The different methods of transportation between China and India?


When transporting between China and India, you have 3 major methods of transports as methods whiche are the Sea Freight, the Rail Freight, and the Air Freight. In this guide, three of them are going to be explained entirely,  and we'll analyse their advantages and disadvantages. After reading this guide, you'll only have to find the one that corresponds to you.

Sea freight from China to India

Overview - Bilateral relations between China and India

The rapid expansion of India-China bilateral trade since the turn of the century resulted in China becoming India's largest trading partner since 2008, a position it still holds to this day. Since the beginning of the current decade, there has been exponential growth in bilateral trade between the two countries. In 2017 and 2018, bilateral trade grew at a robust rate of double digits. During the 2019 year, India was China's 12th largest trading partner. There was a 2.93% year-on-year reduction in total bilateral trade to US$92.89 billion.

The exports from India to China declined by 4.55% y-o-y to US$17.97 billion, and India's imports from China also saw a decline of 2.54% to US$74.92 billion. As a result of the impact of COVID also, overall trade with China saw a 13.1% reduction in January-September 2020 (US$60.5 billion) compared to the same period in 2019 (US$69.7 billion).

Bilateral investment has not kept pace with the expanding trade volumes between the two countries. While for the rest of the world, both countries have emerged as top investment destinations, mutual investment flows have yet to catch up. As reported by China's Ministry of Commerce, the total Chinese investment in India between January and September 2019 was US$0.19 billion, and the cumulative Chinese investment in India until the end of September 2019 was US$5.08 billion. The Indian cumulative investments in China through September 2019 amounted to US$0.92 billion.

Port of Chennai

Following closely behind the two previous major ports of India, the port of Chennai, also known as the port of Madras, handles more than 100 million metric tons of cargo every year. Since its opening in 1881 on the Bay of Bengal and more precisely on the Coromandel coast it is the third largest port in India. It is this position that makes it another key location contributing largely to the local economy. In addition to its economic role and its activity of transporting goods and containers, it is a tourist place attracting a good number of visitors every year because of the lighthouses surrounding it.

Website: Chennai's port

Port of Kolkata

Port kolkata is one of the newest ports in India with a depth of 13 meters and has been awarded the official status of a shipping port by the Indian government due to its significant contribution to the economy. The largest ships it hosts are nearly 500 feet long. It is the direct link between the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.

Website : Kolkata's port


Transit time between China and India ports

Check below the average time (in days) from India to China in different areas.





Shangaï 23 22 18 19
Shenzhen 20 18 15 15
Guangzhou 20 18 15 16
Qingdao 25 23 20 20
Tianjin 27 25 22 22
Ningbo 23 21 18 19
Dalian 26 24 21 21


What container can I choose for shipment from China to India?

There is different kind of containers, so you will find them below : 

  • 20'GP, 33 cm3 capacity, 20 feet container for general purpose
  • 40'GP, 67 cm3 capacity, 40 feet container for general purpose
  • 40'HC, 76 cm3 capacity, 40 feet high cube container

There will talk about the different containers modes of operation that you can use for your transportation.

We should know the different types of container modes when it comes to transportation:

What you should be paid attention to when choosing LCL

The clearance of goods can be influenced in certain cases, for example when certain restrictions concerning types of goods are valid in a country but not the other. It can be either in the terms of trades either in policies or regulations of these products in the exporting country as much as in the importing country. This is something needing a lot of care because if it is in the LCL container, the other goods can be also affected.

These are aspects of what you have to declare to the customs before or during an inspection, and other points needing to be treated with attention  during the import and export of goods:

  • Customs clearance: If for any reasons, some documents are missing, as for an omission of inspection, the goods transported in the same container will be affected if the container is held in customs, and it will disturb the clearance process for the whole container.
  • Complete documents: The consignor should make sure that the port of destination,  packaging, quantity, weight, size, the name of the goods, specifications etc should be correct with the situation and on the documents.
  • Consistency of goods:  The correct information has to be given from the beginning, because if the weight is incorrect and a cargo is over weighted,  there will have consequences on the container such as cargo damages or even accidents.
  • Temporary changes: The real conditions of the cargo have to be checked in real time by traders and shippers because it can need adjustment between the loading and the sailing of the ship. So that the shippers will have to contact each parties to guarantee the smoothness of the process.

Professional LCL companies have the duty to check the cargoes conditions before they get packed. They also have to judge the necessity to make changes and to anticipate the matters that could be influenced by various factors after the cargo reaches the port. If there are any potential problems, Parties should be contacted to arrange the concerns.

How much does sea freight between China and India cost?

The transit time between China and India depends on the shipment starting date but also on various factors and this is why we can't guarantee a fixed-cost for you.

You can benefits from a specialized quoting team which would free quote for you, so don't lose time and fill in our online form, with the maximum information on your shipment, we will give you a quick response about the quotation. 

Air freight from China to India

There are 2 categories of Air Freight

After mentioning Sea Freight, which is the cheapest shipping solution, but also the slowest, it's time to mention Air freight. More expensive, it is the faster and more accurate transport mode.

We are going to present both air freight solutions, which vary a bit from one to another :

In price and speed, but also in quality of service :

  • Express Airfreight: UPS, DHL, TNT, FedEx, ...
  • Traditional Airfreight: Air India, Air China, Go Air, Spicejet

Why do we choose air transport?

The air freight present few advantages that sea freight cannot offer such as its accuracy, the simplicity and low costs of international air transportation are its accuracy, the simplicity and low cost of the packaging, its rapidity and these are facts that no other transportation can match. (usually takes 3 days as transit time).

International air freight uses the volumetric ratio which means W/M is 6000 cubic centimeters to 1 kilogram, the actual freight calculated in kilograms. Although air freight is generally higher, international air freight has advantages for large volumes that no other transportation can match.

What is volumetric weight ?

The airlines price calculation reveals that when a cargo volume is small, but the weight is high, it will be calculated according to the weight. In opposition if the cargo volume is high it will be calculated according to this factor.

 Volumetric weight = (length cm * width cm * height cm) / 6000

The gross weight and the volume weight are used to calculate the chargeable weight for a determined cargo. The highest one is chosen.

Rail freight from China to India

Rail transport from China to India

Rail freight is an interesting option to consider for your shipments. It represents an alternative between the speed of air freight and the loadable volume possible by sea. This makes it the third most used shipping option for goods between China and India. However, for this option to be cost effective, you need to ship a minimum of 2CBM and your destination must be close to a railway station. Otherwise, the transportation costs between the station and the unloading place added to the import costs and fees charged in both China and India will make your bill much higher. If this is not the case, we advise you to opt for sea freight.

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

It takes 11-16 days for a rail shipment from China to India, depending on the exact location of the goods in China and their final destination in India.

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

The cost of rail freight depends of course on the cargo but it is often more expensive than sea freight. Nevertheless it is the fastest way to ship your goods in large quantities from China to India.

Train China to Europe

Door-to-door delivery between China and India

If you're already bored by these steps you will like this part. Between having to choose the transportation method, then the right container option between LCL or FCL, if it is by air which one between traditional or express... I mean, how should you focus on your business ? Docshipper proposes a  Door-to-door delivery service. Literally, we will come to your door to pick up your cargo and prepare the necessary documents and take care of the delivery until your door  including customs procedures.

Didn't we say we would save your time and money ? We can give you a professional and customized service so let's make it simple. Have a look at our website for any information you're looking for, andcontact us through our online form.

Customs clearance in India for goods imported from China


Customs clearance, refers to that products imported, exported and in transit must be proclaimed to the customs authorities when entering or leaving the customs territory of a country territory ; it is only after fulfilling their obligations and going through the formalities of customs declaration, inspection, taxation and release that the goods can be released and the owner or declarant takes delivery of them. Similarly, all means of transport carrying imported and exported goods for entry, exit or transhipment must be declared to customs, go through customs formalities and obtain authorization from customs.

At the time of customs clearance, whether for import, export or transhipment, the goods are under customs control and are not allowed to move freely.


Categories of tariffs

It is a tax levied by the State on goods and articles entering or leaving the customs territory under the authority of the customs. In each country, tariffs are generally high-level taxes at a rate specified by the highest administrative unit of the State, and for countries with advanced foreign trade, tariffs are often the main source of revenue for the State and even for the State Treasury.

What are Preferential tariffs?

How to calculate customs duties and taxes?

Here are three perspectives we should take consideration into when we are going to calculate the customs duties and taxes: Tariff type, origin, and Customs value.

As now, we use the same system in the all world, you should have first a look at tariff type.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System: HS code

The HS code System has been created in order to be a international trade commodity classification catalog,which is set by Customs Cooperation Council's Commodity Classification and according to the Standard International Trade Classification List. In reality, when importing or exporting goods the HS code is necessary for the appliance to custom supervision, taxation, statistics. To classify the commodities, the system use a classification based on the function, nature, purpose..

Commodity code is a scientific and is working for any needs linked to international business including statistics, production, transport, customs... It could also be called "standard language" of international trade commodity classification.

The composition of an HS Code is as follows

hs code pineapple

Customs vs. Customs clearance: Does Docshipper charge them?

At Docshipper, we are used to taking the all custom clearance process in charge by helping you in the documents collection and guaranteeing the smoothness of the process.

However, your customs charges are given by the government of your products. Please note this:   No agent has the right to charge you duty!!


Procedure and customs contact


Required documents


Bill of Lading

The bill of lading is issued by the carrier or the carrier's agent, certifying that the receipt of specific goods, allowing the goods to be transported to a specific destination and delivered to the consignee of the document. The bill of lading is evidence of the contract of carriage and a receipt for the goods. What does it contain? The content includes shipper, consignee, notify party, place of receipt, the port of loading, the port of discharge, place of delivery, gross weight, measurement, place, and date of issue, signed for the carrier.


Packing List

A packing list is supposed to give information on the Issuer, invoice number, number, description of goods and kind of packages, and should correspond to the declared bill of lading.

In addition, the letter of the credit is supposed to be given by the export enterprises because of its purpose of document for the foreign exchange settlement. It takes part of the supplementary documents added to the weight list and measurement list linked to the invoice. They list the totality of the packaging and their specifications, and different weights. The buyer will use these documents to check the variety, size of the goods and customs acceptance for the goods reception.


Certificate of Origin

This document can only be delivered by the government or a notary agency or the exporter to prove the origin of the goods. The certificate of origin gives informations on : name and address of the importer/exporter; commodity mark and number; mode of transport and route; commodity name; quantity; and weight, etc.

Restricted and prohibited products

As a successful importer that you want to be, you shouldn't forget to check the following details unles you want to lose time money and energy.

Cooperation relationship between China and India

India is now China's ninth-largest trading partner. According to Chinese customs statistics, the bilateral trade volume between China and India reached $66.7 billion in 2018.China is unsurprisingly India's largest trading partner, and has been since 2008. The bilateral trade of the two countries has undergone an explosive growth since the beginning of the decade. The bilateral economic activities have undergone a reduction of 2.93% compared to the previous year recorded at 92.89 billion US dollars. This is mainly due to the fact that India's exports to China decreased by 4.55% to 17.97 billion US dollars, while India reduced its import rate from China by 2.54%.

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DocShipper info: Do you like our article today? For your business interest, you may like the following useful articles :

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