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Time Release Study (TRS)

Topics covered:

Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Time Release Study (TRS)


What to study?

For prelims and mains: TRS- features, uses, need and significance.


Context: The Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, will conduct 1st National Time Release Study to enable faster movement of cargo across borders to benefit traders.

The exercise will be institutionalized on an annual basis, during the same period every year hereafter.


What is Time Release Study?

The World Customs Organization (WCO) Time Release Study is a strategic and internationally recognized tool to measure the actual time required for the release and/or clearance of goods, from the time of arrival until the physical release of cargo.

Aim: To find bottlenecks in the trade flow process and taking necessary measures to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of border procedures.

The WCO TRS is specifically referenced in Article 7.6 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) as a tool for Members to measure and publish the average release time of goods.



  1. The TRS is being increasingly used by Members with respect to strategic planning and the proper sequencing of TFA measures in accordance with their National Committees on Trade Facilitation (NCTF).
  2. In recent years, the tool has been capturing a lot of attention worldwide; the international donor community and the WCO development partners are recommending it as a key performance measure to assess, evaluate, and enhance the implementation of the WTO TFA.


Significance and the need for it:

  1. Measuring the time taken for the release of goods meets the concerns of trade circles regarding long delays in Customs clearance.
  2. It helps Customs to respond to trade requirements where the operators need to plan ahead for the movement of goods across borders in order to meet tight production schedules and just-in-time inventory systems that require forward planning.
  3. The time required to release goods has also increasingly become the measure by which the international trading community assesses the effectiveness of a Customs administration.
  4. The Time Release Study provides guidance to Customs administrations on the best way to apply this method of internal review.


Way ahead:

This initiative will help India maintain the upward trajectory on Ease of Doing Business, particularly on the Trading Across Borders indicator which measures the efficiency of the cross-border trade ecosystem. Last year India’s ranking on the indicator improved from 146 to 80