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Freight Knowledge Centre

Resources and FAQs on freight forwarding for logistics and supply chain professionals

Freight Knowledge Centre - Resources and FAQ's on freight forwarding for logistics and supply chain professionals

What is a shipping Bill?

A Shipping Bill or Bill of Export is the main document required by the Customs Authority for allowing shipment. It is issued by the shipping agent and represents some kind of certificate for all parties, including the ship's owner, seller, buyer and other parties involved.

What is the procedure for Shipping Bill generation?

The procedure is as follows:

  • Before filing an Export Shipping Bill, exporters or Customs House Agents (CHA) have to register with the EDI system using IEC code, AD code, and/or CHA license number.
  • 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.
  • 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.

What is a Bill of Lading?

A Bill of Lading (sometimes abbreviated as B/L or BOL) is a document issued by a carrier (or their agent) to acknowledge receipt of cargo for shipment. Although the term historically related only to carriage by sea, a Bill of Lading may today be used for any type of carriage of goods. A Bill of Lading is one of three crucial documents used in international trade to ensure that exporters receive payment and importers receive the merchandise. The other two documents are a policy of insurance and an invoice.

A Bill of Lading is negotiable but both, an insurance and invoice are assignable. In international trade outside the United States, bills of lading are distinct from waybills in the way that the latter are not transferable and do not confer title. Nevertheless, the UK Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1992 grants "all rights of suit under the contract of carriage" to the lawful holder of a bill of lading, or to the consignee under a sea waybill or a ship's delivery order.

What is an AWB and its purpose?

An air waybill or AWB, also known as an Air Consignment Note, is a document that accompanies goods shipped by an international air courier to provide detailed information about the shipment and allows it to be tracked. The bill has multiple copies so that each party involved in the shipment can document it. An AWB serves a similar function to ocean Bills of Lading, but an AWB is issued in a non-negotiable form, meaning there is less protection with an AWB as compared to Bills of Lading.

What is a Bill of Entry?

Bill of Entry is an account of goods entered at a Customs house of imports and exports, detailing the merchant, quantity of goods, their type, and place of origin or destination. It is issued by the customs presenting the total assigned value and the corresponding duty charged on the cargo.

What is the procedure for Bill of Entry generation?

Bill of Entry is a legal document to be filed mandatory. Either an importer or a Customs House Agent (CHA) appointed by him can file a bill of entry. In order to import any goods to India, an importer has to obtain the IEC – Import Export Code – from the Director General of Foreign Trade – DGFT.

What are HBL and HAWB?

House Bill of Lading or HBL: HBL is a document created by an Ocean Transport Intermediary (OTI) such as a freight forwarder or non-vessel operating company (NVOCC). The document is an acknowledgment of the receipt of goods that are to be shipped.

House airway Bill or HAWB: HAWB is issued by a freight forwarder on receipt of goods from the shipper agreeing to deliver goods at the destination.

What is the difference between HBL and MBL?

Master Bill of Lading or MBL: MBL is issued by the main carrier of goods on receipt of goods from a freight forwarder to deliver at the destination as per agreed terms.

House Bill of Lading or HBL: HBL means House Bill of Lading and is issued by a freight forwarder on receipt of goods from the shipper agreeing to deliver goods at the destination.

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