Do ports have a responsibility to check customs release documents..??

bill of lading vs customs documentsDo ports have a responsibility to check customs release documents..??

This question popped into my head the other day after seeing the discussions on my post Bill of Lading vs Customs Documents..

Across the trading world, Port and Customs are two different entities and in a lot cases, terminals within the ports are privately operated whereas Customs is always part of the Government..

A terminal, off-dock CY or port would be the last bastion before the cargo is released to the receiver (in the case of imports) or shipped on board a vessel (in the case of exports)..

Just to jog your memory,


    • Port – a place within the harbour where a ship can dock for a commercial purpose of either handling cargo or passengers or taking care of the ship’s requirements..
    • Terminal – demarcated areas within a port for handling specific types of cargoes.. Terminals may be private and operated by various operators..
    • Off-Dock CY – is a customs approved Container Yard which located close to the port/terminal where full uncleared containers can be stored pending customs clearance..
    • ICD – refers to an Inland Container Depot which is a dry port based in the hinterland of a country (inland area of a country away from the coast or major rivers) and is equipped to handle full and empty containers..

As it stands now, the entire responsibility of release or shipment of cargo after due customs clearance rests on the shoulders of the shipping line and/or its agent, whereas the cargo is stored at the port and moves via the port..

While it is the responsibility of the client to process the documents with customs, does the port have any responsibility to ensure that the cargo released or shipped has been cleared by customs..?? After all, both entities are working in the interest of legal trade across the world..

So I wanted to hear from you if there are ANY ports or terminals in the world that has this check point..

Let’s take a vote..

Article republished with some updates

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9 thoughts on “Do ports have a responsibility to check customs release documents..??”

  1. Hello,
    In Portugal the containers are released only when the customs clearance is ok. In Portugal we have a system that the ship agency/shipping line, terminal and the customs have all access. If the customs clearance isn’t ready the terminal knows by checking the system and won’t release the cargo.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  2. In India, the importer have to submit a custodian copy of customs endorsed Bill of Entry with the Port or CFS along with the valid shipping DO (Delivery Order) to take the delivery of the cargo.

    Reply
  3. In Spain you couldn’t release the container if the customs brokerage (and the payment of the duties) is not terminated. The port and the Ocean Companies help the customs authorities to release the cargoes ONLY after to be 100% sure that the customs clearance was done.
    T

    Reply
    • Port Authority/ CFS / ICD are the custodian of Customs No One can remove the goods or cart inside the Goods with Customs permission. So the answer is Yes.

    • I used to work in Arshiya International – FTWZ ( Free Yrade Warehouse Zone). It was private port . We always used to release shipment from our port after verification by cuatorm dept., release and Delivery order of Shipping line.

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