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December 18, 2023

Comprehensive Guide to Shipping to India

India’s Import Landscape: Top Trading Partners and Key Commodities

India’s import sector plays a crucial role in its economic framework, with diverse commodities streaming in from various global partners. This article sheds light on various aspects of shipping to India. It focuses on India’s top trading partners and the principal commodities imported, painting a picture of the nation’s import landscape. It also delves into factors that influence the shipping cost to India.

Top Trading Partners:

India’s import arena is significantly influenced by a handful of countries, each contributing a variety of goods essential for the Indian market. Here are the leading trading partners:

  • China: Standing as the predominant trading partner, China’s share in India’s imports arena is significant.
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE): The UAE follows China, marking its stance as a vital partner.
  • USA: The trade relations between India and the USA have seen a steady rise, reflecting in the import sector.
  • Saudi Arabia: The gulf nation has a notable share in India’s import market, mainly due to its oil exports.
  • Russia: Russia’s contribution to India’s import market is also noteworthy, showcasing the long-standing diplomatic and trade relations between the two nations.

Major Imported Commodities:

A broad spectrum of commodities forms the crux of India’s import sector. The following categories are the major players:

  • Mineral Fuels, Oils, and Products of Their Distillation: This category tops the list, showcasing India’s energy needs.
  • Precious Stones and Metals: The import of precious stones and metals stands as a reflection of India’s thriving jewelry industry.
  • Electrical Machinery and Equipment: The technological and industrial sectors drive the demand for electrical machinery and equipment.
  • Nuclear Reactors, Boilers, and Machinery: These crucial industrial goods form a substantial part of the imports.
  • Organic Chemicals: The import of organic chemicals signifies the demand generated by various industries including pharmaceuticals and manufacturing.

For a more detailed insight into India’s import statistics and trends, visit Trend Economy.

Note: The statistics mentioned are based on data from 2022.

Rules, Regulations, and Necessary Documentation

Essential Documents for Customs Clearance and International Shipping to India:

Navigating through customs is a crucial step in the shipping process. Here’s a list of documents you would typically need for customs clearance and international shipping to India:

  • ProForma Invoice: A preliminary bill sent to buyers before shipment, detailing the purchased items and their cost.
  • Customs Packing List: A detailed list of all items included in the shipment, providing buyer and country of origin information.
  • Country Of Origin Certificate (COO): Certifies the country of manufacture of the shipment.
  • Customs Invoice: Required to determine the true value of imported goods for duty and tax assessment.
  • Shipping Bill: A document for obtaining export clearance from customs authorities.
  • Bill Of Lading: Details the shipment of merchandise and gives title to a specified party.
  • Bill Of Sight: Describes goods being shipped and delivered to a secure warehouse pending customs examination.
  • Letter Of Credit: A bank letter guaranteeing timely and correct payment from buyer to seller.
  • Bill of Entry: Contains details of goods, the importer, and carrier, essential for starting the customs clearance assessment.
  • Insurance Certificate: Proof of insurance for import customs clearance.

Customs Clearance Processes:

The process of customs clearance in India involves several steps:

  • Preparation of Checklist: Ensuring all required documents are in order and all goods are properly accounted for.
  • Submission Of Bill Of Entry/Shipping Bill: Submitting the necessary documents to customs officials for processing.
  • Cargo Tracking: Monitoring the cargo as it moves towards its destination.
  • Collection Of Delivery Orders: Collecting orders for delivery post-customs clearance.
  • Assessment of Bill of Entry/Shipping Bill: Having the bill of entry or shipping bill assessed by customs officials.
  • Customs Duty Payment: Paying any necessary customs duties assessed.
  • Examination of Goods: Ensuring goods comply with all necessary regulations and standards.

Consulting freight forwarding professionals familiar with customs clearance in India is advisable to ensure compliance with all processes and documentation requirements.

Read more: Importing to India

Country-Specific Guidelines

Cargo Shipping from China to India:

China has specific rules and regulations for shipping cargo to India. Some goods are prohibited from being imported, such as weapons, ammunition, explosives, and drugs. Other goods are restricted, such as agricultural products, textiles, and chemicals. For these goods, you may need to obtain a special license from the Indian government.

Cargo Shipping from USA to India:

The United States has export controls to protect national security interests, affecting what can be exported to India and the documents required. The Indian Customs Act of 1962 governs import and export tariffs and sets the rules for customs valuation for goods coming from the USA.

Get more information here

Cargo Shipping from UAE to India:

The UAE-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) facilitates greater market access through preferential tariff rates, affecting the customs process and documentation required.

Get more information here

Cargo Shipping from Saudi Arabia to India:

Saudi Arabia and India have bilateral agreements covering various sectors, affecting the customs process and documentation required. An Original Certificate of Origin is specifically mentioned as required for exporting goods to Saudi Arabia.

Get more information here

Cargo Shipping from Russia to India:

Currency Trade Agreements and Export Lists between Russia and India may affect the customs process and documentation required.

India- Russia Trade by Wefreight

Guide on Major Trade Lanes from China to India for Businesses

Expanding your business operations from China to India necessitates a thorough understanding of the key trade lanes that ensure seamless logistics between these two countries. This guide outlines the significant ocean and air trade lanes from China to India.

Ocean Trade Lanes:

Ocean freight plays a crucial role in trade between China and India, with several ports in both countries acting as focal points for shipments.

Key Ports:

  • China: Shanghai, Ningbo, Tianjin, Nansha, Shekou, Qingdao, Dalian, and Xiamen.
  • India: Nhava Sheva (JNPT), Mundra, Pipavav, Hazira, Chennai, Krishnapatnam, and Visakhapatnam.

Transshipment Services:

Transshipment services are available via the ports of Colombo (Sri Lanka), Singapore, and Klang (Malaysia), which connect to various other ports along India’s western, southern, and eastern coasts.

Shipping Options:

  • Full-Container Load (FCL)
  • Less-Than Container Load (LCL)

Various service providers offer instant online quotes for both FCL and LCL shipping, ensuring transparency and ease of operations.

Approximate Ocean Shipping Time:

The table below provides an estimate of ocean freight transit times from various ports in China to different ports in India.

Destination/OriginNhava ShevaMumbaiKolkataChennai

Shipping times from China to India by sea are generally reported to range between 14 to 35 days, 20 to 45 days, and 14 to 24 days, albeit with significant variances depending on numerous factors such as the route, shipping line, and container load type. It’s advisable for businesses to consult with their freight forwarders for more precise and updated shipping time estimates based on their unique shipping requirements and circumstances.

Air Trade Lanes:

Air freight offers a faster alternative to ocean freight, connecting major cities in China and India with estimated shipping times ranging from 4 to 8 days.

Common Air Routes and Estimated Shipping Times:

  • Guangzhou to various Indian cities: 5-7 days
  • Beijing to various Indian cities: 5-6 days
  • Shanghai to various Indian cities: 4-7 days
  • Shenzhen to various Indian cities: 6-8 days

Key Airports Operational:


  • Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)
  • Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport (SZX)
  • Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK)
  • Hongkong International Airport (HKG)
  • Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN)

Wefreight at India

Guide on Prominent Trade Lanes from the USA to India

Navigating the trade lanes between the USA and India is pivotal for the efficient movement of goods and services across these nations. This guide delineates the significant ocean and air trade lanes facilitating trade from the USA to India.

Ocean Trade Lanes:

The table below showcases the key ocean trade lanes from various ports in the USA to different ports in India, along with the approximate duration it takes for shipments to transit between these ports.

US Port of OriginDestination Port in IndiaDuration (Days)
Port EvergladesChennai53
Port EvergladesHaldia45
Long BeachNhava Sheva37
Long BeachHaldia37

Air Trade Lanes:

Air trade lanes offer a quicker alternative for transporting goods and services between the USA and India. Below is a table listing the primary air trade lanes along with the airline operating each route.

US City of OriginDestination City in IndiaAirline
ChicagoDelhiAir India
New York JFKDelhiAir India
New York JFKMumbaiAir India
San FranciscoDelhiAir India
San FranciscoMumbaiAir India
Washington, DCDelhiAir India
Newark EWRMumbaiAir India
SFOBengaluru BLRAir India
NewarkDelhiUnited Airlines
San FranciscoBengaluruUnited Airlines
New York JFKDelhiAmerican Airlines
India-dubai Trade by Wefreight

Essential Trade Lanes Guide from UAE to India

The trade lanes connecting the UAE and India are crucial for the seamless transportation of goods and services between these nations. Despite the lack of exhaustive data on specific ocean and air trade lanes, a summarized overview of the available information is provided below to aid in understanding the logistics framework encompassing these regions.

Ocean Trade Lanes:

Outlined below are the known ocean trade lanes from the UAE to India along with the estimated duration of journeys:

From UAE to India:

UAE Port of OriginDestination Port in IndiaDuration (Days)
Port of Jebel AliKandla Port in Gujarat8
Port of Jebel AliChennai Port13 to 20

From India to UAE:

Indian Port of OriginDestination Port in UAEDuration (Days)
KolkataJebel Ali23
CochinJebel Ali18
HaldiaAbu Dhabi36

Air Trade Lanes:

While specific information on air trade lanes is limited, several flights operate from Dubai to various Indian cities like Kochi and Kozhikode. Additionally, airlines such as Emirates SkyCargo are known for their operations from Dubai to India, especially during relief efforts.

Major airlines including Emirates and Air India frequently offer flights connecting prominent cities in the UAE like Dubai, Abu Dhabi with key Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru.

India as trade lane for Wefreight

Key Trade Lanes Guide from Saudi Arabia to India

Trade lanes between Saudi Arabia and India play a vital role in the movement of goods and services across these nations. Below is a summary of the notable ocean and air trade lanes facilitating trade between Saudi Arabia and India.

Ocean Trade Lanes:

A significant initiative by the Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) has resulted in the establishment of a trade lane via the Shaheen Express shipping service operated by Maersk, a container carrier giant. 

This service connects King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam to major regional hubs in India, enhancing trade between the Arabian Gulf and the Indian subcontinent. The Shaheen Express operates on a weekly schedule, although the exact Indian ports involved have not been specified.

Saudi PortIndian Port(s)Shipping Service
Dammam (King Abdulaziz Port)Major regional hubs in India (Exact ports not specified)Shaheen Express by Maersk

Air Trade Lanes:

To facilitate direct flights between Saudi Arabia and India, an air bubble arrangement has been established. Under this arrangement, both Indian and Saudi Arabian carriers are authorized to operate flights between the two countries, catering to passengers originating from or destined to either nation. This arrangement has been in effect since January 1, 2022.

This summarized guide aims to provide an essential understanding of the trade lanes between Saudi Arabia and India, aiding in the effective planning and execution of logistical operations for businesses and traders navigating these regions.

Trading in India by Wefreight

Detailed Overview of Trade Lanes from Russia to India

Trade lanes between Russia and India serve as critical conduits for bolstering economic relations and ensuring seamless goods transportation between these nations. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown based on the newly acquired information:

Ocean Trade Lanes:

A prominent trade lane has been established from Novorossiysk on Russia’s Black Sea Coast to Nhava Sheva (JNPT) and Mundra in West India. Notably, the multimodal transport logistics provider Ruscon has expanded its containerized service network on this route, and Russia’s Far Eastern Shipping Company (FESCO) has initiated a direct shipping route from Novorossiysk to Mumbai’s west coast. These routes are essential for transporting a variety of goods, thereby supporting the burgeoning trade relations between Russia and India.

Tabular Representation of Ocean Trade Lanes:

Origin Port (Russia)Transit StopsDestination Port (India)Average Transit Time (Days)
NovorossiyskIstanbul, JeddahMundra22
NovorossiyskIstanbul, JeddahNhava Sheva (JNPT)24
NovorossiyskAmbarli (Turkey)Nhava Sheva, Mundra25

Air Trade Lanes:

Recent developments have seen the introduction of several new air freight routes and increased flight frequency between Russia and India, reflecting the growing demand for trade. Notable carriers such as Aeroflot, SpiceJet, Volga-Dnepr Airlines, Aviastar Airlines, and Blue Dart Aviation have either launched new direct flights or increased the frequency of existing routes.

Key Highlights:

  • New Air Freight Routes: Aeroflot introduced a new direct flight between Moscow and Mumbai in July 2022, while SpiceJet launched a direct flight between Delhi and Moscow in August 2022.
  • Increased Frequency of Flights: Volga-Dnepr Airlines has increased its flights frequency between Moscow and Delhi from four to six per week.
  • New Carriers: Aviastar Airlines and Blue Dart Aviation have entered the market with new cargo services between Moscow and Delhi in September 2022 and October 2022, respectively.
  • Driving Factors: Growing bilateral trade, diversification of supply chains, and geopolitical factors have contributed to the increased air freight connectivity.
  • Economic Impact: The enhanced air freight connectivity is beneficial for both countries as it boosts trade, economic growth, and provides more options for goods transportation.

Money trade in Wefreight at India

Exploring India’s Import Tariffs: A Dive into Recent Policy Changes and Their Impact on Trade

Import tariffs in India are governed by the Customs Act of 1962 and Customs Tariff Act of 1975. The rate of tariffs can be influenced by various factors including the classification of goods under the India Customs Tariff Act, and the Indian government’s policies aimed at protecting domestic industries and promoting indigenous production. Here are some of the recent developments and details regarding import tariffs in India:

Recent Changes in Tariff Rates:

On February 1, 2023, the Indian Ministry of Finance reduced the customs duty on the imports of certain goods as part of the annual budget for 2023-2024. For instance, the duty on pecan nuts was reduced from 100% to 30%​1​.

Previous Changes:

In the annual budget of 2021-2022, the Indian government increased tariffs for 31 product categories including cotton, palm oil, denatured ethanol for select end-uses, solar inverters, and solar lanterns, among others​2​.

Regulatory Bodies:

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry promotes and facilitates foreign trade in India. The DGFT implements the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), which is notified by the Foreign Trade (Development & Regulation) Act, 1992​3​.

Country tariff information for shipments originating from any country