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Ocean and Air Shipping from Italy to Saudi Arabia

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The former British colonies have developed strong strategic and economic ties ever since South Africa ended apartheid in 1994. India is South Africa’s fourth-largest import origin and the second-largest trading partner in Asia. Both countries set a target in 2016 to double bilateral trade and investment to $20 billion by 2021.

If importing from India to South Africa is on your agenda for this year, then you are in the right place. This page will help you demystify the process of international ocean and air freight shipping. We provide the guidance that you need to ship freight from India to South Africa successfully.


What Are Your Options for Shipping From India to South Africa?

Ocean freight and Air freight are the two choices that you have when sending goods from India to South Africa. Both alternatives offer distinct advantages and disadvantages.


Ocean Freight From India to South Africa

Less than Container Load (LCL): LCL means that your cargo will share a container with consignments of other shippers. This is a great option when you don’t want to hire a full container for yourself. Often, LCL is the least expensive way to import from India to South Africa.

Full Container Load (FCL): FCL means renting an entire container for your exclusive use. In this case, you will have to pay a flat fee for the full container. Depending on the dimensions and weight of your cargo, FCL can also be less expensive than LCL.


Air Freight from India to South Africa

Air freight is by far the quickest way to ship your freight from India to South Africa. Be aware, though, that it is much more expensive than sea freight in most cases.


How Much Does it Cost to Ship Cargo From India to South Africa?

Calculator to represent the cost of Shipa Freight's quotes

The ultimate cost of transporting your cargo from India to South Africa depends on several factors. Freight forwarders will provide you with a quote based on the following aspects:

  • Nature of goods
  • Chosen mode of transport (FCL, LCL, Air)
  • Weight of the cargo
  • Dimension of the cargo
  • Distance between origin and destination
  • Type of service (such as Port-to-Port, Door-to-Door)

To give you an idea of how the different modes of transport compare with regard to cost, consider this general rule of thumb: The price for air freight and ocean freight is about the same when you are shipping cargo of less than 100 kg. Simply choose the faster option in this case. If your goods are heavier than 100 kg, though, sea freight is typically less expensive than air freight.

It is also important to know that most freight forwarders, including Shipa Freight, won’t ship cargo of 35 kg or less. You can engage an international courier service in this case.


How Long Does it Take to Ship Cargo From India to South Africa?

Ocean and air freight have vastly different transit times. Air shipping will get your goods to South Africa the fastest. Even though no direct flights are available, transit times can be as short as one day.

The transit time for shipping a container from India to South Africa is much longer. Crossing the Indian Ocean will take anywhere between 19 and 34 days, depending on the ports of origin and arrival.


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

Here are a few examples of transit times for routes that Shipa Freight operates between India and South Africa:

  • Nhava Sheva to Durban – 19 days FCL, 21 days LCL
  • Nhava Sheva to Cape Town – 29 days FCL
  • Mundra to Durban – 24 days FCL
  • Mundra to Port Elizabeth – 30 days FCL
  • Mundra to Cape Town – 30 days FCL
  • Chennai to Durban – 32 days FCL
  • Cochin to Cape Town – 34 days FCL

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

Here are a few examples of transit times for typical air freight routes between India and South Africa:

  • Delhi to Johannesburg – 2 days
  • Mumbai to Johannesburg – 3 days
  • Chennai to Port Elizabeth – 5 days
  • Delhi to Durban – 5 days
  • Delhi to Cape Town – 6 days

Customs Clearance in India and South Africa

Completing customs clearance is mandatory when you export from India to South Africa. Most businesses prefer to engage a freight forwarder or agent for this task to minimize any risk of delays and problems. With an experienced partner by your side, you can be certain that all formalities will be completed according to the existing laws and regulations.

Hiring a freight forwarder doesn’t mean that you are freed from all responsibilities, though. You still have to submit the required documentation. Generally, the customs authorities in India and South Africa will ask for the following documents:

  1. Commercial Invoice
  2. Packing List
  3. Certificate of Origin
  4. Letter of Credit or other payment terms (depends on the contract between the parties involved)
  5. Bill of Lading for ocean freight or Airway Bill for air freight (Shipa Freight will provide this for you)

In certain cases, you need to produce other documents, such as licenses, permits, or certificates. If so, your freight forwarder will advise you straight away. To learn more about the different types of documents relating to ocean and air shipping from India to South Africa, and view some examples, check out our handy documents list.


Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?


Ocean Freight

Sea freight is the most common option to ship goods across the Indian Ocean. Your consignment will travel in a shipping container from India to South Africa on a specialized cargo vessel. If you are planning to move cargo that won’t fit into a container, your carrier or freight forwarder can recommend other alternatives, such as break-bulk shipping.

You can choose between two alternatives for containerized ocean shipping: LCL and FCL. The weight, volume, and nature of your goods will determine which one is the best choice for your needs. Either option can be booked as a port-to-port or door-to-door service.


Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

LCL is right for you if:

  • You are shipping smaller consignments of 14 CBM or less (around six standard pallets).
  • You don’t need your goods in South Africa urgently.
  • You don’t want to be bothered with having to choose the right container size.
  • Your goods won’t be impacted by traveling next to cargo of other shippers in the same container.
  • You can’t afford to send your goods via air.

However, there are also downsides to LCL shipping. Remember that the consignments of all shippers have to be consolidated in a container at the port of origin and deconsolidated at the port of arrival. These extra process steps often lengthen the transit time and make LCL the slowest option compared to FCL or air freight.

LCL might not be the right choice for you if:

  • Your freight is delicate, perishable, or has a high value.
  • Your cargo shouldn’t be handled and moved more than absolutely necessary.
  • You want to prevent any delays and need your cargo in South Africa at a certain date.
  • Your cargo is very large or very heavy.

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

If LCL doesn’t seem like a good choice, then FCL might be right for you if:

  • You need certainty with regard to the delivery date.
  • You prefer that your freight is fully sealed in a container until it reaches its final destination.
  • You need to transport more than 14 CBM (around half the load capacity of a 20ft container).
  • Your cargo is very delicate or heavy.

Air Freight

Air shipping is right for you if:

  • Your products have a short shelf-life.
  • You need your cargo to reach South Africa as soon as possible.
  • Speed is more important to you than low cost.
  • You are shipping high-value goods and require the highest levels of security.
  • You only have a small, light shipment of a few pallets or less.
  • Your supplier and recipient are both located close to an international airport.

Ocean Cargo Port Guide


Cargo Ports of Origin in India


Nhava Sheva

Port Facts:

  • Largest container port in India.
  • Located close to Mumbai on the Arabian Sea.
  • First port in India to exceed the 5 million TEUs per year mark in 2019.
  • Also known as Jawaharlal Nehru Port.

Owned By: Government of India.

Annual Container Volume: >5 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: INNSA.


Mundra

Port Facts:

  • Privately-owned cargo hub in the state of Gujarat in India’s west.
  • One of the 50 busiest container ports worldwide.
  • Features four container terminals and nine berths.
  • Offers inland connections via rail, road network, airport and cross country pipelines.

Owned By: Adani Group.

Annual Container Volume: >4 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: INMUN.


Chennai

Port Facts:

  • Formerly known as Madras Port.
  • Located in the Bay of Bengal in India’s southeast.
  • Second largest container port in India.
  • Features 26 alongside berths.

Owned By: Chennai Port Trust, Ministry of Shipping.

Annual Container Volume: >1.5 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: INMAA.


Kolkata

Port Facts:

  • Officially known as Dr. Syama Prasad Mukherjee Port.
  • Located on a river around 203 km inland from the Bay of Bengal.
  • India’s third-busiest port for containerized goods in 2018 and 2019.
  • Ideal for suppliers in Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Bhadrak, or Bangladesh.
  • Boasts 86 wharves and 28 berths.

Owned By: Kolkata Port Trust, Ministry of Shipping.

Annual Container Volume: >825,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: INCCU.


Hazira

Port Facts:

  • Privately-run deepwater sea freight facility.
  • Convenient access by road or railroad from Surat, Karjan, Kosamba, and Bharuch.
  • Solid alternative to the busier port of Mumbai to the south.

Owned By: Adani Group.

Annual Container Volume: >300,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: INHZA.


Other Ports of Origin in India

Alternatively, you can import from India to South Africa from any of the following seaports:

  • Ahmedabad
  • Visakhapatnam
  • Kattupalli
  • Pipavav
  • Haldia
  • Krishnapatnam
  • Tuticorin
  • Mormugao

Cargo Ports of Arrival in South Africa


Durban

Port Facts:

  • Commonly called Durban Harbour, it’s the busiest port in South Africa.
  • Largest and busiest container terminal in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The fourth largest container terminal in the entire Southern Hemisphere.
  • Handles over 4,500 commercial vessels each year.
  • Facilities include 58 berths operated by more than 20 terminal operators.

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >2.5 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZADUR.


Cape Town

Port Facts:

  • Located in Table Bay along one of the world's busiest trade routes.
  • One of the busiest ports in South Africa.
  • Facilities include 34 berths and extensive ship repair facilities.
  • Good rail and road connections to South Africa’s hinterland.

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >888,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZACPT.


Coega

Port Facts:

  • Deepwater port known as the Port of Ngqura.
  • Located near Port Elizabeth in the Nelson Mandela Bay.
  • Facilities include a 60-hectare container terminal.
  • Long-term development plan in place to increase the capacity to 1.5 million TEUs per year.

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >630,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZAZBA.


Port Elizabeth

Port Facts:

  • Located in Algoa Bay.
  • Container terminal with three berths totalling 925 m in length.
  • Facilities also include a storage area of 22 hectares.
  • Can load trains directly under the gantry cranes, speeding up delivery to inland destinations.

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >216,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZAPLZ.


East London

Port Facts:

  • South Africa's only remaining river port.
  • Located at the mouth of the Buffalo River in the East Cape Province.
  • The port has 12 commercial berths and a repair quay of 110 m.
  • Facilities include a multi-purpose, bulk, and car terminal.

Owned By: Transnet National Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >53,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: ZAELS.


Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide


Airports of Origin in India


Delhi

Airport Facts:

  • Largest air cargo gateway in South Asia.
  • Located 16 km from the city center of New Delhi.
  • Features a state-of-the-art logistics center and two cargo terminals on a 2,000-hectare site.

South African Airports Served: None.

Delhi to South Africa Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: DEL.


Mumbai

Airport Facts:

  • Second-busiest airport in the country for cargo traffic.
  • Closest major air cargo facility to the cities of Pune, Nashik, and Mumbai.
  • Features dedicated perishable and fragile cargo facilities.
  • Processes around 900,000 tonnes of air freight annually.

South African Airports Served: None.

Mumbai to South Africa Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: BOM.


Chennai

Airport Facts:

  • Located 21 km from Chennai city center in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India.
  • Third-busiest airport in India with regard to international traffic and cargo capacity.
  • Features 16,300 square meter export facilities.
  • Has a special perishable goods facility — ideal for exporting fruit, vegetables, plants, or flowers.

South African Airports Served: None.

Chennai to South Africa Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: MAA.


Ahmedabad

Airport Facts:

  • Officially called Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport.
  • Situated in northwestern India in the state of Gujarat, close to the border with Pakistan.
  • Facilities include a dedicated cargo terminal.

South African Airports Served: None.

Ahmedabad to South Africa Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: AMD.


Kolkata

Airport Facts:

  • Known as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport.
  • Located in Dum Dum, West Bengal, 17 km from Kolkata’s city center.
  • Largest air freight facility in northeast India.

South African Airports Served: None.

Kolkata to South Africa Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: CCU.

In addition to the gateways mentioned above, freight bound for South Africa can also be flown from the Indian airports of Bangalore, Cochin, Hyderabad, and Coimbatore.


Airports of Arrival in South Africa


Johannesburg

Airport Facts:

  • Officially known as O. R. Tambo International Airport.
  • South Africa’s primary airport for domestic and international travel.
  • Busiest airport in Africa.

Connected Airports in India: None.

India to Johannesburg Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: JNB.


Cape Town

Airport Facts:

  • Second-busiest airport in South Africa and fourth-busiest in Africa.
  • Located around 20 km from Cape Town’s city center.
  • 24 airlines offer flights to nearly 100 domestic and international destinations.

Connected Airports in India: None.

India to Cape Town Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: CPT.


Port Elizabeth

Airport Facts:

  • Located within a five-minute drive from the central business district of Port Elizabeth.
  • Serves the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.
  • Handles around 800 tons of cargo per year.

Connected Airports in India: None.

India to Port Elizabeth Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: PLZ.


Durban

Airport Facts:

  • Officially known as King Shaka International Airport.
  • Located around 35 km north of the city center of Durban.
  • Ninth-busiest airport in Africa.
  • Features a 15,000 square meter cargo terminal.

Connected Airports in India: None.

India to Durban Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: DUR.


Why Ship From India to South Africa With Shipa Freight?

You certainly don’t want to take any chances when shipping your goods from India to South Africa. Why not move your freight with us, a digital-first, online-only enterprise at the forefront of freight forwarding? We will make sure that your goods arrive safely and on time. Whether you choose sea or air freight, we can satisfy all of your international shipping needs.

Your entire shipment process can now be managed with ease via our convenient online platform. This not only simplifies your supply chain, but also circumvents the need to coordinate multiple agencies.

These are the benefits of shipping with us:

  • You can quickly obtain and compare quotes online.
  • You can place your booking directly online without losing time.
  • You will always know which shipping documentation to prepare.
  • You don’t have to take care of customs complexities – because we will.
  • You can manage all of your imports and exports in one place.
  • You can get help from one of our friendly customer service representatives, 24/7.
  • You are assured that you are always in compliance with shipping rules and regulations.

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

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