Do Indian Customs officials work on holidays and beyond normal working hours

Merchant Overtime Fee explained under Indian Customs Manual 2023

According to Indian Customs Manual 2023, the customs officials can be deputed by paying overtime fee to Customs department.  The necessary permission may be obtained from Customs department in India and can utilize such facility.

Circumstances where Merchant Overtime works arrangements required from Indian Customs Department beyond normal working hours of Customs or on holidays.

Some of the following circumstances where such overtime supervision arrangements from customs department may be required:

Customs supervision of unloading of vessels

Customs supervision of loading of vessels

Supervision from Customs officials for stuffing of cargo

De stuffing supervision from customs officials

The Indian Customs Manual 2023 explains about Merchant Overtime Fee mainly  under the following catagories:

 Levy of overtime fee

Procedure for posting of officers on overtime basis

Expansion of 24X7 Customs clearance and clarification of levy of MOT charge in CFS attached to 24X7 ports

Please read below the extract from Customs Manual 2023 updated till 31st December, 2022 below:

Chapter 12: Merchant Overtime Fee

1. Introduction:

1.1 At times, the trade requests for Customs clearance facilities or for Customs supervision of

loading/unloading of vessels, stuffing, de-stuffing of containers, examination of cargo etc. beyond

normal working hours of Customs or on holidays. Sometimes requests are received for posting of

officers to supervise activities like stuffing, de-stuffing of containers etc., at a factory or place

beyond the Customs area. Normally, the trade is required to plan its activities requiring Customs

supervision or presence during working hours on working days and within the Customs area.

However, in certain cases, e.g. in case of perishable cargo, life saving drugs or other

consignments required urgently which has landed at an airport after working hours or on holidays,

the importer may require immediate clearance. Considering the difficulties of the trade, the

services of Customs, after normal working hours or on holidays within the Customs area or at any

time at a place beyond Customs area, are provided on payment of overtime fee.

1.2 The overtime fee (also referred as MOT fee) is collected in terms of Section 36 of the Customs

Act, 1962 which allows unloading/loading of imported/export cargo from/on a vessel beyond

working hours on a working day or on holidays only on payment of a prescribed fees and the

Customs (Fees for Rendering Services by Customs Officers) Regulations, 1998 which prescribes

the rates and the manner for collection of such fee.

2. Levy of overtime fee:

2.1 The overtime fee is levied for services rendered by the Customs officers to trade beyond normal

working hours or on holidays. If the service is rendered at a place that is not their normal place of

work or at a place beyond the Customs area, overtime is levied even during the normal working

hours. The term ‘function’ means any function performed by the Customs officer under the

Customs Act, 1962 and it includes:

(a) Examination of the goods and related functions,

(b) Loading and unloading of goods whether generally or specifically,

(c) Escorting goods from one Customs area to the other, and

(d) Any other Customs work authorised by the Commissioner of Customs.

2.2 The term 'working hours' means the duty hours prescribed by the jurisdictional Commissioner of

Customs for normal Customs work. Where different working hours have been prescribed by the

Commissioner of Customs for different items of Customs work or for different places within his

jurisdiction, such working hours are to be considered as 'working hours' for the purpose of levy of

overtime fee.

2.3 Present rates of overtime fee for rendering services by the Custom officers listed in Table 12.1:

Table 12.1: Present rates of overtime fee for rendering services by the Custom officers

Contact the authorities to know current table.


2.4 Overtime fee is levied for a minimum of 3 hours in each case, except in cases of overtime postings

immediately preceding or immediately following the working hours of the concerned cadre of

officers. The period between the midnight and 6 am is treated as a block for calculation of overtime

fee whether the services are required for the entire block or for a portion thereof. In regard to

services provided by Customs officers during working hours at a place beyond Customs area, the

overtime fee is charged for the entire block of working hours before lunch or after lunch, as the

case may be, whether the request for the services of Customs officer is for the entire block or a

portion thereof.

3. Procedure for posting of officers on overtime basis:

3.1 The party desirous of availing of the services of officers on overtime basis is required to make prior

request for such posting. The Customs scrutinizes the application and ascertains the requirement

of the job and calculates the overtime fee on the basis of rates prescribed in the said Regulations.

A separate fee will be charged if either the Customs Broker, vessel, party (importer/exporter)

changes. Once the party pays the overtime fee, the officers are posted to perform Customs work.

3.2 In case a Customs Broker handles more than one Bill of Entry/Shipping Bill of an importer/exporter,

he need not pay separate set of fee for each such document. Similarly, if an exporter or importer

has more than one activity to be supervised by Customs during the same block, he need not pay

overtime fee for each activity separately.

3.3 In case a custodian requests for services of Customs officers beyond the normal working hour,

the same is allowed on payment of merchant overtime fee.

4. Expansion of 24X7 Customs clearance and clarification of levy of MOT charge in CFS

attached to 24X7 ports.

4.1 As a trade facilitation measure CBIC has amended the Customs (Fees for Rendering Services by

Customs Officers) Regulations, 1998 and no fee shall be leviable in location where the working

hours in respect of clearance of cargo in Customs Ports or Customs Airport has been prescribed

as 24 hours on all day.



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