What is a bonded warehouse?


In the international trade, bonded warehouse is the major hub to regulate goods flow in and out of Vietnam territory. Although bonded warehouse seemingly familiar with ICD (Inland container depot) model, but bonded warehouse mainly leans more on storing function, customs department than various functions of ICD.

Furthermore, bonded warehouse in Vietnam has specified regulations and policies when importing or exporting goods in/out of the country like the requirements for goods to store or the services that the providers support, all of those questions will be explained thoroughly in this article.

I. What is bonded warehouse?

Bonded warehouse is defined as a system of detached warehouse that customs department assigned specific area to process the procedures for goods to export or from foreign businesses that waits to export to third countries or import to Vietnam.

Bonded warehouse in ALS

In simpler words, bonded warehouse provides storage space for customs clearance goods and awaits for export, import or export to third countries.

Bonded warehouse is situated in isolated location in Vietnam territory, which is detached from nearby regions and under supervision, inspection of customs agencies.

According to Vietnam’s laws about authorized locations to build bonded warehouse:

  • High-tech, free-trade and special economic zone, industrial park.
  • Municipalities, major trade hubs for international trade

The usage of bonded warehouse is certified by leasing contract between the owner of goods and bonded warehouse service provider. 

Types of goods from domestic of Vietnam to bonded warehouse

  • Exporting goods that have been approved by customs and awaits to export.
  • Expired goods in temporary import and re-export duration

Types of inhibited goods to enter bonded warehouse in Vietnam:

  • Goods that falsify brands or names originated from Vietnam
  • Harmful goods for human or environment
  • Inhibited goods from export, import, temporarily ceased for import/export, exceptions cases by Prime minister of Vietnam.

In addition to above list, depending on the situation of import/export in specific periods, Prime Minister of Vietnam will decide list of inhibited goods to enter bonded warehouse. 

II. Export and import procedures for bonded warehouse

Domestic goods

The owner of goods or the authorized subject by the owner (In short: the owner) is required to comply with export procedures according to Vietnam laws and regulations before sending goods to bonded warehouse.

After the owner completed all of the procedures, he/she needs to sign leasing contract with bonded warehouse provider (In short: The provider) and fulfilling declaration papers for customs, delivering goods to bonded warehouse and other required papers to confirm and receiving goods to storage.

Foreign goods 

Similar to domestic goods, the owner is required to complete the procedures for importing goods to bonded warehouse. After that, the owner also needs to fulfill the following document: bonded warehouse contract, customs declarations and other related papers.

III. Managing goods in bonded warehouse

Goods in bonded warehouse are being managed under separated policies.

When the owner agreed with bonded warehouse leasing contract and started sending goods to the warehouse, the owner needs to notify with customs agencies with confirming document. Also, moving goods from one bonded warehouse to another needs the authorization from customs bodíe at provincial or city administrative level.

All of import/export activities towards to bonded warehouse need to be supervised and monitored by accounting book system. 

From the provider’s side, he/she needs to file reports regularly about managing goods and operating activities in 45 days period.

For damaged or reduced quality goods when storing in bonded warehouse over the time, bonded warehouse provider needs to notify the owner of the goods about demolishing them by agreement document with the confirmation from both sides.

IV. Common services offered by bonded warehouse provider in Vietnam

With the main function of storing goods that awaiting to import/export, services that being offered by bonded warehouse providers in Vietnam are majorly spiraling around operations, sorting and handling goods, besides, contact terms and negotiated prices for each or package services, bonded warehouse providers are able to support single or multiple services such as: 

  • Extracting the samples of goods for managing or customs clearance purpose
  • Packaging, arranging, sorting or maintaining goods in the warehouse.
  • Transfer ownership of the goods.
  • Dispensing, converting types of good (This option only applied for specialized bonded warehouse for storing chemicals and gasoline meet with Vietnamese administration’s standards).
  • Transporting goods
  • Other on-demand services as customer’s requirements

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