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Shipping from China to India

With the increasing globalization, importing goods from China to India has become a daily need for many companies and individuals. China has been India’s largest trading partner since 2008 and still maintains this position. In 2023, the bilateral trade volume between China and India was 136.22 billion US dollars, of which China’s exports to India were 117.68 billion US dollars

This will provide you with a detailed guide to shipping from China to India, covering how to import goods from China to India, including shipping methods, costs, time and how to choose the right freight forwarder.

Shipping from China to India

How to Import Goods from China to India

The process of importing goods from China to India is as follows:

  • Determine the demand: First, you need to clarify the type, quantity and quality requirements of the goods to be imported.
  • Find suppliers: Find reliable Chinese suppliers through online platforms, exhibitions or industry recommendations.
  • Sign a contract: Negotiate terms such as price and delivery time with the supplier, and sign a formal purchase and sales contract.
  • Pay the payment: Pay the payment in the manner agreed in the contract, such as wire transfer, letter of credit, etc.
  • Arrange transportation: Choose a suitable mode of transportation (sea, air, rail, etc.) and contact a freight forwarder or shipping company.
  • Customs clearance procedures: After the goods arrive in India, customs clearance procedures need to be completed, including paying customs duties and providing necessary documents.
  • Pickup and delivery: After completing customs clearance, you can pick up the goods from the freight forwarder or shipping company and arrange for delivery to the destination.

How to Ship from China to India

Although China and India share a land border, the two countries are so vast that most businesses use sea or air freight to import goods from China to India.

How to Ship from China to India

Sea freight from China to India

If you are looking for the cheapest way to ship goods from China to India, then you should probably choose sea shipping. Sea shipping is a mode of transport that moves goods by sea, mainly using container ships, but sometimes also bulk carriers or RoRo ships, tankers, etc.

Sea shipping is slow, and we need to wait 15 to 30 days for the container to arrive in India from China. However, the advantages of sea shipping are also obvious, in addition to being affordable, it is superior to other modes of transportation, especially for bulk goods or large equipment over long distances.

FCL vs LCL Sea freight from China to India

  • FCL (Full Container Load): A container full of goods is shipped from China to India, dedicated to one customer. Usually, we provide FCL shipping services for 20-foot containers and 40-foot containers (20GP, 40GP and 40HQ) to India. FCL is more cost-effective.
  • LCL (Less than Container Load): Sharing a container with other customers who have goods to the same destination at the same time. Of course, the final cost per unit is higher than FCL due to the extra work (merging, splitting, warehousing, paperwork, etc.), and the shipping time is longer. LCL is a good choice for small businesses starting out. If your cargo does not fill an entire container, we are ready to offer consolidated (LCL shipping) services from China to India.

FCL and LCL shipping are common, and if you are shipping large, heavy project cargo from China to India, we recommend using flatbed or open top container solutions.
Refrigerated Container: For cold chain transportation.
Bulk: For large and bulk cargo.
RoRo: For vehicles and wheeled cargo.

Our freight forwarding services from China to India cover all major ports in China: Shanghai, Ningbo, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Qingdao, Tianjin, Dalian, etc.
Depending on your specific requirements, we provide port-to-port, door-to-port and door-to-door shipping services from China to India. With our door-to-door services, taking into account the final destination,

Major seaports in India

Kandla Port
Located 90 km from the Gulf of Kutch, Kandla Port was built in the 1950s in the Kandla River region as India’s first export processing port. Today, it is India’s largest container port, topping the charts in terms of value and volume of cargo passing through it each year. It is also known for being the most profitable and busiest port for food grain exports and oil imports. Today, it is used to import oil, salt, textiles, and chemicals, among others.

Mumbai Port
Mumbai Port is the largest port in India this time, if we look at its size and traffic volume. It occupies a central location on the west coast of India, with a water depth of 10 to 12 meters, allowing large cargo ships to dock and move easily. One-fifth of India’s foreign trade passes through the port, making it a key part of the country’s economic and commercial operations. Its four main terminals receive and transport import and export cargo, including crude oil, chemicals, tobacco, leather manganese, and other essentials.

Chennai Port
Next to the top two ports in India, Chennai Port (also known as Madras Port) handles more than 100 million metric tons of cargo each year. Since its opening in 1881 on the Bay of Bengal, more precisely on the Coromandel Coast, the Chennai Port has been the third largest port in India. It is this status that makes it another key location that contributes greatly to the local economy. Apart from its economic role and the activities of transporting goods and containers, the Chennai Port is also a tourist attraction that attracts a large number of tourists every year due to the lighthouses surrounding it.

Kolkata Port
One of the newest ports in India with a water depth of 13 meters, the Kolkata Port has been granted the official status of a shipping port by the Indian government for its significant contribution to the economy. The maximum length of the vessel it has docked is close to 500 feet. It serves as a direct link between the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.

Air freight from China to India

When time is of the essence, air freight is a quick solution to get your goods from China to India. Maybe you are running short of a deadline for a project, or maybe the goods you are shipping are perishable and cannot withstand a month-long transoceanic transit from China to India. When all other modes of transport cannot meet your time requirements, air freight is the perfect solution. Sometimes people prefer to ship high-value products by air because it ensures greater security compared to sea freight.

Air freight from China to India is usually chosen for:

  • Urgent shipments
  • Small quantities, just three or four pallets or less
  • High-value goods
  • Products that must be delivered at the peak of freshness, such as flowers, fruits, or unfrozen meat and fish.
Air freight from China to India

Major airports in India

Overview of Delhi Airport:
Bustiest cargo airport in India.
Over 900,000 tons of air cargo per year.
Ideal for air cargo to northern and central India.
Direct flights to several international airports in China.
Connecting airports in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu.

Overview of Mumbai Airport:
The full name of the airport is Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Mumbai.
The second largest cargo airport in India after Delhi.
Can accommodate up to five wide-body cargo aircraft at a time.
The facilities include a dedicated cargo center for transporting perishable goods.
Airports in China: Beijing, Shanghai Pudong, Guangzhou. Cargo operators from China to Mumbai: Atlas Air, Emirates Air Cargo, Ethiopian Airlines Cargo, FedEx. IATA code: BOM.

Overview of Chennai Airport:
This is an ideal unloading airport for cargo to destinations in South India.
The site covers an area of ​​more than eight hectares.
The cargo apron can accommodate three wide-body cargo aircraft at a time.
A new, state-of-the-art cargo terminal is under construction.
China Airports: Shanghai Pudong, Shenzhen, Chengdu. China-to-Chennai Cargo Dedicated Cargo Operators: Etihad Airways Cargo, Korean Air Cargo, SF Airlines. IATA Code: MAA.

Bangalore Airport Overview:
The airport serves Karnataka and its surrounding areas.
Facilities include three cargo terminals and dedicated pharmaceutical storage facilities.
Provides convenient rail and road connections to the city of Bangalore.
China Airports: Shanghai Pudong, Guangzhou. China-to-Bangalore Cargo-only Operators: None. IATA Code: BLR.

Hyderabad Airport Overview:
The full name of the airport is Hyderabad Rajiv Gandhi International Airport.
Strategically located in the heart of central India.
Infrastructure includes a 14,000 square meter cargo terminal.
The airport has two runways.
There are no direct flights from the Chinese airport.

How much does it cost to ship from China to India?

Shipping market prices change rapidly. Ocean, air and rail freight prices fluctuate over time, influenced by supply and demand and carrier strategic adjustments. Year-over-year differences can be significant, and last week’s prices may not apply to this week.
The price from China to India can only be an estimate.if you want to know the latest and most correct price, you can contact Basenton Logistics to get a quote.

20ft Container Shipping Cost from China to India

The shipping cost of a 20ft container depends on factors such as the distance between the departure and destination ports, the shipping season, and market demand. Typically, the cost of shipping a 20ft container from China to India is about $800 to $1,500. For example, a typical route from Tianjin Port in China to New Mumbai Port in India now costs about $1,200 for a 20ft standard container (20GP).

Factors affecting shipping cost
Departure and destination ports: Costs vary from port to port.
Seasonal fluctuations: Shipping costs may be higher during peak seasons (such as around holidays).
Market demand: Freight rates may rise during periods of high demand.

40ft Container Shipping Cost from China to India

Like 20ft containers, the freight of 40ft containers is also affected by the above factors. Generally, the price of 40ft containers is more expensive than that of 20ft containers, and the cost is about US$1,500 to US$3,000.

Shipping Charges from China to India

From (China)To (India)FCL (20ft container)FCL (40ft container)LCL (per cubic meter)
ShanghaiMumbai$1,000 – $1,200$1,800 – $2,500$45 – $65
GuangzhouChennai$1,200 – $1,400$1,700 – $2,300$40 – $60
ShenzhenKolkata$1,150 – $1,450$1,750 – $2,350$45 – $65
NingboNew Delhi$1,250 – $1,550$2,000 – $2,700$42 – $62
QingdaoBangalore$1,300 – $1,600$2,000 – $2,800$45 – $65
Shipping Charges from China to India

Air Freight Rates from China to India Per KG

Air freight rates from China to India generally range from $4.50 to $10.50 per KG, the cost depends on the weight, origin and destination of the product, despite the relatively high costs, air freight is a reliable way to transport perishable goods, documents, medicines and any urgent items. To calculate air freight costs by multiplying the “billed weight” rate (given per kg/pound), first determine the weight or volume of the product.

From City (China)To City (India)Cost for 1 kg (USD)Cost for 100 kg (USD)
BeijingNew Delhi10700
ShanghaiMumbai10.5750
GuangzhouBangalore11720
ShenzhenKolkata9760
ChengduHyderabad10730
WuhanChennai11705
Xi’anAhmedabad11.5780
TianjinPune9715

DDP Shipping Cost From China To India

FromToTransit timeLCL cost
Sea Freight DDPChinaIndia 15 to 20 days$ 200 per cbm
Air Freight DDPChinaIndia7 to 10 days $8.5 to 12.00 per kgs 

Learn more: DDP Shipping From China

How long does it take to ship from China to India?

Sea freight usually takes 20 to 35 days, air freight usually takes 2 to 7 days, and rail freight usually takes 12 to 18 days.

Sea freight time from China to India

From Port (China)To Port (India)Standard Shipping Time (Days)
ShanghaiMumbai12-20
ShenzhenMumbai14-22
GuangzhouMumbai15-23
ShanghaiChennai15-25
ShenzhenChennai14-24
GuangzhouChennai16-26
ShanghaiKolkata18-28
ShenzhenKolkata20-30
GuangzhouKolkata20-30

Air freight time from China to India

From (China)To (India)Estimated Transit Time (Days)
BeijingNew Delhi2-4
ShanghaiMumbai2-4
GuangzhouChennai2-5
ShenzhenKolkata2-5
ChengduBangalore3-7

Cheapest Shipping from China to India

Ocean Freight
Generally, ocean freight is the cheapest way to ship bulk goods over long distances.
For example, a 20-foot standard container (20GP) costs about $1,300 to $1,500 from Tianjin Port in China to New Mumbai Port in India.
But it should be noted that ocean freight takes a long time, usually from several weeks to a month.

Air Freight
Although air freight is the fastest, its cost is also relatively high.
For small, high-value or urgently needed goods, air freight may be a more suitable option.
The specific cost depends on the weight and volume of the goods, as well as the selected airline and service level.

Land Freight
If the goods depart from the ports on the western border of China, you can consider entering India by land freight.
The cost of land freight is moderate, but it is limited by road conditions and the customs clearance efficiency of border ports.
For goods close to the border, land freight may be an economical and fast option.

Cheapest Shipping from China to India

How to clear customs in India for shipped goods

When your goods arrive in India, they will be subject to customs inspection, which involves a thorough check of all accompanying documents and a physical inspection of the goods themselves. Customs clearance in India can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on the situation. In addition to import duties and costs, India also imposes a 1% customs handling fee on all imported goods. This fee is based on the total value of the goods plus freight and insurance.

Documents Required for Customs Clearance in India

The most critical part when it comes to clearing customs from China to India smoothly and quickly is preparing the necessary documents. Here are the documents that must be prepared:

Importer Exporter Code (IEC)
The Importer Code (IEC) is a key corporate identification number required for importing goods into India. No one can import without first obtaining an IEC. The IEC is a 10-digit code provided by the DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) that is valid indefinitely.

Commercial Invoice
This legal document is required for shipping from China to India and is exchanged by suppliers and buyers, describing the goods sold and the amount owed to the seller.

Bill of Entry (BOE)
This is one of the most important documents, the importer must sign the bill of entry and submit it to the respective customs office within 30 days of the arrival of the goods in India.

Bill of Lading (BL) or Airway Bill
This is the receipt for the shipment and also the contract between you and the transport company, which is required for your goods to arrive in India.

Packing List
This document comes with your shipment, which describes the specific items included in the shipment, their quantity and dimensions. This document is affixed on the outside of the package.

Freight Forwarder China to India

Freight companies are organizations that specialize in providing international cargo transportation services, and usually have professional logistics networks and transportation resources. Choosing a suitable freight company can ensure that the goods are transported safely and quickly from China to India. When choosing a freight company, you need to consider its transportation method, transportation time, service quality and price.

Services provided by Basenton Logistics:

  • Air and sea freight: Choose the appropriate transportation method according to the urgency and transportation needs of the goods.
  • Customs clearance service: Assist in handling export and import customs clearance procedures.
  • Warehousing and distribution: Provide warehousing services and last-mile distribution services.
  • Insurance services: Provide freight insurance to ensure the safety of goods.
  • Real-time tracking: Provide real-time tracking services for the transportation status of goods.

Shipping goods from China to India requires multiple steps, including finding suppliers, choosing a mode of transport, and going through customs clearance. By choosing a reliable freight forwarding company, you can simplify the entire process and ensure that the goods arrive safely and on time. Understanding the transportation costs and time will help you better plan and manage your international trade business. Whether it is sea or air transportation, each mode of transportation has its advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the most suitable option according to specific needs can help importers achieve the best logistics benefits.

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