Shipping and Customs Clearance of
the Goods

Shipping and Customs Clearance of the Goods :


The following steps are involved in the shipment of goods.

Submitting the documents to the forwarding agent and indicating to him the steamer / airline. Simultaneously space has to be booked on the steamer / airline after negotiating freight with them as discount is generally given on amount of freight.

Based on the documents submitted by you the forwarding agent prepares the Shipping Bill / Bill of Export and gets it passed by the Customs Authorities.

Moving the goods in the Docks-Air Cargo Complex… For in house stuffing the goods are offered for inspection within factory premises.

Offering the goods for Customs examination…. The Customs official (Appraiser) examines the goods and certifies the same for loading.

Handing over the cargo / container to Port Authorities / Shipping Company /Airline Company for loading on the steamer / aircraft.

Certificate on the GR form by the Customs and handing over the duplicate copy of the same to the forwarding agent. The consignment is now said to be out of charge.

Once the goods are loaded you should demand a Bill of Lading / Airway Bill, GR form, Export Promotion copy of the Shipping Bill, Freight Certificate etc.

Small consignments (approx. upto 70 kgs.) can be shipped by Air Post Parcel. Shipments are permitted by Sea Post Parcel as well.

If necessary you should avail the facility of container services provided by some companies. Containerization is a method of distributing merchandise in a unitized form thereby permitting an interrnodal transport system providing a possible combination of rail, road, canal and maritime transport.

For the purpose of shipment of goods, selection of a good freight forwarding agent is very important. While selecting a freight forwarding agent, you should take into account various factors like location, facilities, rates, service flexibility and efficiency of the agent.

After the goods have been shipped you should send Shipment Advice in aligned format to the importer intimating the date of shipment of the consignment by a named vessel and its expected time of arrival at the destination port. Where the goods are sent by air, the shipment advice should be faxed to the importer.


The phases involved in the customs clearance of export cargo by air are the same as for customs clearance of export cargo going by ship. However, suitable adjustments have been made in these phases to suit the requirements of expeditious movement of cargo by air. These are mentioned below.

Actual booking by the flight concerned is done in advance. Even Airway Bill is obtained before arrival of the flight.

All the documents required for customs clearance i.e. the Shipping Bill, the appropriate type and all the supporting documents as required in connection with the shipment by a vessel are to be brought along with the cargo for which booking has already been done. The documents are first submitted to the section meant for checking them at the Air Cargo complex. After the documents have been checked and physical examination order has been given, physical examination is conducted in quick succession.

Physical examination is conducted on a much larger scale in respect of export by air as compared to export by vessel i.e. 50 to 25 per cent of the total in respect of air cargo as against 1 to 2 per cent of the total in respect of cargo moving by vessel. Each packet is to be passed for shipment - whether examined and passed for shipment or passed for shipment.

The export cargo examined and passed for shipment is kept under the charge of Customs in the control of GROUND HANDLING AUTHORITIES.

Usually some cooling period is observed, 24 to 48 hours before the cargo is to be loaded on board the aircraft.

Before arrival of the flight, Export General Manifest (EGM) whether provisional or final, is to be prepared by the airline concerned and is to be handed over to the Customs Authority.

With the help of EGM, goods are to be moved from the storage under Customs charge .to the place where from they are to be moved alongside the aircraft for being loaded on board.

In the case of air nights, no entry inward permit is required for each flight. There is standing facility granted to the airline concerned for landing and taking off specified flight. Hence, non-rotation number is allotted in advance. This number is allotted by the station-officer on duty when the night has landed.

The Customs Officer who has to supervise the loading operation with reference to the EGM has to write Rotation Number on the Shipping Bill - the copies available at that stage and the EGM.

Unlike the practice followed in the case of ship, there is no arrangement for associating a Preventive Officer right from the stage when entry inward permit is granted. The Customs Officer In-charge of the duty routine for the period when the flights are scheduled to land assigns the task of supervision of unloading and loading operation to customs official on duty.

After the loading of the cargo on board the aircraft, the captain does not issue Mate's Receipt. He signs the Duplicate and Triplicate copy of the Shipping Bill against contents received. He may initial the copy of the Shipping Bill.

This flexibility is provided in keeping with requirement of air-cargo’s expeditious movement.

In case of export by air, every cargo is checked for non hazardous and non dangerous cargo. Few items like special chemicals are not allowed by customs for export by air.


Post parcels can be sent from any part of the country even without completing customs clearance before the booking of the parcel. As such, employment of customs house agent can be easily dispensed with. However, it should not be construed that the post parcel can be despatched to foreign destinations without customs check. In fact the booking post office cannot prepare the final bag for destination. The parcel has to be routed through the foreign post office having the destination within jurisdiction where customs check and clearance are arranged. At each foreign post office there are two wings - Customs Wing and Postal Wing. The latter has to get customs examined parcels received from different post offices of the country for despatch to foreign destinations.

In the case of post parcel there is no Shipping Bill required. Instead a Customs Declaration Form prescribed by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) - an international apex body coordinating activities of national postal administration to facilitate movement of postal articles among different countries of the world is required. The document, popularly known by its code number CP2/CP3 has to be prepared quadruplicate duly signed by the sender. One copy is to be pasted on the parcel and two copies are to be placed inside the parcel along with two copies of Invoice. One copy is to be retained by the sender for record and future reference.

Another document prescribed by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) is the Despatch Note popularly known by its code number - CP2. It has to be filled in by the sender to specify the action to be taken by the postal authority at destination if the address is not traceable or the addressee refuses to accept the parcel. It has to be safely tagged to the parcel.

The other prescriptions of the UPU are regarding the minimum and maximum sizes of the parcel and its maximum weight.

Minimum size : Total surface area not to be less than 140 mm X 90 mm

Maximum size : Lengthwise not more than 1.05 M

Measurement of any another side of circumference 0.9M./2.00M - the two taken together

Maximum Weight : 10 kg for most destinations…. 20 kg for some destination


In order to ensure increased automation in the processing of import and export documentation for expeditious clearance of import and export Cargo through the Air Cargo Unit at the IGI Airport. Delhi Customs has introduced electronic processing of export documents relating to export of goods w.e.f. 1.11.1996. The New Delhi Customs have issued Public Notice No. 56/96 dated 26.10.1996. Later on Public Notice Nos. 42/98 dated 3.9.1998, 40 dated 21.9.1998 and 3/99 dated 28.1.1999 has also been issued in this regard. After success at Air Cargo Complex of Delhi Customs House, the Indian Customs EDI system has been extended to Mumbai and ICD Tughlakabad and is implemented in a phased manner to cover other Customs Houses.

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