Every exporter is required to obtain customs
clearance in respect of export goods before
they are sent to buyer, irrespective of the
mode of shipment.
The mode of shipment could be either by sea, air,
rail or road.
According to Section 40 of the Customs
person-in-charge of the conveyance vessel,
aircraft or vehicle cannot permit loading of
goods, without permission of the Customs
The exporter through the clearing and forwarding
agent, also known as Customs House Agent (CHA),
normally, obtains the customs clearance.
Under Customs Act, every exporter is required
to declare export value of shipment and give
an undertaking that the export proceeds would
be realized within a period of six months from
the date of shipment or due date, whichever is
If customs clearance for the shipment is made
manually, declaration is made in GR form, in
If the clearance is computerised, SDF form, in
duplicate, is used in place of GR form.
Shipping Bill (Appropriate
type) in quadruplicate, if
clearance is manual or
Commercial Invoice (2
Exchange Control Form-
GR Form or SDF as
applicable, in duplicate.
Copy of Letter of
Credit/Copy of Export
Order/ Export contract,
duly attested by bank
Certificate of Origin or GSP
certificate of Origin;
Shipper’s declaration form
for export of goods;
ARE-1, duly approved by
the Central Excise office
(ARE-1 has replaced AR-
Original copy of Certificate
of Insurance, wherever
Marine Insurance Policy;
Export Licence, where
Exporter or CHA has to submit the following documents to the
customs department for securing customs clearance:
INDIAN CUSTOMS ELECTRONIC
DATA INTERCHANGE SYSTEM
The computerised processing of Shipping Bills
under the Indian Customs EDI (Electronic
Data Interchange) System- (Exports) has
come into force w.e.f. 15.09.2004. The system
is known as ICES (Exports).
Electronic Data Inter-Change
Customs authorities have introduced
computerised processing of export documents,
replacing manual processing at many customs
centres. The main objective is to ensure
expeditious processing and provide efficient
customs clearance service to exporters.
This system is known as Indian customs EDI
System (Electronic Data Inter-Change System).
Customs clearance procedure in respect of shipment
by sea, when processing of documents is
computerised is as under:
1. Registration for Business
Exporters have to obtain PAN based Business
Identification Number (BIN) from the
Directorate General of Foreign Trade, prior to
filing for customs clearance of export goods.
Under the EDI System, PAN based BIN is
received from the DGFT online.
2. Electronic Filing of
Exporters/CHAs are required to register their Import
Export Codes, Customs House Agent Licence Nos., and
the Bank A/c No. (for credit of Drawback amount) in the
Customs Computer Systems, before an EDI Shipping
Bill is filed.
Exporters/CHAs would be required to submit the
following documents at the Data Entry Centre of the
Customs Station (Service Centre):
A declaration in the specified format (Applicable annexure A or
SDF(Statutory declaration form) declaration;
Quota/Inspection certificate and
Drawback/DEEC/DFRC/DEPB Declarations etc., as applicable
3. Shipping Bill
Under computerised system, exporter is not required to file
shipping bill. It is rather generated through computer system.
The information is filled in the applicable two forms- Annexure
A and B. If exports are duty free goods, Annexure A is filled in.
If exports are under claim of duty drawback (duty is paid first
and refunded after shipment), Annexure B is to be filled in.
The applicable annexure is submitted at Service Centre- Data
entry Centre of Customs Station.
Once the data is fed into the computer, a checklist is generated.
Checklist is verified by the exporter/CHA and if the data is in
order, they sign in token of approval. After correct data is entered
into the system, Shipping Bill is processed, automatically, by the
System on the basis of declaration made by Exporter. Then, the
service centre generates shipping bill for noting and further
processing. Service centre assigns a number to the shipping bill,
which is endorsed on the printed checklist and returned to
The shipping bill so generated is used as the basic document for issue of “Let Export
Order”, later. The Exporter/CHA at Service Center can check status of the Shipping
They should also check whether any query has been raised in respect of their
In case of any query, they should file a reply to the query through Service Centre. It
important to note that the shipping Bill is only generated in the computer and no print
is taken at this stage. Endorsements are not made manually until „Let Export Order‟
but entered on Shipping Bill, in computer system. Computer print out is taken only
the issuance of “Let Export Order”.
The Assistant Commissioner assesses the following categories of Shipping Bill
(a) Shipping Bills where the FOB value is more than Rs. 10 Lakhs.
(b) Shipping Bills relating to free trade samples whose value is more than Rs.
(c) Drawback Shipping bills where drawback amount is more than Rs. 1 Lakh.
4. Checking of Documents at
(a) Shipping bills involving foreign exchange are sent to the Appraisement section. In
appraisement section, Dutiable and Drawback Shipping Bills are allotted to appraisers
for scrutiny and examination order. Free Shipping Bills are sent to examiners.
(b) Verification of Shipping Bill is made to ascertain whether quantity and value of
goods are as per export order/letter of credit. Input-output norms (wherever
applicable) and details of drawback rate are checked by the inspector and
superintendent of customs. Further, verification is also made in respect of the
compliance of formalities as regards Exchange Control, Licensing, Pre-Shipment
Inspection, if applicable, and other statutory requirements.
(c) The customs appraiser/examiner assesses value of goods. The value of goods assessed
by the appraiser is considered in all future transactions, especially for settlement
of incentive claims.
(d) After verification, the customs appraiser/examiner feeds “Examination Order” on
the Shipping Bill into the system. The examination order determines the extent of
physical examination of goods at Docks and assigns the official to conduct
examination. This “order” enables the Dock Appraiser to conduct physical
examination of the goods in the docks. The principal appraiser also countersigns
the “examination order”.
(e) The CHA, in turn, can enquire about the status of his documents from his own
system. He can view any memo or objections on his documents as they are posted
in the system.
(f) The shipping bill number is put on the GR/SDF forms. SDF form is used in place
of GR form if the customs operations are computerised at that customs centre.
(g) Where export duty is to be paid, exporter/agent has to pay at Cash & Accounts
section of the customs.
5. Physical Examination of Export
Cargo by Dock Appraiser
(a) Export goods are transported into the shed, after completing port formalities.
(b) The exporter/agent presents the following documents to Dock Appraiser along with
(i) Packing List
(iv) Agmark Certificate, if applicable
(c) The shed Appraiser/Examiner conducts physical examination of goods as per the
(d) If the examination is satisfactory, the shed Appraiser/Examiner records the report
of physical examination on the shipping bill through the computer system.
(e) The Appraiser also signs and stamps the original & duplicate copies of SDF. He
returns exporter copy and second copy of SDF to exporter or his agent.
(f) In case of any variation between the declaration in the Shipping Bill and physical
documents/examination report, the Appraiser may mark Electronic Shipping Bill to
the Assistant Commissioner/Deputy Commissioner of Customs (Exports). He may
also forward physical documents to Assistant Commissioner/Deputy Commissioner
of Customs (Exports) and instruct the exporter or his agent to meet the Assistant
Commissioner/Deputy Commissioner of Customs (Exports) for settlement of dispute.
(g) Documents once entered and submitted are then reviewed by different officers of
the Custom House at various stages of processing and final clearance is accorded
on the computer system after all formalities are over for physical examination of
goods at the Sheds. ICES keeps track of officers who have handled the documents
at various stages of processing. The trail of processing cycle is available to superior
officers at any time.
(h) In case, exporter agrees with the views of Department, the Shipping Bill is processed
accordingly. Where, however, the exporter disputes the view of the Department,
principles of natural justice are required to be followed, before finalisation of the
6. Drawl of Sample
Where the Appraiser Dock (export) orders for samples to be drawn and tested, the
Customs Officer may proceed to draw two samples from the consignment and enter
particulars thereof. There is no separate register for recording dates of samples
Three copies of test memo are prepared and signed by the Customs Officer and
Officer on behalf of Customs and the exporter or his agent. The disposal of three test
copies is as follows:
(i) Original—to be sent along with the sample to the test agency.
(ii) Duplicate—Customs copy to be retained with the second sample.
(iii) Triplicate—Exporter’s copy.
The Assistant Commissioner/Deputy Commissioner if he considers necessary, may
order for sample to be drawn for purpose other than testing such as visual inspection
verification of description, market value inquiry, etc.
Results of testing agency are fed in the ICES-Export System.
(7) Generation of Shipping
(a) After examination of goods and scrutiny of documents, if every thing is found to be
in order, the Appraiser feeds “Let Export Order” into system on the Shipping Bill.
Then, Shipping Bill is generated by the system in two copies i.e., one Customs copy
and one exporter‟s copy.
(b) After obtaining the print out, the appraiser obtains the signatures of representative
of the CHA on both the copies of shipping bill. It is necessary as the shipping bill
has been computer generated and does not bind exporter, in the absence of signature.
The name and Licence No. of the CHA should be clearly mentioned below his
signature. The Appraiser thereafter signs & stamps both the copies of the shipping
bill at the specified place.
(c) In case of discrepancy, the matter is reported to the Assistant Collector of Customs
for further instructions/decision.
(d) Exporter gets Export Promotion Copy and Exporter’s copy of shipping bill, duly
signed by the competent authority.
(e) Customs copy of Shipping bill and original copy of SDF are forwarded by the
Appraiser to Export Department of Customs House. Original copy of SDF is sent
8. Loading of Goods under
Supervision of Preventive
(a) Exporter submits his copy of Shipping Bill to the
Preventive Officer of Customs.
(b) Preventive Office makes an endorsement “Let Ship Order”
on the exporter’s copy
of Shipping Bill.
(c) The above endorsement is an authorisation from customs
to the shipping company
to accept cargo on the vessel for loading.
(d) Goods are loaded under the supervision of Preventive
(e) Preventive Officer supervises the loading of container
general cargo into the vessel
and gives “Shipped on Board” endorsement on the exporter‟s
copy of shipping bill.
9. Mate’ Receipt
(a) Shipping Company hands over mate’s
receipt to Port.
(b) Exporter collects the mate’s receipt after
paying dues to Port.
10. Post Loading Certification
(a) Exporter presents mate’s receipt to
(b) Preventive Officer, earlier, recorded
certificate of shipment on exporter’s copy of
shipping bill. Now, he records the fact of
shipment on other copies of shipping bill
and on copies of ARE-1 and returns them to
11. Collection of Bill of
Exporter/CHA submits the mate‟s receipt to the
shipping company and requests it to issue the
Bill of Lading (Negotiable and non-negotiable
Export cargo can be brought into the port after the
ship has been allotted a berth and
declared for loading. Shippers have to pay the port
charges dependent on the procedure
followed by each port. Some ports collect port charges
before loading while Bombay port
offers the facility of collecting port charges, after
(A) Carting Permission: Before bringing cargo to
the shipment shed, it is necessary
to take “Carting permission” from superintendent of
the shed and agent of the
(B) Vehicle Ticket: At the port gate, while entering
with cargo, shipper has to show
carting permission and vehicle ticket, in duplicate, to
the Gate Inspector. Gate
inspector examines goods and documents to ensure
permitted goods in the documents
only are entering into port. The packages, bundles,
cases mentioned in the vehicle
ticket are tallied with those in the vehicles before
goods are allowed in. Necessary
entry is made in the registers in respect of cargo
passed through the gate.
(C) Mate’s Receipt: Soon after goods are cleared by customs,
“Let Ship Order” from the Preventive officer of customs on the exporter‟s
Shipping Bill. The master of the vessel allows loading of cargo on board, in
consultation with Preventive Officer of Customs. The master of the vessel
mate‟s receipt to Port authorities in respect of shipment taken on board,
the condition of goods at the time of receipt. After payment of port dues,
collects the mate‟s receipt. Mate‟s receipt is an important document as it is
exchanged to Bill of Lading. So, shipper has to collect it from the
of the shed, immediately, soon after it is received to avoid the delay and
(D) Bill of Lading: Shipper collects blank copies of Bill of
Lading from the shipping
company and prepares two/three negotiable and required
non-negotiable copies of
Bill of Lading. Shipping Company issues Bill of Lading to the
shipper in exchange
of mate‟s receipt. Bill of Lading may be marked “Freight Paid”
if shipper has paid
freight and “Freight to Pay” when freight is to be collected
from importer. Shipping
Company incorporates those clauses that are appearing in
the mate‟s receipt, before
Bill of Lading is issued.