International Container Shipping Rates

NRI Shipping Charges

When preparing for your big move from the USA to India, and the biggest worry is to know the International container shipping rates. probably the greatest of your concerns is to relocate all your belongings. While for a lot of goods like your car, relocation isn’t the best option, but for the rest finding an economical and reliable shipping option is crucial. Here you can get complete information about International container shipping costs. There are primarily two ways you can ship your possessions to India - air freight and ocean freight

The Key Differences Between Air Freight and Ocean Freight

  • Transit Time From USA to India
  • Usually, Ocean shipments take somewhere between 35-45 days for Full Container Load shipments(explained further in the article) and 45-65 days door-to-door shipment based on the place of origin/destination, ocean transit times, amount of inland transportation required, consolidation, deconsolidation and several other unforeseen and foreseen factors.

    Air freight takes about 10-15 days door-2-door taking into account the flight schedule, road transportation, and customs clearance.

  • Shipping Charges From USA to India
  • Ocean freight charges depend on the origin/destination ports and:

    • The container size (in the case of Full Container Load aka FCL)
    • And cargo volume (in case of Less than a Container Load aka LCL)

    Goods shipped by air freight are charged per pound (lb.) or per kilogram (kg.) depending on the destination.

Understanding the Difference Between FCL and LCL Shipments

If you are considering shipping your goods through ocean freight, understanding the difference between FCL and LCL shipments is essential:

FCL Shipment

In an FCL cargo, All the goods in the said container are owned by a single shipper. For example, if you'd like to ship all of your furniture, electronics, utensils, clothes, books, crockery, etc. together, FCL is a suggested option. The most common sizes of FCL containers that are available include:

20 ft Container

For shipping goods that accommodate a 2 BHK flat, a 20 ft container is usually enough. It can accommodate items like books, clothes, TV, rugs, furniture, home decor products, Stuff like pillows, curtains, etc.

The standard dimensions of a 20' container are:

  • Length: 5.919m
  • Width: 2.340m
  • Height: 2.380m

40 ft Container

A 40’ container can accommodate items from a 3-4 BHK or independent stuff like couches, beds, in addition to the regular necessities mentioned above can be shipped in a 40’ container.

The standard dimensions of a 40' container are:

  • Length: 12.051m
  • Width: 2.340m
  • Height: 2.380m

You also have the option of a 40' Hi-Cube Container that is like the standard 40’ container, except it offers 1-foot extra height, which enhances the container’s loading volume.

LCL Shipment

An LCL cargo is the suggested option if you want to ship only limited goods that don’t require booking an individual container for yourself. You can simply book a consolidator to ship your goods along with those of other shippers. The transit time in this route of shipment, however, is longer compared to FCL shipment.

International Container Shipping Rates From USA to India

The container shipping rates from USA to India depend on a lot of factors. Here are some to consider:

  • The Mode of Shipment: If you opt for the FCL mode of shipment, understand that it is going to be far more expensive compared to the LCL mode of shipment because you’re booking an exclusive container for your belongings to be shipped. As far as possible, try to keep your shipping quantity to the minimum. Additionally, if it is a door-to-door shipment, it will be a lot costlier, but less cumbersome than door-to-port shipment.

  • Volume and Weight of the Shipment: Another factor that will determine the shipping rate of your belongings is their volume and weight. Greater the volume and weight, higher the charges you must expect.

  • Additional Amenities Included in Shipping: Shipping companies usually account for the packing, loading, shipping, clearance, insurance and delivery charges for the shipment in their final costing. The more reliable companies also give an estimated cost in advance so as to avoid bill shocks at a later stage

Make sure you do thorough research with respect to the shipping companies before zeroing in on one. Some reliable companies that ship from USA to include:

  • Unirelo (
  • Earth Relocation (
  • Universal Relocations (

If you are moving to India permanently you can import your belongings free of customs duty and taxes if:

  • You have been in possession of those goods for at least six months
  • You have been living overseas a minimum of two years before shifting your base back to India
  • You have not made a visit to India for more than 180 days over the last two years.

Your belongings (except clothing, jewelry, toiletries) will be subject to customs duty and taxes in case the above-mentioned terms are not met.