Shipping Bill which is also known as bill of export is a document prepared by an exporter or his agent for the purpose of custom authorities to grant permission for exports. Whether the shipment is by air, sea, or road, an exporter cannot load the goods without filing the Shipping Bill which the customs authority allows the goods to be shipped. Many people have confusion whether the shipping bill and bill of ladding are same. They should not confuse shipping bill for a bill of lading. A bill of lading (BOL/BL) is issued by freight carrier which is a contract between shipper (exporter) and freight carrier, to know more about BOL you may read the below post.
A Shipping Bill is required to be submitted electronically unless the Commissioner or Principal Commissioner makes an exception and allows manual submission of shipping bill. The Indian Customs Electronic Gateway (ICEGATE) is a national platform which provides e-filing services for Shipping Bills. Wheras the Indian Customs EDI System (ICES) is used for internal automation of custom house that makes the functioning of cutoms clearance transparent and efficient. ICES acts as the online and real-time interface for custom clearance through ICEGATE and via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). ICEGATE platform is also linked with multiple organizations like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Government ministries and partner agencies to facilitate faster Customs clearance.
Under the EDI system, the Shipping Bill has to be submitted in the prescribed format at the Customs service centers. It is accompanied by copies of the invoice and packing list.Before filing a Shipping Bill for Export, exporters or Customs House Agents (CHA) have to register with the EDI system using IEC code, AD code, and/or CHA licence number.
Upon e-filing of shipping bills, a checklist is generated, which has to be verified by the exporter or the CHA. After verification, the data is submitted to the System by the Service Center operator and the System generates a Shipping Bill Number, which is endorsed on the printed checklist and returned to the exporter/CHA. For export items that are subject to export cess, the TR-6 challans for cess are printed and given by the Service Center to the exporter/CHA immediately after submission of the shipping bill. The cess can be paid on the strength of the challan at the designated bank. No copy of the shipping bill is made available to the exporter/CHA at this stage. Normally, the above process is completed without human intervention on the basis of a declaration made by the exporters. However, the assessment of Shipping Bills for FOB value of over Rs 10 lakh, free sample of over Rs 20,000, or drawback amount of over Rs 1 lakh is done by the Assistant Commissioner of Exports. On the basis of examination and inspection goods are allowed entry into the Dock. At this stage, the port authorities check the quantity of the goods with the documents. If the Dock Appraiser is satisfied that the particulars entered in the system conform to the description given in the original documents and as seen in the physical examination, he may proceed to allow “let export” for the shipment and inform the exporter or his agent. The exporter or export agent hands over the exporter’s copy of the shipping bill signed by the Appraiser “Let Export” to the steamer agent. The agent then approaches the proper officer for allowing the shipment. The Customs Preventive Officer supervising the loading of the container and general cargo into the vessel may give “Shipped on Board” approval on the exporter’s copy of the shipping bill. In certain cases export cess needs to be paid, in such cases, the requisite challan will be made available to the exporter and the amount can be paid at a designated bank. No copy of the Shipping Bill is made available to the exporter at this stage.
Types of Shipping Bill identified in colours:
Before the introduction of electronic filing of shipping bills, four types of shipping bills are identified in different colours – Duty-free shipping bill in White color, Dutiable shipping bill in yellow color, shipping bill for drawback in Green color, and Ex-bond shipping bill in pink color. These colours help all concerned authorities to manually identify the exports under which type of shipment those export has taken place.