How to ship cargo to India | D.B. Group

How to ship to India

04 May 2024

Are you planning to ship your goods to India?

Indian Customs has strict regulations and requirements for products that enter the country. This is why every shipper needs to be fully aware of the country’s trade policies.

Discover what is necessary to successfully ship your goods to India. Navigate the challenges of Indian Customs with increased confidence and unlock a worry-free experience.

In this article you will learn:

At D.B. Group, we can help you streamline your supply chain and leverage your international trade. Our network in India has 6 offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, and Bangalore. We provide international shipping services to and from major ports and airports worldwide through our branch offices, as well as customs consulting services.  

“D.B. Group India team is always available to provide you with the best tailor-made freight solutions for your business. Get in touch with us to discover new opportunities” 



Customs requirements India: which documents are necessary to ship your cargo to India?

Depending on the type of product, Indian Customs might require specific certifications.

You can provide documents to Indian Customs in both digital and printed formats. However, it is important to note that each shipment must be accompanied by printed paperwork.

Broadly speaking, the main requirements are:

  • Commercial invoice
  • Packing list
  • Bill of Lading, or AWB
  • KYC documentation of the Indian entity
  • GSTIN of the Indian entity

Each of the above documents must be compliant with the requirements.


Commercial invoice and packing list for shipments to India

When shipping cargo to India, you must always provide the Commercial Invoice and the Packing List. This is how to fill them out:

  • Both must be filled out in English
  • All consignee data must be accurate and include contact information, address and phone number
  • Detailed information about the goods must be reported; no general description will be accepted (such as “spare parts”, “samples”, etc.. )
  • HS code can help expedite operations
  • Number of pieces per article
  • Unit value and total value
  • The value must be expressed in one of the currencies recognized by Indian Customs (Rupees, US Dollar, Euro, UK Pound)
  • Country of Origin
  • Weight for every piece (net and gross)
  • Incoterms®
  • Reason for the export (sale, sampling, etc)
  • Avoiding typos and incorrect abbreviations is key to preventing unexpected delays



KYC documents for Customs Clearance in India

KYC (Know Your Customer) documentation is critical for every shipment to India, as it provides Customs Authorities with a confirmation of the identity and address of the consignee along with other relevant details. It applies both to companies and to private consumers.

How does KYC work?

The consignee must fill out the KYC proof and provide it to the logistics provider before the shipment reaches India. The logistics provider will save the information in their KYC database for future consignments to the same address.

This procedure must be replicated every time that:

  • a different logistics provider is used
  • cargo is shipped to a new address
  • consignee data change
  • a company has several addresses (each branch must be separately registered in the service provider's KYC database).

How can a consignee send their KYC documentation to D.B. Group?

Depending on the category of goods, our offices will request all the documentation needed, to process the shipment seamlessly. Certain standard formats may need to be filled out and a copy of all government-recognized identification documents related to tax and import - exports and related certifications will have to be provided by the Indian entity.

What happens if the consignee documents are not ready?

Missing KYC documents on the consignee side imply:

  • Delays in the shipment
  • Unexpected costs due to fines and fees
  • Escalating warehouse storage costs
  • Risk of repatriation of the shipment

How can you prevent such a situation and guarantee a smooth shipping process?

Ask your consignee if they have already provided your logistics provider with the KYC data.
If the consignee didn’t, ask them to gather all relevant information and documents and send them before the shipment reaches the destination point.



Goods and Service Tax Identification Number (GSTIN) 

When dealing with B2B shipments, the consignee (Indian importer) must be in possession of their Goods and Service Tax unique Identification Number, which must be provided together with the KYC documentation.

For more information about the GSTIN:




Customs clearance process in India

All international shipments, on arrival at the destination point in India, must go through the customs clearance process. Special regulations may apply to certain shipments depending on the contents.

What does special customs regulations procedure imply?

  • advanced payments of customs duties
  • additional documentation
  • a custom broker to oversee the process.

The consignee (Indian importer) can choose to use a specific broker or proceed with the logistics provider.


What can be the additional documentation asked by the Indian Customs?

Oftentimes, India Customs Authorities ask for additional certifications and documents to proceed with the clearance process.

Some examples include:

  • Purchase order for the shipment or Proforma Invoice
  • Insurance certificate
  • Letter of credit or terms of payment
  • Import Export license (IEC)
  • Special certificates – for example Phytosanitary certificates, Animal husbandry certificates, Scomet or NDPS declarations, DGD certificates, ATA carnet,GATT declarations etc., if applicable
  • Inspection certificates in some cases
  • Country of Origin document




Customs consulting and operations in India 

India has more than 130 ICD (Inland Container Depots) which serve importers and exporters to have customs filing and clearance of goods closer to their business locations. 

Furthermore, the Indian government offers bonded warehouse facilities, both at ports and inland, in many locations, which further assist our need-based clients. 

 At D.B. Group India, our team is knowledgeable about:  

  • Custom duties (countervailing duties) 
  • Customs Valuation 
  • Tariff Classification (HS code) 
  • Customs Clearance and Documentation (Commercial Invoice, Packing List, Bill of Lading, Import Export Certification, COO Certification, Insurance, etc.) 
  • Customs declarations that may be applicable for specific commodities 
  • Customs Compliance taking into consideration restrictions 
  • Clearance process, including online and original paperwork.  
  • Last but not least, our team keeps track of Bilateral or Multilateral trade agreements and facilitates the same involving the customs department. 




When building your trade in the Indian market, we can help you turn challenges into opportunities.

Get in touch with us and ensure peace of mind when shipping to India.





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