Transshipment of Cargo
A Brief on ‘Transhipment Procedure’ in Air Cargo
1.1 A number of ports,
airports, Inland Container Depots (ICD), Container Freight Stations (CFS)
having Customs clearance facilities have been developed in the country to
reduce congestion at the gateway ports/airports and to allow importers and
exporters to take Customs clearance of imported and export goods at their door
steps. The objectives of bringing the Customs facility to door step of
importing community and decongesting the gateway ports/ airports requires the
movement of imported cargo or export cargo between a port/airport and other
ports/airports, ICDs/CFSs in India or a port/airport abroad.
1.2 As per the Customs Act,
1962 duty becomes payable immediately after imported goods are landed at a port
or airport. To avoid payment of duty at the port of landing in cases where
goods are to be carried to another port/airport or ICD/CFS or to a port/airport
abroad, the Customs Act, 1962 provides a facility of transshipment of cargo
without payment of duty. The goods can be transshipped from one port/airport to
another port/airport/ICD/CFS either by vessel, air, rail or road or by
combination of more than one such mode of transport.
1.3 The procedure for
transshipment provided in Section 54 of the Customs Act, 1962 is applicable for
imported cargo only. The imported cargo unloaded at a port is allowed to be
transshipped to another port/ICD/CFS or a port abroad, if the cargo is
mentioned in the import manifest for such transshipment. In regard to export
cargo cleared from a port/ACC or ICD/CFS and exported through some gateway
port/airport, a similar procedure is being followed to allow carriage of
Customs cleared export cargo from port/airport/ICD/CFSs to another
2. Transshipment of cargo
2.1 A detailed procedure
has been prescribed for transshipment by air of (i)
imported cargo between two airports in India, (ii) international transshipped
cargo (Foreign to Foreign), and (iii) export of cargo tendered at one Customs
airport for export from another Customs airport. The movement of cargo between
the gateway airport and inland airport is allowed in Indian Airlines flights
and also in private sector airlines flights.
2.2 Transshipment of cargo
from a gateway airport to an inland airport: (i) On arrival of flight, the transshipment cargo should be
segregated in custodian’s premises. (ii) For transshipment of cargo, the
carrier/ console agent is required to file an application for transshipment of
cargo, consigned to another airport as indicated in HAWB. Cargo Transfer
Manifest (CTM) prepared by the carrier/consol agent, as the case may be, shall
itself be treated as application for transshipment. Separate CTMs may be
prepared destination-wise. Such transshipment should be approved by the Proper
(iii) The cargo mentioned
in the CTM needs to be escorted by the Preventive Officer from the warehouse of
the custodian to the warehouse of receiving airlines which acknowledges the
same. The concerned airlines/custodian warehouse should have double locking
arrangement, one key of which will be with the airlines/custodian and the other
with Customs, for storage of transshipment cargo. No physical examination needs
to be conducted, except on specific intelligence, for allowing transshipment
and only marks and numbers of cargo need to be verified.
(iv) The receiving airlines should
prepare its cargo manifest and transshipment be allowed under Customs
supervision. The value of transshipped cargo should be debited from the
(v) Customs at destination
airport will acknowledge the receipt of the cargo and send back the
acknowledgement manifest through the carrier. The carrier should produce such
acknowledgement at the originating airport within 10 days of transshipment. On
the basis of such acknowledgement the Transshipment Bond would be re-credited.
(vi) The usual procedure for
Customs clearance of cargo shall be adopted at the destination airport.
transshipped cargo (Foreign to Foreign):
On the arrival of flight, the transshipment cargo meant for destination abroad
should be segregated in the Custodian’s premises.
(ii) The carrier is
required to file application for transshipment of cargo and CTM prepared by the
airlines shall be treated as application for transshipment. Such transshipment
should be approved by the Proper Officer.
(iii) Cargo mentioned in
CTM need to be escorted by the Preventive Officer from the warehouse of
custodian to the export terminal. No physical examination needs to be
conducted, except on specific intelligence, and only marks and numbers of cargo
need to be verified. Such cargo may be exported with other export cargo.
2.4 Export of cargo
tendered at one Customs airport for export from another Customs airport:
Shipping Bill shall be filed at the originating Customs station and “Let Export
Order” should be given by the Customs at the same station. Transshipment Permit
(TP) should be prepared by the airlines/ carrier and approved by the proper
officer. TP should be sent alongwith the cargo and
Transshipment Bond shall be debited for the value of cargo.
(ii) On arrival at the
gateway airport, the cargo should be taken to the warehouse of the domestic
airlines/custodian in a clearly identified area. The warehouse should have
double locking arrangement, one key of which will be with the
airlines/custodian and the other with Customs. The Customs officers in charge
of warehouse should verify the details of the packages with the TP, Airway
Bill, etc. The domestic airlines may prepare the CTM airlines-wise which shall
be certified by the Export Freight Officer (EFO).
(iii) Cargo should be
shifted to the transshipment warehouse in the export terminal of custodian and
acknowledgement obtained. No examination of such cargo should normally be done
at gateway airport, except on credible intelligence or information.
(iv) When the aircraft is ready for
loading, the airlines should seek permission from the EFO for loading. The load
plan prepared by the airlines should be signed by the Airlines, EFO and the
(v) Cargo should be loaded
in the aircraft under Customs supervision.
(vi) Copy of manifest signed by the
EFO and Airway Bill along with copy of Shipping Bill should be sent by the
airlines to the originating station within 30 days of transshipment.
Transshipment Bond shall be re-credited at originating airport.
(vii) In case the
transshipment is by bonded truck, the marks and numbers of the packages shall
be verified with the details in the transshipment permission and the bonded
truck sealed with bottle seal in the presence of the Preventive Officer.
(viii) If transshipment of
cargo is also desired at some intermediate Customs airport, carrier/ airlines
should give advance intimation to intermediary airport. Customs at intermediary
airport would supervise the movement of cargo and endorse the same on
Transshipment Permit. The concerned airlines/custodian warehouse should have
double locking arrangement, one key of which will be with the Airlines /
custodian and the other with Customs, for storage of transhipment cargo. The
loading of such cargo again would be
under the supervision of Customs
2.5 If the cargo transhipped under the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962
is not unloaded at the place of destination in India, or if the quantity
unloaded is short of the quantity to be unloaded at that destination, and if
the failure to unload or the deficiency is not accounted for, then the
person-in-charge of the conveyance shall be liable for penal action as per the provisions
of Customs Act, 1962. [Refer Circular No.6/2007-Cus., dated 27-1-2007]
2.6 Airlines/ other
carriers having annual transshipment volume above 2500 MT to/from any airport
would be exempt from Bank Guarantee for carriage of goods on transshipment. [Refer Circular
No.24/2006-Cus., dated 25-8-2006]
3. Bonded trucking
3.1 With a view to
supplement the existing facility and provide adequate flexibility to the trade
in the choice of modes of transport, movement of imported cargo in containers /
trucks has been allowed between airports/ACCs and airports/ACCs/CFSs/ICDs as
per the following procedure:
On the basis of the request made by the trade and in terms of Section 45(1) of
the Customs Act, 1962 the Commissioner of Customs will appoint the airlines or
their duly approved agents or the custodians of gateway airport/ACCs or the
custodians of destination ICDs/CFSs/airports/ACCs as the custodian of all
cargoes to be transshipped under bonded cargo trucking facility from
airport/ACCs to ICDs/CFSs/airports/ACCs in hinterland by road. The permit will
be valid for one year from the date of issue initially and shall be renewed
every three years subsequently.
(ii) Transshipment of
imported cargo is governed by the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Customs
Act, 1962 and the Goods Imported (Conditions of Transshipment) Regulations,
(iii) The imported cargo
should be manifested for transshipment. In respect of consol cargo where the
Master Airway Bill does not show the final destination, the airlines filing
transshipment application should keep a copy of both Master Airway Bill and
House Airway Bill to indicate that the particular consignment sought for
transshipment is for an inland Customs airport/ICD/CFS/ACC.
(iv) For proper accountal of cargo the custodian should execute a suitable running bond with a bank
guarantee for an amount approved by Commissioner of Customs concerned. The
amount will be debited from this bond when the transshipment cargo is taken by
the custodian and it will be credited when the proof of handing over of the
cargo to Customs at final destination is produced. The custodian will be
responsible for any shortage or pilferage of the cargo.
(v) The custodian will
submit a list of trucks together will registration numbers to be used for
movement of each transshipment cargo. The trucks so deployed for transport
should be specially secured to avoid pilferage of cargo and have provision of
affixing of Customs "Bottle Seals".
(vi) The airlines/custodian should
have a transshipment warehouse within the Airport Apron area so that the goods
on unloading can be shifted to the transshipment warehouse without having to be
moved outside the Airport area. The concerned airlines/custodian warehouse
should have double locking arrangement, one key of which will be with the
airlines/custodian and the other with Customs, for storage of transhipment
cargo. Preventive Officers will be posted at the airlines/custodian warehouse
on cost recovery
(vii) If the
airlines/custodian does not have a transshipment warehouse, the import cargo
for transshipment duly passed with transshipment application will be received
by them from the Airport Authority of India's (AAI) custody to their make-up
area specially earmarked for the purpose of palletisation/containerisation on the same day under Customs supervision
if for any reason the goods
cannot be transshipped immediately, the same should be handed over to AAI.
(viii) The custodian
appointed and deciding to transship the cargo will present transshipment
application (5 copies) alongwith the copy of Airway
Bill (both Master Airway Bill and House Airway Bill, wherever applicable) to
the Customs Officer in charge of transshipment clearance. The original
transshipment copy must be affixed with Rs.20 stamp as T.P fees. The
transshipment application should contain details such as (a) name and address
of the importer; (b) name and address of the exporter; (c) country of origin;
(d) airport of destination; (e) flight no. and date; (f) IGM no. and date; (g)
description of goods; (h) value of the goods; (i) No.
of packages; (j) weight gross/net; and (k) details of container/palletised vehicle on which the cargo consignment is to be
(ix) After scrutiny of T.P.
application the T.P. Officer will issue Customs Bottle Seal and hand it over to
the Customs Officer supervising the loading of the cargo in container/truck.
The T.P. Officer will mention S.No. of Customs Bottle Seal on all copies of transshipment
(x) On getting the
transshipment permission the custodian/airlines will shift the goods from AAI
warehouse to the make-up area earmarked for the purpose of palletisation/containerisation or shift the goods from their warehouse
into the container/truck within the premises of the warehouse under the
supervision of the Customs Officer posted for the purpose. After loading of the
goods, the Customs Officer will seal the container/truck with Customs Bottle
Seal and under his name and signature endorse all T.P. copies as : “Supervised the loading of
.......................No. of packages on container / truck No.
...................... destined to ...................
airport/ACC/CFS/ICD and sealed with Customs Bottle Seal No.
..................... on ..................... (date) covered by Transshipment Permit No.
..........................” (xi) Original copy of T.P. application will be forwarded to the Import
Freight Officer (IFO) of Customs at the airport/ACC/CFS of destination.
Duplicate copy will be retained by T.P. Officer. Triplicate copy of T.P.
application will be handed over to the airlines/custodian. The Quadruplicate
copy will remain with the Customs Officer posted in the airlines/custodian
warehouse and supervising the loading of cargo. The Quintuplicate copy will be
sent in sealed cover alongwith the truck/container to
IFO of Customs at the airport/ACC/CFS/ICD
of destination who will
retain it after verification of cargo.
(xii) The IFO of Customs at
the airport/ACC/CFS/ICD of destination will check the Customs Bottle Seal and
description of packages as per T.P. copy and tally the packages with the copies
of the manifest received to ensure that the packages are in good condition. The
safety and security of the packages is the responsibility of the custodian and
in case of any damage at the time of in
transit, it should be clearly indicated in all copies of manifest and attested
by custodian. The IFO at the airport/ACC/CFS/ICD of destination after receiving
the cargo shall under his name
and signature give a suitable endorsement on the original T.P. copy, as given
below, and retain the T.P. copy sent with the truck for record. “Checked Customs Bottle
Seal and packages as per T.P. application No. .................... dated...................arrived on Container/Truck
(xiii) The endorsed
original T.P. copy will be presented by the airlines/custodian as evidence of
handling over of the cargo to the transshipment officer at the ACC/airport from
where the transshipment permission was granted. On receiving such endorsed T.P.
copy the transshipment officer will close the entry in the register.
airlines/custodian shall make necessary arrangements at the airport/ACC/ICD/CFS
of destination to remove the cargo and deposit the same with custodians
appointed under Section 45 of the Customs Act, 1962, under Customs supervision.
(xv) The airlines/custodian
shall produce the evidence of handling over of the cargo at the inland airport/ACC/CFS/ICD
of destination within 30 days from the dispatch of goods / failing which
suitable action will be taken. (xvi) The airlines/custodian will be required to
bear the expenditure on cost recovery basis over the preventive staff to be
provided exclusively for this purpose.
3.2 The movement of
unaccompanied baggage from airports/ACCs to ICDs/CFSs/Airports/ACCs shall be
allowed by the bonded trucks.
3.3 The procedure of bonded
trucking facility is available for movement of imported cargo both by containers
and trucks. [Refer Circulars No.
69/1999-Cus., dated 6-10-1999; and No.6/2007-Cus.,
4. Carriage of domestic
cargo on international flights:
4.1 Air India, Indian
Airlines and private domestic private airlines are permitted to carry domestic
cargo between domestic airports on their international flights subject to the
fulfillment of the following conditions: (i) Separate
space shall be assigned by the airlines or custodian in the cargo complex/area
of the airport for receipt and storage of domestic cargo till these are
delivered or dispatched.
(ii) Domestic cargo will be
received by the airlines in the designated area during the normal working hours
of Customs at the respective airport.
(iii) The containers/Unit
Load Devices (ULDs) used to carry the domestic or international cargo shall be
clearly marked or coloured or strapped, for
identification, distinction at the time of loading/ unloading, transportation.
(iv) Domestic tags shall be prepared for
identification of the domestic cargo with separate colour coding.
(v) Loading or unloading of
domestic cargo in any international flight/ aircraft shall be carried under the
supervision of Customs officers.
(vi) Domestic and international cargo
will be loaded separately, and shall be carried in hold area onboard the
aircraft distinctly identifying these cargoes.
(vii) On arrival of the
domestic cargo, at the destination airport, the airlines shall make necessary
arrangements to deliver the domestic cargo.
(viii) In respect of
transhipment of international cargo, airlines shall be required to execute
necessary bond and bank guarantee unless exempted on account of fulfilling the
specified threshold limit of annual transshipment volume. In addition,
prescribed transshipment procedure shall be strictly adhered to. Accordingly,
no separate bond or bank guarantee shall be required in respect of domestic
(ix) In case of any
violation of the prescribed conditions or any other regulations providing for
the manner in which the imported goods/ export goods shall be received, stored,
delivered or otherwise handled in a Customs area, necessary action may be taken
against the person including withdrawal of the facility and imposition of
penalty under the Handling of Cargo in Customs Areas Regulations, 2009. [Refer Circulars No.
78/2001-Cus., dated 7-12-2001; No.45/2005-Cus., dated
24-11-2005; No.6/2007-Cus., dated 22.01.2007; and No.4/2010-Cus., dated
5. Movement of domestic
courier bags on domestic segments of international flights:
5.1 The movement of
domestic courier bags on domestic sector of international flights of all the
airlines is permitted subject to following conditions:
The Courier company must be registered with Customs.
(ii) The packages/bags of
domestic courier should be clearly and identifiably differentiated from the
International Courier bags/packets by printing in bold “DOMESTIC COURIER”.
(iii) The domestic courier
bags should be kept in separate pallets and should be stored in the separately
marked domestic bins/containers on the aircraft.
(iv) At the place of
embarkation the domestic courier company will submit “goods declaration”
,indicating the number of bags, number of packages in bags, content of
packages, to the on board courier or person in-charge of the aircraft with a
copy to the Escort Officer of Customs.
(v) At the place of
disembarkation/ arrival, the cargo manifest will be filed by person in-charge
of the aircraft or on-board courier, as the case may be, with the proper
officer of Customs. In case on board courier is not accompanying the courier
consignment, the responsibility to file the cargo manifest with the proper
officer of Customs will vest with the person in charge of the aircraft.
(vi) The copy of the declaration
submitted to escort officer of Customs will be handed over by the Escort
Officer to the Customs Officer at the disembarking airport, for carrying out
the checks and verifications, if so required.
(vii) If the courier
consignment is accompanied by “on board courier”, they will not be allowed to
carry any courier bags on board the aircraft as hand baggage.
6. Transshipment from
gateway port to SEZ:
6.1 The procedure for
transhipment of cargo from gateway port to Special Economic Zones (SEZs) is
laid down under Special Economic Zones Rules, 2006. Broadly, the procedure is
the fifth copy of the registered or assessed Bill of Entry filed by an importer
in SEZ is to be submitted to Customs officer at the port of import, and is
itself treated as permission for transfer of goods to SEZ. No separate
documents or transshipment bond is required to be filed, and the transshipment
permission is stamped on the fifth copy of the Bill of Entry. The SEZ importer
shall submit fifth copy of Bill of Entry bearing endorsement of the authorized
officer that the goods have been received in SEZ to the Customs Officer in
charge of the airport or port or inland container depot or land Customs station
or post office or public or private bonded warehouse, as the case may be,
failing which the officer in charge of such airport or port or inland container
depot or land Customs station or post office or public or private bonded warehouse,
as the case may be, shall write to the Specified Officer for raising demand of
applicable duty from the SEZ importer. Similar procedure for export goods is
prescribed under the SEZ Rules, 2006.
7. Timely issuance of
7.1 Filing of transshipment
applications and issuance of Transshipment Permits on Saturdays is allowed.
7.2 Transshipment permits
would not be denied if the goods imported at a Customs station are manifested
for being transshipped to any port/airport or any ICD/CFS, except in case of a
specific intelligence about mis-declaration of goods
in the IGM or presence of contrabands in the container. Even in such cases,
before detaining any such container at the gateway port, permission from
Joint/Additional Commissioner shall be obtained in writing. The Commissioners
are required to look into this aspect personally and ensure that such permits
are issued smoothly and in a hassle-free manner. [Refer Circulars No. 46/2002-Cus., dated 29-7-2002 and No.90/2002-Cus., dated 19-12-2002.]
No.47/96-Cus., dated 16-9-1996; No.57/98-Cus., dated 4-8-1998; No. 31/99-Cus.,
dated 27-5-1999; No.69/99-Cus., dated 6-10-1999; No.34/2000-Cus., dated 3-5-
2000; No.56/2000-Cus., dated 5-7-2000; No.61/2000-Cus., dated 13-7-2000;
No.75/2001- Cus., dated 5-12-2001; No.78/2001-Cus.,
dated 7-12-2001; No.15/2002-Cus., dated 25-2- 2002; No.18/2002-Cus., dated
13-3-2002; No.46/2002-Cus., dated 29-7-2002; No.90/2002- Cus.,
dated 19-12-2002; No. 61/2003-Cus., dated 18-7-2003; No.87/2003-Cus., dated
6-10- 2003; No.52/2004-Cus., dated 7-10-2004; No.45/2005-Cus., dated
24-11-2005; No.46/2005- Cus., dated 24-11-2005;
No.47/2005-Cus., dated 24-11-2005; No.24/2006-Cus., dated 25-8- 2006;
No.6/2007-Cus., dated 22-1-2007; No.14/2007-Cus., dated 16-3-2007; No.31/2005- Cus., dated 25-7-2007; and No.4/2010-Cus., dated 15-2-2010]
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