Category Archives: Steel – General

Procedure for Clearance of Steel Imports in India

The process of custom clearing goods can be a difficult one to  even for professionals handling import and export.

This post is aimed at simplifying the understanding of the procedure for clearance of Steel Imports in India.

Acronyms Used:

IEC – Import Export Code from Director General of Foreign Trade ( DGFT)

NICNET – National Informatics Centre Nationwide Communication Network

EDI – Electronic Data Interchange

RES – Remote EDI System

ICES – Indian Customs EDI System

CHA – Customs House Agent

B/E – Bill of Entry

The imported goods before clearance for home consumption or for warehousing are required to comply with prescribed Customs clearance formalities.

The CHA/Importer has to ensure the following documents are received at their end before filing a bill of entry.

  1. Signed Invoice
  2. Bill of Lading
  3. Packing List
  4. Material Test Certificate
  5. Certificate of Origin
  6. Insurance document
  7. CHA/ Importers signed declaration ( in the prescribed format)


RES enables CHAs/ Importers to file the import report from their own offices. The CHAs are not required to visit the customs office to file the import report or bill of entry.

RES can be downloaded and installed by CHAs/ importers using the website. The first step is to get registered and get a ICEGATE ID before using RES.\

Flow chart of Sequence of processes involved in custom clearing goods:

IEC code for Importer from DGFT

CHA / Importer submits declaration + invoice+ packing list online in RES

Checklist              If there are any errors, correct them

If no errors are found, upload the signed check list

Bill of Entry number is generated and information is sent to customs house

Group Appraiser assesses Bill of Entry

Audit Appraiser assesses Bill of Entry

Audit is approved by Assistant Commissioner – TR-6 is printed

Duty Payment at the bank

Examination of goods by Shed/ Dock Appraiser

Out of Charge is issued


CHA/ Importer can track the Bill of Entry using RES at any point of time and can reply to queries from customs house online and raise queries in case of any issue.

Once the self declaration / self assessment of goods is submitted through RES and after successful submission of signed check list, the Bill of Entry then appears in the screen of the respective Group Appraiser. The Group Appraiser then assesses the Bill of Entry on the system and marks it to the Audit Appraiser. After the Audit is complete, the Bill of Entry appears in the screen of the concerned Group Assistant Commissioner. This assessment is then approved by the Asstt. Commissioner concerned, TR-6 is printed at the Service Centre for payment of duty. The Examination Order is also printed along with the TR-6 Challan.

If the Appraiser does not agree with the importer regarding tariff classification / notification / declared value etc., he can raise a query in this regard. The Importer/CHA has to enquire at the Service Centre whether there is any query in respect of their Bill of Entry and should reply to the same through the Service Centre if there is any.

TR-6 is the challan for payment of duty with the banks.  The duty is to be paid through the designated bank. Online payment of duty is also available. Upon receipt of duty payment, bank endorses the payment and issues it to customs house.

After payment of the Duty, the Bank enters the same into the system at a terminal at their end. Then the Bill of Entry appears on the screen of the Appraiser (Docks). The Importer/CHA should present a copy of the bill of entry along with duty paid challan and other original documents including invoice, packing list etc. at the time of examination of the goods to the examining officer.

The Shed Appraiser shall examine the goods and enter the examination report in the system. After the examination of the goods is complete, the Appraiser (Docks) would give the “Out of Charge” order on the system. Thereafter, the system will print two copies of Bill of Entry for the importer and the Exchange Control Copies.

In case of any discrepancy found in the docks with respect to the goods, the same is reported to the respective Group through the system with the comments of the Dock Officers. On the basis of the examination report and the comments of the dock officers, the Group may revise the assessment or may raise a query.

Import Duty table :




Existing Custom Duty

1 Pig iron



2 Semis



3 Bars & Rods



4 Structurals



5 HR Sheets/plates (Non Alloy)



6 HR Coils (Non Alloy)



7 CR Coils/sheets (Non Alloy)



8 GP/GC Sheets (Non Alloy)



9 HRGO/HRNGO (Non Alloy)

72.08 72.11


10 HR/CR alloy steel (flat rolled) other
than items of Headings No. 72253090,
72254019, 722550 and 72259900


11 Flat Rolled Alloy products of heading
7225 3090, 72254019, 722550 and


12 Tinplates W/W and TFS seconds

72.10 72.12


13 Defectives CR/coils



14 Stainless steel HR coils for coin blanks



15 Melting scrap (iron, steel & stainless steel)



16 Re-rollable scrap




Roles of Sales Manager and Traders in Steel Industry



Steel is a highly capital intensive product to produce. By virtue of the “Corporate Brand” and the brand equity of a steel company, more often than not, the product gets sold by itself. Steel companies are normally big entities but most of the steel consuming firms are not as big as the steel producers, making the Steel companies to decide on how they price the product and what product they offer and how do they offer them.

Most of the steel professionals would agree that it is impossible to produce steel without rejections and complaints are bound to occur. However, it is also impossible to have a 100% quality check of end products before being dispatching from factory.   So this leaves one to ponder as how quality is controlled at Steel Mills? The quality of a steel product is taken care of to a greater extent by the production facilities that the company employs.  Any wise Steel buyer can say to a certain extent if the steel from a steel company is better or not based on the technology and the facilities used by the mill.

The above factors (viz., Brand name and Quality Control) significantly take care of the sales of any steel product.

So this leaves a case to look at the roles of sales managers and traders in steel Industry.

Steel Companies can be broadly classified in to

  1. Primary Steel Producers (or Major Steel producers)
  2. Secondary Steel producers
  3. Steel Trading Firms
  4. Service Centres
  5. Steel Stockists

Role of a sales manager is different in each of the above mentioned category.

Let’s touch upon the primary, secondary producers and the trading firms as they form the majority of steel companies.

Sales Managers in Primary and Secondary Steel Producers:

The role of Sales Department in many of the primary steel producers, is to allocate the production quantity based on the guidelines set by the management and forecast it (it can be export oriented, margin oriented, end industry oriented, product oriented etc).

The orders normally come to these steel companies.  But with a sales manager, the profit margin becomes better.

Some of the important roles of the sales manager in a Steel Producing Company are,

  1. To carry the company’s brand name to the market. Their actions will reflect on the image of the company.
  2. To increase the profitability of the company, by aiming to sell the products at a higher margin ( a well- educated B- school grad is not required to sell a product at a much lower price).
  3. Act a liaison between the management and the customers and try to meet the expectations of both of them.
  4. Co-ordinate the entire sales activity from order intake till delivery.
  5. Constant feedback to the management from the market and decide on future strategy.

The individual as such may not have a greater significance in bringing out a major change in any steel producing company. The rules are normally laid with a top-down approach and sales managers are carriers and implementers of these to the market.

Mostly the sales managers in such companies are called “Key Account Managers” and their roles would normally to co-ordinate and ensure customer orders are being delivered in time and to carry out the “Paper Work” and documentation as required by their company.

Trader in Steel Trading Companies:

The role of the Trader (cannot be called a sales manager as the role is beyond being a sales manager) is vastly different from a sales manager.

In a Steel trading company, the assets are their people, networks and trade finance.

A Trader has following addition roles to play over and above the roles mentioned above,

  1. Explore the whole steel market to look at opportunities.
  2. Be dynamic and establish contacts and build credibility with Steel mills (source)
  3. Develop customers and gain their confidence
  4. Create value addition to act in between the producer and consumer
  5. Ensure revenue generation with fewer risks.
  6. Gauge the trustworthiness of both producer and consumer before financing a deal.

Unlike the sales managers of a steel producing company, a trader is quite significant for a steel trading company as a traders are viewed as individual profit centers and  revenue generators for the firm, which is not the case in a steel mill ( Irrespective of sales manager, a steel mill can sell its products).

Trader has to act in a timely manner to have the correct information on all fronts to make a deal.

For steel mills, they have the option to sell/ pick and choose customers. But for a trader, the job is tougher they have to prove their value both to the source and consumer and they have to identify the segments where there is a need / gap and which is currently not being serviced.

In other words, Traders act as entrepreneurs and work as if the company is theirs.  This attitude is really important for any trader. As in a steel company, the sales manager has the option of selling less to reduce the work load and still being able to be a “good performer”, which is not the case in a steel trading firm.

Many Steel companies outsource the sales to established Steel trading firms to represent them in different countries as setting up their own offices and establishing them would be a costlier and time consuming process.

Following are some of the attributes (not in order or ranking) of a good sales manager/ trader

  1. The “HUNGER” and “PASSION” to sell more and not be complacent
  2. The “URGE” to do things and get things done as fast as possible.
  3. “NETWORKING” Skills
  5. Ability to gauge people – “INTERPERSONAL SKILLS”.
  7. “NO EGO” but maintaining “SELF RESPECT”.

I still remember the words from a steel professional to his sales managers, which I think is suitable for any business “At the end of every conversation, customer should get a feeling that he has won it. But actually you should have won it.

Happy Steeling !!

Steel Import Regulation in India


India being a net importer of steel is fairly an open & WTO compliant market for many countries to trade its steel products.

For the past year and a half, many must be pondering over the announcements of BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) on regulation for steel imports. Though some of them in the trade are fairly apprised of the regulation, it can still be a jinx for many.

This article helps in understanding this steel import regulation in India, which is BIS approval

Owing to concern on the quality of steel being imported, there have been some initiatives to prune on the quality front, to have a check on the inflow of inferior quality and to maintain quality standards.

BIS, a government regulatory body has made it mandatory for all the steel companies (manufacturers) to get themselves approved and registered under BIS, to sell steel in India.

These regulation necessitates all steel mills wanting to export its products to India to apply for the BIS registration, along with all requisite documents, and have the mill audited.  BIS registration can be a fairly time consuming process and companies applying for it should already have this in mind.

It should also be noted that not all steel products come under the gamut of BIS regulation.

I have divided the list to flat and long products and highlighted the products that fall under BIS and have also enlisted the products that are exempt of it.

BIS is Mandatory for following Products:

Flat Products:

  1. Hot Rolled Coils – Carbon Steel –  All dimensions- SS400, S235,275,355,40,500,etc.,
  2. Hot Rolled plates -Medium & high tensile structural steel – SS400, S235,275,355,400,500 etc.,
  3. Boiler quality carbon steel plates – Intermediate and high temperature – SA 515, 516, gr 60, 65, 70 all equivalent of it viz., P235NH, GH, P265 GH etc., – All dimensions.
  4. Cold Rolled Grain Oriented
  5. Cold Rolled non grain oriented –  Fully processed ( Watt loss not exceeding by 5.3 watt/kg or 1.5 Tesla/50Hz)
  6. Cold rolled non grain oriented  – semi processed ( Watt loss not exceeding by 5.3 watt/kg or 1.5 Tesla/50Hz)
  7. Plain & corrugated Galvanized coils/ sheets

The initial notifications exempted thickness > 80 mm and < 6mm from BIS. But subsequent notifications have made BIS mandatory for these dimensions as well.

In general all Hot rolled carbon steel flat products comes under this regulation.

All Alloy Steel flat products does not fall under BIS.

Following Flat products are exempt of BIS:

  1. All Cold rolled products, other than electrical steel mentioned above.
  2. Galvannealed
  3. Galvalume (bare)
  4. Galfan
  5. Aluzinc
  6. All pre-painted steel
  7. Aluminized steel
  8. Tin Plate
  9. Stainless Steel –  Coils /  Sheets –  Hot and Cold Rolled. 

Long Products & Semis:

Following long products fall under BIS regulation

Similar to Flat products all carbon steel semis (irrespective of dimension) are subjected to BIS regulation

  1. Ingots
  2. Billets
  3. Blooms
  4. Slabs
  5. Re bars  8 mm and above
  6. Structural grade wire rods and wires
  7. Beams –  610 <Depth <= 1016 mm
  8. Columns – 305 <size <= 356
  9. Angles –  between 50x50x4 to 100x100x8

Following Long products are exempt from BIS:

  1. Pipes/ tubes (ERW, Seamless, CDW)
  2. Alloy steel semis –  Billets, Blooms, Slabs, Ingots.
  3. Alloy steel bars ( hexagons, square, flat, rounds, octagons)
  4. Alloy steel wire rods and wires
  5. Stainless steel bars ( flat, round, square,hexagon, octagon)
  6.  Re-bars less than 8 mm.
  7. Bulb Flats.

Having gone through the products that does/ doesn’t fall under BIS, there can be a question of what is the definition of alloy steel and what is the minimum alloying content required to qualify as an alloy steel.  The definition of alloy steel according to Indian customs is given below,

Definition of Alloy Steel:

If any of the following alloying element is greater than or equal to below mentioned level, the steel will fall under alloy steel category.

Steel not complying with the definition of stainless steel and containing by weight one or more of the following elements in the proportion shown:

–        0.3% or more of aluminium

–        0.0008% or more of boron

–        0.3% or more of chromium

–        0.3% or more of cobalt

–        0.4% or more of copper

–        0.4% or more of lead

–        1.65% or more of manganese

–        0.08% or more of molybdenum

–        0.3% or more of nickel

–        0.06% or more of niobium

–        0.6% or more of silicon

–        0.05% or more of titanium

–        0.3% or more of tungsten (wolfram)

–        0.1% or more of vanadium

–        0.05% or more of zirconium

–        0.1% or more of other elements (except sulphur, phosphorus, carbon and nitrogen), taken separately.

The initiative from BIS to dissuade the import of inferior quality is undisputable, but looking at the time taken to get the BIS registration, one tends to ponder if this is a way to insulate the domestic industry from cheap imports.

No wonder India still continues to receive quite a good amount of hot rolled coils, plates, wire rods from China with Boron added which does not fall under BIS !!