Bill of Entry – Cargo Declaration:
Goods imported in a vessel/aircraft attract customs duty and unless these are not meant for customs clearance at the port/airport of arrival by particular vessel/aircraft and are intended for transit by the same vessel/aircraft or transshipment to another customs station or to any place outside India, detailed customs clearance formalities of the landed goods have to be followed by the importers. Regarding the transit goods, so long as these are mentioned in import report/IGM for transit to any place outside India, Customs allows transit without payment of duty. Similarly, for goods brought in by particular vessel aircraft for transshipment to another customs station, detailed customs clearance formalities at the port/airport of landing are not prescribed and simple transshipment procedure has to be followed by the carrier and the concerned agencies. The customs clearance formalities have to be complied with by the importer after the arrival of the goods at the other customs station. There could also be cases of transshipment of the goods after unloading to a port outside India. Here also a simpler procedure for transshipment has been prescribed by regulations, and no duty is required to be paid. (Sections 52 to 56 of the Customs are relevant in this regard).
For clearance of export goods, the export or his agents have to undertake the following formalities:
The exporters have to obtain PAN based Business Identification Number(BIN) from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade prior to the filing of the shipping bill for the clearance of export goods. Under the EDI System, PAN-based BIN is received by the Customs System from the DGFT online. The exporters are also required to register authorized foreign exchange dealer code (through which export proceeds are expected to be realized) and open a current account in the designated bank for credit of any drawback incentive.
Whenever a new Airline, Shipping Line, Steamer Agent, port or airport comes into operation, they are required to be registered into the Customs System. Whenever, electronic processing of shipping bill, etc. is held up on account of non-registration of these entities, the same is to be brought to the notice of Assistant/Deputy Commissioner in-charge of EDI System for registering the new entity in the system.
All the exporters intending to export under the export promotion scheme need to get their licenses/DEEC book etc. registered at the Customs Station. For such registration, original documents are required.
Under the manual system, shipping bills or, as the case may be, bills of export are required to be filed in a format as prescribed in the Shipping Bill and Bill of Export (Form) regulations, 1991. The bills of export are being used if clearance of export goods is taken at the Land Customs Stations. Different forms of shipping bill/bill of export have been prescribed for the export of duty-free goods, the export of dutiable goods and export under drawback, etc.
Shipping Bills are required to be filed along with all original documents such as invoice, AR-4, packing list, etc. The assessing officer in the Export Department checks the value of the goods, classification under Drawback schedule in case of Drawback Shipping Bills, rate of duty/cess where applicable, exportability of goods under EXIM policy and other laws in force. The DEEC/DEPB Shipping bills are processed in the DEEC group. In the case of DEEC Shipping bills, the assessing officer verifies that the description of the goods declared in the shipping bill and invoice match with the description of the resultant product as given in the DEEC book. If the assessing officer has any doubts regarding the value, description of goods, he may call for samples of the goods from the docks. He may also call for any other information required by him for processing of shipping bill. He may assess the shipping bill after visual inspection of the sample or may send it for test and pass the shipping bill provisionally.
Once, the shipping bill is passed by the Export Department, the exporter or his agent present the goods to the shed appraiser (export) in docks for examination. The shed appraiser may mark the document to a Customs officer (usually an examiner) for examining the goods. The examination is carried out under the supervision of the shed appraiser (export). If the description and other particulars of the goods are found to be as declared, the shed appraiser gives a ‘let export’ order, after which the exporter may contact the preventive superintendent for supervising the loading of goods on to the vessel.
In case the examining staff in the docks finds some discrepancy in the goods, they may mark the shipping bill back to the export department/DEEC group with their observations as well as a sample of goods, if needed. The export department re-considers the case and decide whether export can be allowed, or amendment in the description, value, etc. is required before export and whether any other action is required to be taken under the Customs Act, 1962 for a dispute of description of value, etc.
Under EDI System, declarations in the prescribed format are to be filed through the Service Centers of Customs. A checklist is generated for verification of data by the exporter/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 exporter/CHA at this stage.
The quota allocation label is required to be pasted on the export invoice. The allocation number of AEPC is to be entered into the system at the time of shipping bill entry. The quota certification of the export invoices needs to be submitted to Customs along-with other original documents at the time of examination of the export cargo. For determining the validity date of the quota, the relevant data needs to be the date on which the full consignment is presented to the Customs for examination and duly recorded in the Computer System. In EDI System at Delhi Air cargo, the quota information is automatically verified from the AEPC/TEXPROCIL system.
Since the shipping bill is generated only after the ‘let export order’ is given by Customs, the exporter may make use of export invoices or such other documents as required by the Octroi authorities for the purpose of the Octroi exemption.
The goods brought for the purpose of examination and subsequent ‘let export’ is allowed entry to the Dock on the strength of the checklist and other declarations filed by the exporter in the Service Center. The Port authorities have to endorse the number of goods actually received on the reverse of the Check List.
In many cases, the Shipping Bill is processed by the system on the basis of declarations made by the exporters without any human intervention. In other cases where the Shipping Bill is processed on screen by the Customs Officer, he may call for the samples, if required for confirming the declared value or for checking classification under the Drawback Schedule. He may also give any special instructions for an examination of goods if felt necessary.
The exporter/CHA can check up with the query counter at the Service Center whether the Shipping Bill submitted by them in the system has been cleared or not before the goods are brought into the Docks for examination and export. In case any query is raised, the same is required to be replied through the service center or in case of CHAs having EDI connectivity through their respective terminals. The Customs officer may pass the Shipping Bill after all the queries have been satisfactorily replied to.
After the receipt of the goods in the dock, the exporter/CHA may contact the Customs Officer designated for the purpose present the checklist with the endorsement of Port Authority and other declarations as aforesaid along with all original documents such as Invoice and Packing list, AR-4, etc. Customs Officer may verify the quantity of the goods actually received and enter into the system and thereafter mark the Electronic Shipping Bill and also hand over all original documents to the Dock Appraiser of the Dock who many assign a Customs Officer for the examination and intimate the officers’ name and the packages to be examined, if any, on the checklist and return it to the exporter or his agent.
The Customs Officer may inspect/examine the shipment along with the Dock Appraiser. The Customs Officer enters the examination report in the system. He then marks the Electronic Bill along with all original documents and checklist to the Dock Appraiser. 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 checklist and the declaration along with all original documents are retained by the Appraiser concerned. In case of any variation between the declaration in the Shipping Bill and physical documents/examination report, the Appraiser may mark the Electronic Shipping Bill to the Assistant Commissioner/Deputy Commissioner of Customs (Exports). He may also forward the 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 a dispute. In case the exporter agrees with the views of the Department, the Shipping Bill needs to be processed accordingly. Where, however, the exporter disputes the view of the Department principles of natural justice is required to be followed before finalization of the issue.
The exporter or his agent should hand over the exporter copy of the shipping bill duly signed by the Appraiser permitting “Let Export” to the steamer agent who may then approach the proper officer (Preventive Officer) for allowing the shipment. In the case of container cargo, the stuffing of the container at Dock is dome under Preventive Supervision. Loading of both containerized and bulk cargo is done under Preventive Supervision. The Customs Preventive Superintendent (Docks) may enter the particulars of packages actually stuffed into the container, the bottle seal number particulars of loading of cargo container onboard into the system and endorse these details on the exporter copy of the shipping bill presented to him by the steamer agent. If there is a difference in the quantity/number of packages stuffed in the containers/goods loaded on a vessel the Superintendent (Docks) may put a remark on the shipping bill in the system and that shipping bill requires amendment or changed quantity. Such a shipping bill also may not be taken up for the purpose of sanction of Drawback/DEEC logging, till the shipping bill is suitably amended for the changed quantity. The Customs Preventive Officer supervising the loading of the container and general cargo into the vessel may give “Shipped on Board” endorsement on the exporter’s copy of the shipping bill.
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 the particulars thereof along with details of the testing agency in the ICES/E system. There is no separate register for recording dates of samples drawn. Three copies of the test memo are prepared by the Customs Officer and are signed by the Customs Officer and Appraising Officer on behalf of Customs and the exporter or his agent. The disposals of the three copies of the test memo are as follows:
The Assistant Commissioner/Deputy Commissioner if he considers necessary, may also order for a sample to be drawn for a purpose other than testing such as visual inspection and verification of description, market value inquiry, etc.
Any correction/amendments in the checklist generated after the filing of the declaration can be made at the service center, provided, the documents have not yet been submitted in the system and the shipping bill number has not been generated. Where corrections are required to be made after the generation of the shipping bill No. or after the goods have been brought into the Export Dock, amendments are carried out in the following manner.
In both cases, after the permission for amendments has been granted, the Assistant Commissioner/Deputy Commissioner (Export) may approve the amendments on the system on behalf of the Additional /Joint Commissioner. Where the print out of the Shipping Bill has already been generated, the exporter may first surrender all copies of the shipping bill to the Dock Appraiser for cancellation before an amendment is approved on the system.
After the actual export of the goods, the Drawback claim is processed through the EDI system by the officers of Drawback Branch on the first-come-first-served basis. There is no need for filing separate drawback claims. The status of the shipping bills and sanction of the DBK claim can be ascertained from the query counter set up at the service center. If any query has been raised or deficiency noticed, the same is shown on the terminal. A print out of the query/deficiency may be obtained by the authorized person of the exporter from the service center. The exporters are required to reply to such queries through the service center. The claim will come in a queue of the EDI system only after reply to queries/deficiencies are entered by the Service Center.
All the claims sanctioned on a particular day are enumerated in a scroll and transferred to the Bank through the system. The bank credits the drawback amount in the respective accounts of the exporters. Bank may send a fortnightly statement to the exporters of such credits made in their accounts.
The Steamer Agent/Shipping Line may transfer electronically the EGM to the Customs EDI system so that the physical export of the goods is confirmed, to enable the Customs to sanction the drawback claims.
After the “let export” order is given on the system by the Appraiser, the Shipping Bill is generated by the system in two copies i.e., one Customs copy, one exporter’s copy (E.P. copy is generated after submission of EGM). After obtaining the print out the appraiser obtains the signatures of the Customs Officer on the examination report and the representative of the CHA on both copies of the shipping bill and examination report. The Appraiser thereafter signs & stamps both the copies of the shipping bill at the specified place.
The Appraiser also signs and stamps the original & duplicate copy of SDF. Customs copy of the shipping bill and original copy of the SDF is retained along with the original declarations by the Appraiser and forwarded to the Export Department of the Custom House. He may return the exporter copy and the second copy of the SDF to the exporter or his agent.
As regards the AEPC quota and other certifications, these are retained along with the shipping bill in the dock after the shipping bill is generated by the system. At the time of examination, apart from checking that the goods are covered by the quota certifications, the details of the quota entered into the system needs to be checked.
All the shipping lines/agents need to furnish the Export General Manifests, Shipping Bill wise, to the Customs electronically within 7 days from the date of sailing of the vessel.
Apart from lodging the EGM electronically the shipping lines need to continue to file manual EGMs along with the exporter copy of the shipping bills as per the present practice in the export department. The manual EGMs need to be entered in the register at the Export Department and the Shipping lines may obtain acknowledgments indicating the date and time at which the EGMs were received by the Export Department.
The above is the general procedure for export under EDI Systems. However special procedures exist for specified schemes, details of which may be obtained from the Public Notice/Standing Orders issued by the respective Commissionerates.