Shipping Documents

Import General Manifest [IGM] in Shipping & Exports

Import General Manifest (IGM) is a mandatory document for importing goods, which must be presented to the customs officials at the destination port.

Since the transport process is declared complete after filing the IGM, it is important for an importer/carrier importing the goods to thoroughly understand this document.

What is an Import General Manifest?
The IGM is a legal document required at the destination port before the cargo’s arrival. It contains all the necessary information about the shipment, such as:-

The IGM number
Complete description of the goods
The importer’s name and address
Line number
Port of loading
The customs officials will then verify the information mentioned in the document. The IGM is considered a declaration that the cargo has reached its destination successfully.

Who should File the Declaration?
It’s the carrier’s responsibility to file the IGM before the cargo reaches the destination port. The company responsible for handling the transport needs to fill in the necessary details in this document and submit it to the customs department.

Even though the carrier files the IGM, the exporter must also know the procedure correctly. That’s why the carrier must discuss the associated details about the goods with the exporter before transporting them.

Improper filing of the IGM can result in the customs department halting the transportation of goods, which can be detrimental to the entire shipping process.

When to File Import General Manifest?
Usually, the IGM must be submitted within 24 hours of the cargo’s arrival at the destination port.

The importer can also file the IGM before the shipment arrives at the port. This is possible when the carrier has shared a cargo arrival notice with the consignee.

As mentioned briefly before, one must share details about the shipper, quantity, and type of shipment, the consignee, the vessel, and similar information with the customs authority. The individual filing the form is responsible for validating the truthfulness of the data. Hence incorrect information or an attempt to hide any information about the cargo can cause the customs department to take legal action. In such a circumstance, the shipment can also be withheld.

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Where to File IGM?
As mentioned earlier, the carrier must file the IGM and submit it at the destination port. The document should contain information about the consignee, nature, and quantity of the package, vessel/flight information.

Usually, the customs officials link the IGM details to the Export General Manifest (EGM). However, in the case of short-distance shipping, this electronic linking of two documents won’t be considered.

Every customs location will have a specific format and guidelines for filing the IGM. The carrier will generally receive two options to file this document–a manual entry or an electronic filing. The customs officials also offer assistance to the carriers.

Filing of Import General Manifest
Most IGM filing processes start with verifying the airway bill or the bill of lading (BOL). So, the IGM will also include several overlapping details from the BOL. The document’s objective is to ensure all goods are accounted for and the importer has submitted the necessary paperwork related to the shipment.

Regardless of how goods are transported, the IGM declares that the carrier has fulfilled the relevant legal obligations.

The procedure of filing the IGM might differ from one customs department to another based on the location. Some customs departments ask the shipper to submit the document before the cargo’s arrival, while others demand it upon the arrival of goods.

Given the differences in the filing process, carriers need to know the filing rules of the associated destination or country. However, there are some general points to keep in mind.

Carriers need to fill out the IGM form and mention details about the freight shipment before reaching the port.

The document has to be sent to the customs department of the respective country.

After filing the document, customs officials will ask you to submit the supporting documents. These will authenticate the details in the IGM form.

Carriers have to ensure that the details of the IGM form and the supporting documents match correctly.

After the customs department verifies all the shipment details, the cargo is free to move forward.

While filing the document, carriers need to check the BOL, which contains a serial number. This number is mentioned in the IGM. Following this, carriers also have to file the bill of entry based on the IGM, which is another necessary customs formality.

Enclosures to IGM
According to the government regulations, here are the associated documents that have to be submitted with the IGM:-

Deck cargo certificate/ declaration
Income tax certificate (for export cargo)
The last copy of the port clearance document
Amendment application (if any)
A ‘No Demand’ certificate from the Port Trust
Certificate for nil export cargo
Crew baggage checking application
Sign on/off application for the crew (according to relevancy)

Difference between IGM and Gateway IGM
When the shipment arrives at the customs location, the carrier files the IGM and submits it to the authorities. This is the standard IGM filing process.

However, the cargo might move to an inland customs port in some cases. The carrier has to then file the IGM document at those specific locations, including an inland container depot. The IGM filed at the gateway port is called the Gateway IGM.

For example, your shipment has arrived in Mumbai, but its end destination is Chennai. So, Mumbai becomes the gateway port. The carrier must file a Gateway IGM in Mumbai.

Amendments to IGM
Adding incorrect information in the IGM can jeopardize the entire transportation process. Therefore, carriers have to double-check all the details and rectify any errors. This is possible through the IGM amendment process:-

Step 1: Contact the customs department or a senior customs official, like the Deputy Commissioner.

Step 2: Submit an amendment request to the officials. You can go ahead with the rectification process on approval of the request.

Step 3: The customs department will hold the cargo until they receive the corrected IGM document. Submit the supporting documents to complete the filing process.

Filing and submitting the IGM is extremely important for adequately transporting cargo. To avoid amendments and complications, it’s imperative to carefully enter the IGM document’s details.

Carriers should also familiarize themselves with the customs formalities of the shipment’s destination. They can contact the customs department to verify all the documents needed for filing the IGM and other details about the process.

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