Understanding Shipping Bill: Types and Purpose

Understanding Shipping Bill: 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.

Shipping Bill - A Primer

A shipping bill 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 shaping 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.

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.

Different Types of Shipping Bills

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 duty-free shipping bill is a white-colored paper bill that must be filed when goods are exported without custom 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.

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.


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.