India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. With an average GDP growth rate of 6%, this is a nation to pay attention to. Rapid economic growth, market demand, and business expansion motivates buyers to move freight in and out of India. This is a hot area as companies continue to expand their sourcing and marketing global footprint.
It’s true that doing business in India offers many advantages with investor friendly policies and incentives, robust banking and financial institutions, compliance with WTO norms, and a large pool of skilled manpower. It’s also true that India’s emerging infrastructure and a variety of transportation deficiencies make it a challenging logistics market.
Even with all the improvements, on several levels, India is the Wild West. Shippers can experience various inefficiencies and bottlenecks across all modes of freight transportation. As well, payment issues and fluctuations in currency rates make shipping in this lane difficult. That’s why global companies with operations in North America and India should consider looking for a provider with experienced staff in both locations. If you do not have operations in India and are shipping in this lane, finding a provider with a presence in India is doubly important.
The good news is that improving supply chain resilience and risk management is a top priority for the country. India is taking a comprehensive approach at development by supporting energy and power projects, building roads to connect production centers to major ports and creating all-weather roads where it makes sense. And transportation providers are seeing key areas gaining momentum, including shipping cars via rail, free trade zones, and refrigerated transport of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals.
In spite of challenges typical for a growing economy, transporting freight in and out of India is a growing opportunity and continuously improving. To influence the fluidity and costs, here are 5 practical approaches shippers and consignees can implement now:
1. Allow a buffer of at least 14 days for each container delivering to the consignee’s door.
2. Make sure you understand the registration requirements in India for licensing and special valuation.
3. Study the India customs process thoroughly and keep your company compliant.
4. Gain control of your freight and lower overall costs by shifting terms to FOB or EXW for exports from India.
5. Beware of hidden costs or total landed cost if your exports are shipper-routed (CIF) to the U.S. port–don’t get fooled by a low ocean freight rate.
If you want to dive deeper into globalization topics like managing risks through Incoterms®, calculating total landed costs, and real-time, dynamic routing, I encourage you to read Going Global: Building a Sustainable Logistics Model in the Age of Globalization.
I am very interested to hear about your experiences shipping in India. Please comment below and feel free to ask questions.