What is the best way to ship goods to Iran ?
If you’re visiting this page, we’re guessing that you’re on your way to import Chinese goods into Iran. Congratulations, you landed in the perfect place to implement or to increase your import process between the two countries. Without regarding if it will be your first freight, or if you are a well-experimented importer, you will find information you didn’t knew on this page. No matter what the type of goods they’re importing, from a single parcel to numerous fully loaded containers, we remarked that the same interrogations where frequently asked to us by our customers in Iran. To provide a great detailed and structured answer, and also help as many people as possible, we decided to write the following article, based on our 10 years of experience between the two countries.
SINO Shipping is your ideal freight forwarding partner. We can plan sea, air and land freight from China to Iran, for all types of products and volumes.
First, we’ll explain the customs clearance process in Iran for products made in China. Then we’ll discuss the different freight possibilities to reach Iran from China. And finally, we’re going to overview the trade and diplomatic relationship between the two countries. Personal advices and useful links will also be found along this article.
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Customs clearance in Iran
Because there is no Free Trade Agreements bonding China and Iran, there are not big chances for your shipment to be exempted of duties and taxes. Approximately, customs duties are about 28% of the goods value in Iran. The duties are going from 0% for the most basic products that need imports, to 100% or more for the goods that are already produced in Iran. This tariff barrier policy was made to support the local industry and businesses to flourish, instead of being dependent of imports.
The Original Non-Preferential Certificate of Origin (CO)
In international trades and customs clearance, the Certificate of Origin is an essential document to provide. As you probably guessed it, the CO is demonstrating that your goods were produced in a particular country and place. For the Certificate to be accepted by customs, it must be released by a government or a notary public. Also, the local Chamber of Commerce and the Exporter must put their signature on the document. Iranian customs will select which customs tariff are applicable, with this document.
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. The BL is acting like an ID card of the cargo, when the Certificate of Origin is the ID card of the products. It is released by the carrier to testify of the reception of the cargo for the transport. It is witnessing that the container where the goods are placed is charged on the vessel. The importance of the Bill of Lading resides in the fact that it ensures the exporter that his payment has been done, and the importer that he will receive the goods. The Airway Bill has the same use but is issued for an air freight. The Letter of Credit (LC) will be issued after the BL.
The Original Invoice
Customs will verify if the goods sent by the exporter are corresponding to the items avowed by the importer.
A general license
It is granted by the Iranian Ministry of Commerce, and it must be accompanied by the approval of the appropriate Ministry in charge of the type of goods.
A commercial card
The commercial card must be issued by the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines and approved by the Ministry of Commerce.
An Import License
The import license can be required, depending on the types of goods you’re importing.
Iran, with all the other countries in the world, is identifying traded goods with the Harmonized System (HS) of tariff nomenclature. It is a combination of 6 figures imputed to each type of goods, named HS Code. It is used as a common language worldwide to identify products and items.
The image below is detailing which information is contained behind each number
Each section is listing goods sorted by HS Code and is indicating the corresponding taxes rates on the same line. To take the example of a pineapple again, by downloading the section 2 “vegetable products”, on the page number 10, you will find the tariff barrier of 26% of the CIF value of the product.
You will normally find this result for pineapple:
Customs contact in China
Customs contact in Iran
- Your goods are unloaded from the vessel and put in the customs’ custody.
- Before your cargo lands in the Iranian territory, you must complete the import document file with all the documents detailed above. You must do it as soon as possible, because you will be dutied with extra charges like demurrage, warehousing, if your goods are staying too long in custody.
- Then you send the file to the corresponding customs office, where your goods are warehoused. In the meantime, the carrier will file the Import General Manifest (IGM) to customs.
- Once that the customs are possessing the file, they will proceed to the examination. They will calculate the applicable duties and taxes.
- After you pay the duties and taxes, the release letter of your goods will be issued to the custodians. He will transmit it to you with the completion of customs clearance.
- Then your goods are released, and they can flow to your destination or you can collect them.
The picture below is visualising the customs clearance process in Iran:
Two similar nations with the same ambitions
Both countries share similar psychological behaviours. The two countries are issued from millenary civilisation and empires. So, they both have a strong identity which express itself in national pride. Also, they identify to each other, because China is the biggest power in Asia, while Iran is one of the biggest power in the Middle East. That’s why they are maintaining good relations and are tending to cooperate politically and economically.
China is supplying Iran with electronics, auto parts and other types of consumer goods, but also with heavy technologies and investments like for the Tehran subway networks, cement industry, mining, transportation equipments… On the other hand, Iran is providing China with natural resources like coal, zinc, lead and of course oil. To sum up, China is trading its industry and Iran is trading its natural resources.
Most of the cargoes are shipped by sea freight from China to Iran. The rail freight between the two countries is still existing but not efficient enough now. It is called the Eurasian land bridge, and it is passing through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. A container train made 15 days from Yiwu in the Zhejiang province, to attain Tehran in 2018. It’s still very expensive and transit times are about 20 days, but this freight solution will surely develop in the future and become a major freight option.
According to the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, in 2017 China was both the first Import and Export partner of Iran. Trade flow from China to Iran reached a value of 12 billion of USD and was representing 26% of the share of goods imported into Iran. In the other way, 21% of the exports of Iran where sent to China for a total value of 10 billion of USD. Less important for China, Iran was only its 23rd import partner and 27th export partner for the year 2016 according to the World Bank.
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With its great area Iran is the second largest country in the Middle East, after Saudi Arabia. Iran is also a great maritime country, with its north coast bordering the Caspian Sea and its south coast edging the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Despite the sanctions that they are undergoing, Iran is a great economy and market of 82 million of inhabitants, with a good Human Development Index and a great consuming middle class. Most of the goods that aren’t produced in its territory, are entering through the two Seas, in the north and the south. Port infrastructures are not amongst the biggest but are numerous enough and well designed and maintained.
Major Ports of Iran
Port of Chabahar
The Port of Chabahar is located on the north shore of the Gulf of Oman, close to the border with Pakistan. It is the only Iranian Port that is boarding the ocean. Its annual cargo tonnage was of 2.1 million of tonnes in 2015.
Port of Bandar Abbas – Bahonar Port – Shahid Rajaee Port
It is the Iranian port that is located in the Hormuz Strait. It is serving the city of Bandar Abbas. The Port is directly linked by train to the capital city of Tehran. In 2015, the container port handled around 3 million of TEUs.
Port of Kish Island – Lenjeh Port
The port is famous for its great number of oil companies who positioned their oil management platforms there, which increased its activity. We can quote Petro Pars ltd., Total Co., Agip Co., Iranian Offshore Oil Co., National Iranian Drilling Co., Petroiran Development Co., Oil Exploration Operations Co. and State Oil Co., amongst the biggest.
Sea freight transit times
Here are the average transit times to transfer goods from China to Iran:
|Chabahar||Bandar Abbas / Kish Island||Bandar Taheri||Bushehr / Ras Bahrgan||Khorramshahr|
|Tianjin||24 days||25 days||26 days||27 days||28 days|
|Dalian||23 days||24 days||25 days||26 days||27 days|
|Shanghai/Ningbo||22 days||23 days||24 days||25 days||26 days|
|Guangzhou/Shenzhen/Hong Kong||20 days||21 days
|22 days||23 days
|Qingdao||23 days||24 days||25 days||26 days||27 days|
*Transit times between China and Iran are generally around 23-28 days, depending on the port of loading, and the port of entry.
Sea freight rates
*Between China and Iran, Ocean freight is the privileged freight solution. Around 90% of the goods traded, are travelling with this method.
International traders in Iran are preferring this method because of two major benefits: you can ship goods in great quantities for very competitive rates. You will probably choose this method too, if you will ship big volumes regularly.
SINO Shipping is able to provide any performance for every kind of goods, even if they are hazardous or perishable! Our great flexibility allows us to adapt to all your exigences.
Iran is possessing around 15 international airports that are linking its wide territory to the rest of the world. Here is a list of the cities owning one:
- Abadan / Ayatollah Jamil International Airport
- Ahvaz / Ahvaz International Airport
- Arak / Arak International Airport
- Bandar Abbas / Bandar Abbas International Airport
- Birjand / Birjand International Airport
- Isfahan / Shahid Beheshti International Airport
- Kish Island / Kish International Airport
- Larestan / Larestan International Airport
- Mashhad / Shahid Hashemi Nejad Airport
- Qom / Qom International Airport
- Shiraz / Shahid Dastghaib International Airport
- Tabriz / Tabriz International Airport
- Tehran / Imam Khomeini International Airport / Mehrabad International Airport
On the other hand, above 60 international airports are connecting China to other countries. Chinese airports are also amongst the most frequented and the busiest in the world, both in terms of passenger and goods traffic. China Southern Airlines is the only cargo airline that is linking directly China to Iran, Tehran precisely. All the other airlines will stop to Kuala Lumpur or Dubai first and reach Iran after.
Air freight transit times
It will take 9 hours for a cargo plane to reach Iran from China directly, on door-to-door. For a regular air freight performance, your goods will be in your hands within 7 days. To transfer them with an express air freight (courier), you will finally receive them after 4 days approximately.
Air freight rates
*The weight which will serve as a base to quote your air freight must be calculated with two distinct methods.
The gross and volumetric weight of your goods must be sorted out. You will be charged on the highest value between them.
*For express air freight, neither volumetric or gross weight is used to charge your goods. It is this ratio instead: 200 kgs = 1 CBM
*After your air freight or sea freight done, we can deliver your goods to your city or office directly with a rail freight or trucking.
We can plan rail and road freight to almost everywhere in Iran thanks to our very dense network. The airports and ports where we’re positioned in Iran have a multimodal hub, enabling your goods to travel inside the country by train or truck.
If a provision shortage can be lethal for your business, you shouldn’t take any risk and cover your goods. A vessel accident caused by a terrible weather or human factor, is something that can lead to damage or the complete loss of your cargo. Risks must never be neglected in international freight. To avoid this kind of situation, SINO Shipping linked with the greatest insurers in the business. If you subscribe, your goods will be covered, and a total compensation of the value of your shipment will be refunded to you.
A further protection isn’t a luxury with SINO Shipping!
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