Expert Guide: Shipping from India to South Africa

To ensure transparency and smooth logistics, cost-effective cargo transportation solutions should help in this turbulent market. For deliveries between the ports of India and the ports of South Africa, such solutions are needed. These two countries are important links, full of diverse transportation needs, high demand, and quality supply. When shipping from India to South Africa, many carriers use the India - South Africa sea routes as the basis for their deliveries.

Air and sea transport are reliable and fast solutions for international shipping from India. Let's consider the key differences between sea transportation in this direction, as well as the features and rules that carriers should be prepared for when planning deliveries.

The SeaRates team simplifies the necessary logistics operations for major global destinations. In this article, you will get answers to many questions that arise when shipping to South Africa from India.

One of the first steps in transportation is to find the cheapest freight rate from India to South Africa. There are many factors that affect the rate and the availability of additional fees. The SeaRates team is always ready to help you at every stage of cargo preparation and clearance.

Ready to ship from India to South Africa? Get instant freight quotes with this helpful tool:



Freight shipping charges from India

When looking at freight rate from India, this may vary depending on various factors, including:

  • route
  • transportation type
  • characteristics of the cargo (type, amount, weight, and dimensions)
  • shipment’s insurance
  • time of year

The SeaRates team individually calculates costs when shipping from India to South Africa and provides the best freight on the market today. 

You just need to pay attention to some factors:

  • Air freight to South Africa is generally more expensive than shipping by vessel. However, if you need to deliver a lightweight shipment, air freight will be a cheaper option.
  • High-value goods that are subject to high insurance will increase your shipping costs.

Many of these basic rules complicate the logistics planning process. There are always IT tools for logistics to calculate the cost of shipping conveniently. Among all of them, SeaRates Logistics Explorer allows you to find freight rates for individual parameters, compare the best rates from market carriers, and book instantly, avoiding sudden cost increases. All you need to specify are the ports of departure and destination when you plan to ship your cargo and what type of cargo you are shipping.

Mostly, the cheapest option for shipping from India to South Africa will be to ship FCL via ocean during off-peak times of the year.

Time it takes to move cargo from India

International shipping from India to South Africa could take anything up to 23-25 days, depending on your chosen Sea port of origin and destination, what is being shipped, and the method of transportation.

When transporting goods from India, air freight to South Africa is the fastest method of transportation, with cargo reaching its destination port in 7-9 hours.

Ocean freight transportation takes longer than air. It can take up to 37 days to ship your cargo from India to a destination port in South Africa.

Moreover, FCL transportation is faster than LCL transportation due to the logistics involved in loading and unloading goods at both ends of the shipment.

Sea and Air freight time from India to South Africa

Sea FCL15-33 days25-43 days
Sea LCL40-48 days
50-58 days
Air Cargo7-10 hours
2-5 days


Best time to ship from India to South Africa

Seasonal factors significantly affect air and ocean freight rates, especially for FCL shipments.

The main peak seasons for freight rates are from mid-August to mid-October, in the run-up to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve. The increase in freight rates is due to high demand and a lack of space in containers. Therefore, you should take this factor into account when planning your supply chain and make shipments outside the peak season to enjoy the best shipping rates from India to South Africa.

Does the day of the month in which you plan to ship your cargo impact the cost of the freight rate?

Shipments from India that are booked in the last 2 weeks of the month may be cheaper as carriers try to fill up the available space on vessels. However, the beginning of the month may be more expensive for you, as the General Rate Increase may be charged for cargo spaces. 

Thoughtful advance planning should guarantee the cheapest transportation costs for you.

Cargo tariffs on shipping from India to South Africa

We have figured out what affects the cost of your transportation. SeaRates Logistics Explorer will take all the factors into account for you and offer you a quote that fits your budget and requirements.

You only need to specify the main details of your shipment (points of departure/destination, dates, etc.), and the tool allows you to compare different options for quoting cargo transportation on this route. You will also receive information about the handling of your cargo and the transit time. 

Additionally, Logistics Explorer provides a cost breakdown for each leg of the shipment to give you a handle on your budget and expenses. 

Shipping cost from India to South Africa

These are some examples of the most affordable 20-foot FCL container shipping costs from India to South Africa. 

Chennai - Cape TownFrom $1,500Check rates
Nhava Sheva - DurbanFrom $2,400
Check rates
Nhava Sheva - Port Elizabeth
From $1,600
Check rates
Bangalore - Johannesburg
From $2,200
Check rates
Calcutta - CoegaFrom $1,800
Check rates

*Actual rates are valid until April 30, 2024.

You can ask the SeaRates Customer Support team any questions about the freight rate you found. You can also request a customized quote for shipping. Here you will receive a quote with more details about your cargo (commodity type, HS Code, and weight). After that, SeaRates will contact you directly and offer you several options.


Container Packaging: What should you think about while packing a container

It is important to have a practical and comprehensive approach to packaging for cargo transportation. You need to consider the weight and dimensions of the cargo, as well as what kind of packaging material you need.

It's a daunting task to comprehend and calculate everything on your own, so the SeaRates Cargo Load Calculator tool provides you with a vivid 3D diagram to help you understand what your cargo will look like and how much space in the container it will need. 

All you need to do is provide a few details about your shipment, including the equipment you'll need for transportation, the size of the shipment, and the shipping mode.

Finally, the Load Calculator will display how your shipment will look in the container you choose, as well as its total volume and weight.

Shipping documents that are needed to be completed

For a successful customs clearance process for a shipment from India to South Africa, it is necessary to properly pack and label the cargo. Having the necessary documents, such as an importation permit for certain goods, a commercial invoice, and a packing list, is also key.

Shipping documents you need include: 

  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Bill of Lading 
  • Certificate of origin 
  • Letter of Credit or other payment terms 

You may also need a special permit if you’re shipping certain goods, like hazardous materials.

Is cargo insurance required?

The SeaRates team encourages our clients to insure their cargo, as insurance may be the only protection in case of loss or damage during transportation. 

You can get cargo insurance through the freight forwarding community or a third-party insurance agent. Also, be sure to contact SeaRates to find the right insurance policy for you. 

The cost of insurance is usually between 0.3% and 0.5% of the value of your commercial invoice.

Shipping ports in India

Warehouse operators, suppliers, and freight forwarders – each party to the logistics process needs to find the best port for their requirements. Also, you can explore the port services and other aspects to consider when planning your transportation. 

Certain ports may be better for you due to their location, customs procedures, and cargo handling volumes, or perhaps your factory has a special agreement with a particular port. 

The main sea freight ports in India include:

The main air cargo ports in India include: 

  • Indira Gandhi International Airport (Delhi)
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (Mumbai)
  • Chennai International Airport
  • Kempegowda International Airport (Bengaluru)
  • Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (Kolkata)
  • Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (Hyderabad)

Major shipping ports in South Africa

Major ocean cargo ports in South Africa include:

Major air cargo ports in South Africa include:

  • O.R. Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg)
  • Cape Town International Airport
  • King Shaka International Airport (Durban)
  • Port Elizabeth International Airport
  • East London Airport

Is it time to find an easy route from India to South Africa?

Our team is constantly improving our IT tools for shipping and logistics services to make delivering to new destinations around the world a simple task for you. 

Conquer new markets and expand your services with the SeaRates platform, which guarantees you the most convenient route at the best price. We are committed to helping you navigate the complexities of the market so you can focus on growing your business.

You can always contact us at for assistance with your logistics needs.

Sophia Shkuro is a content manager from Dnipro, Ukraine. Believes that the more complex a thing is, the easier it should be to write about it. Dreams of a future vacation by the sea.