SURAT : The Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB), a colossal architectural masterpiece and the world’s largest office building, is set to elevate India’s diamond export industry to new heights. Not only does this mega structure dwarf the Pentagon in the United States in terms of sheer size, but it also takes pride in housing India’s most extensive custom clearance center, spanning a whopping 60,000 square feet.
The brainchild of Vallabh Lakhani, the renowned diamond tycoon and Chairman of Kiran Gems, SDB is changing the game for India’s diamond industry. With the establishment of India’s largest customs clearance center within its walls, the SDB will enable the direct export of valuable diamonds to international destinations.
India boasts an annual polished diamond export industry valued at approximately $21 billion, with a significant portion of the polished diamonds, approximately 90%, being cut and polished in the city of Surat, located in the state of Gujarat. Historically, most of these exports have been processed through the Mumbai Customs office at the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). Diamantaires from Surat have traditionally sent their diamond parcels to Mumbai for direct export to various parts of the world.
The SDB’s customs house, sprawling across a massive 60,000 square feet, is a game-changer. It aims to double the export of polished diamonds from Surat, eliminating the need for diamantaires in Surat to send their precious cargo to Mumbai.
The Surat Customs office, strategically located in the basement of the SDB, will oversee the export of valuable diamonds to various countries. It will be staffed by 11 officers, including a customs superintendent and inspectors, all sponsored by the SDB diamond bourse committee for the first three years.
According to sources, the customs house at SDB will inspect and clear diamond parcels for export, and these parcels will then be dispatched to the secure vault at Surat Airport for direct export to international destinations. However, due to the lack of direct international air connectivity to key destinations like New York, Antwerp, and Dubai from Surat Airport, the diamond parcels will still be sent to Mumbai for export once cleared at the SDB customs house.
The SDB’s customs office boasts a range of facilities, including a waiting area, two safe deposit vaults, a customs house clearing (CHA) room, a postal department room, custom officers’ cabins, officer cabins, a valuer room, and a conference room.
What sets the SDB apart is its geographical advantage. While the distance from Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) to Mumbai International Airport is 15 kilometers, with Mumbai’s notorious traffic congestion, the SDB’s customs house is conveniently located less than 3 kilometers away from Surat Airport, ensuring a traffic-free route. This presents a significant advantage for diamantaires exporting polished diamonds from Surat Airport.
Sources have indicated that the final approval from the Delhi customs headquarters is pending. Once granted, the SDB’s customs house will be equipped with an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system for the efficient tracking of diamond imports and exports, further streamlining the process for the booming diamond export industry.