Documents Needed In Clearing And Forwarding In Uganda

Documents Needed In Clearing And Forwarding In Uganda

A Clearing and Forwarding agent or Freight Forwarder is an independent company that acts as intermediaries / agent between importers and exporters, they seek out and then coordinate the most cost effective and fitting way to move goods between nations. Clearing and Forwarding Agents (CFAs) are persons licensed by the Commissioner for Customs & Excise Department to carry on the duty of processing documents and clearing goods from customs control on behalf of the importers/exporter.

A clearing and forwarding agent efficiently manages the smooth and timely shipment of goods from one destination to another. Before the receiver hauls the cargo, the country of origin must clear it. Customs brokers usually arrange/take care of this by establishing an agreement between the consignee and the shipper. Clearing Agents and Freight Forwarders will assist you with the necessary customs transactions. A Freight Forwarder will arrange for your goods to be transported from one country to another while a Clearing Agent will make sure that your goods are cleared with customs.

Procedures Needed In Clearing And Forwarding In Uganda

Stages of the Freight Forwarding Process

Stage 1 – Export Haulage.

Stage 2 – Items Checkpoint.

Stage 3 – Export Customs Clearance.

Stage 4 – Import Customs Clearance.

Stage 5 – Destination Arrival and Handling.

Stage 6 – Import Haulage.

Requirements Needed In Clearing And Forwarding In Uganda

Application to the Commissioner Customs Department​.

Non individual TIN with import and export as a registered tax type.

Customs clearing agent license from the Commissioner Customs​.

Valid license number for the period.

The Customs Agency employees must have valid TINs with up-todate email addresses.

Documents Needed In Clearing And Forwarding In Uganda

Commercial Invoice.

Packing list.

Bill of Lading/Airway Bill/Railway Consignment Notes.

Sales Agreement.


Certificate of Origin.

Fumigation Certificate.

Phytosanitary Certificate.

Customs Information Needed In Clearing And Forwarding In Uganda

A Customs Bill of Entry duly completed and signed by a Customs Agent.

Other documents related to the purchase and importation of the goods such as:-

a)    Commercial Invoice

b)    Bill of Lading (for Imports by Sea)

c)     Airway Bill (for imports by air)

d)    Railway consignment note (for imports by rail)

e)    Freight Invoice

f)     Insurance certificate (if goods were insured)

g)    Proforma Invoice

h)    Certificate of Origin

i)     Permits (if necessary)

j)      Original and translated certificates of cancellation or

k)    permanent export for motor vehicles

l)     Road transit Customs Document (Commonly known as

m)  C63) prepared at seaport and entry port in Uganda.

n)    URA Form 1 for Motor vehicles

o)    • Any other relevant documents.

Customs Requirements Needed In Clearing And Forwarding In Uganda

Customs clearance is mandatory for all goods imported in to the country

 Note that the standard documents used in the application for tax exemption are the same documents that are used for clearance of goods. Additional documents may be required on a case by case basis depending on the nature of the import.

 Note that UN organisations, by the nature of their registration are duty and tax free. WFP food imports are tax free. However, any relief items are granted exemption on a case by case basis.

Weight and Value Band

For document rates over 5 lbs., please see the DHL Express 9:00 (non doc) rates starting at 6 lbs. below. These rates are applicable to both documents and non-documents.

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA):

WFP food items are not subject to full URA customs physical verification but ‘sighting’. Also a customs seal is affixed onto the fuel tank of every truck to prevent drivers from dumping fuel on the black market.

Uganda Quarantine Inspection Services (UQIS):

Inspectors check for any pest infestation, plant infections, grain breakage or contamination in commodities entering the country or in transit to third countries as per international conventions.  Upon checking each truck, the UQIS inspector allows it in or directs fumigation or may recommend destruction, depending on the findings.  For processed foodstuffs, after inspection he forwards to UNBS for quality check.

Uganda National Bureau Of Standards Needed In Clearing And Forwarding In Uganda

Inspectors check for conformity with standards relating to quality, shelf life, packaging, and contamination in the foodstuffs and relief items.  Imports meeting the required standards are allowed in, but any commodity falling short of these standards is impounded, re-exported to the country of origin or destroyed.

3.     After the physical verification a truck proceeds to the parking yard.  The driver hands over the two original C63 crossing copies and a copy of the WFP Waybill to the WFP clearing office at Malaba.  For NGOs the same would apply, two original C63 and a copy of the organisations waybill to their appointed agent.

4.     The transporters/drivers pays URA Road user charges per truck of UGX 82,200/= for Kampala and UGX 10,000/= for Tororo respectively plus bank charges. A bank payment advice form is requested for and payment is made through the bank, the returns take not less than 4 hours before URA issues a receipt.

Furthermore the transporters must pay parking fees of UGX 10,000 after every 24 hours per truck in the old yard or UGX 12,000 in the new yard. The Road User Charge receipt is handed to WFP staff/ or authorised clearing agent to attach to the entry which will be prepared as follows.

5.     The WFP/NGO Uganda customs documentation commences at this point.  A Customs Bill of Entry (IM4) is prepared for declaration of each truck received, by self-data capture done electronically on-line with a system known as Direct Trader Input (DTI) / Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA World) which is linked to the main URA server for instant data transfer from a remote DTI Centre. A hard copy print-out of each bill of entry is attached with the two C63 crossing copies plus a WFP/NGO non-commercial invoice. This compilation is hand carried back to UQIS and UNBS for official certification. The UNBS also requires submission of a completed application forms indicating details relevant for import inspection and clearance.

6. Upon endorsement by UQIS and UNBS, the entries are lodged at the Customs Long-room receiving section. Here, the entry reference numbers (allocated at data capture) plus other cargo particulars are manually entered in a receiving register.

Note: WFP has a blanket duty exemption on imports of Food items but for imports of Non Food Items, a specific tax exemption form is obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs per consignment and attached on the Bill of Entry. NGOs require the tax exemption without which they must pay the full tax.

The Customs Long-room is a restricted area to non-customs staff members. WFP/NGO staff is not exceptional in this case. Consignees and their agents therefore have limited control over the documents lodged once they are received at lodging point.  The lodged entries process is however followed up through window pin holes. Currently for WFP, the maximum time frame allotted within which to process a lodged home use entry is 48hrs.

7.     From the Receiving section, the entry is forwarded to the Assessment desk to be vetted for any discrepancies in the declaration.  The cargo value is reviewed; any errors or inconsistencies in declaration or data capture are queried and corrected.  The Officer also queries the ASYCUDA World system to determine the channel of further processing i.e. Green, Yellow or Red. Invariably if the system allocates WFP entries to the green channel the entries are forwarded to the Releasing Officer who sends the courier or agent or consignee in the case of WFP to take them to the Bonds section.

8.     At the Bonds section, dispatch copies of the C63 from Kenya are attached to the original C63 Crossing copy and reconciliation is made in the register. The Entries are then sent back to the Releasing officer’s desk (In Charge Customs Long-room)

9.     The Releasing Officer then reviews each entry to ensure that all procedures have been observed, prints a release order then endorses the entry as released and forwards to Separation desk.

10.    At Separation desk, an entry is split into Importer’s copies and Customs Station copies.  On receiving WFP/NGO copies, the authorised agent/WFP further separate office copies from driver’s copies and hand over the latter to the transporters representative or drivers.

11.    Finally the driver is given his copy of the entry and clears through the upper gate. Drivers are assisted by their respective transport company representatives to flag them off.

NOTE: In some cases the IM4 entries are lodged at Malaba for imports depending on the organisations planning and requirements. This saves money and time since the same 8 stages of customs process will be repeated for inland clearance at ICD in Kampala.

B) Customs Clearance for Import by Rail

In 2005 the Government of Kenya and the Government of Uganda outsourced the management of the Kenya Railways and Uganda Railways to the Rift Valley Railways Consortium (RVR) from South Africa. The selection of RVR management was done through competitive bidding.

For humanitarian organisations importing by rail transport CIP Kampala, the goods are cleared in transit by Rift Valley Railways at Tororo to Kampala for final clearance.

The Procedures for clearance of inbound cargo conveyed by Railway bear some similarity with stages 1 to 8 outlined above albeit with an older version of customs regime. Processing is done at the Tororo Railway Station & Tororo Customs Station, about 17 Km away from the Malaba border point. This following process is customised to WFP because of the presence of their warehouses in Tororo.

In the past, from the Kenyan port of Mombasa, the trains were operated by Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC). On arrival at Malaba Railway Station the KRC cleared the wagons to cross into Uganda. KRC locomotives would then terminate their journey at this point. The Rift Valley Railways (RVR) now has the concession to operate the KRC and URC.

Once in Uganda, RVR dispatches locomotives from Tororo across the border, to marshal and shunt the wagons to Tororo Railway Station Interstate yard.

The wagons consigned to WFP Kampala are cleared by RVR as transit and manifested for onward rail to Kampala. The wagons consigned to WFP Tororo are marshalled at the Goods shed pending customs clearance by the WFP office or its designated agent.

1.     Every morning WFP clearing staff/agent goes to the Tororo Railway Station and first take stand age of the newly arrived wagons. They then proceed to the customs office and receive the C63s for the Tororo bound wagons and proceed to the RVR Goods Agent who raises the wagon consignment notes accordingly.

2.     These documents are compiled to make a Customs Bill of Entry (IM4) declaration for all the wagons manifested and a Cargo receipt is issued by the customs office for RVR to immediately shunt the wagons to WFP Tororo Warehouse rail siding.

3.     The IM4 Entry is taken to URA Tororo Customs Long room for registration and data capture. Note this customs station has not yet upgraded to ASYCUDA World therefore no self-data capture is yet possible here but is done by a customs officer at the station.

4.     A Customs Verification Officer is assigned to inspect the cargo at the warehouse siding and offloading can proceed, in the presence of the freight forwarders representative’s i.e. of nominated WFP forwarders at Mombasa Port.

5.     The Verification Officer writes a Verification Account detailing the cargo s\he has inspected.

6.     The IM4 entry is forwarded for valuation and assessment. In case of a rejection we are notified and make the amendment.

7.     Finally the IM4 entry is released and forwarded for separation.

8.     At separation desk, importer’s copies are split from Customs station copies.

Note: It was intended for the joint Kenya/Uganda Customs border clearance for inbound cargo by Rail, at Malaba, Kenya Railway Station. Entry document processing will no longer be at Tororo but at URA Customs Malaba, Uganda, using the Electronic on-line DTI ASYCUDA World system already in use for cargo by Road. To date this has only been partially implemented to the extent that there are KRA officers who sit in URA offices and vice versa. But full joint border operations have not yet been practically implemented. This collaboration is a project by the World Bank.

Before the computerized system came into place it was possible to do a pre-clearance of goods pending approval of duty and tax exemption. The current system does not have a provision for this. To facilitate smooth flow of humanitarian assistance a new process INSITU has been introduced. The Clearing agent is able to pre-clear goods into a “warehouse” but releases them for use by the consignee pending receipt of the exemption. The agent then becomes responsible to the Government for the follow-up of the exemption for submission to customs.

Office Location For Clearing And Forwarding In Uganda

 Airport Road-Entebbe. P.O.Box 5536, Kampala

+256 312 352 000

 Mon – Sat: 8:00 – 17:00