the containers are loaded on and unloaded from rail wagons
at the siding through overhead cranes and / or other lifting equipments.
Container yard occupies the largest area in the ICD.CFS. It is stacking
area were the export containers are aggregated prior to dispatch to port,
import containers are stored till Customs clearance and where empties await
onward movement. Likewise, some stacking areas are earmarked for keeping
special containers such as refrigerated, hazardous, overweight/over-length,
A covered space/shed where export cargo is received and import cargo
stored/delivered; containers are stuffed/stripped or reworked; LCL exports are
consolidated and import LCLs are unpacked; and cargo is physically examined by
Customs. Export and import consignments are generally handled either at
separate areas in a warehouse or in different nominated warehouses/sheds.
The gate complex regulates the entry and exist of road vehicles carrying
cargo and containers through the terminal. It is place where documentation,
security and container inspection procedures are undertaken.
5. BENEFITS OF ICDs/CFSs
The benefits as envisaged from an ICD/CFS are as follows :-
The main benefits from ICDs/CFSs
Concentration points for long distance cargoes and its
Service as a transit facility.
Customs clearance facility available near the centres of production
Reduced level of demurrage and pilferage.
No Customs required at gateway ports.
Issuance of through bill of lading by shipping lines, hereby resuming
full liability of shipments.
Reduced overall level of empty container movement.
Competitive transport cost.
Reduced inventory cost.
Increased trade flows.
* * PART B * *
1. PRIOR SURVEY A MUST
For the ICD/CFS to be successful, reduction in total transport cost is a
prime criterion, as there is a possibility of marginal increase in total
handling cost per box on origin to destination basis. This underlines the need
for sound economic justification for setting up ICD/CFS through a carefully
evaluated traffic likely to be handled at the proposed facility. A
survey/feasibility study must precede the setting up of all ICDs/CFSs and copy
of the report should invariably accompany the application for setting up such a
facility. Data for carrying out analysis could be from secondary sources and
field observations, structured over time and space. The latter is more realistic
and truthful. Prior discussions must be held with exporters, shipping lines,
freight forwarders, port authorities, concerned Commissioners of Customs/Excise
etc., and their point of view fully reflected in the report.
2. The traffic flows between Inland centres of production and ports need to
be analysed with reference to :-
Proportions of less-than-container load (LCL) & full-container-load
Forecast of future growth.
Modes of transport available.
Possible reduction in tonne per kilometre or
Box per kilometre costs.
3. The facility has to be economically viable for the management and
attractive to users, to the railways for full train load movements; to other
transport operators; seaports; shipping lines; freight forwarders etc. must have
certain minimum amount of traffic. The prospective entrepreneurs are, therefore,
strongly advised to study very carefully the viability of the project from the
TEU traffic availability point of view.
In the background of growing international trade, the infrastructure facility
may have to precede the actual generation of demand. This is particularly
important as such facilities have a long gestation period for being fully
operationalised. Though it is not proposed to lay down any minimum TEU figures
as part of the criteria for approval of ICDs/CFSs, following are suggested
For ICD – 6,000 TEUs per year (Two way)
For CFS – 1,000 TEUs per year (Two way)
4. LAND REQUIREMENTS
The minimum area requirement for a CFS would be One Hectare and for ICD Four
Hectare. However, a proposal could also be considered having less area on
consideration of technological upgradation and other peculiar features
justifying such a deviation.
5. DESIGN AND LAY-OUT OF ICD/CFS
The design and layout should be the most modern state-of-art equipped with
mechanical/electrical facilities of international standards. Key to a good
lay-out is the smooth flow of containers, cargo and vehicles through the ICD/CFS.
The design and lay out should take into account initial volume of business,
estimated volume in 10 years’ horizon and the type of facilities exporters
would require. The initial lay out should be capable of adaptation to changing
circumstances. The design broadly should encompass features like (rail) siding,
container yard, gate house and security features, boundary wall (fencing),
roads, pavements, office building and public amenities. The track length and
number of tracks should be adequate to handle rakes and for stabling trains
The perimeter fencing and lighting must meet the standards required by
Customs authorities. The gate being the focal point of site security should be
The administration building is the focal point of production and processing
of all documentation relating to handling of cargo and containers and its size
will be determined by the needs of potential occupants. Fixed provisions should
be made for sanitation facilities and possibly a food service facility.
A good communication system and computerisation and EDI connectivity is
essential. Following Infrastructure should be available at the ICDs/CFSs
Provision of standard pavement for heavy duty equipment for use in the
operational and stacking area of the terminal. In cases where only chassis
operation is to be performed, the pavement standard could be limited to that
of a highway.
Office building for ICD, Customs office and a separate block for user
agencies equipped with basic facilities.
Warehousing facility, separately for exports and imports and long term
storage of bonded cargo.
Gate Complex with separate entry and exit.
Adequate parking space for vehicles awaiting entry to the terminal.
Boundary wall according to standards specified by Customs.
Internal roads for service and circulating areas.
Computerised processing of documents with capability of being linked to
6. EQUIPPING THE ICD/CFS
The ICD/CFS would select most modern handling equipment for loading,
unloading of containers from rail flats, chassis, their stacking, movement,
cargo handling, stuffing/destuffing, etc. Following minimum equipment should be
made available at ICDs/CFSs (Reach stacker may not be mandatory:
Dedicated equipment such as lift truck (front end loader, side loader or
reach-stacker), straddle carrier, rail mounted yard gantry crane, rubber
tyred yard gantry crane, etc. of reputed make and in good working condition
(not more than 5 to 8 years old) and equipped with a telescopic spreader for
handling the 20 ft and 40 ft boxes. The equipment must have a minimum
residual life of 8 years duly certified by the manufacturer or a recognized
inspection agency. An additional unit of equipment should be provided when
the throughput exceeds 8000 TEUs per annum or its multiples for lift truck
Terminals resorting to purely chassis-based operations do not require
dedicated box handling equipment. However, chassis-based operations should
be restricted to CFSs proposed to be set up near ports.
Small capacity (2 to 5 tonnes) forklifts must be provided for cargo
handling operations in all terminals.
7. RAIL HEAD ICDs
The parties will be required to provide at their own cost all infrastructure
facilities including land, track, handling equipment for containers, maintenance
of assets including track, rolling stock, etc. as per extant railway rules
applicable to private sidings. The cost of the railway staff would be borne by
the party as per the prevailing Government policy.
Tariff structure and costing should be worked out along with the feasibility
study and information provided with the application.
The main function of an ICD/CFS being receipt, despatch and clearance of
containerised cargo, the need for an up-to-date inventory control and tracking
system to locate containers / cargo is paramount. Each functional unit of the
facility (e.g. siding, container yard gate, stuffing/destuffing area, etc.)
should have up-to-date and where possible on-line, real time information about
all the containers, etc., to meet the requirements of customers, administration,
railways etc. As far as possible, these operations shall be through electronic
* * PART C * *
PROCEDURE FOR APPROVAL OF ICD/CFS AND ITS IMPLEMENTATION
Proposals for setting up ICD/CFS will be considered and cleared, on
merits, by an Inter Ministerial Committee for ICDs/CFSs, which consists of
officials of the Ministries of Commerce, Finance (Department of Revenue),
Railways and Shipping. Views of the State Governments as necessary would be
Application 10 copies in enclosed form should be submitted to the
Infrastructure Division in the Ministry of Commerce, Udyog Bhavan, New Delhi.
Application must be accompanied by 10 copies of feasibility reports mentioned in
The applicant should also send a separate copy of the application to the
jurisdictional Commissioner of Customs. The Commissioner of Customs will send
his comments to the Ministry of Commerce and the Central Board of Excise &
Customs (CBEC) within 30 days. In case, the project is planned in a port town, a
copy of the proposal should also be sent to the concerned Port Authority who
would furnish their comments within 30 days to the Ministry of Surface Transport
and the Ministry of Commerce.
The applicants are also requested to familiarise with the statutory Custom
requirements in relation to Bonding, Transit Bond, Security Insurance and other
necessary procedural requirements and cost recovery charges payable before
filing the application.
On receipt of the proposal, the Ministry of Commerce would take action to
obtain the comments from the jurisdictional Commissioner of Customs and other
concerned agencies within 30 days. Wherever necessary, a copy of the proposal
should also be sent to Zonal Railway Manager, under intimation to the Ministry
of Railways One copy of the proposal would also be made available to the IMC
Members for advance action. The decision of the IMC would be taken within six
weeks of the receipt of the proposal under normal circumstances.
On acceptance of a proposal, a Letter of Intent will be issued to the
applicant, which will enable it to initiate steps to create infrastructure.
The applicant would be required to set up the infrastructure within one
year from the date of approval. The Ministry of Commerce may grant an extension
of six months keeping in view the justification given by the party. Thereafter,
a report would be submitted to IMC to consider extension for a further (final)
period of six months. The IMC may consider extension or may submitted to IMC to
withdraw the approval granted.
The applicant, after receipt of approval, shall send quarterly progress
report to Ministry of Commerce. Three formats (given as annexure I to III) for
sending the quarterly/ annual report shall have to be submitted to Department of
Commerce through electronic mode as well as through hard copy.
After the applicant has put up the required infrastructure, met the
security standards of the jurisdictional Commissioner of Customs and provided a
bond backed by bank guarantee to the Customs, final clearance and Customs
notification will be issued.
The approval will be subject to cancellation in the event of any abuse or
violation of the conditions of approval.
The working of the ICD/CFS will be open to review by the Inter