Published : May 1, 2024, Updated : May 1, 2024

The Role of Import General Manifest (IGM) in Exports

The Role of Import General Manifest (IGM) in Exports

Import General Manifest (IGM) serves as a crucial document for importing goods, mandatory for presentation to customs officials at the destination port. This document marks the completion of the transport process, highlighting its significance for importers and carriers alike. Understanding the intricacies of the IGM is paramount for those involved in importing goods, as it ensures compliance with regulatory requirements and facilitates smooth customs clearance procedures.

By comprehensively grasping the content and implications of the IGM, importers and carriers can navigate the importation process more efficiently, minimizing delays and potential complications. Thus, a thorough understanding of the IGM enhances the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the importation process, benefiting all stakeholders involved.

What is an Import General Manifest?

The Import General Manifest (IGM) is an important paper needed at the port where the cargo is headed before it gets there. It’s like a big info sheet about what’s being shipped, including things like the IGM number, a detailed description of the goods, who’s bringing them in, which port they’re leaving from, and more. When it’s handed over, customs officers carefully check everything to make sure it’s all correct and follows the rules.

Basically, the IGM tells everyone that the cargo has safely reached its destination. This document makes the customs process smoother because it has all the necessary details in one place. It’s a big deal because it helps keep track of goods coming into the country and gives a thumbs-up that everything’s arrived where it should be. So, it’s kind of like the passport for cargo, making sure it gets where it needs to go without any hiccups.

Responsibilities and Collaboration in Filing Import General Manifest (IGM)

The company responsible for shipping, known as the carrier, has to fill out a form called the Import General Manifest (IGM) before the cargo arrives at the destination port. This form includes details like what’s being shipped and who’s sending it. But even though the carrier handles the paperwork, it’s important for the exporter—the one sending the goods—to know the process. They should chat with the carrier about the goods before they’re shipped. If the IGM isn’t done right, customs might stop the shipment, causing delays. So, it’s crucial for both the carrier and the exporter to get things right to keep the shipping smooth.

When to Submit the Import General Manifest?

Usually, the Import General Manifest (IGM) needs to be handed in within 24 hours after the cargo arrives at the destination port.

But sometimes, the importer can fill out the IGM before the cargo even gets to the port. This happens when the carrier sends a notice saying the cargo’s on its way.

Remember, when filling out the IGM, you’ve got to share details about stuff like who’s sending the goods, how much there is, who’s getting them, the ship’s name, and other similar info with customs. And make sure everything’s accurate! If not, customs could take action, like holding up the shipment. So, it’s super important to get it right.

Where to Submit IGM?

The carrier is responsible for submitting the Import General Manifest (IGM) at the destination port. This document needs to include details like who’s getting the package, what’s inside, and info about the ship or flight.

Usually, customs folks connect the IGM info with the Export General Manifest (EGM). But for short-distance shipping, they might not link these documents electronically.

Each customs office has its own rules and forms for filing the IGM. Carriers usually get two options: they can either fill out the form by hand or do it electronically. And don’t worry, customs officials are there to help carriers with any questions they have.

Filing the Import General Manifest (IGM)

By following these steps below and ensuring accuracy in documentation, carriers can facilitate a smooth and efficient importation process while complying with regulatory requirements.

Verification of Documentation:
The IGM process typically begins with verifying the airway waybill or bill of lading (BOL), which contains crucial information about the shipment. The IGM will include many of the same details found in the BOL, ensuring consistency and accuracy in the documentation.

Objective of the IGM: The primary objective of the IGM is to account for all goods being imported and to ensure that the importer has submitted all necessary paperwork related to the shipment. This helps maintain transparency and regulatory compliance throughout the importation process.

Declaration of Legal Obligations: Regardless of the mode of transportation used, the filing of the IGM signifies that the carrier has fulfilled relevant legal obligations associated with importing goods into the destination country.

Differences in Filing Procedures: The specific procedure for filing the IGM may vary from one customs department to another, depending on the location. Some customs departments require the document to be submitted before the cargo’s arrival, while others demand it upon arrival.

Understanding Filing Rules: Carriers need to familiarize themselves with the filing rules of the destination country’s customs department. While there may be variations, there are general points to keep in mind throughout the process.

Filling Out the IGM Form:
Carriers are responsible for completing the IGM form and providing details about the freight shipment before it reaches the port of destination.

Submission to Customs: Once the IGM form is filled out, it must be submitted to the customs department of the respective country for review and processing.

Submission of Supporting Documents: Customs officials will request supporting documents to authenticate the details provided in the IGM form. These documents help verify the accuracy and legitimacy of the shipment.

Ensuring Accuracy: Carriers must ensure that the details provided in the IGM form match those in the supporting documents accurately. Any discrepancies could lead to delays or complications in the customs clearance process.

Verification by Customs: After reviewing all shipment details, customs officials will verify the information provided in the IGM and supporting documents. Once everything is in order, the cargo can proceed to its destination.

Additional Formalities:
During the filing process, carriers must also check the BOL for a serial number, which is referenced in the IGM. Additionally, carriers may need to file a bill of entry based on the information provided in the IGM to complete necessary customs formalities.

Documents Required for the submission of the Import General Manifest (IGM)

The following documents must accompany the submission of the Import General Manifest (IGM). These documents are required to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and facilitate the smooth processing of cargo at the port of destination.

  • Deck cargo certificate or declaration
  • Income tax certificate (for export cargo)
  • The final copy of the port clearance document
  • Amendment application (if applicable)
  • ‘No Demand’ certificate from the Port Trust
  • Certificate for nil export cargo
  • Crew baggage checking application
  • Sign on/off application for the crew (as relevant)

Difference Between the Import General Manifest (IGM) and Gateway IGM

The main difference between the Import General Manifest (IGM) and Gateway IGM lies in their filing locations and purposes.

In the standard IGM process, when a shipment reaches the customs location, the carrier files the IGM document there and submits it to the authorities. This is the typical procedure for most shipments.

However, sometimes the cargo may need to move to another customs port, such as an inland container depot. In such cases, the carrier must file a specific document called the Gateway IGM at these inland locations.

For instance, if your shipment arrives in Mumbai but needs to go to Chennai as its final destination, Mumbai serves as the gateway port. Here, the carrier needs to file the Gateway IGM. This ensures that the cargo is properly documented and authorized for further transportation to its ultimate destination.

In essence, while the standard IGM covers the initial customs process at the arrival port, the Gateway IGM is required for shipments that move to inland customs ports or depots before reaching their final destination.

IGM Amendment Process: Steps to Correct Errors and Ensure Smooth Transportation

Making mistakes in the Import General Manifest (IGM) can cause big problems during transportation. To fix errors, carriers use the IGM amendment process:

Reach Out to Customs: First, contact the customs department or a senior customs official, like the Deputy Commissioner.

Submit a Request: Ask for permission to make changes by submitting an amendment request to the officials.

Get Approval: Once your request is approved, you can go ahead and correct the errors.

Wait for Clearance: The customs department will hold onto the cargo until they get the corrected IGM document. Make sure to submit any needed supporting documents to finish the process.

By following these steps, carriers can ensure that the IGM has accurate information, avoiding any disruptions in the transportation process.


The Import General Manifest (IGM) is a crucial document for smooth international trade. It ensures all the necessary details about shipments are accurately recorded and helps customs authorities keep track of goods entering a country. Understanding how to fill out the IGM correctly and what documents are needed is important for carriers and exporters to prevent any delays or problems.

By following the right procedures and fixing any mistakes through the amendment process, everyone involved can ensure the transportation of goods goes smoothly. Ultimately, the IGM is key to making sure trade flows efficiently and reliably between countries.

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