Muscat: Small time door-to-door cargo service providers in the Sultanate are on the verge of closing down their operations as the Indian Customs Department has started implementing the tightened import rules strictly, leaving the customers in the lurch.
"If it took only 10 to 20 days to send goods to India, it's now taking around three to four months. The rules are tightened, so we are not able to deliver customers their goods on time. Thus, we are losing our business," a door-to-door cargo service provider claimed. Around half-a-dozen small-time cargo service providers in Ruwi are reportedly planning to close down their operations.
The new rules were initiated some three months ago but their strict implementation began some 20 days back. "From then on, we are not able to assure our customers that their goods will be delivered on time. Most of our customers will be going on leave for 30 or maximum 45 days. So, if they cannot get their goods while they are in the home country, they are not interested in sending it through us," a door-to-door cargo service provider said.
However, an official at ATS Global Xpress, one of the 11 licensed courier service providers in the Sultanate, said they can deliver goods in 15 days.
"We are able to deliver goods in time. The other cargo service providers face problems because they don't possess proper licence. Most of them have only loading and unloading licences. After the Indian Customs tightened the rules, these people cannot send goods as air cargo. They have to depend on sea cargo, which will take around 60 days," the
Now, the goods service provider has to declare the value of the goods and also pay 10 per cent duty at the airports in India to import them. "To skip these procedures, the small-time cargo service providers will hide these facts from the customers. They will blame the Indian officials for the delay. They claim that goods are sent through air cargo but the fact is that it is sent through sea cargo and it will take almost 60 days," the ATS official added.
Recently, the cargo service providers also increased their fee from 800 baizas to OMR1.300.
An official from Rajab Cargo services also voiced the same opinion. "We are also able to deliver goods in time. It is the small-time cargo service providers who don't have the necessary papers, who are facing the problems," he said.
Meanwhile, an ex-cargo service provider said that it is the "unlicensed" cargo providers who would be closing down their operations.
"The new rules have started to affect the cargo service. Most of the small guys are losing business. It has become quite difficult for them to run the business," he said, while adding that nowadays there is no guarantee in sending goods through small-time cargo service providers.