Shipping from USA to India 2

Shipping from USA to India: The Ultimate Guide

India is the second most populated country after China with a fast-growing urban economy who largely consume USA product.

This has seen a growth curve in the shipping trade from the USA to India for commercial, household, and personal products.

If you want to learn more about shipping from the USA to India, you will find all information right here.

Keep reading to learn more.

Calculating the Cost of Shipping from the USA to India

The cost of shipping consignment from the USA to India varies depending on the following factors:

· Shipping Destination

Shipping destination affects the cost of shipping depending on the pickup point in the USA and destination of arrival in India.

The locations are ranked from zone 1 to zone 8 and the higher the zone the higher the cost of shipping.

Mode of Shipping; Air or Ocean Freight

Airfreight charges are more expensive than ocean freight for the same weight of goods.

Type of Ocean Freight Shipping Method

Less container load (LCL) calculates the space occupied in the container whereas full container load (FCL) factors the whole container.

This makes LCL shipping costs cheaper than FCL.

Package Dimensional Weight

Carriers use the dimensional weight (DIM) of the package to calculate the shipping rates.

They achieve this by multiplying the length width and height and dividing by the standard DIM figure.

Package Weight of the Goods

The weight of the package is compared against the DIM, and the higher one is used to calculate the shipping rates.

The heavier the package the higher the cost of shipping.

Value of Package

The higher the value of the package higher the cost of shipping because of the need to ensure the goods during transit.

Insurance protects you from damage or loss when shipping.

How to Reduce Cost of Shipping from the USA to India

Shipping cost is one of the most expensive transactions when shipping from the USA to India.

To cut on this cost, the buyer can try the following:

  • Negotiate for shipping discounts with the carriers. This is very possible if you are a regular client.
  • Use your shipping account number to boost your shipping volume. This can easily earn you cheaper rates or points that you can redeem.
  • Bulk buying of supplies offers you discounted rates that you can use to ship.
  • Know your package size to help use the right packaging boxes. Using bigger boxes for a smaller package may cost you more since they affect the weight and size.
  • Get quotations from different carriers and go for the lower rate but with a good shipping reputation.
  • Use third-party insurance because it is cheaper than carrier insurance.
  • Use shipping options such as less container load for bulk but few goods
  • Use flat-rate packaging which does not usually vary
  • Liaise with the supplier to send goods directly to you using your account number. This eliminates the cost of paying a third party to handle your shipment.
  • Take advantage of the free shipping services season
  • Use online payment options to save you a few coins. Some carriers offer discounts on the online payment or free pick-up services.
  • Use the nearest and shortest route to reduce shipping distance, also frequent usage of a route may earn you discounts.

How to Work with Freight Forwarders when Shipping from the USA to India

Freight forwarders are intermediary companies that assist with the transportation of goods from the USA to India on behalf of a buyer.

They are able to coordinate the movement of goods efficiently, are reliable, and can negotiate for affordable rates with carriers.

Services provided by Freight Forwarding Companies include:

 Freight forwarding

Freight forwarding

  • Warehousing or storage of goods in the USA and upon arrival in India
  • Packaging of goods
  • Facilitate transportation of goods from the USA to India
  • Customs clearance in USA and India
  • Provide shipping documentation and insurance
  • Shipment tracking during transit
  • Handling of dangerous goods

It is important to note that Indian freight forwarders also have a list of restricted goods such as flammables, narcotics, weapons, etc.

Working with freight forwarders involve:

1. Hire a freight forwarding company based in the USA. The forwarding company will then provide a free shipping mailing address in the USA where the goods can be dropped.

2. Discuss the incoterms that perfectly apply to your specific cargo. This will determine the shipping cost, risks involved and cost responsibilities for parties involved.

3. The forwarder provides a quotation with a breakdown of costs and the insurance cover clearly stated.

4. Once an agreement is reached, provide the shipping instructions to them such as

a) mode of shipping; air or sea,

b) pickup and drop off destination,

c) handling instructions; packaging, labeling, loading and unloading, storage, etc.

5) Provide the right documents for the goods to be shipped

Advantage of using a Freight forwarder when Shipping from the USA to India

  • They make transporting of goods from the USA to India seamless thus giving you time to focus on other things
  • They take full responsibility for goods during shipment and customs clearance at the point of exit and entry.
  • The buyer gets a free USA mailing address and 24 hours seven days customer service
  • Offer good rates since they can negotiate better prices with carriers
  • Provide professional guidance to exporters and are able to handle any arising issues during shipment.
  • Can provide door to door, door to port, or port to port services.
  • Eliminates severally third-party handlers during shipment.

Remember, freight forwarders can also help you when shipping from India to USA.

Customs Laws and Rules when Shipping from the USA to India

Understanding the customs and laws regulations governing export from the USA and import in India is very crucial.

This will avoid incidences such as seizure of goods or penalties and extra fees associated with flaunting these regulations.

When exporting from USA, export customs laws and regulations are enforced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

CBP ensure that all the shipping paperwork submitted are correct and matches the items being exported.

They check if the goods have met all the export terms of labeling, classification and comply with the set customs law. Once they are satisfied, they clear the goods ready for shipment.

Upon entry to India territory, a different set of customs laws come into play as stipulated in the Customs Act (1962) Article.

Importing business must register with the Directorate General of Foreign Trade to obtain an Importer and Exporter Code (IEC) number.

The Indian customs clearance official ensures that the IEC number is indicated in all the documents before clearing goods except gifts.

Also, correct HS classification is required to decide on goods that need import license and import declaration form.

Failure to comply with customs policy may delay clearance and even deny entry of goods and charge a fine.

 HS code structure

 HS Code Structure

Applicable Tariffs, Taxes, and Duty when Shipping from the USA to India

Tariffs, taxes, and duties are charged on goods depending on their HS classification from the USA and India.

The import tariff is ten percent the value of goods after Goods and Service Tax (GST) applies to all imports.

India does not have a “de minimis” value clause therefore taxes are paid on goods upon arrival while this is not payable in the USA.

Export duty is paid in the USA before the goods are cleared by customs for shipping depending on the type of goods.

Documents you Need when Shipping from the USA to India Shipping

These are documents needed to facilitate seamless shipping of goods from the USA to India without customs seizure or fines.

It is important to know the document required by the Indian customs before goods are released from the USA.

Most of these documents are prepared by the freight forwarders and customs brokers, and, you should ensure that they are up to date.

These documents include:

Proforma Invoice

 Proforma invoice

Pro forma invoice

A proforma invoice is a quotation provided when one is making inquiries of certain goods and resembles an actual invoice.

It does not have any financial or legal impact as the actual invoice but can be used to make payment.

This document can be used for customs clearance of the goods shipped however it is not a requirement.

Commercial Invoice

A commercial invoice is a document that details the products being shipped, the parties involved addresses, shipping reasons, etc.

Customs personnel uses this document to determine the import taxes and duty for the goods.

It also shows the harmonized codes (HS) and country of manufacture for the shipped products to assist with product classification.

A commercial invoice is proof of the transaction between the buyer and the vendor.

Commercial invoice

commercial invoice

Insurance Certificate

During transit, goods are exposed to various types of risks such as loss, damage, quality deterioration among others.

It is therefore important for the sender to cover the goods from such risks by taking an insurance cover.

The cover should clearly indicate the nature of risks covered, the type of goods insured, their destination, and terms and conditions.

Packing List

This document can be used interchangeably with the commercial invoice.

It contained itemized cargo including the weight, safety handling instruction, and how the goods are packaged.

It is important because shipping companies may use it to create BOL and also be part of bank payment document requirements.

Besides being used by USA customs to clear the cargo, it also helps clear disputes between shippers and freight handlers.

 Packing list

Packing list

Airway Bill (AWB)

An airway bill is a non-negotiable shipping document between the shipper and the airline carrier detailing the cargo content.

This document is used at the cargo center in airports to received shipped goods.

It is also important because it enables real-time tracking of your cargo.

The goods information should be entered correctly in the AWB to avoid delays or even impounding by customs.

It is an equivalent of BOL that is used by airfreight carriers such as FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc.

Certificate of Origin (COO)

Goods being shipped from the USA to India must be accompanied by a country-of-origin certificate.

This document indicates the country of manufacture of goods and has a seal of the chamber of commerce of USA.

This proofs that the goods being shipped have met the acceptable standard of manufacturing for India.

Indian authorities will also use it to generate the appropriate duty for different goods.

Shipper’s Letter of Instructions (SLI)

A shipper’s letter of instructions is provided by the exporting company to the freight forwarding company.

This document provides the logistics company with the necessary information of how to handle goods and where to deliver them.

This document is not standard for all the exporters however, they must include information such as:

  • Name and contact information of the sender and the recipient
  • Routing information (transportation method and destination)
  • Goods description
  • Shipment dimension and weight
  • Incoterms

Bill of Lading (BOL)

This is the most important document whenever you are shipping goods from the USA to India regardless of mode of transportation.

It is a contract document between the shipping company and the sender.

It provides proof that the shipping company collected the shipment and will send it to the agreed destination.

BOL details the weight, volume, and nature of the goods loaded.

 Bill of lading

Bill of lading

Dangerous Goods Declaration (DGD)

Goods that are classified as “dangerous” for shipping from the USA to India must be accompanied by this document.

It is a mandatory form for dangerous goods being shipped by airlines from the USA to India.

This form must be filled accurately and in line with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulation (DGR).

Each declared form must:

  • Be filled in the acceptable form and manner
  • All the information is accurate and legible
  • The DGD has been done as per the DGR standards.

The shipper must declare, sign and date the form as a true copy of the information provided.

Export License

Is a legal document that authorizes a shipping company from the USA to transport goods to India.

Without an export license, a shipping company will not be allowed to move the goods from the USA to India.

Import License

India must issue an import permit to the handler of goods coming from the USA for clearance purposes.

This document will vary depending on the products being imported from the USA.

Bank Draft or Letter of Credit or any other form of Payment

Due to varying trade regulations between the USA and India, buyers can use a letter of credit (LC) as a form of payment. T

his letter is acquired from a reputable financial institution or banks to guarantee the seller payment of the goods.

The reason why this document is important is that it is a safe form of economic transaction.

Prohibited Goods to Ship from the USA to India

Prohibited goods are goods that have been banned from shipping from the USA to India.

Goods are prohibited on grounds of environmental, health, wildlife, and security concerns.

Some of the prohibited goods include:

a) Counterfeit or pirated goods.

b) Pornographic materials

c) Narcotic drugs

d) Antiquities

e) Animal products such as ivory, skin, some shells, tallow, wild animals’ parts and products

f) Exotic birds

g) Specified live animals and birds

h) Weapons

i) Literature or maps with incorrect India boundaries

j) Other meat and edible meat offal

k) Animal fats and oils

Restricted Goods to Ship from the USA to India

These are goods that may be shipped from the USA to India but under certain conditions. have restrictions due to volume, packaging, quantity, labeling, or product.

a) Sandalwood except handicraft products and oil

b) Electronics such as phones need IMEI number clearly displayed and television properly packaged.

c) Sample items for business below a certain value may not pay for duties and taxes.

d) Medicine must have both their chemical or scientific displayed and with a ‘No Objection Certificate’ from Assistant Drug Controller.

e) Natural uranium and its products are subject to Atomic Import Act

f) Jewelries that have precious metals or stones

g) Meat of Bovine animals or wild animals

h) Potatoes and garlic

i) Money Orders

j) Oil Products

k) Rare Earth Metals, Radioactive Elements of Isotopes

Types of Container to use when Shipping from USA to India

Shipping any bulky cargo from USA to India requires a container to package the goods in before loading onto a shipping vessel.

There are various types of shipping containers available for use during shipping, however, you need to consider the following:


Ideal container should be easy to handle during loading, offloading and should be secure too.

Container Size

Containers come in standard sizes of 10, 20, and 40 feet with varying inside and outside dimensions, volume and gross weight.

The container you choose for your cargo should be able to accommodate them.

Container availability at the Shipping Hub

Major shipping ports in the USA have various container types available for shipping.

However, it is important to ensure that the particular container is available at your departure terminal of choice.

This eliminates the extra cost of having to ferry your goods to another port last minute.

Special Product needs

Certain goods being shipped from the USA to India do require a special type of containers such as reefers, thermal or military style.

The common types of containers for use for shipping from the USA to India are:

Dry Storage Containers

These are also known as the general-purpose containers and are the most commonly used containers.

It comes in the standard size of 10, 20, and 40 feet.

The general-purpose container is fully enclosed and are weatherproof and is used in the shipping and storage of general cargo.

Those fitted with liner bags or flexitanks can also ship bulk liquid cargo.

Dry storage container

Dry storage container

Tunnel Containers

Also referred to double door containers as they have doors on both sides.

The doors are well secured and have weather tight seals.

They make loading and offloading of goods faster due to ease of access to goods.

They are common with shipping of materials such as steel and iron rods.

Tunnel shipping container

Tunnel shipping container

Flat Rack Containers

Flat rack containers have collapsible sides and stable walls to secure the cargo in transit.

The sides are folded to create more room for oversized goods such as heavy machinery, vehicles, construction materials, etc.

 Flat rack shipping container

Flat rack shipping container

High Cube Containers

These containers are structural to dry containers but about 1 foot taller.

They are available in 40 feet or 45 feet size and are used to ship bigger cargo that cannot fit the general-purpose containers.

What makes them slightly taller is the gooseneck chassis from the front to the center of their floor.

 Normal vs high cube shipping container

 Normal vs high cube shipping container

ISO Reefers Containers

Reefers are a special type of container suitable for shipping and storage of temperature-sensitive goods such as meat, fruits, etc.

They are made from special steel known as “Cor-ten” steel and are connected to an external power supply for temperature regulation.

ISO reefer containers are available in 20 and 40 feet.

 Reefer shipping container

Reefer shipping container

Insulated Containers

These are special containers that can withstand both hot and cold temperatures.

They are equipped with a mechanical compressor that heats or cools the air inside the container.

Insulated containers are also known as thermal containers because of their temperature tolerance.

They are built using the same vacuum seal technology applied in vacuum bottles.

They are ideal for shipping food products, chemicals, medical products such as blood and organs.

 Insulated shipping container

 Insulated shipping container

Open Top Containers

These types of containers have a removable top to accommodate goods with extra height and cannot fir through the container door.

Such goods include tall machinery, heavy finished products, etc.

They come in 20 and 40 feet and are loaded using cranes or rolling bridges.

The cargo is secured using lashing rings fitted in upper and lower parts of the container.

3 Open top shipping container

Open top shipping container

Open Side Containers

Open side containers are very much alike to general-purpose containers, only that they can be opened on the side too.

They are suitable for goods that cannot fit through the regular doors and also makes loading and offloading easier.

Open side shipping container

Open side shipping container

Tank Containers

Tankers are used for shipping of liquid goods therefore they are made of anti-corrosive materials and strong steel materials.

They must to be filled to 80% capacity to avoid liquid tossing during transit and below 95% to allow thermal expansion.

 Tank container

Tank container

Half-Height Container

These are short in heigh and with a low center of gravity.

They are used for shipping heavy and dense bulky goods such as mining products; stones, coal, etc.

They are made from strong materials making them durable and able to withstand bulky and heavy cargo.

Half height shipping container

Half-height shipping container

Using Airfreight from the USA to India

When exporting high-value, small volume, and time-sensitive goods from the USA to India, using airfreight is the ideal mode of shipping.

Benefits of Air Freight from the USA to India

  • Fastest shipping method from the USA to India especially for goods needed in India urgently
  • Takes between three to eight days to arrive at India airport
  • It is ideal for cargo that weighs less than one hundred kilograms (100 kgs)
  • The cost of insurance premium is cheaper than for ocean freight
  • It allows small goods that can fit up to three standard pallets to be shipped
  • Highly valuable consignment that needs maximum security is secure at the airport

Disadvantages of Airfreight

  • Airfreight are very expensive means of shipping from USA to India
  • They cannot ship bulky good above 100 kgs.

Main Airports in USA

  • Los Angeles Airport
  • Miami Airport
  • New York Airport
  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Philadelphia
  • San Francisco
  • Chicago
  • Cleveland

Main Airports in India

  • Delhi
  • Bangalore
  • Mumbai
  • Chennai
  • Ahmedabad
  • Kolkata

Airlines to use when Shipping from the USA to India

  • Air India
  • United Airlines
  • Delta Airline
  • Air France
  • Jet Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic

Using Ocean Freight from the USA to India

Alternatively, you can use ocean freight from the USA to India.

Benefits of Ocean Freight from the USA to India

  • Bulk merchandise beyond one hundred kilograms
  • Cheaper than airfreight in terms of cost
  • When not in a hurry

Main Seaports in the USA

  • San Francisco
  • Los Angeles
  • Long Beach
  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • New York
  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Philadelphia
  • Newark
  • Houston
  • Jacksonville
  • Miami
  • Oakland
  • Savannah
  • Norfolk

Main Seaports in India

  • Mundra
  • Haldia
  • Nhava Sheva
  • Visakhapatnam
  • Chennai
  • Kolkata
  • Cochin

Shipping Companies to use when Importing from the USA to India

  • Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)
  • Maersk
  • United Parcel Service of America Inc
  • FedEx Corporation
  • Evergreen Marine Corporation
  • American President Lines Limited

Drop Shipping from USA to India

 How drop shipping works

How dropshipping works

Dropshipping is a supply chain format whereby the seller does not have a physical inventory of the items sold.

The buyer from India orders from the online seller who thereafter sends the order to the manufacturer or wholesaler.

Upon receipt of the order, the wholesaler or manufacture then ships the items directly to the purchaser in India.

The online seller is responsible for marketing and selling a product, however, they do not determine product quality, stock availability or shipping.

As such, they avoid stock expenses, storage facilities such as warehouse and staff employment.

These sellers make their money from the difference between the selling price and the wholesale price after deducting the shipping costs.

The process of drop shipping from USA to India does not need a physical store but a website with mailing information.

This form of shipping is legal and does not force the retailers to disclose to the buyer.

To this end, “blind shipping” method is adopted. In this case, the goods shipped have the address of the seller and not the wholesaler.

Sellers practicing drop shipping from USA to India have company profile with their details that is used in shipping the goods.

Drop shipping transaction is common with expensive commodities that require large stock capital.

Some of the online sites that one can find drop shipping common in the USA are eBay, Spotify, Amazon etc.

The downside of drop shipping is that the stock may be unavailable with the wholesaler thereby delaying shipping. This in turn may ruin the seller’s reputation with the online clients leaving a bad review.

Secondly, there are online scammer who lure potential seller with a “work from home” tag and are middlemen. They therefore eat on the seller’s profit since they are not wholesalers.

How LCL Shipping from USA Compare to FCL Shipping from India

Less than Container Load (LCL) is a type of ocean freight method in which small consignments share one shipping container.

Small consignments from different business can be shipped once using this method.

All the necessary custom checks are done in USA before the container is loaded into the ship for dispatch.

Full Container Load (FCL) method unlike the LCL, has only one consignment loaded into the container without necessarily filling it.

LCL shipping only charge you for the space occupied in the container while FCL charges for the whole container.

In LCL shipping takes longer time because they have to go through different hubs to drop or pick other cargos.

FCL is exclusive to one cargo thus it takes shorter time to arrive because it does not need to stop anywhere.

FCL is safe because you can seal the whole container and only open when it arrives at the port. LCL cannot be sealed due to groupage of goods with other shippers.



Types of Courier Services from the USA to India

There are various courier services that you can select to facilitate the shipping of goods from the USA to India.

Some of the courier services include FedEx, DHL, India Post, UPS, TNT, Aramex, U.S. Postal Services (USPS), DTDC, Posta plus, etc.

Courier services from the USA can pick, ship, and drop off goods at your preferred location.

This eliminates handling of the package by different parties that may result in damage or loss.

To use courier services to ship your goods, you need to have an account number with them to facilitate the booking process.

Courier services have software that you use to book for your shipment.

With this, you are able to select the type of shipment that suits your product needs.

For instance; standard or express, time and date of pick up and shipping, handling requirement, racking details and delivery proof.

Advantages of Courier Services

  • Courier services offer affordable shipping rates for documents, parcel or mail.
  • They are a speedy form of shipping; with same day delivery and between one to two days delivery time.
  • They are professional at handling goods, fragile items are safe in their hands
  • It is easy to book and track your shipment throughout
  • They offer other services such as picking, packaging and dropping off the luggage to your doorstep. They also offer pallet shipping and warehouse storage of goods.

Top Products Shipping from the USA to India

India has a large and diverse population that seeks a lot of commodities from the USA.

These products are both commercial and domestic products.

Top of the list of some of the goods they import include:

  • Electronics
  • Machinery
  • Dietary supplements for their daily fitness routine
  • Cosmetic items such as skincare products, makeups, nail polish, etc.
  • Men and women clothes from different designs brands
  • Toys and video games

Door to Door Shipping from the USA to India

Door to door shipping from the USA to India can be handled by freight forwarding companies.

They ensure that your goods are collected from their source in the USA and delivered to your final destination in India.

This process eliminates the use of many intermediaries during the shipping process and is easy to track.

Incoterm applicable for this service is DAP and it does not cover any taxes and duties applicable.

Door to door services involve:

  • Collection of goods from the indicated address in USA such as from factory for manufactured goods or house for household items.
  • Shipping the consignment as per your instructions.
  • Customs clearance both in USA and India including custom fees but not taxes or duties.
  • Delivery to your doorstep location in India.

 Door to door shipping

 Door to door shipping

How to Package Products when Shipping from the USA To India.

Proper packaging is necessary to reduce damaging and theft of goods when shipping.

There are different materials for use for packaging of goods for shipping such as:

Outer Packaging materials use:

  • Polyurethane bag for non-fragile and indefinite items
  • Small single-layered box for small and light goods
  • Large double or triple-layered box for heavy products

Cushioning materials:

  • Packaging tissue paper
  • Styrofoam
  • Cardboard inserts
  • Bubble wrap

Sealing Tape:

  • Brown plastic tape
  • Duct tape
  • Electrical tape

When packing goods for shipping from the USA to India you need to adhere to certain step:

  • Determine the product requirement before you select the packing material. This you can do by checking; goods’ value, shape, size, fragility, weight. From this assessment, you will be able to choose the right box for outer packaging.
  • Separate wrapping to avoid goods rubbing against each other that can lead to damage
  • Cushioning by adding filling materials that will prevent shifting of goods and also absorb vibrations
  • Right sealing tape as opposed to straps or strings that can lead to machine damage

Sealing method; H-taping reinforces the flaps in carton boxes thus preventing accidental opening amid transit and box-in-box method for fragile goods.

The Box-in-box method also protects from theft for popular brands as well as protect brand damage.

Waterproof material to avoid clogging, rusting or corrosion that may lead to product damage.

Labeling Requirements when Shipping from the USA To India

Labeling is a necessary requirement when shipping any consignment to India from USA.

The India labeling requirement and regulations must therefore be adhered to to to avoid goods impounding by customs.

Shippers from USA should therefore stay informed on any changes on the labelling standards by India’s labelling authority.

Non-Food Labelling

This set of labelling require all non-food pre-packed imports from USA meant for retail sale to have:

  • Name and address of importer
  • Generic name of the packed goods
  • Net quantity of the goods in metric measures
  • Year and month of manufacture, packaging, export and expiry
  • The maximum retail price (MRP) at which the goods can be sold to the end consumer. MRP should include all taxes, freight, delivery and packing costs.
  • Preferred language on the label is English but Hindi is acceptable

Packaged Food Labelling

Any food imports from the USA to India are regulated by the Food Safety and Standard Authority (FSSA).

FSSA is tasked with ensuring that the packaged food imported meet the India standard requirements.

They should therefore bear the FSSA logo and license number besides having:

  • Name, brand and description
  • Ingredients used in the food products in descending order of composition in weight and volume
  • Name and address of the manufacturer, packing company and country of origin
  • Net weight and volume of the contents
  • Storage instructions
  • Month and year of manufacture, packaging, consumption date and expiry
  • Maximum retail price inclusive of the taxes and other costs
  • Specific batch, lot and code
  • Vegetarian or non-vegetarian; non-vegetarian must have a brown dot inside a brown square displayed next to the product name. For vegetarian food, the symbol is the same but green in color.

Another additional labelling such as the license number and purpose for irradiation must be included for irradiated food and additionally colored food.

All the labeling must be in bold and visible with the lettering being no less than 1 mm.

The width is not less than one-third of the lettering height.

India’s labeling requirements slightly differ from the labeling standard of the USA and in some instances resulted in goods being seized.

To rectify this, Food Safety and Standard (Food Import) Regulations, made adjustments for food imports to reduce trade barriers.

Food products that arrive with the improper label, are rectified by attaching a single non-detachable label at the customs packhouse.

Incoterms to use when Shipping from the USA To India

Incoterms is a short form of International Commercial Terms. They are used as a standard operating procedure between buyer and seller to minimize confusion when trading.

They clearly state the obligation of each party in the commercial transaction such as who pays for transportation, etc.

Incoterms are published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and revised every ten years.

Key responsibilities defined by incoterms are:

  • The official destination of the goods being shipped.
  • Transportation cost of the goods and who bears the cost within USA and across to India
  • Insurance cost well spelt out for the buyer and seller and where applicable
  • Exports and import declaration of goods and who is responsible.

Currently, there 11 incoterms that govern shipping between USA and India are:

EXW Ex-Work:  Simply means the buyer takes ownership of the goods at the seller’s warehouse or factory.

The buyer, therefore, assumes the cost obligation for transportation and insurance of goods from the USA to their destination in India.

FCA Free Carrier: The seller of goods is obligated with the provision and facilitation of export and customs documents, transportation cost, and risk coverage.

Normally, the seller bears these responsibilities till they hand the goods to the freight handlers.

Once the goods reach the handlers, the risk and all other cost obligations are transferred to the buyer.

FAS Free Alongside Ship: Here, the transportation cost, risk coverage and export documentation lie with the seller to the loading point in USA.

The buyer takes charge once the goods arrive at the loading point in USA.

CIP Carriage and Insurance Paid:  This is almost similar to CPT, except that, insurance from USA to India is borne by the seller.

On the contrary, the liability risk goes to the buyer when the goods are handed over to the first handler.

CPT Carriage Paid To: This incoterm tends to overlap the buyer and seller responsibilities.

The seller is required to assume costs and risk of shipment to the buyer’s destination terminal.

On the other hand, the buyer takes charge of the shipment at the seller’s departure point.

FOB Free On Board: The seller takes charge of all the costs and risks of goods from their stores or warehouse including loading into the vessel.

CIFR Cost And Freight: The seller is in charge of the cost of shipment to the destination port in India. However, the buyer takes liability of the goods when on board the exporting vessel.

CIF Cost Insurance, And Freight: The seller pays for the shipment costs to the purchaser’s destination port as well as insurance cover.

DAT Delivery At Terminal: Requires the seller to pay for all the export costs and ensure the goods till their unloading point in India.

The purchaser then assumes responsibility when goods are offloaded.

DAP Delivery At Place: The seller assumes responsibility for all the costs to the buyer’s final destination except import declaration and clearance.

Moreover, the purchaser only comes in when the shipment arrives at the agreed destination.

DDP Delivery Duty Paid: Everything is handled by the seller from transportation cost to risk responsibility.

The buyer only offloads the consignment at the final destination.

Different Incoterms are applied to shipments from the USA to India depending on the contract agreement.

Some of these incoterms apply to sea and others to air freight only hence, it is important to understand them fully.

How to Handle Goods when Shipping from the USA to India

  • Goods should be properly packed to withstand tilting in case of air freight and the different sea motions.
  • They should be stable and can withstand mechanical handling by forklift, cranes or conveyors, and humans.
  • For large and heavy goods, palleting or crating is recommended to secure them in the container.
  • They should be stackable because of the pilling in LCL container method.
  • Fragile goods should be clearly and conspicuously labelled to avoid damage.
  • You can have your goods shrink wrapped to secure them further and even protect them from weather elements.

Transit Time when Shipping from the USA To India

Transit times is the taken to ship the goods from the USA terminal to the India terminal.

This time varies depending on the mode of shipping used, shipping method, and the destination of the shipping vessels.

While shipping by air takes between one to ten days while ocean freight takes between eight to ten weeks.

Express shipping takes the shortest time of three to four days while regular or economy shipping takes five to ten days.

Ocean freight takes different transit times depending on the destination and shipping method used for example:

A vessel from New York to Chennai loaded with an FCL cargo takes 48 days while an LCL takes 44 days.

Transit Routes from the USA to India

The route of transit from the USA to India by air varies with the airline, it’s a country of origin, destination airport.

For instance, Air India flies directly from Chicago to Delhi since it is an Indian airline.

Flights such as Delta and Jet Airways to use London, Heathrow route from the USA to India.

Transit by sea can be from Detroit port in the USA to Nhava Sheva in India or New Orleans to Nhava Sheva.

This is guided by the type of cargo on board, port size, and destination of the customer.

 Shipping routes

Shipping routes

How to Ship from Amazon to India

Amazon is USA based online shopping platform that allows its customers to shop from anywhere around the world.

If you need your goods shipped after purchasing from Amazon, you will follow the below steps:

  1. Login into the website and go to the international shipping portal to view products available for shipping to India.
  2. Once you find what you need, create an account with them with your address in India. This will automatically filter the website and only display item available to ship to India.
  3. Select the items you need and add to your cart, pay using the available payment methods on their sites.
  4. Your goods will be shipped to your address in India at your cost.

Alternatively, you shop from Amazon using a USA mailbox provided by freight forwarders when you hire them.

This allows you to shop for a variety of items that may not be listed when you use an Indian address.

  1. Locate a USA based freight forwarder such as and sign up and get a free USA shipping address.
  2. Login to the Amazon website and shop for your items using the USA mailbox provided by the forwarder. Alternatively, the freight forwarder may assist with shopping when you encounter any challenges.
  3. The freight forwarders will receive the goods from Amazon and ship them to your address in India. this option may be a little bit expensive than when you do it directly from Amazon.

In short, once you consider everything in this guide, you will easily ship from the USA to India.

In case you have any additional questions about shipping from the USA to India, BanSar team is here to help – contact us now.

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