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Tips to ship to India: all you should know

Created on | Last updated on July 19, 2023 at 01:59 pm

If you are a freight forwarder looking to explore the Indian market, here are some tips to ship to India that you need to know.

According to the Economic Complexity Index (ECI), in 2020, India was the number 6 economy in the world in terms of GDP (current US$), number 18 in total exports, number 12 in total imports, number 150 economy in terms of GDP per capita (current US$) and the number 40 most complex economy.

India’s exports and imports

According to the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry, India’s total exports (goods and services combined) in October 2022 were estimated at $58.36 billion, exhibiting a positive growth of 4.03% over the same period last year.

During the 1990s and 2012, India experienced an export boom that was able to position the country among the world’s high-income economies in terms of the sophistication of service products and as a share of total exports. 

However, while this has created unique opportunities for Indian growth when it comes to manufactured exports, India has lagged behind its emerging market peers in both quality and percentage of the total export basket, leaving substantial room for improvement.

The evolution of Indian exports follows a unique growth pattern: a well-integrated, technologically advanced, and highly sophisticated services sector thrives alongside a lagging manufacturing sector. 

A positive for the Indian economy was the increase in merchandise exports during 2021-22, reaching an all-time high of about $418 billion. This marks the beginning of India assuming a much more significant role in world trade and increasing its contribution to global supply chains.

India’s Top Exports:

  • Refined Petroleum ($25.3B);
  • Packaged Medicaments ($17.8B);
  • Diamonds ($16B);
  • Rice ($8.21B);
  • Jewelry ($7.57B).

Exporting mostly to the United States ($49.7B), China ($18.5B), United Arab Emirates ($18.1B), Hong Kong ($9.18B), and Germany ($8.8B), according to the Economic Complexity Index (ECI) data.

India’s Top Imports:

  • Crude Petroleum ($59B);
  • Gold ($21.9B);
  • Coal Briquettes ($20.9B);
  • Diamonds ($15.8B);
  • Petroleum Gas ($13.8B).

Importing mostly from China ($64.2B), the United States ($26.6B), United Arab Emirates ($22.1B), Saudi Arabia ($16.8B), and Iraq ($14.4B), according to the Economic Complexity Index (ECI) data.

What you should know before shipping to India

The Indian market can, if you are not extremely diligent, be a minefield of hidden requirements that, if not met in full, can delay an urgent shipment or even result in the confiscation of goods.

Shipments destined for India require expert knowledge of documentation and customs procedures to avoid time-consuming and costly mistakes. That’s why it’s important to check the regulations and ensure the correct documents are ready before sending a parcel to India.

If you want to ensure that everything arrives intact and without unnecessary obstacles, you need to make sure that you are prepared beforehand.

When preparing to ship goods to India, here are some tips to ship to India that you need to know:

  1. One of the most important shipping documents you will need to complete is the customs documentation associated with your goods. Incorrect or incomplete customs documents are a recipe for disaster, no matter how large or small your shipment is. 
  2. You also need to provide the consignee’s KYC documentation in advance. KYC stands for “Know Your Customer”. This documentation is extremely important when sending packages to India, as customs authorities need it to confirm the identity and address of the recipient. This applies to both businesses and individuals.
  3. Shipping paperwork can exist in both physical and digital formats. However, shipments to India need to be accompanied by printed copies of the documents.
  4. All information on the commercial invoice needs to be accurate and in English. Recipient details must be the same as in the KYC documents.
  5. All costs on the commercial invoice must be in a currency approved by Indian customs, such as rupee, dollar, pound, or euro. 
  6. Know where you are shipping your goods, and make sure you have the correct contact details for that location
  7. Spell the recipient’s name correctly when filling out the shipping documents and make sure their address, phone number, and other contact information are correct.
  8. Make sure there are no spelling mistakes or incorrect abbreviations, as this can cause delays.
  9. Make sure all your products are packaged correctly
  10. Make sure that everything is listed on your invoice before you send your goods.
  11. To avoid delays at customs, the recipient should email the necessary documents to the sender to print and include in the shipping documentation.
  12. Be sure to check the Indian regulations that apply to your product before shipping, as they are updated frequently. 
  13. Another way to avoid unnecessary and expensive shipping costs and prevent your goods from being held up at customs is to make sure you have complete knowledge of which items are prohibited and restricted.

Start shipping to India today!

India’s export sectors are booming lately due to a prolonged global commodities rush, attempts by companies and countries to reduce their dependence on imports from China, and an increase in demand for all kinds of goods.

Shipping freight to India may seem intimidating at first but the benefits outweigh the costs, and it is not as difficult as you may think. Use the list of tips to ship to India and make sure you choose the right freight partner to succeed in your shipment.

PRO TIP: If you need partners from India, search for freight forwarders on Parnity our members are ready to make new partnerships!