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Ocean and Air Shipping From the United Kingdom to India

Information and quote from United Kingdom to India for LCL, FCL and Air shipping

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Shipa Freight is an online freight forwarder that’s breaking down barriers in international shipping. We’re giving every business equal access to comprehensive shipping services. And our digital platform is helping to make shipping commercial goods between the UK and India so much easier.

The two countries have seen bilateral trade grow rapidly during the last decade reaching $23.6 billion in 2017. You could be a start-up looking for a fast and modern way to import or export from the United Kingdom to India. Or you might be an established business seeking relief from the complexity of international shipping.

Regardless of your size or status, Shipa Freight will connect you with air and ocean carriers to move goods between the UK and India. You won’t need your own logistics team, as you’ll have the specialists from our parent company Agility Logistics on your side.

Shipping Ocean Freight From the United Kingdom to India

Warehouse operative pushing a trolley stacked with boxes, from the Union Flag of the United Kingdom towards the flag of India

For most ocean shipping from the UK to India, a standard 20ft or 40ft container that opens at one end and takes pallets, skids or loose loads will suffice. But, depending on the nature of the sea freight you wish to export or import from the United Kingdom to India, you might want to consider other options, such as open-top, half-height or refrigerated containers. Shipa Freight can help you decide.

Another decision you’ll need to make is whether to ship FCL or LCL—terms we’ll explain below. And you’ll need to select your port of origin in the UK and the port in India where you want to discharge your consignment.

Whatever you choose, Shipa Freight will provide full assistance via our online tools and our human customer service contacts who are always ready to support you. It’s all part of Shipa Freight’s drive to simplify exporting or importing from the United Kingdom to India.

Shipping a Less than Container Load (LCL) From the United Kingdom to India

LCL is the shipping equivalent of sharing a taxi. Your freight will occupy container space alongside other goods heading for the same destination. The reason for choosing LCL can be convenience or cost-based, sometimes both.

If you’re relaxed about your goods being stored alongside other ocean freight from the United Kingdom to India, LCL can be a cost-effective option. LCL shipments can sometimes be subject to short delays due to the consolidation process that occurs in port before launch, and deconsolidation upon arrival in India. Goods sent by LCL are also likely to experience more touches, which might not suit fragile or perishable goods.

Full Container Load (FCL) From the United Kingdom to India

Let Shipa Freight clear-up any confusion. You don’t need to fill a container to use the FCL service. The term is used to distinguish the process from LCL, in which your freight shares container space on a carrier with other goods. With FCL, you ship a container from the United Kingdom to India, occupied by your goods alone. You can choose to fill your container or part-fill it—it’s up to you.

There is no consolidation or deconsolidation with FCL, so fewer touches of your goods will be required, making it suitable for fragile or perishable goods. Before we transport your shipping container from the United Kingdom to India, it will be sealed at your manufacturing hub, or a UK location in your supply chain. It will stay sealed until arriving at your chosen destination in India—unless customs teams ask to inspect your goods.

Cargo Ports of Origin in the United Kingdom


Easy to reach from London and other manufacturing and commercial hubs in Southern England, Southampton offers extensive FCL and LCL services. Should you be sending perishables to India, refrigerated storage areas in-port will keep your goods fresh ahead of launch. There is also a dedicated terminal for vegetables and fruit.

Owned By: Associated British Ports.

Annual Container Volume: >1.9 million TEUs.



This port in Northern England stands 2km inland from the North Sea, east of Middlesbrough on the River Tees. It’s the third-largest port in the UK, and one of the top ten busiest in Western Europe, with an annual throughput exceeding 56 million tonnes. There are two computerized container terminals with the capacity to handle 500,000 TEUs annually.

Owned By: PD Ports.

Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs.



Nearly 25 million tonnes of goods were processed in this port in 2018. If your business or supplier is based on the island of Ireland, this is your ideal port from which to export to India. There are 185,000 square meters of warehouse space in which your goods can be stored or consolidated. The port is part of the Belfast Harbor Estate, which also features George Best Belfast City Airport.

Owned By: Belfast Harbor Commissioners.

Annual Container Volume: >125,000 TEUs.


London Gateway

This new port has been serving the English capital city and Southern England since 2013. Semi-automated cargo processing works in tandem with state-of-the-art warehousing and distribution facilities to deliver outstanding freight-handling services. They make this a great port of origin for FCL and LCL shipping to India.

Owned By: DP World.

Annual Container Volume: >1.3 million TEUs.



Felixstowe’s freight facilities are responsible for close to half of all the UK’s containerized cargo. It’s a huge port, ranking as Europe’s eighth-busiest. Seventeen shipping lanes operate from the port and Shipa Freight can coordinate the export of your goods from here to multiple locations in India.

Owned By: Hutchison Port Holdings.

Annual Container Volume: >3.8 million TEUs.


Grangemouth is an additional seaport in the UK from which Shipa Freight can arrange for your goods to be shipped to India.

Cargo Ports of Arrival in India

Nhava Sheva

Created to relieve pressure on the neighboring Port of Mumbai, Nhava Sheva is now a key cargo hub. Over 50% of India’s container traffic is processed here, making it a good choice of arrival port for your consignment from the UK. There are five terminals to receive your goods and slick transport links to manufacturing and consumer hubs in Central and Western India.

Owned By: Government of India.

Annual Container Volume: >5 million TEUs.



Home to India’s fourth-largest container hub, this artificial port in Tamil Nadu has a freight terminal with three quay cranes to lift your consignment from ship to shore. The Indian government is investing more than $1 billion to expand the port’s cargo-handling facilities.

Owned By: V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust.

Annual Container Volume: >560,000 TEUs.



Ship your goods from the UK to this port near the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea to make use of its impressive cargo handling facilities. It’s a well-connected port with easy access to roads, railroads, and waterways. So if the final destination for your goods is in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala or the surrounding areas, choose Cochin as your port of arrival.

Owned By: Cochin Port Trust.

Annual Container Volume: >400,000 TEUs.



Got customers in Western India waiting for your goods? Get Shipa Freight to arrange for them to be shipped to Port Pipavav. There are eight cranes on the quayside to transfer containers into warehouses for discharge or deconsolidation. Railroad and highway connections will allow for speedy transit of your goods to onward destinations.

Owned By: A.P. Moller Maersk Group.

Annual Container Volume: >880,000 TEUs.



Previously known as Madras Port, this is the second-largest container port in India. It’s also one of the oldest, having opened in 1881. The port’s two mega container terminals have contributed to economic growth in Tamil Nadu, supporting the manufacturing boom sweeping across Southern India.

Owned By: Chennai Port Trust, Ministry of Shipping.

Annual Container Volume: >15.4 million TEUs.


Other Destination Ports in India

Shipa Freight can also coordinate shipping from the UK to the following ports in India:

  • Haldia
  • Mundra
  • Kattupalli
  • Hazira
  • Kolkata
  • Visakhapatnam
  • Krishnapatnam
  • Mormugao

Air Freight From the United Kingdom to India

Airlines tend to run to stricter schedules than ocean cargo carriers which usually results in faster loading and unloading. That makes for faster shipping by air freight from the United Kingdom to India, aided, of course, by the sheer speed of an aircraft. The upshot is that if your goods are urgently required in India, air shipping is the fastest option.

Your freight will have to adhere to the guidelines governing air freight, as not all goods are suited to transport aboard passenger or cargo-only flights. Some goods will benefit from being shipped by air, including temperature and time-sensitive freight such as plants and food as well as fragile goods. That’s because as well as less time in transit, there is less handling.

Other reasons to choose shipment via air cargo include:

  • Security—airlines and airports are tight on security for obvious reasons
  • Shipment size—if your cargo is only enough to fill a few pallets, flying it to India could offer the most cost-effective shipping
  • Convenience—it may be the case that you have an airport near to your pick-up and drop-off destinations, which can be a big benefit if those locations are far from the coast.

Airports of Origin in the UK


Birmingham’s Central England location makes this airport a real magnet for businesses in the Midlands looking to send air freight from the United Kingdom to India. The freight-handling team at Birmingham Airport processes 8,400 tonnes of cargo annually.

India Airports Served: Delhi.

Birmingham to India Cargo-Only Operators: None.


London Heathrow

The UK’s biggest air freight hub operates flights to many destinations in India. There are extensive cargo-handling facilities at the airport, which is located to the West of London. Road and railway links give you many ways to get your goods to the airport. Or you could leave that to Shipa Freight to sort out, by booking our door to door or door to port service.

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

Heathrow to India Cargo-Only Operators: Cathay Pacific Cargo.


Additionally, Shipa Freight will be able to route your goods through Glasgow or Manchester airports

Airports of Arrival in India


Close to one million tonnes of air freight passes through Mumbai Airport every year. Its freight terminal has refrigerated storage space, ideal if you are shipping perishables from the UK. The apron has room for five wide-body aircraft to simultaneously load or unload.

Connected Airports in the UK: London Heathrow.

UK to Mumbai Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Indira Gandhi International Airport ranks number one in India for air-freight throughput. Direct flights from London Heathrow and Birmingham mean that journey times for air freight from the United Kingdom to India can be as short as four days, making Delhi a good choice as the destination airport for urgent shipments.

Connected Airports in the UK: London Heathrow, Birmingham.

UK to Delhi Cargo-Only Operators: Cathay Pacific Cargo.



Kempegowda International Airport serves the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. It’s 40km north of Bangalore City with a trio of cargo terminals ready to process your shipment from the UK. There are two runways, the second of which was completed in December 2019 and will come into full operation in March 2020.

Connected Airports in the UK: London Heathrow.

UK to Bangalore Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Rajiv Gandhi International Airport is 24km to the south of Hyderabad and receives direct flights from London Heathrow. Shipa Freight can arrange for your goods to be in the hold of such a flight, or onboard indirect flights from the UK into Hyderabad. The cargo terminal at the airport is a key hub for several major freight carriers.

Connected Airports in the UK: London Heathrow.

UK to Hyderabad Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Chennai’s airport is a little over 20km to the south of the city center. It’s the third-busiest in India for international cargo traffic. The air cargo complex was created in 1978, with its import facilities covering 16,500 square meters. The airport’s apron can accommodate three wide-body aircraft at once.

Connected Airports in the UK: London Heathrow.

UK to Chennai Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Other Arrival Airports in India

Shipa Freight can coordinate air freight shipments from the UK to another four airports in India. They are:

  • Ahmedabad
  • Kolkata
  • Cochin
  • Coimbatore

Procedures for Clearing Customs in the UK and India

Commercial goods shipments are subject to plenty of rules and regulations. That’s the reality of international shipping. But Shipa Freight believes in simplifying the process. An example of how we’re bringing more clarity to customs clearance is below—a list of the documents your consignment will need:

  • Packing list
  • Letter of credit
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Certificate of origin
  • Tax invoice
  • Bill of lading (Shipa Freight will sort this one out)

To save you a bit more time, we’ve created a page that features the above forms and documents so you can take a closer look if you need to. The page can be found here.

How Long Does It Take To Ship Freight From the UK to India?

Over 7,600 kilometers separate the United Kingdom and India. And that’s as the crow flies. Ocean vessels have to take an even longer route from port to port. It’s why you need to allow 30-31 days for your consignment to reach India via ocean shipping. Air freight can be delivered within four to eight days.

How Long Does Shipping Cargo by Ocean From the UK to India take?

Shipa Freight can arrange and manage inter-continental shipments from the UK to various ports in India. The examples below show some typical shipping durations between the stated ports:

  • London Gateway to Nhava Sheva—30 days FCL
  • Felixstowe to Nhava Sheva—31 days FCL

How Long Does It Take to Ship Air Freight From the UK to India?

The samples below provide a guide to how long you should allow for your air freight to ship from London Heathrow to various airports on the Indian subcontinent:

  • London Heathrow to Mumbai—5 days
  • London Heathrow to Delhi—4 days
  • London Heathrow to Bangalore—8 days
  • London Heathrow to Hyderabad—4 days
  • London Heathrow to Chennai—4 days

How Much Does Ocean and Air Shipping From the UK to India Cost?

Pair of hands on a desk, with the left hand operating a desktop calculator and the right hand writing on a notepad with a pen

Request a Shipa Freight quote, and you’ll get a competitive price that’s tailored to the nature of your shipment and your requirements. The type of goods, their weight, dimensions, and volume will all have a bearing on the price you are quoted.

Other variables will affect the cost, such as your choice of air or ocean shipping from the United Kingdom to India, and whether you select our door to port, port to door, port to port or door to door service.

Shipa Freight provides quotes on all consignments weighing over 35kg. If your goods weigh between 35kg and 100kg air freight is likely to be your most cost-effective option. Over that weight, and you might want to consider ocean freight.

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

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