Auto industry body SIAM on Monday said, inordinate delays in clearance due to import congestion at ports could eventually impact vehicle manufacturing in the country. A report suggests that the delay is primarily caused by the manual inspection of import consignments.

According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) President Rajan Wadhera said, “the industry is piecing itself together as growth is limping back (and) any further disruption at this juncture is best avoided.”

With government taking a tough stand on imports from China amid border tensions, several industries that depended on inputs from that country are facing delay in getting their supplies as the goods are held up at ports and airports and are being subjected to stricter Customs scrutiny.

Several industry bodies, from apparel to electronics, have requested the government to help clear the import congestion at ports.

As per the reports, delay in clearances of goods was adding to the woes of all China-origin import-dependent industries which were already struggling due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

The adverse action by the Customs is also expected to impact over 200 mobile and electronic manufacturing units, set up following the ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’ and ‘Phased Manufacturing Programme’ initiatives.

As the call grows for lowering dependence on Chinese imports and becoming self-reliant, experts and industry players have cautioned against knee-jerk reactions and sought building of adequate infrastructure and supply chain in the country.

The impact of such action at the moment might be severe as industries were reeling under financial crisis post-lockdown, industry experts said.