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Ocean and Air Shipping from the Thailand to India

FCL, LCL and Air freight forwarding: information and online quote

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Thailand and India are enjoying a strong bond and celebrated 70 years of diplomatic relations in 2017. Two-way trade totaled $12.46 billion in 2018, with around $7.6 billion accounting for Thai exports to India. Thailand currently ranks as India’s fifth-largest trading partner in the ASEAN region.

Importing from Thailand to India can be a complicated undertaking given the complexities of international ocean and air freight shipping. We want to demystify this process for you. That’s why we have compiled vital information on this page that you need to ship freight from Thailand to India successfully.


What Are Your Options for Shipping From Thailand to India?

Boy and girl jumping in the air and doing high five, adjacent to globes bearing flag motifs of Thailand and India

You can send your freight from Thailand to India via sea or air. Both options offer certain benefits and drawbacks.


Ocean Freight From Thailand to India

Less than Container Load (LCL): When you choose LCL shipping, your goods travel in a shared container, together with cargo of other shippers. It’s a suitable option when you can’t, or don’t want to, rent a full container for yourself. In many instances, LCL is the least expensive way to import from Thailand to India.

Full Container Load (FCL): FCL shipping involves hiring an entire container for your exclusive use, paying a flat fee. This can be less expensive than LCL, depending on the dimensions and weight of your freight.


Air Freight from Thailand to India

Air freight is, in most cases, the fastest but also the most expensive option for shipping your freight from Thailand to India. It’s perfect when your business has small consignments which are needed urgently.


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

The final cost of shipping goods for export from Thailand to India depends on several factors. Your freight forwarder can issue 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 or Door-to-Door)

To understand how the different transport methods compare with regard to cost, consider this rule of thumb: The price for air and ocean shipping is very similar when you transport cargo of 100 kg or less. Feel free to opt for the quicker option in this case. For goods heavier than 100 kg, sea freight is usually more economical 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 Thailand to India?

It is not surprising that ocean and air shipping from Thailand to India involve very different transit times. With air shipping, your cargo can reach India in as little as three days.

Shipping a container from Thailand to India via sea takes much longer. Depending on the ports of origin and arrival, you can expect transit times anywhere between 16 and 25 days.


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

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

  • Bangkok to Nhava Sheva – 19 days FCL, 25 days LCL
  • Bangkok to Mundra – 24 days FCL
  • Bangkok to Chennai – 25 days FCL, 15 days LCL
  • Bangkok to Cochin – 19 days FCL
  • Bangkok to Kolkata – 21 days FCL
  • Bangkok to Haldia - 20 days FCL
  • Bangkok to Visakhapatnam - 18 days FCL
  • Laem Chabang to Nhava Sheva – 16 days FCL
  • Laem Chabang to Mundra – 22 days FCL
  • Laem Chabang to Chennai – 21 days FCL
  • Laem Chabang to Cochin – 17 days FCL
  • Laem Chabang to Kolkata – 18 days FCL
  • Laem Chabang to Kattupalli - 21 days FCL
  • Laem Chabang to Tuticorin - 28 days FCL
  • Laem Chabang to Visakhapatnam - 18 days FCL

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

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

  • Bangkok to Delhi – 3 days
  • Bangkok to Mumbai, Ahmedabad or Hyderabad – 6 days
  • Bangkok to Bangalore – 4 days
  • Bangkok to Chennai – 8 days

Customs Clearance in Thailand and India

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

When importing from Thailand to India, customs clearance is a mandatory part of the process. To not risk any delays or other problems, most businesses engage a freight forwarder or agent for this task. An experienced partner by your side can guarantee that all formalities are completed according to the current laws and regulations.

Although you may have hired a freight forwarder, you are still responsible for submitting the required documentation. The customs authorities in Thailand and India will most likely 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)

It is possible that you have to provide further documents, such as licenses, permits, or certificates. If this happens, your freight forwarder will notify you immediately. If you would like to take a closer look at the different types of documents, check out our handy documents list.


Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?


Ocean Freight

Ocean shipping is a popular option to ship cargo across the Bay of Bengal. Most sea freight will travel on a container ship, in a shipping container from Thailand to India. If your freight is not suitable for containerized shipping, your carrier or freight forwarder can recommend other shipping options, perhaps using a break-bulk service.

There are two choices for containerized ocean shipping: LCL and FCL. Which one is best suited for your logistics needs will be determined by the weight, volume, and nature of your goods. You can book either option as a port-to-port or door-to-door service.

Ocean: (you need to add: Learn more about Ocean Freight on our dedicated page by clicking here)
Learn more about Ocean Freight on our dedicated page by clicking here.


Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

LCL is best suited for smaller consignments of 14 CBM or less (around six standard pallets), which you don’t need in India urgently. With this option, you don’t have the burden of choosing the right container size because the agent or carrier will load the goods for you.

However, LCL shipping also comes with drawbacks. The goods of all shippers require consolidation at the port of origin, and deconsolidation at the port of arrival. These extra steps in the process can lengthen the transit time, making LCL the slowest mode of transport compared to FCL or air freight. So, if you need your cargo to reach India at a set date, LCL shipping might not be the best option for you. Also, keep in mind that your products will be handled and moved more often. This can potentially damage delicate or perishable goods.

LCL: (you need to add: Learn more about Less than Container Load on our dedicated page LCL Sipping)
Learn more about Less than Container Load on our dedicated page on LCL Shipping.


Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

FCL is a good choice for heavy goods and if you are transporting more than 14 CBM (around half the load capacity of a 20ft container). It’s also suitable for high-value and delicate products as your freight will travel fully sealed in a container until its final destination.

A disadvantage of FCL shipping is that it can limit your options for loading and delivery. Not all suppliers and buyers have suitable facilities to accommodate a full container.

FCL: (you need to add: Learn more about Full Container Load on our dedicated page FCL Sipping)
Learn more about Full Container Load on our dedicated page on FCL Shipping.


Air Freight

Air shipping is the right option when you require your products in India as soon as possible. This might be necessary when they have a short shelf-life. You can also entrust your high-value cargo to this mode of transport as airline and airport operators guarantee the highest levels of security.

Due to the high cost, most shippers choose air freight only for small, light shipment of no more than two or three pallets. If your goods are very bulky or awkwardly shaped, though, they might not fit into the body of an aircraft. In this case, ocean shipping will be your only option.

Air Freight: (you need to add: Learn more about Air Freight on our dedicated page by clicking here)
Learn more about Air Freight on our dedicated page by clicking here.


Ocean Cargo Port Guide


Cargo Ports of Origin in Thailand


Bangkok

Port Facts:

  • Also known as Khlong Toei Port, named after the district it’s located in.
  • Serves the capital city of Bangkok.
  • Ranked one of the top-100 container ports worldwide.
  • Located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River.
  • Boasts excellent road and rail connections to Bangkok City.

Owned By: Port Authority of Thailand.

Annual Container Volume: >1.5 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: THBKK.


Laem Chabang

Port Facts:

  • Thailand’s largest port and the 22nd-busiest in the world.
  • Situated 25 km north of Pattaya.
  • Built in the 1990s to reduce pressure on Bangkok and encourage development in other regions.
  • Facilities include seven container terminals and a general cargo terminal.

Owned By: Hutchison Laem Chebang International Terminal Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: THLCH.


Cargo Ports of Arrival in India


Nhava Sheva

Port Facts:

  • Also called Jawaharlal Nehru Port.
  • Largest container port in the country.
  • Situated near Mumbai on the Arabian Sea.
  • First port in India to exceed a throughput of 5 million TEUs per year in 2019.

Owned By: Government of India.

Annual Container Volume: >5 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: INNSA.


Kattupalli

Port Facts:

  • A suitable alternative to the nearby Port of Chennai in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
  • Built to decrease pressure on its bigger and busier neighbor.
  • Boasts congestion-free approach roads.

Owned By: Kattupalli Port Private Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >345,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: INKAT.


Cochin

Port Facts:

  • Busy port for imports into southern India.
  • Home to the largest container transshipment terminal in India.
  • Comprehensive network of roads, waterways, and railways to Indian hinterlands.
  • Close proximity to Cochin Airport.

Owned By: Government of India.

Annual Container Volume: >450,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: INCOK.


Haldia

Port Facts:

  • Built at the intersection of the Haldi and Hooghly rivers in West Bengal.
  • Ideal for importers in India’s Northeast.
  • Officially designated as a green port since 2015.

Owned By: Kolkata Port Trust.

Annual Container Volume: >150,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: INHAL.


Visakhapatnam

Port Facts:

  • Only port in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
  • Second-largest port in the country by volume of cargo handled.
  • Located on India’s east coast, midway between Chennai and Kolkata.
  • Undergoing a modernization and expansion program.

Owned By: Visakhapatnam Port Trust.

Annual Container Volume: >350,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: INVTZ.


Other Ports of Arrival in India

Alternatively, you can send your goods from Thailand to any of the following Indian ports:

  • Hazira
  • Kolkata
  • Bangalore
  • Mundra
  • Jaipur
  • Tuticorin
  • Chennai

Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide


Airports of Origin in Thailand


Bangkok Suvarnabhumi

Airport Facts:

  • One of the biggest airports in Southeast Asia.
  • Newest of two international airports in Bangkok.
  • Located in Racha Thewa in the Samut Prakas Province.
  • Handles 3 million tonnes of air freight per year.
  • Logistics and cargo-handling facilities used by 95 freight airlines.

Indian Airports Served: Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad.

Bangkok to India Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: BKK.


Airports of Arrival in India


Delhi

Airport Facts:

  • Largest air freight hub in South Asia.
  • Located 16 km from New Delhi city center.
  • Facilities include two cargo terminals and a state-of-the-art logistics center.

Connected Airports in Thailand: Bangkok.

Thailand to Delhi Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: DEL.


Mumbai

Airport Facts:

  • Second-busiest cargo airport in India.
  • Serves the cities of Mumbai, Pune, and Nashik.
  • Has special facilities for perishable and fragile cargo.
  • Handles around 900,000 tonnes of air freight every year.

Connected Airports in Thailand: Bangkok.

Thailand to Mumbai Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: BOM.


Chennai

Airport Facts:

  • Located 21 km from the city center of Chennai in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
  • Third-busiest Indian airport for international traffic and cargo capacity.
  • Boasts export facilities that span over 16,300 square meters, including a special perishable goods facility.

Connected Airports in Thailand: Bangkok.

Thailand to Chennai Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: MAA.


Bangalore

Airport Facts:

  • Officially called the Kempegowda International Airport.
  • 4,000-acre airfield serving the state capital of Karnataka.
  • Facilities include a cargo village and three terminals dedicated to freight.
  • Connections to Bangalore City via National Highway 44 and the Metrolink.

Connected Airports in Thailand: Bangkok.

Thailand to Bangalore Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA CODE: BLR.


Hyderabad

Airport Facts:

  • Officially known as Rajiv Gandhi International Airport.
  • Located 24 km south of Hyderabad, the capital of the state of Telangana.
  • Features two runways.
  • Facilities include a 4,000 square meter freight terminal.

Connected Airports in Thailand: Bangkok.

Thailand to Hyderabad Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA CODE: HYD.


Other Airports of Arrival in India

In addition to the five air cargo gateways mentioned above, you can also fly your goods to the Indian airports of Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Cochin, and Coimbatore.


Why Ship From Thailand to India With Shipa Freight?

When shipping your freight from Thailand to India, you certainly don’t want to take any chances. If you are transporting your goods with us, a digital-first, online-only enterprise, you will be at the forefront of freight forwarding.

We will take care that your cargo gets from supplier to buyer safely and on time. Whether you prefer sea or air shipping, we can meet all of your global freight needs.

Managing your shipping process is now easier than ever with our sophisticated online platform. You can finally simplify your supply chain, because you don’t need to coordinate several agencies anymore.

Shipping with us also has the following benefits:

  • Receive and compare quotes online instantaneously.
  • Book directly online without losing time.
  • Know which shipping documents to prepare.
  • Get rid of customs complexities – we will manage them.
  • Manage all of your imports and exports in one place.
  • Talk to our friendly customer service 24/7.
  • Be assured of compliance with international shipping rules and regulations.

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

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