China to India Shipping: Costs, Duties, and Cheapest Way

For any shipping needs from China to India, whether by ocean or air, this page provides a wealth of information. Our insights and tips can assist you in selecting the most appropriate shipping method and mode and evaluating lead times and pricing for your cargo.

Sea freight from China to India 

It is an excellent choice for importing large cargo volumes, with delivery typically taking between 18 and 24 days to reach the destination port.

The exact transit time depends on the departure port in China and the arrival port in India and whether your shipment is FCL or LCL. 

You can ask yourself the following questions to decide between LCL and FCL shipping:

  • Is your goods suitable for sharing a container with others?
  • Are you comfortable with your shipment being handled multiple times during transit?
  • Can you accommodate potential scheduling changes that may delay your shipment?
  • Is your freight volume below 14 cubic meters? If it exceeds this, FCL freight might be more economical.

In addition, one of the most popular routes for sea shipments from China to India is Shenzhen to Chennai, offering regular departures and competitive rates.

As of May 16, 2024, the 20 ft container shipping cost from China to India (Chennai) is up to $1600. For the latest shipping prices, contact our shipping expert.

Air freight from China to India

Air freight significantly reduces transit times from China to India, typically 1 to 4 days. This method is ideal for:

  • Time-sensitive cargo
  • Small quantities, such as three or four pallets or less
  • High-value items like jewelry or semiconductor instruments
  • Perishable products like flowers, fruit, or unfrozen meat and fish

Despite its speed advantages, air freight comes at a higher cost, generally 4 to 5 times higher than sea freight. For instance, shipping a 500 kg shipment to Chennai may cost approximately $2.19 to $4 per kg by air freight, contrasting with much lower sea shipping rates.

As for this, you must carefully evaluate the cost-benefit ratio and consider air freight for high-value, urgent shipments or to maintain inventory levels.

Shipping cost from China to India

Shipping prices vary based on the chosen method, freight weight, and urgency. Here’s a rough guide:

Shipping ModePrice Range
Air freight$3-$8 per KG
Air express freight$5-$10 per KG
LCL (USD/CBM)$30 to $50 per CBM
FCL 20’ container$1550-$3000
FCL 40’ container$1600-$3200

Note: These prices are only for reference.

When estimating shipping costs from China to India, it’s necessary to consider all potential expenses:

  • Base freight rate:This varies based on the shipment method as outlined above
  • Fuel surcharges:These fluctuate with global oil prices
  • Customs duties and taxes:Depending on the goods’ classification, this can add 5% to 40% or more
  • Other fees:Including port fees, local charges, documentation fees, and insurance

Understand the customs clearance process

Here are some key points to note about customs clearance for shipments from China to India:

  • Currently, there is no Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between China and India, making it unlikely for shipments to receive tax exemptions.
  • India has a more complex customs clearance process than other countries, requiring detailed documentation. It includes obtaining commercial documents and rulings from various regulatory agencies such as excise, licensing, and export promotion agencies.
  • Certain items are prohibited for transportation without special exemptions, requiring an additional process to ensure compliance. So you must check your cargo is safe for shipment first.

In shipping cargo, customs clearance knowledge is crucial, highlighting the importance of choosing an professional agent to handle your shipments.

We at Airsupply, as an experienced freight forwarder, specialize in handling customs clearance and shipments from China to India. Our expertise ensures that your shipments comply with customs regulations at all times.

Import duty from China to India

When you ship goods from China to India, they encounter various charges, including VAT, customs duties, and anti-dumping duties, depending on the product type.

For example, electronics may attract different duty rates than clothes, directly impacting the landed cost.

Here are the customs duties on some popular products imported into India:

Product TypesDuty Rate
Textiles and Garments10-15%
Toys and Sports20%
Automobiles and parts15-30%
Mechanical appliances7.5-15%
Electronics and Components10-20%

You should stay informed about the latest duty rates and consider them in your shipping and budgeting calculations. Furthermore, to avoid misdeclaration penalties, ensure the accuracy of the HS code.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that additional charges such as Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) and Social Welfare Surcharge (SWS) may apply on top of the basic customs duty.

Streamline your China to India shipping

Selecting a shipping agent with a proven record of success in the China-India trade route is essential.

Airsupply can help you ship from China to India with specialized knowledge, a global transport network, and excellent customer service.

Our expertise in customs brokerages, for example, can reduce clearance times by 25%. We also offer tailored services like temperature-controlled shipping, reducing spoilage rates by up to 15%.

With partnerships and local agents in both countries, ASLG ensures smooth transitions across borders. Additionally, their responsive customer service team provides peace of mind with 24/7 support and dedicated account managers.

People always ask:

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

Here’s a general breakdown:

Sea freight typically takes 2-4 weeks.

Air freight usually arrives in 1 to 5 days.

Express shipping can be even faster, with 1 to 3 days.

Rail and road freight options usually between 15 to 20 days.

Please note that these are approximate transit times and can vary based on factors like the specific shipping route, carrier, and any customs clearance processes. For more accurate information, it’s best to consult with our shipping experts.

What is the cheapest shipping from China to India?

The best choice always depends on your specific requirements.

For instance, if your cargo weighs below 300kg or is less than 2CBM in volume, airfreight might be more economical.

On the other hand, if you’re shipping bulky items, sea freight is often much cheaper. For example, a $1000 parcel could be shipped for as little as $195 via sea freight.

Feel free to contact us for tailored solutions that best suit your needs and offer the most favorable outcomes.

What documentation is required for China to India shipping?

For shipments from China to India, you’ll need several essential documents, including the commercial invoice, packing list, bill of lading, air waybill (for air freight), and any other specific documents mandated by Indian customs.

What prohibited items can not be imported to India?

  • Antiquities
  • Obscene materials
  • Narcotic drugs
  • Pirated goods
  • Certain chemicals
  • Wildlife and associated products
  • Literature and maps depicting inappropriate information about India’s external boundaries

What are the key ports in China and India for shipping?

China’s Major Ports:
  • Shanghai: Handles 40+ million TEUs/year, with global connectivity, including India.
  • Shenzhen: Processes 25+ million TEUs/year, ideal for electronics and high-tech goods.
  • Guangzhou: Key for southern China exports, handling 20+ million TEUs/year, offers comprehensive services.
India’s Major Ports:
    • Nhava Sheva (Mumbai): Largest port in India, handling 5+ million TEUs/year, with advanced facilities and extensive connectivity.
    • Chennai: Handles 1.5+ million TEUs/year, strategic for automotive and industrial goods.
    • Kolkata: Processes 0.7+ million TEUs/year, with unique advantages for inland transport.

How can I track my shipment from China to India?

To track your shipment from China to India, utilize tracking tools provided by freight forwarders, shipping lines, or express courier services such as Track Trace. By partnering with us, you’ll receive customized solutions tailored to your shipments, with real-time updates on your cargo’s status.

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