Shipping from China to Indonesia

What is the best way to ship goods to Indonesia ?

We assume that you are close to conclude a deal between China and Indonesia if you landed on this page. After a decade of freight forwarding between the two countries, we noticed that our clients asked us regularly the same types of questions. No matter of the type of goods, the quantity and the volume they need to transport, they all had the same interrogations on the import process. To synthetize our answers, and to help other people who may have to perform in international trades, we decided to build this great page detailing all you need to know about trades in goods between the two Asian countries. Without regarding if you’re a beginner, a skilled international trader, if you need to import full containers regularly or a tiny parcel once, you will find valuable information here, that will help develop your trading process. Also, we put several links and personal advices along this article, that will surely help you.

SINO Shipping is amongst the greatest freight forwarder in the Chinese and the Asian market. You can ask us to plan sea or air freight between the two countries, even if your products are hazardous or perishable.

In a first part we will discuss the different freight possibilities. In a second part we will talk about the Indonesian customs clearance process. And finally, we will overview the economic and politic relationship between China and Indonesia.

You want to ship personal effects ?

SINO Relocation, our international moving branch, is here to help your with your belongings !

Our customs broker inform you

Customs clearance in Indonesia

Can I be exempted of duties and taxes for an import from China to Indonesia?

Yes, you can! As a member of the ASEAN community, Indonesia is applying the ASEAN – China Free Trade Area (ACFTA), which suppressed tariff barriers on 90% of the goods traded between the two zones. This explains why there are great chances for your shipment to be totally exempted of duties and taxes.

Necessary documents

First of all, be aware that without an authorization from the Indonesian government, you cannot perform international trade. To be allowed, you must comply with official rules.

The Original Certificate of Preferential Origin (CO)

The certificate of origin is an essential when it comes to customs clearance and global trades. Like its name is indicating, it’s a proof that the goods contained in your shipment were produced in a defined country and place. A notary public or a government agency should issue the CO to make it valid, and it also needs to be signed by the Exporter and the local Chamber of Commerce. Customs will also determine if the ACFTA preferential rates are applying on your products, thanks to this document.

The customs declaration

This document is helping customs to ensure the goods that are entering the national territory can not affect the local environment, safety or economy. It is a form that provides information about all the listed goods listed the import. The exporter should complete the “pemberitahuan ekspor barang” (PEB) version, while the importer should complete the “pemberitahuan impor barang” (PIB) version of the document.

Original invoice

The Invoice is used by customs to check if goods issued by the exporter are the same as the one declared by the importer.

BL example

The Bill of Lading (BL) or Airway Bill

After the Certificate of Preferential Origin, The Bill of Lading is the second most important document when it comes to imports. Data and information on the cargo are provided on the BL, as well as details on the products are written on the CO. You can also find on the BL the details of the payment to the carrier. It is the necessary document for the issuance of the Letter of Credit (LC). The Bill of Lading is released for an Ocean freight, while the Airway Bill is released for an air freight.

Here is a scheme of the information available on a BL, plus their sequence:

1 = Shipper
2 = Consignee
3 = Notify party
4 = Vessel No.
5 = Port of loading / discharge
6 = Place of receipt / delivery
7 = Containers No.
8 = Goods description
9 = Net weight
10 = Dimensions / volume

Import permit (if necessary)

It depends on the type of goods you’re importing, and of your company profile. The customs will give you further details about it.

Packing list for multiple goods

The HS code of the products you’re transferring must be indicated in. The MSDS document and the international codes of the products are also required if you’re importing dangerous or chemical products.

Duties and taxes in Indonesia

Like all the ASEAN countries, and more largely all countries in the world, Indonesia is utilizing the Harmonized System (HS) of tariff nomenclature to identify traded goods. It is a combination of numbers called HS Code, attributed to each type of goods, to standardize goods identification worldwide.

The picture hereafter is explaining you which meaning you should put behind each number:

hs code composition

To begin, you will need the HS code of the items you’re willing to import. If you still don’t know which one it is, please check it on this great website

Now that you’re aware, the tariff barriers applying on your goods are indicated on the Tariff Reduction Schedule of Indonesia, that you can download on the ASEAN official website.

This schedule is sorting goods by order of HS code number and details the corresponding tariff barriers. To continue our example, let’s find out what duties and taxes are applying on pineapples. On the line number 1077, it’s indicated that no tariff barriers are applying on Chinese pineapples.

duties and taxes indonesia

The second method to determine your goods tariff barrier is to go on the ACFTA official website, and use the Tariff Finder on the right of the page. Put China as the “Country of Origin”, Indonesia as the “Country of Destination”, and the name of your product in Key Words. Still for pineapple, you will obtain the same result.

SINO Info: You understand now the amount of paperwork that can be asked to complete. As it will be extremely difficult if you’re not used to it, one of our SINO Customs Experts can take care of the process on your demand. 


The Customs Procedures in Indonesia

The process is using electronical methods to reduce the paperwork and interactions between the customs and the importer:

  1. The Importer and the Exporter are asked to provide their part of the Customs Declaration to the corresponding Customs Office.
  2. All the documents detailed previously must be gathered in a file and sent to the Customs Office.
  3. The Importer will pay the duties and taxes (if existing) to the customs, based on his self-assessment.
  4. The customs official will verify is the customs declaration and the duties and taxes are entirely given.
  5. If everything is concordant with the regulation, the release letter will be issued. It is called the “surat pemberitahuan pengeluaran barang” (SPPB). Then the goods will be freed from custody and delivered to the importer.
  6. If it isn’t concordant, the Customs declaration will be cancelled, and both the exporter and importer will have to revise and restart the entire process.


Customs contact in China


chinese customs


Official name: General Administration of Customs of China

Official Website: Chinese Customs Website




Customs contact in Indonesia


customs logo indonesia


Official name: Directorate General of Customs and Excise or Direktorat Jendral Bea dan Cukai (DJBC)

Official Website: Indonesian Customs website

The different Channels

As in many other Asian countries like Singapore, Indonesian customs implemented a channelling process to ease the customs treatment of each enterprises and shipments. It is based on the importer’s profile, the category of goods he’s importing and his track record.

The Red Channel

It is the one followed by new importers, or importers with a poor track records due to bad previous imports and some categories of goods with high risks. This channel will incur an intensive follow-up and goods will be automatically inspected physically.

The Yellow Channel

This channel is for importers with a correct track record, and for goods with a medium risk. If the shipment is selected for a random test or if customs intelligence indicates a deeper goods’ inspection, the goods will be physically examined.

The Green Channel

This one is for importers with a good track record, and for products with low risks. Physical inspection of the items will be processed if the same conditions as in the Yellow Channel are arising.

The Special Priority Channel

It is the easiest one for importers. Called “Mitra Utama” (MITA), for importers with perfect track record, the goods expenditure is done automatically. The shipment will undergo Post Clearance Audit System (PCA), and a physical inspection on rare occasions. To benefit of this channel, importer must apply and be approved by the DJBC.

This scheme below is summing up the Indonesian customs process in a picture:

customs procedure

SINO Remark: This process must be made as fast as possible, because you will pay additional charges (warehousing…) as the time is flowing. It isn’t an easy mission to accomplish when you’re new in the domain, and you will probably waste a lot of energy and time. Our experienced SINO Customs Staff are well-skilled on customs clearance in Asia. Ask them to clear your goods, for a guaranteed smooth process!

Trade relations between China and Indonesia

A long time cultural exchange and economic cooperation

Historically, Indonesia has always been influenced by China. Indonesia is owning one of the biggest collections of Chinese antiques and ceramics out of China. Because Indonesia was on the maritime silk road connecting China to India and the Arabic peninsula, the two countries have been linked since a long time ago. You can also find a lot of Chinese patterns in the Indonesian craft like batik… Recently, this relationship has been a little bit altered because of conflicts about the Natuna Islands in the South China Sea. But both parties are trying to loosen the situation.

Trades between China and Indonesia are constantly growing since the ACFTA is established. As an example, the value of trades between the two countries has been multiplied by 10 between 2003 and 2010. Investments from China to Indonesia are also greatly flowing, thanks to the Bamboo network, a network of Chinese people settled in South East Asia and running businesses there. From a nation to another, China helped develop infrastructures like the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway project, that will start to operate in 2019.

China is the first trade partner of Indonesia, both in terms of imports and exports according to the World Bank. In 2016, 12% of the goods exported by Indonesia were destined to the Chinese market, which represented 17 billion USD in terms of value. For imports, 23% of the goods imported in Indonesia were made in China, which was a total value of 30 billion of USD. On the other side Indonesia is the 18th import partner and the 15th export partner of China.

To sum up, the two countries have a long-time common history, through products and cultural exchanges. The Chinese community in South East Asia and particularly in Indonesia is significant, which is strengthening the relations between the two countries. Except small territorial disputes, China and Indonesia, thanks to the ASEAN community, are great trading partners and the goods exchange process between the two zones have been facilitated. This is explaining why investments and trades have hugely grow between the two countries since the last 15 years. If you’re beginning in international trades, it will be a great opportunity for you and if you’re still trading goods between the two countries, you must increase your activity.

We’re fully proficient on the Asian market and we have a great proportion of Indonesian amongst our clients. If you’re missing some information, or if you want to ship your goods asap between the two countries, reach one of our SINO Experts right now.

Our customs broker inform you

Prohibited & restricted items

Remark: If you have one of the following item, you should check directly with our SINO Experts. Some of those items are restricted or even totally prohibited, it is important to anticipate such shipment to avoid any problem.

Drug contraband

prohibited items drug contraband


prohibited items ivory


prohibited items poison


prohibited items explosives


prohibited items loose lithium batteries


prohibited items pornography


prohibited items biohazard


prohibited items flammable combustible


prohibited items tactical knives


prohibited items chemicals


prohibited items firearms


prohibited items tobacco


prohibited items corrosive


prohibited items prescription drugs


prohibited items gambling


prohibited items counterfeit

Counterfeit notes

prohibited items means of payment


prohibited items hazardous material

SINO Shipping - Dedicated freight forwarder in China

Due to our attractive pricing & dedication, many customers trust our services and we thanks them. Stop to overpay the services and save money with our tailored package matching will all type of shipment, from small volume to full container, let us find the best and cost-effective option.


Complete our online form and get your free quote within 48h!


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sea freight icon china

Ocean freight will be the best deal for you if:

  • Your suppliers are located near a major Chinese port
  • Your goods are bigger than 2 CBM
  • You’re not in a hurry to receive them


To find the perfect solution to transfer your goods via ocean, please contact one of our SINO Sea Experts. Fill our online form in 1 min and get an answer within 48H !


Remark SINO: Our article on Sea freight from China will help you to understand the topic, check it here: Sea Freight China

As the greatest world archipelago, containing around 13,500 islands, Indonesia is one of the most spectacular and diverse nation in terms of geography and biodiversity. Its territory, going from the Andaman Sea at the far west to the Papua at the far east is home of a huge territory distributed in numerous islands. Thanks to this, Indonesia possesses a big interface with the Pacific and Indian Ocean. Indonesia is becoming a huge economic power of the Asian continent thanks to its population of 270 million of inhabitants, its good agricultural soil and its natural resources. The major challenge to achieve this dominance is the Port infrastructures of Indonesia. Except Tanjung Priok in Jakarta, other ports need great investments to provide quality and effective infrastructures to the other islands of the country.

SINO Note: To reach the western part of the country, the Chinese vessels will cross the South China Sea straight to the south, to attain the islands of Sumatra, Java or West Kalimantan. On the other side, to reach the islands in the east, the vessel will pass through the Philippine Sea in direction of the South, and then navigate through the eastern islands of the archipelago.

Major ports of Indonesia

Port of Belawan – Medan – Northern Sumatra

Built in 1890, the Port of Belawan is the third largest port of Indonesia today and the biggest in Sumatra Island. It is one of the biggest points of entry and exit for goods on Sumatra Island. In 2014, the total cargo handled there was of 12 billion tonnes.

Port of Tanjung Priok – Jakarta – Western Java

It is the busiest port of Indonesia and also the most technologically advanced and performant. Historically, it is one of the oldest ports in South East Asia also. It is handling half of the flow of goods that is entering and leaving Indonesia. This is explained because of its state-of-the-art infrastructures, and by the technological backwardness of most of the other Indonesian ports. In 2016, the domestic and international cargo flow of the port was at almost 2 million of TEUs.

Port of Tanjung Emas – Semarang – Central Java

Built in the 19th century, it is connecting central Java to other areas. In 2013, it handled 1,7 million of tonnes of cargo. In 2015, 608,984 TEUs were managed. It is also an important port for passenger traffic.

Port of Tanjung Perak – Surabaya – Eastern Java

Tanjung Perak is the port serving the city of Surabaya, both in terms of goods and passengers. In 2014, 3.1 million of TEUs were handled there. Its total capacity is neighbouring the 6 million of TEUs per year.

Minor Ports of Indonesia

Port of Gilimanuk – Gilimanuk – Bali

It is the port linking the islands of Bali and Java, in passenger, Roro and cargo trucks traffic. Other ports like Benoa Harbour in Denpasar, south of Bali are more specialised into fishing and cruising.

Kupang Harbour – Kupang – Pulau Timor

It is used to enter cargo and passengers in the Indonesian part of Timor Island. It is also used for the local fishing economy.

Port of Makassar – Makassar – Southern Sulawesi

With the port of Kendari, they are the two ports where goods are provided to the southern parts of Sulawesi Island. It handled 8 million of tonnes of cargo in 2015, which represented almost 600,000 TEUs in terms of volume.

Port of Bitung – Bitung – Northern Sulawesi

It is the main point of entry to the north of the island. A Roro ferry service is linking directly Bitung to the city of Davao in the Philippines. It will provide to northern Sulawesi products such as construction materials, food and agricultural products.

SINO Plus: Our great collaborators are present in the busiest Chinese ports. Thanks to them, we’re honoured to provide a complete spectrum of ocean services to Indonesia. You can ask us to book full containers (FCL), or a few cubic meters (LCL) for 20’, 40’ and 40’ HQ containers. Don’t be afraid to ask further services, we can program reefer containers, Bulk and Roro cargos, if the environment of your goods must be monitored.

Sea freight transit times

Here are the usual transit times, for a China-Australia cargo:

Tianjin Dalian Shanghai / Ningbo
Guangzhou / Hong Kong
Belawan 15 days 15 days 13 days 11 days
Jambi 14 days 14 days 13 days 10 days
Jakarta 15 days 15 days 14 days 11 days
Surabaya 15 days 15 days 14 days 11 days
Bali 16 days 16 days 15 days 12 days
East Nusa Tenggara
16 days 16 days 15 days 12 days
Pulau Timor 17 days 17 days 16 days 13 days
Makassar 15 days 15 days 14 days 11 days
Bitung 12 days 12 days 11 days 8 days
Pontianak 14 days 14 days 13 days 8 days

*Please note that those transit times are just indicative timing between China and Indonesia

Sea freight rates

*International Traders are always privileging sea freight for two major advantages: It allows to transport great quantities of goods, at very competitive prices. 

These two benefits are good enough to explain why more than 90% of the trades in goods between China and Indonesia are done through Sea freight. If it is your situation, it isn’t necessary to go further, Ocean freight will be your affair.

As detailed before, SINO Shipping will furnish all kind of performance for all volumes! We really emphasize on flexibility, which enables us to greatly suit all your needs.

SINO Advice: Contact our SINO Maritime Specialists now, to see what is possible between China and Indonesia. We will give you precise rates and transit times after, as we decided to quote each demand individually. It permits to avoid surprises, because the total costs are depending on all the different services you ask us to provide.


air freight destination

Air freight will be the most efficient solution if:

  • Your goods are smaller than 2 CBM and 200 kg
  • You’re in a hurry to receive/send the goods


Remark SINO: Air freight is not the most common freight method but has one main advantage: Transit times

Indonesia has 20 international airports that are linking by air the major islands of the country to the entire world. On its side, China is a major air nation with more than 60 international airports. The cargo traffic in the Chinese airports is the most intense in the world. Numerous Asians and International cargo airlines are linking the two countries with direct and undirect flights. China Cargo Airlines and China Southern Airlines are the two Chinese companies that bonds directly Jakarta to major cities of China by air. On the Indonesian side, Garuda Indonesia has codeshare agreements for cargo planes with China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Hong Kong Airlines.

Air freight transit times

By plane, 13 hours are necessary to link China to Indonesia, on door-to-door. To transfer your goods with a normal air freight, you have to count around 8 days for the final delivery. With a courier air freight (express), your products will be in your hand within 5 days.

Remark SINO: It is hard to estimate as it mainly depends of the budget: a direct flight available within a day is possible, but will probably be more expensive. In average, you can expect 5/8 days (export/import process included) 

Air freight rates

*Two distinct methods are necessary to calculate the chargeable weight of your items.

First you need to sort out the gross weight of your goods, and the volumetric weight in second.

Once that you have the results, it is the highest value that will be kept to quote your freight. You can get rid of the lowest.

SINO Plus: Our good partnerships with international cargo airlines enables us to propose you interesting rates for great air freight services between China and Indonesia. We can plan both regular and courier air freight and add trucking services to deliver your goods everywhere you are. With SINO Shipping, China and Indonesia have never been so close!

gross weight air freight china
dimensional weight air freight

*Please note that for courier freight deliveries, a different method is used to rate your goods. The volume/weight ratio is 200 kgs = 1 CBM.

SINO Plus: As well as sea freight, for an optimal respect of your budget, all the requests are quoted individually. Because a strict transparency between us and our client is important, we will detail every cost on the quote.

Inland trucking in Indonesia

*If you are situated far from a port or airport, or if you want your goods to be directly delivered at your address, you can ask for a trucking service.

Our great network enables us to offer ultra-complete road freight in Indonesia, in the major islands of the country. All the ports and airports where we are in Indonesia have a multimodal platform. All our great efforts are helping us to provide fast deliveries and enables you to spend less time thinking about your goods delivery.

Freight insurance

SINO Info: We’re charging 1 to 3% of the freight + goods value, according to the type of goods you’re transferring.

All freights are composed with a part of risks. A ship accident, a storm or malice can lead to the loss or damage of your goods. To avoid the terrible consequences that can occur, SINO Shipping partnered with the most esteemed insurance companies in the freight market. A subscription will provide an extra coverage of your goods, and you will be totally compensated if your goods are lost or damaged.

You shouldn’t take any risks, if a supply scarcity will ruin your enterprise. A further protection of your shipment can’t be refused!

SINO Info: You can go deeper, to know what freight insurance will suit the best to your cargo by consulting our dedicated article Freight Insurance.

Why choose us ?

Our advantages

SINO Shipping, we understand perfectly the needs of our customers and establish a win-win collaboration with them.

“respect is earned. honesty is appreciated. trust is gained. loyalty is returned.”


Make a request and you will be contacted within 24 hours maximum

Dedicated customs service

Do not hesitate to contact us for customs or administratives information

Tailored service

Small or big shipment, we can manage every request


We guarantee very competitive price, ask us and compare !

Multilingual team

We speak English, French and Thaï to avoid any communication issues


We ensure and secure all our shipments, safety is our priority !

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