An export order is appealing not just because it opens up the global market to exporters, but also because of the various promotional schemes put in place by the Government of India to give exports from the country an additional impetus.
It is common knowledge that exports come with their share of formalities and hassles – not the least of which is mile-long documentation. Fortunately, exporters can avail of the services of Clearing and Forwarding (C&F) agents to lessen their burden.
C&F agents are specialized professionals who provide a range of services to ensure the shipment reaches the importer on time and via a cost-effective mode of transport. In case of any movement woes at any point during transit, C&F agents act as troubleshooters to ensure a smooth and comfortable delivery, within the specified time-frame.
While the range of services provided by a C&F agent is quite exhaustive, the specifics would vary depending on the contract entered into by an exporter. Listed below are some essential post-shipment services provided by C&F agents to exporters, depending on the contract.
Once the shipping of the goods is completed, the C&F agent submits a list of documents to the exporter, including a copy of the Invoice duly attested by the Customs, Shipping Bill (including both Export Promotion and Drawback copies), Bill of Lading or Airway Bill (as the case may be, depending on the mode of transport selected), Export Order, Letter of Credit, and a duplicate copy of the ARE-1 form.
The exporter or their C&F agent shall intimate the details of the shipment/cargo, including the name of the vessel/aircraft, date of shipment/cargo, Bill of Lading/ Airway Bill, and also forward the relevant documents to the importer to enable prompt clearance of the goods in their country.
After intimating the importer, the C&F agent submits the relevant documents with the bank for the purpose of obtaining payment therefrom. The ‘Negotiable Set of Documents’ normally consist of Bill of Lading or Airway Bill, Bill of Exchange, Letter of Credit, Customs Invoice (a copy of the Commercial Invoice duly certified by Customs), Packing List, Shipping Bill, Marine Insurance Policy documents, and Foreign Exchange declaration forms.
After careful inspection of the documents, the bank forwards them to the Importer’s bank for negotiating the documents before issuing the Bank Certificate and attested copies of the Commercial Invoice to the C&F agent.
There are a number of export incentives available to exporters in India, such as export promotion schemes, financial aids, and other benefits. If the exporter is eligible for any kind of export incentive, be it refund or exemption, the C&F agent submits the claim on behalf of the exporter to the appropriate authority along with the requisite supporting documents.
As per customs, if the exporter is required to pay the export duty, the C&F agent shall pay the same on behalf of the exporter and forward the details to them.
The above points make it amply clear that once an exporter hires the services of a C&F agent, the latter takes care of everything. By that we mean the myriad documentation; in fact, everything barring manufacturing and selling of the concerned goods.