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Ocean & Air Shipping From Germany to India

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Germany is one of India's top-ten trading partners globally, and in Europe, only Switzerland exports more products to India. Car parts comprise the majority of commodities for export from Germany to India. At the same time, though, medical instruments also feature highly among the trade lane traffic.

Whether your business is in the auto-parts or medical industries, or any other, Shipa Freight has the tools and expertise to help you export or import from Germany to India. Better still, we make the whole process easy—whether you prefer to send your products as air or ocean freight.

How to Ship Ocean Freight From Germany to India

Shipping professional leaning on a stack of cartons, adjacent to flags of Germany and India

Are you a new business-operator intimidated by the complexities of importing from Germany to India?

Is your enterprise seeking a more straightforward approach to working with a freight forwarder to get your goods shipped as sea freight? Do you run a small business challenged by the ocean shipping environment, which so often seems to favor sizeable beneficial cargo owners?

If any of the above scenarios resonate, Shipa Freight is the one freight forwarder that can make a real difference to your situation. Our digital platform opens the door to fast, competitive FCL and LCL freight quotes, simple booking, payment, and freight tracking options, and meaningful help with compliance and customs processes.

We’ll assist you with decisions such as whether to ship your goods as LCL or FCL freight or to choose door-to-door or port-to-port shipping. We’ll help you identify the right sized shipping container, and find the right route over which to send your freight from Germany to India.

Indeed, you’ll find some general guidance right here on this page to answer some of your questions, for instance, the essential facts about LCL and FCL ocean shipping.

Less than Container Load (LCL) From Germany to India

Are your shipments typically less than 14 cubic meters in volume, or small enough to fit on fewer than six standard pallets? If so, LCL shipping will usually be your most suitable option, using a 20-foot container shared with other shippers.

LCL can also be a cost-effective approach for loads of up to 28 cubic meters, if you don’t mind your goods sharing space with other shipments. In this case, we’ll consolidate your exports and transport them in a 40-foot shipping container from Germany to India.

The consolidation and de-consolidation of LCL freight do make this method a little slower than shipping a full container. Still, we can assist you in choosing a fast route, with few stops, to get your container from Germany to India as quickly as possible.

Full Container Load (FCL) From Germany to India

For FCL shipping to be cost-effective, you need to have enough freight to at least half-fill a shipping container. It becomes even more economical if you can use the entire container space. Cost is not always the primary driver for shippers choosing this method of containerization, however. Perhaps you don’t wish your freight to be transported in the same space as that used by other shippers. FCL shipping provides you with exclusive use of a container, and is also a little faster than LCL.

We'll send one or more containers to the location where you or your supplier wish to load them. Once loaded, the container(s) will be sealed. Our carrier will then load them onto a vessel in Bremerhaven or Hamburg, the German ports we use for dispatching cargo to India.

At the other end of the ocean shipping leg, we'll either drop the container at your chosen Indian port for collection, or transport it by road or rail to its final destination.

At the other end of the ocean shipping leg, we’ll either drop the container at your chosen Indian port for collection, or transport it by road or rail to its final destination. Of course, we also take care of the customs clearance process in the ports of loading and discharge, so you deal with just one partner, Shipa Freight, for the entire FCL shipping process.

Cargo Ports of Origin in Germany

Our ocean freight services use the German ports of Bremerhaven and Hamburg for both LCL and FCL shipping to India.

Hamburg

Hamburg is known as the Gateway to the World in Germany. By the end of the third quarter of 2019, Hamburg Port had already handled 7 million TEUs of containerized ocean freight. Hamburg is the third-busiest container port in Europe, and of course, the busiest in Germany. On a global scale, it’s ranked number 19.

The port facilities include over 80 cranes, 22 berths for container ships, and no less than four container terminals. With plenty of carriers operating routes to India from Hamburg, you should have no trouble getting your freight moved, even during peak shipping seasons.

Owned By: Hamburg Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >8.5 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: DEHAM.

Bremerhaven

While Bremerhaven Port might trail its close neighbor, Hamburg, in the global container port rankings, it is nevertheless the fourth-busiest in Europe and number 27 in the world. That makes it a desirable port for ocean carriers to call at, and ensures that you won’t struggle to ship your exports from here to India.

The port has four container terminals, one of which can process more than seven million TEUs of containerized goods. Fourteen mega-container vessels can berth at Bremerhaven at any one time, with ample space on Terminal 4's five-kilometer quayside.

Owned By: Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.

Annual Container Volume: >5 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: DEBRV.

Cargo Ports of Arrival in India

Nhava Sheva

Constructed to ease pressure on the Port of Mumbai, Nhava Sheva Port, also known as Jawaharlal Nehru, has grown to become the third-busiest port in India, with an annual throughput of more than 5 million TEUs. Indeed, it is the primary import gateway for West and Central India.

Nhava Sheva's five container terminals, state-of-the-art technology, and many connections to inland freight yards ensure your German goods are handled and transported efficiently.

Owned By: Government of India.

Annual Container Volume: >5 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: INNSA.

Hazira

If the final destination for your exports from Germany is in North, Northwest, or Central India, Hazira will suit your needs as a port of discharge. It lies around 32 kilometers from Surat, and is near to the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor, where the high-tech industry abounds.

Owned By: Hazira Port Private Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: INHZR.

Kolkata

Kolkata Port may lie more than 200 kilometers from the sea, but that does nothing to diminish its viability as a container gateway. Indeed, it is the leading ocean freight hub for East India, and the oldest port still operating in the country.

If you do ship your freight from Germany into this port, though, keep in mind that transit time is a little longer than typical for shipping into Indian ports. That's because your carrier's vessel must navigate many kilometers of the Hooghly River before arriving at its berth.

Owned By: Kolkata Port Trust.

Annual Container Volume: >600,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: INCCU.

Mundra

Mundra is the largest Indian port under private ownership and the 34th busiest container port in the world. It houses four container terminals, and is served by more than 30 trade lanes connecting India with overseas trading partners, including Germany.

Owned By: Adani Group.

Annual Container Volume: >4 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: INMUN.

Cochin

As well as being a busy port for imports into Southern India, Cochin Port is also the home of the largest container transshipment terminal in the country. It has a long and illustrious history of service, having been in operation since 1928. Despite its age, though, the port has a continued reputation for efficiency, bolstered by a comprehensive network of roads, waterways, and railways connecting it to the Indian hinterlands, and proximity to Cochin Airport.

Owned By: Government of India.

Annual Container Volume: >450,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: INCOK.

Other Ports in India

In addition to the container ports covered so far on this page, Shipa Freight also offers freight forwarding services to the following ports of unloading in India:

  • Haldia
  • Kandla
  • Visakhapatnam
  • Chennai
  • Kattupulli
  • Tuticorin
  • Krishnapatnam
  • Mormugao
  • Kandla
  • Pipavav

Air Freight From Germany to India

Ocean freight is not the only way to move your cargo from Germany to India. If your supply chain runs on tight deadlines and requires a faster way to ship, air freight is the answer. The Shipa Freight platform is the first digital freight-forwarding solution enabling you to get quick quotes for air shipping, and to book, pay, and track your air cargo.

Of course, it costs more to ship your goods as air freight, as compared to ocean shipping. However, as a fast transport solution, it can offer excellent value for money, depending on your commercial shipping needs. After all, you don’t just benefit from the speed at which freight can be flown from Germany to India. You also gain other advantages, such as greater flexibility, and heightened security for your goods in transit.

For smaller shipments, and especially high-value goods, air freight can offer great value. If you only have a few pallets to send from Germany to India, it's always worth considering.

Depending on the location of the goods' supplier and final destination, some of the extra expenditure can be offset by reduced domestic transportation costs.

For example, this might apply if the supplier is in Central or Southern Germany, and the recipient's location is in the heart of India's hinterland. If there is an international airport close to the supplier and another close to the recipient, overland transportation distance can be significantly reduced.

Airports of Origin in Germany

Frankfurt

Frankfurt Airport is the departure and arrival point for more direct air shipping routes than any other airport in the world. It is also Europe’s busiest airport for cargo, expected to handle around 2 million tonnes of freight by the end of 2019. Its near-central location in Germany and plentiful road connections with most of the country's major cities make it easy for businesses to access.

If you need the flexibility of a well-connected international airport for your exports to India, Frankfurt, with its four runways and extensive cargo facilities, is well worthy of consideration.

India Airports Served: Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad.

Frankfurt to India Cargo-Only Operators: Cathay Pacific Cargo, Lufthansa Cargo.

IATA CODE: FRA.

Berlin Tegel

If your supplier is based in the Berlin area, Tegel will be the most convenient airport for your freight bound for India. There are no direct flights to India, either in the cargo-only or passenger segments. However, the logistics of bringing cargo to Tegel and flying it via indirect routings might be preferable to those involved with overland transportation to Munich or Frankfurt.

India Airports Served: None.

Berlin to India Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: TXL.

Hamburg

With its high-tech HACC cargo center and ability to accommodate wide-bodied airliners, Hamburg’s Helmut Schmidt Airport is an ideal departure point for air freight from the northern regions of Germany. No direct flights currently operate from Hamburg to India. However, Shipa Freight can fly your goods from here to the South Asian subcontinent via major cargo hubs such as Frankfurt.

India Airports Served: None

Hamburg to India Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA CODE: HAM.

Munich

Serving the region of Bavaria, Southern Germany’s Munich Airport is the second-busiest in Germany and eighth-busiest in Europe. Cargo facilities are extensive, and your freight can fly directly to Bangalore, Delhi, or Mumbai. Note, though, that it will be carried aboard passenger airliners as opposed to dedicated freighters.

India Airports Served: Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai.

Munich to India Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA CODE: MUC.

Dusseldorf

Dusseldorf is Germany's third-largest airport and handles around 75,000 tonnes of freight per year. It's a convenient export gateway for products produced and manufactured in the Rhine-Ruhr districts. Keep in mind, though, that routes from here to India are all indirect. Currently, there is no carrier offering direct flights to Indian destinations.

India Airports Served: None.

Dusseldorf to India Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: DUS.

Other Airports in Germany

If none of the facilities mentioned above appear suitable for your air freight, Shipa Freight can get it to India via Stuttgart, Nuremberg, or Leipzig/Halle Airports.

Airports of Arrival in India

Delhi

Delhi Airport is the number-one airport in India for freight. It has sophisticated facilities, including two cargo terminals and two integrated logistics facilities with nearly 30,000 square meters of warehouse space. The airport’s annual freight throughput is approximately one million tonnes. If your imports from Germany are headed for the North of India, Delhi Airport will probably be the most convenient place to land them.

Connected Airports in Germany: Frankfurt, Munich, Leipzig/Halle.

Germany to Delhi Cargo-Only Operators: Lufthansa Cargo, DHL Aviation, Kalitta Air.

IATA Code: DEL.

Bangalore

Bangalore Airport, also known as Kempegowda International, serves the state of Karnataka, and is an ideal import point for goods en-route to anywhere in Central and Southern India. A second runway was recently added, and should increase the volume of flights bringing cargo into Kempegowda’s three freight terminals.

Bangalore is a particularly useful airport if your imports comprise pharmaceutical products or perishable goods, as specialized facilities capable of handling these commodities are a feature here.

Connected Airports in Germany: Frankfurt, Munich, Leipzig/Halle.

Germany to Bangalore Cargo-Only Operators: Lufthansa Cargo, DHL Aviation.

IATA Code: BLR.

Mumbai

Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport is India’s second-busiest air-freight center, after Delhi. The cargo apron here can accommodate five wide-bodied freighters, and the freight terminal has specialized facilities to handle perishable, high-value, and dangerous goods. For this reason, you may wish to ship your products into Mumbai even if other international airports are closer to their final destination. In any case, it’s the most convenient airport of discharge for imports from Germany to the Western states of India.

Connected Airports in Germany: Frankfurt, Munich, Leipzig/Halle.

Germany to Mumbai Cargo-Only Operators: Lufthansa Cargo, Aerologic, Cathay Pacific Cargo, UPS Airlines.

IATA Code: BOM.

Chennai

Do you want Shipa Freight to send your air cargo to India's third-busiest cargo airport on a direct flight from Germany? If so, we'll route it via Frankfurt, Germany's primary air-freight center. Several cargo-only carriers operate direct services between Frankfurt and Chennai.

Like Mumbai Airport, the freight-handling facilities at Chennai include dedicated warehouses for high-value goods such as gold, silver, gems, and jewelry, perishable products, and dangerous goods. The general freight warehouse boasts an automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) with 8,000 storage bins for ultra-efficient handling of shippers’ commodities.

Connected Airports in Germany: Frankfurt.

Germany to Chennai Cargo-Only Operators: Aerologic, Cathay Pacific Cargo, Lufthansa Cargo.

IATA Code: MAA.

Hyderabad

Hyderabad Rajiv Gandhi International Airport enjoys a geographically advantageous location in Central India. It also happens to be connected to Germany by a direct flight from Frankfurt, operated by Lufthansa Cargo. The Airport has two runways, and its cargo terminal has an area of some 14,000 square meters.

If you want to land your German exports here from airports other than Frankfurt, we can, of course, arrange to fly them via connecting flights. That might be an attractive option if your goods are bound for a destination deep inside India's central interior.

Connected Airports in Germany: Frankfurt.

Germany to Hyderabad Cargo-Only Operators: Lufthansa Cargo.

IATA Code: HYD.

Other Airports in India

There are several other airports in India to which we can ship your freight from Germany. You can select any of them as the destination for an airport-to-airport shipment or as the airport of unloading for door-to-door shipping. These airports are Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Cochin, and Kolkata.

Customs Clearance Procedures in Germany and India

Customs stamp of wood and rubber, resting on a customs invoice document stamped with export customs clearance in red ink

As a member state of the European Union, Germany follows EU export customs rules, which are not as complicated as in some other parts of the world. Indeed, they are designed to make the export process as efficient as possible. Nevertheless, the process can be intimidating if you or your staff are not familiar with it. In India, the import regulations can be quite taxing to understand and comply with—but at Shipa Freight, we help you every step of the way.

Our guidance begins right here, with a quick overview of the key documents necessary for export clearance in Germany—and the import customs clearance process in India. You and your trading partner will need to compile and provide the following documents, which will need to accompany your freight throughout its journey from Europe to Southern Asia.

  • Certificate of origin
  • Letter of credit
  • Tax invoice
  • Bill of lading (Shipa Freight will provide this for you)
  • Packing list
  • Commercial invoice

Other documents may be required, and there are a lot of other compliance requirements to meet when exporting and importing. Initially, though, those listed above are the ones with which you should be familiar.

The good news is, you can leave much of the customs-clearance management to us. We will always let you know what information we need to get your cargo smoothly through customs in Germany and India.

If you’d like to learn more about the documents listed above, we have a shipping documents page that you can visit to get more details and see some examples.

How Long Does it Take to Ship Cargo From Germany to India?

Ocean freight from Germany to India does not take an exceptionally long time to ship—at least not when compared to some global trade lanes. In general, you should be able to achieve transit times of around four weeks by using the fastest and most direct carrier routes. That said, the lengthier trade lanes between the two countries can take up to seven weeks for a vessel to negotiate, particularly if it's plying a multi-stop route.

Air freight is naturally a lot faster, and it’s possible for goods arriving in Delhi to clear customs within three days of dispatch from Germany. However, the average total transit time for air freight from Germany to India is eight days.

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Sea From Germany to India?

Most ocean-freight transit times between Germany and India fall within the 30 to 40-day bracket, as the following examples, taken from our schedules, illustrate:

  • Hamburg to Nhava Sheva – 33 days FCL, 34 days LCL
  • Hamburg to Chennai - 33 days FCL, 35 days LCL
  • Hamburg to Mundra - 34 days FCL, 37 days LCL

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Air From Germany to India?

Some typical transit times for air freight shipping from Germany to India are as follows, including the time required for loading, unloading, other logistics processes at the airports, and customs clearance:

  • Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, and Dusseldorf to Mumbai – 8 days
  • Frankfurt to Chennai – 4 days
  • Stuttgart to Delhi – 2 days

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Cargo From Germany to India?

Ocean freight is the least expensive method to ship cargo between Germany and India, with LCL typically costing the least for shipments of up to six standard pallets of goods. FCL shipping might cost more in absolute terms, but will amount to a lower cost per kilo or cubic meter for large shipments.

Air freight is the most costly approach to global freight shipping, but for consignments of 100 kilograms or less in weight, may still be reasonably economical.

However, if your shipments are very small, say, 35 kilograms in weight or less, a freight forwarder is unlikely to offer you a quote. Instead, you should consider the use of a global courier service. At Shipa Freight, for example, we can only provide quotes for air or ocean freight shipments above this weight.

“With Shipa Freight, I could do everything from quotation to booking with just a click”.

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