Export Shipping Bill: Types, Meaning, and Applying on ICEGATE

An export-import transaction requires that the goods being shipped reach the end destination in the pre-decided timeframe and expected condition. To ensure this, a variety of documents need to be in place. These documents are required for various purposes. However, the end objective is that all stakeholders involved can complete the process of shipping the goods confidently and in a way that meets all the required regulations.

One such critical document is a shipping bill which is issued by the Customs Service Centre and is used to ensure that the Customs clear the shipment and the shipping process is initiated. The customs service center issues a crucial document known as the shipping bill. With this document, the exporter can obtain customs clearance and begin the shipping process.

Explanation of shipping bill

A shipping bill is a critical document that an exporter needs to get from the Customs department before the goods can be exported. After the exporter submits the shipping bill, the customs department conducts an inspection, and upon successful inspection, it issues a ‘Let Export’ order to the exporter.

Securing the ‘Let Export’ order is the last legal procedure required before the goods can be moved out of the country. The Customs department usually completes it by checking the net value of the goods being exported. Upon successful verification, the customs officer signs and seals the shipping bill.

Information on included the shipping bill

A shipping bill usually has information about the goods being exported and shipping details. The various details that are part of the shipping bill are as follows:

  • Exporter details
  • Importer or customs agent details
  • Vessel Name
  • Name of port of loading and discharge
  • Country of origin and destination
  • Cargo details
  • Container numbers
  • Duty Drawback details
  • FOB (Freight on Board) price and insurance amount of items
  • GST and export duty-related information
  • Invoice details (invoice number, nature of payment, value)
  • Nature of goods exported

Variations of shipping bill

Various shipping bills can be issued. Here are the key types : 

Dutiable shipping bill

A dutiable shipping bill is filed when the export duty on goods to be exported is to be filed.

Drawback shipping bill

A drawback shipping bill is filed when goods are to be returned

Ex-bond shipping bill

An ex-bond shipping bill is filed when goods are stored in a bonded warehouse because they are to be re-exported.

Coastal shipping bill

A coastal shipping bill is filed when goods are being exported from one port in the origin country to another in the destination country.

Get a shipping bill from ICEGATE: The Process

An exporter can get a shipping bill from ICEGATE. Here are some crucial steps that need to be followed by an exporter to get a shipping bill:

  • The exporter is expected to register with IEC or Customs House Agents license number on the ICEGATE website.
  • The exporter can sign in to ICEGATE and fill in the required details and documents.
  • After the application has been verified, a ‘Let Export’ order can be issued by customs.
  • The shipping bill is generated after issuing the ‘Let Export’ order.

 An exporter can check the status of the shipping bill by the following steps:

  1. Login to ICEGATE using the registered details
  2. Click on the job status link on the left menu under available services.
  3. On the ‘job status’ page, click on Shipping Bill (24 hours) and select an appropriate location from the drop-down menu options.
  4. Fill in the details required.

Details of the shipping bills filed in the last 24 hours can be viewed from the selected location. The details being shown usually include the date, number, name of customs location, and the various stages of the shipping bills.

Exporters are also looking at building an e-commerce export business by partnering with Amazon Global Selling. By being a part of Amazon Global Selling, exporters can get support for compliance and shipping solutions that help in hassle-free exports.

E-commerce exports with Amazon Global Selling

Amazon Global Selling helps Indian MSME sellers to build an e-commerce export business. Launched by Amazon, Amazon Global Selling provides a potential reach to over 300 million international Amazon customers in over 200+ countries and territories. The program provides access to over 18 international Amazon marketplaces in key markets like the US, UAE, Singapore, UK, and Australia.


How to get my export shipping bill?

You can apply for the shipping bill on the ICEGATE website and apply along with the required documents.

Who prepares the shipping bill?

The Customs Service Centre prepares a shipping bill after receiving an application from an exporter.

What is the main difference between a shipping bill and a bill of lading?

A shipping bill is a bill required for customs clearance at the time of shipping goods for export. A Bill of lading is generally issued by the shipping company to the transporter when the latter is loading goods on the transport.


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