International Freight Forwarder and Customs Broker Based in China

Comprehensive Guide of Shipping to India From China (2024 Version)

Table of Contents

India is a fast nation and a profitable market for Chinese products. 95% of the country’s international trade is conducted through import/export ports.
There are 176 smaller ports and 13 major ones in India. We have a full, detailed guide on shipping to India from China. The guide includes prices, documents you need, the customs process, and an explanation of each shipping method to help you choose the best one for your needs. Some cases will suit your needs better and you need to take everything into consideration that is important to you and your business such as cost and the time frame.

Air Freight to India From China

India has 35 international airports, while China has over 60. The international cargo lines allow direct flights from one country to another. Other non-Asian airlines allow flights to international airports in India from China. Many freight forwarders have a large network of carriers that can offer different departures from the main airports in China to anywhere in the world, including India. Air freight is great for those shipping under 200kg and 2CBM and those needing to receive the package quickly.

Ocean Shipping to India From China

Transporting goods via the ocean is a more used option for getting goods out of China into India. Ocean freight is perfect for shipping out more than 2CBM and close to a big Chinese port. The downfall is the shipping time is significantly longer than other methods. If you need the goods quickly, then this is not the best choice.

When shipping to India from China, the goods can depart from all major ports like Hong Kong, Tianjin, Macao, Xiamen, Guangzhou, Qingdao Shanghai, and Shenzhen. The services can be port-to-port, door-to-door, and door-to-port. When you choose to go with the door-to-door service, the goods will go from the retailer or factory to an address in India.

How Long Does it Take to Ship to India From China?

Here, a table shows the shipping time between China and India via sea, air, and express.

Method Port to Port Door to Door
Air freight 2-6 7-14
Express – 2-6
Sea freight FCL 15-22 15-22
Sea freight LCL 15-22 15-22

How Much Does it Cost to Ship to India From China?

Yes, ocean freight is the most cost-effective way of shipping to India from China. However, it is also the slowest delivery option and can take around 4-6 weeks for the goods to reach their destination. Nonetheless, if you are not in a rush and want to save on shipping costs, then this is the best option for you.

departure destination 20’ container USD 40’ container USD Travel time
Shenzhen Nhava Sheva 500 500 16
Chennai 675 775 15
Ningbo Nhava Sheva 850 900 22
Chennai 850 900 23
Shanghai Nhava Sheva 800 800 22
Chennai 800 800 16

What is The Best Way to Ship Goods to India From China ?

The best way to ship goods from India to China will be determined by what the outcome goal is. For cheaper rates, you can choose ocean freight, but if you need goods faster, then choose airfreight.

Sea Freight: If you want to import a large cargo volume to India from China, then sea freight is an ideal shipment mode. It is a cost-effective option, but it takes longer to deliver goods to your destination port. Container shipping can be done via FCL or LCL shipping from India to China, depending on the size of your cargo.

Air freight: When importing high-value goods to India from China and needing them quickly, air freight is the most constructive shipment mode to choose. Although it may be slightly more expensive than sea freight, it is the fastest way to import goods from India to China, ensuring that your goods reach their destination promptly.

Prohibited and Restricted Items in India

It is important to be aware of the items that are prohibited from being imported into India. The Indian government has released a list of such items, and if any of these items are found in your shipment, they will be confiscated by customs officials at the destination port. Some of the prohibited items include wildlife and associated products, obscene materials, narcotic drugs, pirated goods that infringe intellectual property rights, antiquities, and certain chemicals. It is important to check the list of prohibited items before shipping to India from China to avoid legal issues.

Customs Clearance in India and China

When shipping goods to India from China, it is important to know the customs rules and regulations in both countries. Customs clearance is a crucial part of international trade, and the goods must be checked and an assessment made. All fees must be paid before taking off and when landing. To ensure a smooth customs clearance process, we must have all the necessary information and documents, which we have included below. Without these, your cargo can be delayed significantly. Including the correctly up-to-date information will get the cargo sent off quicker. By providing these documents and complying with the customs rules, you can avoid any delays or issues with customs clearance and ensure that your goods reach their destination promptly and efficiently.

Documents You Need For Origination Point

●Origin certificate
●Clearance for export
●Inventory list
●Composition of the merchandise
●Billing invoice
●Instruction letter
●Fumigation certificate
●Recipient of the goods
●The final destination
●Paperwork with the description of what is being shipped
●Supplier personal information

Certain Documents Are Required to Gain Entry to India

●Bill of entry
●GATT/DGFT declarations
●Product test reports
●Origin certificate
●Health certificate if shipping food items
●Insurance certificate
●Letter of credit if needed
●Bill of lading
●Delivery order
●Commercial invoice
●Purchase order

Obtaining an Import License

To start importing or exporting goods, you must obtain an Importer Exporter Code. Obtaining an IEC is relatively simple and a necessary step for anyone looking to engage in international trade. Once you have your IEC, you can begin importing or exporting goods.
You will need your bank statements, PAN card information, and identity information from the partner within your business.

You will need to apply online. You can do this by visiting the website and providing all the necessary details. Once you have been given your 10-digit IEC, you can then go to the next part of the journey.

How to Reduce Shipping Costs

There are many ways that you can lower the shipping costs. Check out our tips below:
Use Freight Forwarders

Freight forwarders can handle your international deliveries. They aim to find you the best option for your needs and get you a lower price on the shipping by negotiating with shipping companies. They can also help explain the process to you when it comes to customs and the documentation you may need to obtain.

Choose Shipping Methods Wisely
When bringing in cargo from China, choose the right shipping method to save money and ensure timely delivery. Evaluate available options and select the most suitable one to streamline your supply chain and improve business operations.

To make an informed decision about shipping, it’s crucial to consider more than just the price. The shipping cost is determined by several factors, including the package’s size, weight, value, and destination. Therefore, it’s essential to choose a shipping method wisely and research everything before deciding.

Opt for ocean freight to ship non-urgent goods cost-effectively. Although it may take longer, it can save up to 50%. Consolidating multiple shipments into a single container can significantly reduce per-unit costs.

Ports shipping to India From China

There are many major ports in China that ship goods over to India. We have listed those ports below:

Did you know that Chinese ports offer transshipment services to connect India’s western, southern, and eastern coasts through ports in Colombo, Sri Lanka; Singapore; and Klang, Malaysia?

●Port of Shanghai
●Port of Ningbo
●Port of Tianjin
●Port of Nansha
●Port of Shekou
●Port of Qingdao
●Port of Dalian
●Port of Xiamen


It can sound daunting to import goods into India from China but a few things can help to make the process easier. Know what you need to have in order before shipping. It is also important to find a freight forwarder specializing in shipments into India and aiming to get you the best price and shipping method for your needs. Even if you don’t know what to do, getting in touch with a freight forwarder who can advise and talk you through the process will help you understand how it works.


How Much Tax Will I Pay For Exporting Cargo To India From China?

All imported goods are undoubtedly subject to the Goods & Services Tax (GST) at a fixed rate of 10% of the item’s value. It’s important to note that Integrated GST (IGST) is an additional tax that is added to the value of the imported goods, along with any applicable customs duties. By being aware of these taxes and fees, you can confidently ensure that you are properly accounting for the total cost of your imported goods. Don’t let unexpected fees catch you off guard – be confident and informed before making your next import.

How Do I Avoid Customs Charges?

Maximize your shipping experience by accurately declaring the value of your shipment on the request form. This will ensure that the customs declaration is correct and that you won’t be charged more taxes than necessary. Avoid any issues by declaring a value that is neither too high nor too low. By doing so, you can guarantee a seamless and stress-free shipping process.

Do I Need Marine Insurance For the Cargo?

It’s important to obtain marine cargo insurance for your shipment to India. This route is notorious for a high incidence of cargo loss and is a natural disaster zone. Moreover, theft, hijacking, and spillage from other containers are common risks. Rest assured, marine insurance will cover any losses or damages to your cargo during its journey from the origin port to the destination port, while it is at sea.