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Inland Container Depots

Inland Container Depots, otherwise known as ICDs, are dry ports equipped for handling
and temporary storage of containerized cargo as well as empties.
This means that hinterland customers can receive port services more conveniently closer
to their premises.
ICDs are a convenient shipping alternative extending port services closer to hinterland
customers. The depots are directly linked to the container terminal at the
The ICDs are therefore an efficient shipping solution
Decongesting the Port - the ICDs help decongest the container terminal at the port by
reducing container dwell time through enhanced take-off of import containerized cargo
for clearance at the ICD.
In addition, the depots also facilitate for the dispatch of export containers therefore
increasing container turn around time creating more space at the Container Terminal
Minimize road damage and carnage - the ICDs facilitate the diversion of heavy container
traffic from the road to rail. This in turn minimizes road damage caused by heavy
trucking thus ensuring smoother roads while giving them more life.
Provide safety and security to transit cargo - cargo transported by rail is safer and more
secure therefore ensuring the safe transportation of cargo to and from the port
Saving customer costs - Customers reduce the amount of time and money that would
have otherwise been spent traveling all the way to the Port to clear or forward cargo
Inland Container Depots are rail linked and therefore allow containers to be sent by rail
directly to a satellite terminal, therefore bringing dry port facilities to the commercial
places and transit countries by providing a more efficient and cost effective transport
solution for importers and exporters.
This facility provides a one-stop shipping centre that not only caters for all shipping
needs but in addition also includes; a commercial bank to ease financial transactions, a
weigh bridge and a railway siding for transportation logistics.
The depot has experienced considerable growth in throughput with developments that
include acquiring more efficient equipment and a competent work force
The ICD has been dedicated to improving service delivery through focused superior
customer service as well as fostering strong working relations with its stakeholders.

ICDs strive to be the best in terms of technological advancement, efficient and effective
business management processes as well as offering competitive and superior customer

In both the places, the imported goods or export goods are ordinarily kept before
clearance by the Customs and where filing of Customs manifests, bills of entry, shipping
bills and other declarations, assessment and all the activities related to clearance of goods
for home consumption, warehousing, temporary admissions, re-export, temporary storage
for onward transit and outright export, transshipment, etc, take place. So, CFS and ICD
mean the same thing for many. However, they do not mean the same facility, says the
Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).
A recent CBEC circular clarifies that CFS is merely an appendage to a parent Customs
station at a port, airport, land Customs station (LCS) or ICD whereas an ICD is a
Customs station in its own right having independent existence on a par with any Customs
station at a port, airport or LCS. A CFS is an extension of a port/airport/LCS/ICD
customs station, set up with the main objective of decongesting the ports, where only a
part of the customs process mainly the examination of goods is normally carried out by
At CFS, goods are stuffed into containers or de-stuffed there from and
aggregation/segregation also takes place at such places. Customs function relating to
processing of manifest, import/export declarations that are filed by the carrier/importer or
exporter and assessment of bill of entry/shipping bill are performed in the Custom
House/Custom Office that exercises jurisdiction over the parent port/airport/ICD/LCS to
which the said CFS is attached. In the case of customs stations where automated
processing of documents has been introduced, terminals have been provided at such CFSs
for recording the result of examination, etc. In some CFSs, extension of service centers
have also been made available for filing documents, amendments etc. However, the
assessment of the documents is carried out centrally.
On the other hand, an ICD would have an automated system of its own with a separate
station code such as INTKD 6, INSNF6, etc] allotted by the Directorate General of
Systems and with the inbuilt capacity to not only enter examination reports but also to
enable assessment of documents, processing of manifest, amendments, etc, says the
CBEC. So, a Commissioner can approve a standalone ICD but not approve a standalone
So, for an importer, exporter, CHA or shipping line, how does it matter whether a place is
designated as a CFS or ICD?
Essentially, movement of goods from a port, airport or LCS to an ICD shall be in the
nature of movement from one custom station to another custom station and will be
covered by Goods Imported (Condition of Transshipment) Regulations, 1995. In contrast,
movement of goods from a customs station at port/airport/ LCS/ICD to a CFS would be

akin to local movement from a custom area of a customs station to another custom area of
the same station and such movement is covered by local procedure evolved by the
Commissioner of Customs and covered by bonds, bank guarantee, etc.
With this clarification, there ought to be no confusion in compliance with procedures
prescribed for import/export of goods or compliance with the provisions of the Customs
Act, Rules or Regulations, hopes the CBEC.