Arrival of all modes of transport and carriage of goods, Customs Manual 2023

What is the process undertaken by Indian Customs on arrival of Vessels, Aircrafts or any other vehicles by Air, Water or surface land? The customs manual of India 2023 explains the complete procedures undertaken on this matter. 

Process by Indian customs on arrival of Vessels, Aircraft or any vehicle by all modes of transport and carriage of goods.

The details about the procedures monitored by Indian customs  includes the Conveyance to call only at notified Customs port/airport,  Power to board conveyance, to question and to demand documents, Delivery of Arrival Manifest or Import Manifest or Import Report, Person filing the manifest to be registered,  Amendments of IGM,  Penal liability, Exclusion from IGMs of items originally manifested, Enclosures to Import General Manifest,  Procedure for filing IGM at EDI Custom Houses,  Filing of Stores List,  Entry Inwards and unloading and loading of goods and Other liabilities of carriers.


Arrival of Conveyances and Related Procedures

1. Introduction:

1.1 Customs control over conveyances that bring imported goods and take out export goods is

necessitated by the fact that all imports and exports are required to be subjected to appropriate

Customs clearance procedures. Hence, legal provisions are in place to monitor such conveyances

and the goods carried thereon. Furthermore, in terms of Section 2 of the Customs Act, 1962

conveyance includes a vessel, an aircraft and a vehicle thereby covering all possible modes of

transport and carriage of goods.

2. Conveyance to call only at notified Customs port/airport:

2.1 Section 7 of the Customs Act, 1962 envisages that unloading of imported goods and loading of

export goods shall be allowed only at places notified by the Board as Customs ports or Customs

airports or Land Customs Stations or, Inland Container Depots or Air Freight Stations. At each

such customs station, the Principal Commissioner of Customs or the Commissioner of Customs

is empowered to approve proper places for the unloading and loading of goods, and specify the

limits of such Customs area. It is further provided vide Section 29 ibid that the person in charge of

a vessel or an aircraft shall not call or land at any place other than a customs port or an airport

without approval of the Board, except, subject to certain conditions when compelled by accident,

stress of weather or other unavoidable cause to call or land.

3. Power to board conveyance, to question and to demand documents:

3.1 Section 37 of the Customs Act, 1962 empowers the proper officer of Customs to board any

conveyance carrying imported goods or export goods and Section 38 ibid provides that the proper

officer may require the person in charge of any conveyance to answer any question or produce

any documents. The person in charge of the conveyance is bound to comply with these


4. Delivery of Arrival Manifest or Import Manifest or Import Report:

4.1 In accordance with section 30 of the Customs Act, 1962 the person in charge (Master /Agent) of

a vessel or an aircraft or a vehicle carrying imported goods or export goods has to deliver an import

manifest (an import report in case of a vehicle), in electronic form, prior to arrival in the case of a

vessel and an aircraft or within 12 hours of arrival in case of a vehicle in the prescribed form. The

person-in-charge or any other person who causes delay and the proper officer is satisfied that

there was no sufficient cause for such delay, shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding Rs.50,000/-

. A person delivering the import manifest or import report has to declare the truthfulness of its


5. Person filing the manifest to be registered:

5.1 In terms of the Import Manifest (Vessels) Regulations, 1971 and Import Manifest (Aircrafts)

Regulations, 1976any person, who delivers the import manifest for a vessel or an aircraft to the

proper officer under Section 30 of the Customs Act, 1962 is required to be registered with


5.2 In order to ensure that the Import Manifest for vessel or aircraft is filed prior to arrival of vessel or

aircraft, the following procedure has been formulated:

i. The person responsible for filing of the Import Manifest, both at Master as well as Houselevel details, shall register with the Customs in advance. The application for registration shall

be made to the jurisdictional Commissioner in Form Vor Form VI, as the case may be, of

the said Regulations. The application should be accompanied by an undertaking to file the

manifest details as required.

ii. Airlines/Steamer Agents/Shipping Lines/Consol Agents (including ‘any other person’ notified

as per Section 30 of the Customs Act, 1962) are assigned business category codes as AL,

SA, SL and CN, respectively. For the purpose of registration of Airlines/Steamer

Agents/Shipping Lines, the existing Airline Code or Steamer Agents Code or Shipping Lines

Code already allotted to them shall be used for filing manifest and same shall be their

registration number. As regards consol agents, their registration number shall be of 12 digits

(10-digit Income Tax PAN, followed by business category code, i.e. CN). A sample of

registration number of a consol agent will look like AAACK8719PCN.

iii. Airlines/Steamer Agents/Shipping Lines/Consol Agents are required to submit the

Information as per the prescribed Annexure “A” which is a system complaint from that

contains information prescribed as per the Form V and Form VI of the Import Manifest

(Aircraft) Regulations, 1976 and Import Manifest (Vessels) Regulations, 1971 respectively,

to the respective Commissioners, where they are operating, for capturing the details in the

EDI System.


iv. In the case of chartered flights where the consol agents themselves are entrusted with the

responsibility of filing both Master as well as House-level details, the consol agents will have

to be registered with the Customs as airline agent and will be allotted an ad-hoc/temporary

code (accepted by system), as per existing format for each such flight.

v. Access to the system for filing IGM details will be allowed after the receipt of the applications,

in the Annexure “A” along with a self-declaration of the correctness of the particulars, by the

jurisdictional Commissioner. The verification of details will be done subsequently and for this

the applicant will mention in Annexure “A” the name of the Commissionerate i.e.

“Port/Airport/ICD of verification” where their details would be verified. In the case of any

discrepancies observed at the time of verification the registered party would be debarred

from filing IGM. The concerned Commissionerate after the verification will send the

registration number along with the name of the registered entity to webmaster of who in turn will post the details on the website for the information of all

stakeholders. Verification of the declaration will be done only by the “Port/Airport/ICD of

verification” mentioned in Annexure “A” and no other port etc. will be required to do further

verification. In case of doubt, they may refer the same to the Commissioner of

“Port/Airport/ICD of verification”.

vi. The responsibility for filing the import manifest with Master level details shall rest with the

person in-charge of the vessel or aircraft or their agent while the House e level details shall

be filed by “any other person” specified under Section 30 of the Customs Act, 1962. In case

the “any other person” is not registered under the said Regulations, then, the responsibility

to file House level details shall also rest with the person in-charge of the vessel or aircraft

or their agent. The shipping lines or airlines should, therefore, ensure that the person

authorized to issue delivery orders in respect of goods carried by them, are duly registered

with Customs. Failure to file the IGM in advance will invite action as per Section 30(1) of the

Customs Act, 1962.

vii. At Customs stations having operational Indian Customs EDI (ICES) system, the IGM shall

be filed through electronic mode. At other i.e. non-EDI Customs stations, the hard copies of

IGM shall be required to be filed manually, in advance as per the Section 30 of Customs

Act, 1962. Where ICES is operational but some Bills of Entry are filed manually, hard copy

of IGM will have to be filed but late filing of hard copy will not be considered as non-filing or

late filing of IGM, provided that the soft copy is filed in time.

viii. In the case of vessels, where the voyage from the last port of call exceeds 4 days, the IGM

shall be filed at least 48 hours before the entry inward of such vessels. In the case of short

haul voyages, i.e., where the voyage from the last port of call is less than 4 days, the IGM

is required to be filed 10 hours before entry inward of the vessel.

ix. In the case of long haul flights i.e. flight time of at least 3 hours from the last airport, the IGM

shall be filed within 2 hours before the arrival of the aircraft and for short haul flights, before

the arrival of the aircraft. Further, flights in domestic sector, which carry transshipped

imported goods from one Indian airport to another airport in India, would be treated as short

haul flight for the purpose of filing IGM under Section 30 of the Customs Act, 1962.

x. The vessel's stores list and list of private property in possession of the Master, officer and

crew etc. should contain the quantity of store on board at the time of departure from the last

port of call and estimated quantity likely to be consumed till the grant of entry inward.

xi. At the time of registration, the requirement stipulated in the para 5 of Form V and Form VI

of the Import Manifest (Aircraft) Regulations, 1976 and Import Manifest (Vessel)

Regulations, 1971 respectively.

5.3 Sea Cargo Manifest and Transhipment Regulations, 2018 (SCMTR): CBIC vide notification

No.38/2018-Customs (N.T.) dated 11.05.2018 has notified ‘Sea Cargo Manifest and Transhipment

Regulations, 2018’. The SCMTR seek to bring about transparency, predictability of movement,

advance collection of information for expeditious clearance and supersedes the earlier regulations

viz. Import Manifest (Vessels) Regulations, 1971, Export Manifest (Vessels) Regulation, 1976 and

Transportation of Goods (Through Foreign Territory) Regulations, 1965. The new regulations

stipulate changes in timelines and requirements for advance notice by authorized carriers for

goods arriving in or being exported out of India through gateway seaports and further movement

between Customs stations. They stipulate the obligations, roles and responsibilities for the various

stakeholders involved in movement of imported/export goods. The implementation plan and

timelines for mandatory compliance pertaining to stakeholders such as Authorised Sea Carriers

(ASC)/ Authorised Sea Agents (ASA), ANC (Other Notified Carriers- like Freight forwarders,

NVOCCs etc) and ATP (Authorized Transhippers), and the documents to be filed by them have

been laid down in annexure to Circular No.43/2020-Customs dated 30th September, 2020. The

Declarations under SCMTR are to be provided in the new message format. The DG Systems has

developed the new formats for submission by different stakeholders. Since there is a change in

the manner of reporting, the regulation has provided the transitional provisions for submission

under old and new formats simultaneously, so as to cause less disruption to the trade and provide

time for adoption of new processes. Currently the transitional provisions have been extended till

31.12.2022 vide notification No.56/2022-Customs (N.T.) dated 30.06.2022.

[Refer Circulars No.110/2003-Customs, dated 22-12-2003, No. 15/2004-Customs, dated

16-2-2004 and No. 30/2004-Customs, dated 16-4-2004, No.43/2020-Customs dated

30-09-2020, No.17/2021-Customs dated 23.07.2021]

6. Amendments of IGM:

6.1 Section 30(3) of the Customs Act, 1962 read with Levy of Fee (Customs Documents) Regulations,

1970) allows the proper officer to permit an IGM to be amended or supplemented, on payment of

prescribed fees, if he is satisfied that there is no fraudulent intention. Further, Board has placed

all amendments in two broad categories - Major and Minor:

(a) Major Amendments:

(i) Addition of extra entries (Line numbers in the IGM).

(ii) Amendment in the quantity of goods already declared.

(iii) Changing the date of the Bill of Lading mentioned in the IGM.

(iv) Changing the Importer's/consignee name.

(v) Commodity description.

(vi) Conversion of general description of goods from cargo to un-accompanied baggage

and vice-versa.

(b) Minor Amendments:

(i) Changing the Importers address only.

(ii) Correcting any spelling mistakes.

(iii) Conversion from one unit of measurement to another.

 (iv) Change in the container number (only alphabetic prefix and last 10th test


(v) Change/addition of marks and numbers.

(vi) Conversion from local to TP/SMTP and vice-versa.

(vii) Port of Loading.

(viii) Size of containers (provided there is no change in weight of consignment).

(ix) Port of discharge;

(x) Type of packages.

(xi) Number of packages (provided there is no change in the weight).

(xii) Seal number.

6.2 The need for adjudication will arise only in cases where there are major amendments involving

fraudulent intention or substantial revenue implication. Further it is possible that in certain special

situations such as mother/daughter vessel operation for lighter age on account of shortage of draft,

congestion of port, natural calamity, the final quantity of goods covered by the IGM would be

known only after completion of such lighter age operation, requiring amendment in quantity

originally declared at the time of filing IGM. These exceptional situations need to be taken care so

that penal action is not initiated mechanically.

6.3 Amendment of IGM after the arrival of vessel or aircraft would not be treated as late filing.

However, the veracity of the amendment would be examined by the Assistant/ Deputy

Commissioner of Customs for the purpose of invoking penal provisions under Section 116 of the

Customs Act, 1962.

6.4 Procedure for disposal of amendment applications within specified time limits have been

prescribed by the Board. All minor amendments are expected to be approved on the same day

while all major amendments are expected to be generally approved within 24 hours of submission

of complete application.

[Refer Circulars No. 13/2005-Cus, dated 11-3-2005 and No. 44/2005-Cus.,dated 24-11-2005,

Circular No. 14/2017- Customs dated 11.04.2017; Please refer para 23 of

Chapter 3 regarding approval related to amendments.]

7. Penal liability:

7.1 Any mis-declaration in the IGM will attract the penal provisions of Sections 111(f) and 112 of the

Customs Act, 1962. Thus, the goods concerned would be liable to confiscation and the person

concerned liable to penalty.

8. Exclusion from IGMs of items originally manifested:

8.1 Exclusion from IGMs of items originally manifested is permitted only on the basis of an application

from the person filing the IGM and on production of the documentary evidence of short shipment

of goods. Further, prescribed fee will have to be paid for the amendment, if permitted.

8.2 Exclusions or amendments of items in the IGM involving reduction in number of packages or

weight thereof is allowed on an application from the person filing the IGM and on the basis of

connected documentary evidence. Such excisions or amendments will only be allowed if

investigation proves that the excess quantity was originally shown in error. In the absence of such

proof, the application will be dealt with by the Manifest Clearance Section at the time of closure of

the manifest file.

8.3 Applications for the exclusion or amendments of items for which Bills of Entry have been noted will

be dealt with by the Manifest Clearance Section if made within two months of the arrival of the


8.4 In respect of a vessel, an IGM shall, in addition, consist of an application for grant of Entry Inwards.

9. Enclosures to Import General Manifest:

9.1 The various IGM forms are designed according to IMO-FAL Convention. The forms have to be

filed in prescribed sizes alongwith the following declarations:

(i) Deck Cargo declaration/certificate.

(ii) Last port clearance copy.

(iii) Amendment application (when relevant).

(iv) Income Tax Certificate in case of export cargo.

(v) Nil export cargo certificate.

(vi) Port Trust “No Demand” certificate

(vii) Immigration certificate.

(viii) Application for sign on/sign off of crew (when relevant).

(ix) Application for crew baggage checking when they sign on (when relevant).

[Refer Circular No.36/95-Cus., dated 10.04.1995]

10. Procedure for filing IGM at EDI Custom Houses:

10.1 In case of sea cargo the shipping lines are required to submit the electronic version of the IGM

through the EDI Service Centre or through internet at ICEGATE, containing all the details and

particulars. It is to be ensured that all the particulars and details of the IGM are correct and that

details of House Bill of Lading are also incorporated in case of consol cargo.

10.2 In case of air cargo the airlines are required to file IGM in prescribed format through electronic

mode. The IGMs should contain all details and particulars, including the details of the Master

Airway Bills and the House Airway Bills in the case of consol cargo. The airlines are also required

to furnish the additional information, namely, the ULD numbers for use by the custodians.

11. Filing of Stores List:

11.1 When entering any port/airport, all vessels are required to furnish to the proper officer, a list (or

“nil” return) of ships stores intended for landing (excluding consumable stores issued from any

Duty Free Shops in India). Retention on board of imported stores is governed by Import Store

(Retention on board) Regulations, 1963. The consumable stores can remain on board the vessel

without payment of duties during the period the vessel/aircraft remains as “foreign going”.

Otherwise, such consumable stores are to be kept under Customs seal. Even in respect of foreign

going vessels, only stores for immediate use may be left unsealed while excessive stores such as

liquor, tobacco, cigarettes, etc are kept under Customs seal.

12. Entry Inwards and unloading and loading of goods:

12.1 On arrival of the vessel, the shipping line needs to approach the Preventive Officer for granting

Entry Inwards. Before making the application, the shipping line has to make payment of the Light

House dues, as may be applicable.

12.2 Section 31 of the Customs Act, 1962 requires that the Master of the vessel shall not permit

unloading of any imported goods until an order is given by the proper officer granting Entry Inwards

to such vessel. Normally, Entry Inwards is granted only after the IGM is delivered. The date of

Entry Inwards is crucial for determining the rate of duty in case of filing of prior Bill of Entry, as

provided in Section 15 of the Customs Act, 1962. However, unloading of items like accompanied

baggage, mail bags, animals, perishables and hazardous goods are exempt from this stipulation.

12.3 No imported goods are to be unloaded unless specified in the IGM/Import Report for being

unloaded at that Customs station and such unloading shall only be at places provided therefor.

Further, imported goods shall not be unloaded except under the supervision of the proper officer.

Similarly, for unloading imported goods on a Sunday or on any holiday, prior notice shall be given

and prescribed fees paid.

12.4 Board has clarified that unloading of liquid bulk cargo from the ship to the bonded storage tanks

through pipe lines is allowed under the provisions of Section 33 of Customs Act, 1962 subject to

the conditions that the premises where the goods are received through pipe lines is a bonded

warehouse under Section 58 or 59 of Customs Act, 1962; permission of the proper officer is

obtained for unloading prior to discharge of such cargo; and other requirements under the

Customs Act, 1962 are fulfilled. If the bonded tanks are located outside the jurisdiction of the

Commissioner in charge of port permission may be granted subject to concurrence of

Commissioner in whose jurisdiction the bonded tanks are located, and other safeguards as


[Refer Instruction F.No.473/19/2009-LC, dated 9-5-2011]

13. Other liabilities of carriers:

13.1 The person in charge of vessel/aircraft has other legal liabilities under the Customs Act, 1962, the

non-fulfilment of which may result in suitable penal action, as reflected in Sections 115 and 116 of

the Customs Act, 1962. For instance, Section 115 provides for confiscation of vessel / conveyance

in the following circumstances:

(a) A conveyance within Indian waters or port or Customs area, which is constructed, adopted,

altered or altered for concealing goods.

(b) A conveyance from which goods are thrown overboard, staved or destroyed so as to prevent

seizure by Customs officers.

(c) A conveyance, which disobeys an order under Section 106 to stop or land, without sufficient


(d) A conveyance from which goods under drawback claim are unloaded without the proper

officer's permission.

(e) A conveyance, which has entered India with goods, from which substantial portion of goods

are missing and failure of the master to account therefor.

(f) Any conveyance, when used as means of transport for smuggling of any goods or in the

carriage of any smuggled goods, unless the owner establishes that it was used without the

knowledge or connivance of the owner, his agent and the person in-charge of the vessel.

13.2 Under Section 116 of the Customs Act, 1962, penalty may be imposed on the person incharge of

vessel if there is failure to account for all goods loaded in the vessel for importation into India or

transhipped under the provisions of Customs Act and these are not unloaded at the place of

destination in India or if the quantity unloaded is short of the quantity to be unloaded at particular

destination. Penalty may be waived if failure to unload or deficiency in unloading is accounted for

to the satisfaction of competent officer. Thus, if there is any shortage, which is not satisfactorily

accounted for, the person incharge of the vessel will be liable to penalty, which may be twice the

duty payable on the import goods not accounted for.

[Refer Circulars No.36/95-Cus., dated 10-04-1995, No.110/2003-Cus.,dated 22-12-2003,

No.15/2004-Cus., dated 16-2-2004, No.30/2004-Cus., dated 16-4-2004, No.34/2004-Cus.,

13-5-2004, No.13/2005-Cus, dated 11-3-2005, and No.44/2005-Cus., dated 24-11-2005]

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