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Customs Clearance Guide for Sea, Air and Rail Freight


Customs Clearance Guidelines for Sea, Air, and Rail Freight  


In China, export customs clearance involves complying with laws and regulations when moving goods in and out of the country. This process includes handling customs declaration, inspection, taxation, and release of goods, and it is crucial for ensuring smooth movement of goods through customs. Businesses need to understand and follow these procedures to avoid delays and ensure efficient shipping. Working with experienced customs clearance agents or freight forwarders can help navigate the complex requirements and regulations involved in the process.  

China Europe Railway

There are three different types of customs clearance: port customs clearance, bonded warehouse clearance, and customs clearance at the bonded warehouse.  

  • Port customs clearance:  This method is ideal for clearing an entire container with a single product and having complete product certification. Additionally, the non-Amazon warehouse address can be sent. The advantage of this method is the fast customs clearance speed and the ability to deliver directly after clearance without the need to tow the fare and unload the container back to the bonded warehouse. However, a potential disadvantage is that in the event of an inspection, the detention fee is very high and the time is uncontrollable.  

    Port customs clearance refers to the process of clearing an entire container with a single product through customs at the port. This method is ideal when the product certification is complete and the non-Amazon warehouse address is provided. One of the main advantages of port customs clearance is the fast customs clearance speed, as well as the ability to deliver the product directly after clearance without the need for towing and unloading the container back to the bonded warehouse. However, it's important to note that there are some disadvantages to this method. In the event of an inspection, the detention fee can be quite high and the time taken for the inspection is uncontrollable. It's important to weigh these pros and cons when considering port customs clearance for your shipments.

  • Bonded warehouse customs clearance:  In situations where orders are split into one cabinet, using a bonded warehouse for customs clearance can be a practical solution. This allows for cleared goods to be shipped out while uncleared goods are stored in the warehouse. This process ensures that the timing of sub-orders is not impacted and helps to avoid demurrage fees. While there may be some additional costs, such as tok fees and unloading fees, the overall risk is low. This makes it a suitable option for businesses looking to simplify their customs clearance process.  

  • Pull back to the bonded warehouse for customs clearance after inspection:  The port of Hamburg, Germany has implemented a customs clearance method, called bonded warehouse clearance, to address port congestion. After a container is inspected and cleared by the port, the goods can be taken back to the bonded warehouse for further inspection following negotiations with customs. It's worth noting that not all gates allow this method, and Frankfurt Airport does not permit bonded warehouse clearance.  

Customs office in China http://english.customs.gov.cn/

Customs office in EU https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs-4/eu-customs-union-facts-and-figures/eu-customs-union-unique-world_en

EORI https://www.zoll.de/EN/Businesses/Movement-of-goods/Import/Duties-and-taxes/EORI-number/eori-number_node.html

Customs Clearance Code In Rail Freight | ATB, ATA & ATC

What is ATB? German full name: ATLAS NUMMER

AT stands for the German customs electronic system ATLAS, B is the code name, and 15 represents a temporary number for applying for customs declaration, indicating that the customs has obtained temporary permission and has not yet cleared the customs. The first registration of goods entering the European Union is the forecast of the goods, which is generally used to register the whole shipment. A container is an ATB number.  

What is ATA

ATA, which stands for "AT Attachment," is a standard interface used to connect storage devices like hard drives and solid-state drives to a computer. It has been widely used in personal computers and laptops for many years. The ATA interface allows for the transfer of data between the storage device and the computer's motherboard, making it an essential component for storing and accessing data on a computer. The ATA number is used to declare the goods of each sub-order, ensuring accuracy in the weight of the goods, number of pieces, customs code, exporter, importer, and other information. ATA only registers sub-contract goods and does not enter the customs clearance process.  


After the customs accepts it, the ATA number will be automatically converted into an ATC number. The presence of ATC means customs acceptance, regardless of whether it is released or not. ATC search will be used for all subsequent transactions with customs.

The ATA number will be automatically converted into an ATC number once the customs accepts it. The presence of an ATC indicates customs acceptance, regardless of whether the item is released or not. After this conversion, the ATC number will be used for all subsequent transactions with customs.

3  Matters need attention in the customs clearance code

* AT is Atlas system, C is separate customs clearance

Such as AT/C/40/123456/03/2011/4851, 21 digits, 7 segments

The ATC number is a fixed 10-digit code used for tracking shipments. The first two digits represent the year of acceptance, the next two digits represent the month of acceptance, the following six digits are the index number, and the last four digits correspond to the customs area code. For instance, the Hamburg customs area is represented by the code 4851.  

*  The month and year recorded for customs clearance may not always reflect the actual timing of the clearance process. For instance, if goods are inspected in December 2019 but cleared in January 2020, the ATC number will be recorded as 12/2019 instead of 01/2020.  

*  An ATC number is valid for a period of 3 months. Any returns, destruction, or rectification of goods must be completed within this timeframe, as the number will become automatically invalid after 3 months.  

*  Please be aware that the original ATC can be used for rectification and must be completed within 3 months. No additional application is required, and it can be verified by customs. If rectification is not completed within 3 months, the original ATB must be used for re-declaration.  

Reasons For Customs Clearance Inspection

  • Importer information:  It is important to thoroughly review the product importer information to ensure completeness, particularly if the company has an offshore tax number. In accordance with EU product circulation quality assurance regulations, it is necessary to have complete importer information when a single product is returned by the customer for repair.  

  • Value and brand: If there are any concerns about the stated value, it's important to check if the product is undervalued. Additionally, for the product brand, it's necessary to determine if there are any suspicions of infringement.  

  • Electronic products:  We need to consider the safety of the product, including the risk of leakage after power-on, certification compliance (e.g. CE), the availability of a German manual, and the compliance of the product label with the manufacturer, importer, or European generation information.  

  • Textiles (clothing, luggage):  Are the chemical additives within safe limits, and do they pose any risk to the skin? Is there a washing mark on the product, and are the composition, process, and washing requirements clearly stated?  

Several Possibilities After Customs Inspection

  • Offshore tax issues: In order to clear customs without restrictions, the offshore tax number must be guaranteed by a local EU company acting as an indirect agent. This guarantee can only be cleared 10 times without the presence of a local EU company.  

  • Declaration issues:  Customs regularly updates the value of goods based on market value and requires importers to adjust prices accordingly. They also mandate the submission of procurement contracts, invoices, transportation costs, and other necessary documents. Additionally, customs can prosecute goods for up to three years and adjust tariffs based on the EU tariff rate, requiring additional payments for goods cleared within three years.  

  • Product problems:  Items that have not been certified, such as textiles with excessive chemical composition or lacking proper washing standards, cannot be cleared for import. If a product is found to be infringing on intellectual property rights or is a pirated item, customs will destroy it and it will not be returned. However, if a product has quality or certification issues, it can be returned.  

  • Packaging problem:  The product lacks a manufacturer, importer information, and model identification. Additionally, the CE mark is weak or missing certification, and there is no German manual. If the absence of a manual is the reason, it can be rectified in the warehouse without requiring the shipment to be returned.  

Relevant Product Certification Regulations

  • Electronic and electrical appliances: CE certification; nameplate (display product name, model, CE mark, manufacturer information); manual (content includes product safety, instructions for use, etc.).

  • Toys: comply with EN71 standard (safety test and chemical test); comply with toy directive 88/378/EEC; German manual; nameplate; importer information and manufacturer.

  • Adult products:  Purely charged products are categorized as electronic products under electronic product standards. If the products are in liquid form, they are classified as cosmetics and require monitoring of the production environment and product components. The manual includes detailed precautions for use. Additionally, the packaging must be made of plastic and include a plastic recycling mark.  

  • Textiles: Washable label (whether it can be hand-washed, ironed, etc.); cost table; chemical category (whether the main components are in compliance with regulations and do not contain toxic substances).

Why VIPU Shipping?

VIPU Shipping is a trusted logistics company with over 15 years of experience in the industry. We specialize in international freight forwarding and shipping services, offering a range of solutions for businesses of all sizes, including air freight, ocean freight, customs brokerage, warehousing, and distribution. Our reliable and efficient services, along with our commitment to customer satisfaction, make us the go-to choice for shipping goods across the country or around the world. We have the expertise to navigate the complexities of international trade and ensure that your cargo arrives on time and in good condition. With hundreds of shipments cleared through customs every month, we have a proven track record of getting imports cleared on time.  

What makes us different is our unique combination of:

  • We take pride in our ability to meet deadlines and provide a top-quality experience for every project we undertake. Our logistical expertise allows us to offer a range of transport solutions and utilize different modes of transportation to help you save money. With high-volume rates for the Chinese market, we pass on those savings to you. Our global base of operations ensures high-quality services in any country, with the experience to avoid confusion or cultural issues.  

  • What makes us different is our unique combination of qualities. We prioritize meeting deadlines and delivering high-quality results for every project. Our logistical expertise allows us to provide efficient and effective transport solutions, ultimately helping you save money. Additionally, our high-volume rates for the Chinese market enable us to pass on savings to our clients. With a global base of operations, we are able to offer high-quality services in any country without causing confusion or cultural issues due to our extensive experience.

For any inquiries about importing from China to Russia or Europe, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. You can easily get started by filling in your shipment details on our inquiry form, or simply contact us directly if you have any questions.  

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