Shipping and Removals in India
Expats interested in shipping household goods to India will find an abundance of service providers offering both piecemeal delivery and complete relocation packages from anywhere in the world. Expats will generally have the choice of using sea freight, air freight, or both. The cost of shipping is determined by volume and method of delivery of the goods, as well as how far they will need to be transported.
Sea freight will, in most cases, prove to be more cost effective, especially if moving a large volume of goods. Delivery tends to take anywhere from five to 12 weeks. Air freight is delivered much quicker, on average within one to two weeks; however, costs are also higher.
As a general rule, it’s best to divide shipments; send the essentials ahead of time via air freight, and the goods that are not immediate necessities via sea freight.
That said, expats should consider that inexpensive furniture options abound in India, and many accommodation options come either fully or partially furnished. As a result, it may not even be necessary to ship furniture at all.
It's important to note that the customs process in India is incredibly tedious, and lags behind that of many countries. Furthermore, ports in India typically run in excess of capacity for handling goods, which causes congestion and leads to delays in delivery of the goods to a destination.
In turn, expats should choose a shipping company that offers door-to-door service, which should include customs clearance.
Shipping duty-free to India
Expats planning on becoming formal residents of India can import their used personal and household goods duty-free. There are some exceptions to this rule, like certain appliances or electronic equipment, and it’s best that expats consult the Indian government’s baggage rules before finalising their shipment.
Most expat relocation packages offer an allowance for air and sea freight, it's best to take full advantage of any air freight allowance for essentials needed right away.
Hiring an international removal company
Hassle free cross-continental movement is best handled by international removal companies familiar with Indian transport and customs rules. These companies come to will survey everything that needs to be shipped and make a quote based on the size of the shipment.
Those expat assignees lucky enough to have secured a shipping allowance through their work contract are usually bound to request at least three quotes before choosing a provider, and even those who aren’t bound should solicit a number of quotes in the name of price comparison.
On the day of the move, the company will pack everything, take inventory, do basic disassembling of furniture, and deal with all customs formalities. Expect quotes to include delivery and unpacking services, as well as removal of debris, and basic reassembling of furniture at the destination point.
Extra charges will usually apply for the following: insurance, wooden crates, handling of heavy items, storage of goods and customs duties. Expats should take out shipping insurance with a company not involved in the removal, as to ensure adequate protection and coverage of their goods.
Shipping a car to India
Foreigners are allowed import of one vehicle. The car must have been in the owner's possession for over a year. Other rules:
Shipment may be done within six months of arrival
Only right-hand drive cars are allowed
An original purchase invoice is required
Duty (Do note that there are no fixed rates as the process is seen case-by-case) it is best to check with the shipping agent for the latest update
Shipping pets to India
The rules for shipping pets to India vary according to each expat (and animals) country of origin, but all pet owners must obtain a ‘No Objection Certificate’ from the Quarantine Officer at the Animal Quarantine Station PRIOR to arrival.
To apply for this document, expats will need to submit the following:
All vaccination records of the pet.
Government-issued veterinary certificate from the exporting country (USDA document including microchip implantation record, rabies certificate, vet health certificate)
Flight details/confirmation of the passenger's travel into India/Copy of the airway bill
Once the certificate has been obtained, make sure to have the following documentation in order to safely and efficiently ship pets to India:
A duplicate copy of the NOC has to be fixed on the crate of the pet during the air travel.
Original copy of the NOC has to be produced in India to get the pet released from the customs at the Airport in India.
On arrival in India, an appointment to be fixed with the Quarantine Officer for issue of a temporary Health Certificate on examination of the pet.
Thirty days thereafter a certificate of health to be obtained from a local veterinarian to be produced at the Animal Quarantine Station. Then, the pet will be issued a permanent certificate of health for his/her stay in India.