Multiple documents are required to be prepared and furnished to complete an export trade. One of the most crucial among these documents is the Shipping Bill.
To obtain clearance for exports from customs, you have to submit a Shipping Bill in the form of an application. Whether you are shipping your export items by air, sea, or road, an exporter cannot load the goods without filing the Shipping Bill.
A Shipping Bill must be submitted electronically unless the Commissioner or Principal Commissioner makes an exception and allows you to submit it physically. Shipping Bills are color-coded depending on the export type.
Dutiable Shipping Bill: It is printed on yellow paper and is meant for goods that are to be exported on payment of export duty.
Duty-Free Shipping Bill: It is printed on white paper and is for goods exported without duty payment. These are not eligible for duty drawback.
Drawback Shipping Bill: It is printed on green paper, but once the drawback has been paid it is printed on white paper.
Shipping Bill for export of goods under Duty Entitlement Passbook Scheme (DEPB): It is printed in blue; this is for goods exported under the government’s DEPB export incentive scheme.
In a notification dated 25th March 2019, the Shipping Bill and Bill of Export (Forms) Amendment Regulations, 2019, was introduced. This defined the forms for various types of Shipping Bills.
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The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs has a national platform named Indian Customs Electronic Gateway (ICEGATE) that provides e-filing services, including electronic filing of Shipping Bills. To facilitate faster Customs clearance, ICEGATE is linked with multiple organizations like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), government ministries, and government partner agencies.
The Indian Customs EDI System (ICES) acts as the online and real-time interface for custom clearance through ICEGATE and via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). ICES has also enabled internal automation of the Custom House.
Upon submission, a checklist is generated, which has to be verified by the exporter or the CHA.
The verified data is then submitted to the EDI system by the service center operator. The system generates a Shipping Bill Number, which is endorsed on the printed copy of the checklist and given back to the exporter or the CHA.
Generally, the Shipping Bill is processed by the system itself without any human aid or intervention. This is done based on declarations made by the exporter. 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.
If any export cess needs to be paid, the requisite challan is 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.
One can check the status of the Shipping Bill at the service center. Besides, any query raised can be seen and replied to in the service center.
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Corrections or amendments in the declaration can be made at the service center, provided the documents have not yet been submitted in the system and the Shipping Bill has not yet been generated.
However, if any changes are deemed necessary after the Shipping Bill number is generated or the arrival of the goods at the Export Dock but before the granting of ‘Let Export’ of the goods, it can be done by the Assistant Commissioner of Exports.
If the ‘Let Export’ has also been issued, any changes can be made only by the Additional/Joint Commissioner, Custom House, in charge of the export section.
Now let us look at the complete format of Form SB I (Regulation 2). The various fields required to be filled in are related to the following:
Exporter, buyer, and customs broker details
Carrier, port, and transportation details
Cargo-related itemized information
Export duty and GST-related information
Export scheme/job work/re-export details
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