Shipping Bill in Export: Meaning, Types and Purpose

Shipping Bill in Export: Meaning, Types and Purpose

International shipping, export, and import trade require various documents and formalities to furnish the trade business. However, shipping is a crucial document issued by the Customs Service department to allow trade clearance and initiate the shipping procedure. To avail of approval from customs duty, an exporter must apply for a shipping bill to eliminate issues and difficulties while shipping. Thus, this guide will help you to understand the shipping bill meaning, types and purpose.

What is the shipping bill in export?

A shipping bill for export is a fundamental and most important document which verifies that customs officers allow permission for export. An export logistics service must obtain this document from the customs department before initiating the shipping procedure. When delivering a product, especially Fruits & Vegetables Logistics Services from one country to another, an exporter must follow various export procedures to avail of this document and get export clearance from the customs department.

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The shipping bill for export comprises essential details such as the vessel's name, comprehensive goods' particulars, the designated port for unloading goods, the exporter's complete name and address, the intended destination, and various other pertinent information. Following the receipt of this comprehensive document, the customs officer initiates a meticulous inspection process. Upon meticulous verification, the customs authorities issue a crucial document known as the Let Export Order. This final step holds immense significance as it marks the culmination of the export process, allowing the goods to be shipped out of the country seamlessly.

What does the shipping bill include?

Here are the details of the general shipping bill format:

  • Exporter, buyer, and customs broker details
  • Carrier, port, and transportation details
  • Invoice-related information
  • Cargo-related itemized information
  • Export duty and GST-related information
  • Export scheme/job work/re-export details

Types of Shipping Bills in Export

There are different types of shipping bills for various purposes, which are as follows:

  • Drawback Shipping Bill

    A drawback shipping bill is a printed bill on green paper that an exporter needs to obtain to file for goods for a refund. Once the drawback has been paid, the authorities print the invoice on white paper.

  • Dutiable Shipping Bill

    A Dutiable shipping bill is a printed bill on yellow paper that signifies that the goods are for export on the payment of export duty.

  • Coastal Shipping Bill

    When a good to be exported is needed to transfer from one port to another, the coastal shipping bill must be filed.

  • Ex-Bond Shipping Bill

    When a good is imported from one place and stored in a bonded warehouse to re-export to another, the ex-bond shipping bill must be filed. However, this bill is printed on pink paper.

  • Duty-Free Shipping Bill

    A shipping bill for the export of duty free goods is a white-colored paper bill that must be filed when goods are exported without customs duty payment. Moreover, such goods are also not entitled to duty drawbacks.

What is the Purpose of a Shipping Bill in Export?

Issuing a shipping bill is essential to facilitate customs clearance for the exporter. This document holds significant importance and is a requisite in international trade, mandated by the customs department to authenticate export goods. The shipping bill serves a multitude of purposes for the exporter, enabling them to efficiently load their products, obtain excise duty refunds, and claim duty drawbacks. The Indian Customs Department plays a pivotal role in this shipping bill process by assessing the net value of the exported goods.

For a streamlined process, you have the option to engage a customs clearance service such as Citrus, ensuring adherence to regulations, including the requirement of the AD code in shipping bill. Beyond its role in customs clearance, securing a shipping bill also carries another essential implication. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) mandates that exporters submit all foreign remittances in conjunction with the shipping bill, ensuring compliance with the AD code. This stringent practice is in place to prevent the blocklisting of the exporter's Importer Exporter Code (IEC) by the RBI, thereby safeguarding the exporter's business interests.

When a shipping bill is generated?

To ship the goods, exporters/CHA must submit the proper paperwork, such as invoices and packing lists, along with the checklists, under the direction of the relevant Customs department, and this is where the shipping bill analysis comes in.

How to generate and file a shipping bill?

The online procedure for filling out a shipping bill from ICEGATE is simple. The registration process is mandatory if you are using the ICEGATE platform for the first time. An exporter can obtain a shipping bill from ICEGATE by following these steps, including:

  • First, you should register with the customer department on the site using your Customs House Agents or IEC and the AD code of the respective bank.
  • Fill in the required information regarding shipment in a prescribed format.
  • You will need to submit copies of documents such as invoices, cargo details, and other documents along with the ICEGATE shipping bill. You can prepare the invoice for your shipment using.
  • An officer will verify your shipping bill application and issue the Export Order.
  • You can check the shipping bill status once it is generated on the website.
  • Log in using your login credentials on ICEGATE, and click on the job status link on the left menu of available services. You will need Compliance Verification to check your export shipping bill status.

How to download shipping bills from ICEGATE?

The ICEGATE shipping bill refers to an e-commerce platform of Indian Customs that provides e-filing services to trade and cargo carriers. ICEGATE shipping bill tracking can be done hassle-free. You just need to go to the portal, enter your Import Export Code (IEC), and add the start date and end date of the shipping bill instantly, and you will receive all the required details. Shipping bill ICEGATE provides you with the necessary details after you enter your credentials, the IEC Code, and the shipping number. By providing the IEC Code or the shipping bill number, the shipping bill status can be tracked.


A shipping bill is an essential document for an exporter to get customs clearance from the customs department. It is a mandatory document that an exporter must obtain to move their goods from one country to another, and applicants can claim a refund on items sold. This guide will help you to understand the meaning, purpose, and types of shipping bills as well as the importance of shipping bill tracking.


1. How many types of shipping bills are there?

Shipping bills are documents used in international trade to facilitate the movement of goods across borders. There are five distinct types, each serving a specific purpose in international trade:

Free shipping bill:
Purpose: Used when exporting goods that are not taxed and are not eligible for a refund.
Appearance: Printed on plain white paper.

Dutiable Shipping Bill:
Purpose: Employed for goods with an export duty. May or may not be eligible for a duty refund.
Appearance: Typically printed on yellow paper.

Drawback Shipping Bill:
Purpose: Used for a refund on duties paid for exported goods.
Appearance: Normally printed on green paper. If the refund is paid to a bank, it's printed on yellow paper.

Shipping Bill for Shipment Ex-Bond:
Purpose: Applied when re-exporting imported goods kept in bond.
Appearance: printed on yellow paper.

Coastal Shipping Bill:
Purpose: Used for moving goods between Indian ports by sea (not an export document).

Note: Sea shipments use a shipping bill, while air shipments use an airway bill.

2. What is the form of shipping bill?

A shipping bill is a document used in international trade that serves as a customs declaration provided by the exporter or their authorized agent. The specific form of a shipping bill can vary depending on the country and its customs regulations.
A shipping bill typically comprises the following essential details:

Exporter, Buyer, and Customs Agent Information:
Comprehensive details of the exporter, buyer, importer, and the customs agent involved.

Vessel Information:
Name of the vessel transporting the goods.

Transportation and Port Details:
Information about the mode of transportation and specific details regarding the port of loading and discharge.

Cargo Details:
Gross and net weight of the cargo, along with a description of its nature.

Invoice Information:
Number of commercial invoices, payment nature, and the invoice value presented in both local and foreign currencies.

GST and Export Duty:
Relevant information related to GST and export duties associated with the shipment.

FOB Price and Insurance:
Freight on Board (FOB) price, as well as the insurance amount for the transported items.

Container Numbers:
Identification details of the shipping containers used for the consignment.

Duty Drawback:
Information regarding duty drawback, if applicable.

Nature of Exported Goods:
A clear description of the nature and type of goods being exported.

Destination Details:
Country of destination and the specific port where the goods are intended to be discharged.

Exporters and importer's addresses for proper documentation.

Package Details:
Specifics regarding the number and marking of packages being shipped.
It's crucial to ensure the accuracy and completeness of this information to facilitate a smooth customs process during the export of goods. Additionally, compliance with local regulations and the use of approved documentation templates is advisable.

3. What is shipping billing?

Shipping billing typically involves the creation of a shipping invoice detailing goods, quantities, and associated costs. Additionally, a shipping bill is a crucial document submitted to customs for clearance during international trade.

4. What is shipping bill in logistics?

In logistics, a shipping bill is a formal document submitted by exporters to customs authorities, providing comprehensive information about the goods intended for export. This document includes crucial details such as the description, quantity, value, and destination of the goods. Its primary purpose is to facilitate customs clearance by ensuring regulatory compliance, allowing for the lawful and efficient movement of goods across international borders.