Everything you need to know when Shipping from UAE to India

Jan 18, 2021 Lilia Khovrak Lilia Khovrak

India and the UAE have been trade partners for decades, with trade valued at $180 million per annum in the 1970s. Today, annual bilateral trade between the two countries is estimated to be worth $60 billion, with the UAE now India’s third largest trading partner. Even with the effects of the global pandemic, the two nations were able to further strengthen ties in trade, investments, food security and more.


Source: Trading Economics

When it comes to shipping from the UAE to India, it is important to take into account different varying factors like current rates, distance and cost. You can visit SeaRates.com to request for quotes, plan your shipping route and calculate the total distance and time it will take for your shipment to arrive.

UAE-India trade in 2020

Before we look at how to transport cargo freight from the UAE to India, let’s review some of the news stories that defined the relationship between these two countries in 2020:




  • The UAE agrees to ease travel restrictions and operate special flights for Indian expats returning home


  • The export credit agencies of India and the UAE sign an agreement to further enhance trade relations


Are trade restrictions in place between the UAE and India?

Although India has announced it has extended its COVID-19 travel restrictions through to January 2021, trade between the UAE and India remains stable and has even experienced a steady surge since mid-2020. By October 2020, the UAE had exported $2.45 billion (INR 178 billion) to India, still some way from January figures but showing positive signs of a return to normal.


Ocean and air freight

There’s no question that 2020 had a dramatic impact on freight rates and transport times, but the choice between ocean and air freight is still based on these key factors:

  • Time
  • Cost
  • Cargo size
  • Cargo value

Whether you choose to transport your cargo by air or sea, you’ll need to start by figuring out what goods are being moved. Let’s take a closer look at the two methods of transport and how they relate to cargo types next.

Shipping by sea

The type of cargo typically shipped by sea:

  • Heavy machinery
  • Liquid chemicals
  • Construction equipment
  • Temperature-controlled food and medicines

If you choose to ship via ocean freight, you’ll need to choose the right container load which is best for your cargo, or more importantly, for how much cargo you have. You will need to choose between full-container load (FCL) shipping or less-than container load (LCL) shipping. If your cargo isn’t large enough to occupy an entire container, it will be loaded into a container with other shipments.

While LCL shipments do take longer to arrive, it is a more cost-effective choice as booking an entire container can be expensive. You can contact our team at SeaRates for assistance with LCL and FCL shipments.


Shipping by air

The type of cargo typically shipped by air:

  • Jewellery
  • Electronics
  • Medicines
  • Small machinery

Air carriers charge for shipments based on either the volumetric weight or the actual weight. You can calculate your shipment’s volumetric weight by first multiplying the cargo’s length, width, and height. Then multiply that figure by 167.

Practically speaking, if you were to ship cotton, you would mostly likely be charged according to its volumetric weight. A heavier metal would be charged based on its actual weight. The bottom line is this: If the volumetric weight is more than the item’s actual weight, then it becomes the chargeable weight.

In addition, the air freight rate will also differ based on the type of cargo you’re shipping and the availability of space.

Shipping costs
from the UAE to India

The freight quotes you receive from a forwarder will depend on a few factors, such as:

  • Cargo type
  • Weight
  • Ocean or air freight
  • Distance

Although shipping by sea means a slower delivery time, it is typically the only cost-effective choice for large shipments. You can access our Online Freight Marketplace on SeaRates.com to find and compare the best available rates.

Shipping times

The time it takes to ship from the UAE to India depends on the origin port and final destination. The journey to ship ocean freight from the Port of Jebel Ali to Kandla Port in Gujarat takes 8 days. To Chennai Port, which is situated at the south of India, the journey can take 13-20 days.

Air freight, naturally, offers faster delivery times. It is also a suitable choice if both the shipper and receiver have better access to an airport or are located inland, far from a major seaport.

Much of the time and cost of shipping can come down to a country’s infrastructure. Poor roads, a lack of highways, and the topography of a country can stretch delivery times, push costs higher, and make for a far riskier journey.



Shipping rates
from the UAE to India

Here are the shipping rates for routes between UAE and India. You can contact one of our account managers or visit SeaRates.com for the latest rates.

*Actual rates as of January, 2021.

50100Jebel Ali - Nhava Sheva
160200Jebel Ali - Mundra
135270Jebel Ali - Mundra
135270Jebel Ali - Kandla
135270Jebel Ali - Nhava Sheva
425800Jebel Ali - Chennai

Top Shipping Ports in India:

  • Kandla Port: The largest container port in India in terms of cargo volumes. The Kandla Port primarily deals with crude oil imports.
  • Mumbai Port: The largest port in the country in terms of size. The port has four jetties for handling petroleum products, liquid chemicals, and textiles.
  • Chennai Port: Deals with more than 60 million tonnes of cargo and provides direct connections to more than 50 ports around the world.
  • Kolkata Port: Known as the oldest operating port in India, the Kolkata Port makes use of two separate docks, the Kolkata Docks and Haldia Docks.
  • Cochin Port: Also known as the Kochi Port, it is a key port serving the Arabian Sea and the first transshipment port in the country.

Top Shipping Ports in the UAE:

  • Port of Jebel Ali: Considered the largest seaport in the Middle East. Jebel Ali serves as a gateway for over 80 shipping services on a weekly basis. It also offers connections to more than 150 ports around the world.
  • Zayed Port: Abu Dhabi’s main port and one of the biggest commercial ports in the emirate. The port is equipped to handle 10 ocean-going vessels at once, along with general and bulk cargo.
  • Mina Rashid: Home to the Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal, which is the world’s largest covered cruise terminal facility. Mina Rashid primarily deals with non-containerised cargo, including break bulk and roll-off (RoRo) vessels.
  • Khalifa Port: This deepwater port handles general cargo, containers, and break-bulk activities. Khalifa Port serves over 25 shipping lines and also provides connectivity to 70 global destinations.
  • Khor Fakkan Container Terminal: Due to its location on Sharjah’s Indian Ocean Coast, this transshipment port provides easy access to the UAE’s hinterland. It is also equipped to accommodate over 1,000 reefer containers.

Container packing
from the UAE to India

Once you’ve mapped out your shipping journey, you’ll need to optimise the container packing so you don’t spend more than you need to on cargo space.

Our Load Calculator tool makes it easy for you to load and stuff your cargo. All you have to do is provide details of your shipment, including package type, gross weight, and cargo dimensions. Put that information in the tool and Load Calculator’s algorithm will simulate how the cargo can be most efficiently packed into the container.

Essential documents

Our account managers at SeaRates can help you make sure that your paperwork for the shipment is accurate and complete. Here are the key documents to keep in mind when shipping cargo to India:

  • Commercial Invoice: A legal document between the buyer and the seller. It serves as proof of sale and should be submitted for customs clearance.
  • Certificate of Origin: Confirms where a particular product was manufactured. The Certificate also includes other details relevant to the item(s), including the name of the destination port. It can be submitted as a paper document or digitally.
  • Bill of Lading or Air Waybill: Serves as a receipt for the shipment. It also outlines the terms of agreement under which the cargo is transported. The BOL must be signed by the shipper, carrier, and recipient
  • Letter of Credit: Letter from a reputable bank guaranteeing the buyer’s financial obligations to the seller.
  • Packing List: It contains details about the products that are being shipped, including quantity, total weight and dimensions.

Freight insurance

If you’re shipping by ocean or air, cargo insurance is absolutely essential. It is especially important if you’re the primary owner of the goods as the insurance can help compensate for any loss or damage that may occur at any stage of transport process. Remember, insuring your cargo will always be far cheaper than any loss you would otherwise have to absorb.

SeaRates can help you find the right insurance company for you and your cargo. You can talk to one of our managers about the best available options today.

Book with SeaRates.com
from the UAE to India

So there you have it, that covers the basics of all you need to know about shipping to India from UAE. Our support team at SeaRates can assist with anything you might need to transport your cargo, and our account managers can answer any questions you may have along the way.

Lilia Khovrak is a professional content manager from Odessa, Ukraine. Loves life by the sea. Dreams to see Paris and eat a croissant on the thresholds of Notre Dame de Paris. Hates to read meaningless articles.