Friday, February 10, 2012

Shipping Methods to India

There are three main shipping methods into and around India that I'm familiar with. There may be more but I have not used them so I wouldn't be able to say much about them. These three methods that I do know about are shipping via someone's luggage, India Post, and courier services.

Shipping via someone's luggage seems to be quite popular if you have anything of high value or large size to send. There are benefits to this such as:
  • Mostly avoiding customs - because the people bringing them are allowed a free allowance of many items
  • Virtually free - your friends don't charge you shipping because they know you would do the same for them
  • Much faster internationally -  you put something on a plane with someone and it's delivered in 2-3 days instead of 2 weeks.
Of course, as with everything, there are also bad sides. Often the person transporting the luggage can put off meetings, switch the expensive items with cheaper items and keep the original for themselves or things can get broken. The breakage mostly happens because these items are unpackaged to save space and make them look used just in case customs asks.  Some items never make it to their intended recipient. If someone was receiving designer clothes for example, items often disappear. Meaning someone keeps them. Obviously this doesn't happen all the time but it does happen. So be careful what you send and with who and always give the recipient a detailed list. It's also helpful to set up a meeting between the two people (shipper and receiver) before the flight takes place to ensure the transition goes more smoothly.

India Post can sometimes be just as bad as shipping via luggage. Every postal system in the world has the same issues, packages get damaged, lost, opened or taken. Sending via registered mail can get expensive but, it offers the peace of mind that your package will most likely make it without any problems. Most countries don't offer tracking services to India but a few do so try to get them if you can.Your package, no matter which postal service you choose, may have to go through customs and there are limits and restrictions on the items you can send. Customs will confiscate packages they choose to inspect that have items in them that are not allowed. Check with your local postal service for up to date restrictions.

Courier services have a reputation for being the most efficient and most of the time are not much more expensive than India Post. Sometimes they are cheaper, others they are not so it's really more about preference. With courier services the item is more likely to go directly to the person you wanted it to. Most items don't wind up going through customs the same way as with India Post. They are subject to customs but, you have to declare everything ahead of time in a more thorough manner than with postal mail.


  1. yeah the indian custom is pretty disgusting at opening parcels coming from abroad, I never had a single parcel from my family that came unopened, the gorssest was once my mom sent a box of chocolate with other goodies and other more generic chocolate tablets, these morons just planted a knife through the gift box of fancy chocolate, put their probabl dirty hands in the box, and when I opened the wrapper, half the fancy chocolates where missing! If they reall wanted to take chocolate they could take all the other everyday tablets but none of these were missing, as I had to email my mom to let her know about the custom behaviour, and to tell me the exact content so I could check if something else went missing. 

  2. Eww. That is gross. They should have just took the whole box. By leaving you part of it, that's almost insulting you in some way I think.