Import General Manifest: Definition & Filing Procedure

An exporter’s and carrier’s responsibilities do not end until the goods have reached the safe hands of the importer. Although the division of risks, costs and duties of the freight shipment is a part of the contract, a wise trader is one who knows all the fundamentals of the entire shipping process. Some liabilities also fall upon the carrier/shipper of the cargo who represents the exporter in the international market. Knowing the IGM full form and filing it is one such compulsion that the carrier has to know.

What Is IGM?

IGM full form states “Import General Manifest”. It lies as a mandatory requirement specified under Section 30 of the Customs Act, 1962. Before the arrival of the cargo at the destination port, the shipping line/carrier or its agents has to file the details of the same to the customs department of the importing country. This document is what the international shipping industry knows as the IGM (Import General Manifest) filing. In the case of import via land transport, the import report is mandatory, which is similar to the IGM full form. It is the responsibility of the carrier to file the manifest, but an exporter must also have equal knowledge about it.

The carrier must discuss all the details related to the cargo with the exporter before shipping the goods.

Why is IGM Important in the Shipping process?

The budding traders and shippers have a lot of questions in mind regarding IGM full form and its filing procedure. This curiosity is for the fact that this step is not much talked about in the trade industry until one has to file it. So, unlike the other documentation procedures, this one is somewhat alien to the newcomers. What is the purpose of IGM? What is IGM full form? Why is it important to file the IGM? What does a carrier skip or miss out on filing it? These are the common questions in everyone’s mind.

The carrier is liable for filing the Import General Manifest before 24 hours of arrival of the cargo at the port. In most of the cases, the carriers take reference from the Bill of Lading or Airway bill that they issue to prepare the IGM. It contains a detailed description of the cargo and its exporter and importer. The general information includes the number and types of packages, the nature of the goods, shipping vessel or flight details, etc.

The Procedure of IGM Filing

The procedure of filing the IGM form is as simple as any other documentation required for the shipping process. However, the rules might differ from one importing country to another. Some countries ask the carrier to file the IGM upon the arrival of the cargo while some demand it before 24hours. Therefore, the priority of the shipper is to know the rules of the country.

  • The carrier has to prepare the IGM form mentioning all the required details of the freight shipment and its goods before the shipping vessel reaches the destination port. Once there, the IGM has to be submitted to the customs department of the importing country.
  • After filing the IGM, the customs representatives ask for the supporting documents that will be enough for proving the authenticity of the details. It is the sole responsibility of the carrier to ensure that all the details of the IGM full form match that of the supporting bills.
  • Once the import customs clearance department verifies all the information to be accurate and true, the carrier is free to proceed further.

Earlier, the carrier had to complete this procedure manually with the help of Customs House Agents (CHAs). However, thanks to the internet, this procedure can now be easily completed using the electronically linked portal.

Amendments in The Case of Wrong Information

Although every carrier does their best to make sure that all the information of the IGM full form is true to their knowledge, there can be silly spelling mistakes or changes in the numerical. No exporter or importer feels great about such mistakes, but if they do happen, amendments are possible.

  • The carrier has to inform the customs representative about the mistakes that have occurred in the IGM form.
  • The customs department will hold the goods until further processing is complete.
  • The carrier will have to produce all the documents that support the changes required in the form.
  • Once all the documents are submitted to the customs department, an NOC (No Objection Letter) from the shipper of the goods.

The IGM full form might not be as popularly known as the Bill of Lading, shipping bills, etc., but it is as vital as them. A small problem in the journey of the cargo can bring the shipment to a halt. The experienced and well-known shippers tend to be more efficient in completing the shipping process successfully. Therefore, the exporters should make sure that they choose a reliable shipping partner or carrier.

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