Container terminal

Import Shipping from India to the UK

Air Freight from India

Mercator aims to make importing from India by air as simple as possible. In the current COVID-19 pandemic there are no scheduled passenger flights in or out of India. As a result, air freight can only be carried on cargo aircraft. This has led to upward pressure on air freight rates. Even so, Mercator has secured special airfreight rates in collaboration with our agent in India. If a UK importer is buying on FOB Incoterms by airfreight from India, Mercator can offer special rates for non-hazardous and non-volumetric and non-over dimensional cargo.

We recommend that UK buyers use FOB Incoterms for air freight shipments from India. This gives the UK importer better insight into the dates for shipping the goods, minimising delays, as well as more control over costs. Under FOB Incoterms, the shipper in India is responsible for export documentation, export licences and export customs clearance. These items can be expensive and cumbersome for UK importers to arrange. Mercator has negotiated a special deal with our agents in India and selected airlines on a service with a transit time of about 2 days from an Indian airport to London Heathrow Airport. We can offer FOB from BLR (Bengaluru), BOM (Mumbai or Bombay), DEL (Delhi) or MAA (Chennai) airports special rates for +500 kg GBP 3.30 per KG subject to acceptance and space availability. Hazardous cargo rates on request. Volumetric cargo rates on request.  Mercator has been importing customers cargo by air from India for nearly 30 years, so we have vast experience. Transit time on this service is normally 2 days.

Mercator can handle the UK import customs clearance and delivery to door promptly and cost effectively including customs entry and payment of import VAT and duty to HMRC.  Our import service from India by air can carry many types of cargo such as carpets, handicrafts and garments to name a few.

If you have arranged the purchase of goods for airfreight from India on Incoterms other than FOB, Mercator can still help and advise the process to make importing by air from India as simple and easy as possible.

Sea Freight from India

When importing goods from India into the UK particularly via sea freight, it is usually a good idea to speak with a freight forwarder before you agree buying terms (known as INCOTERMS) with your supplier.  An INCOTERM is an internationally recognised buying term which sets out what the supplier and the importer are responsible for when it comes to shipping to goods.

Generally it is best to opt for a FOB (free on board) term when purchasing goods for an LCL (less than container load) shipment.  If you purchase on a term whereby your supplier arranges the sea freight for you (for example on a CIF basis (cost insurance freight)) you may find that when your LCL shipment arrives in the UK, you have a rather large bill that you were not expecting – see more details here.

FCL (full container load) shipping from India is a bit different to LCL.  Your supplier in India may be able to get you a good deal on your ocean freight if you are shipping a full container load to the UK.  It is worth comparing ocean freight rates between your supplier and a UK based forwarder.

Mercator is a freight forwarder, based in the UK.  We have been in business over 25 years.  We arrange import freight from India on a daily basis for our customers.  Our services include loading in India, clearing through customs in India (in partnership with our agent based in India), ocean freight to the UK, UK customs clearance and delivery to your door in the UK.  Our UK import services cover all industries including textiles, woven carpets, dry food stuffs (including rice if the importer has a ‘rice licence’), furniture and handicrafts.

We can arrange sea freight from the major ports in India, including Nhava Sheva (located just outside Mumbai on the west coast), Kochi (further south than Mumbai) and Mundra (the very north of India in Gujarat).  Transit times from India to the UK via sea freight ranges from 17 to 21 days depending on the departure and arrival port.  Imports from India can arrive in London Gateway, Southampton, Felixstowe and Tilbury (depending on the service chosen).

Whatever the INCOTERM you have arranged with your supplier, Mercator can assist with your import from India.  We are founding members of a worldwide network of freight forwarders.  Because of this, we have partner agents located in India.  They will be able to assist with any of the processes of your shipment in India, such as collecting the goods, loading and export customs.  Mercator will be able to handle the rest of the import process including sea / air freight, UK customs clearance, payments to HMRC for VAT & duty (if applicable) and onward delivery to your door.

To make the process of importing simple, get in touch and appoint Mercator to handle the bulk of the workload for you: email us on or call +44 2392 756 575.

Get a Quote for Importing from India


    Please note we are unable to handle personal shipments.

    * Rates are valid for General cargo only (non-volumetric cargo, non-over dimensional, non-hazardous).  Rates are subject to confirmation at the time of booking.  Airline preference is subject to space availability.  Subject to revision in Airlines fuel, security and other charges, rates may change.  For +1000 kgs, we can offer competitive pricing.