What is the best way to ship goods to Sri Lanka ?


Are you about to import (or export) products between Sri Lanka and China? You still have a doubt regarding the regulation or transport method? This is because it is very difficult to find decent information among the ton of online advice that SINO Shipping has done its “country guide”.

SINO Shipping is the partner you need to move your goods from China to Korea, by Air or Sea Freight. We’re able to book space on vessels or planes for every types of goods, even if they are dangerous or perishable.

In a first part we will detail you the customs clearing process, in a second the trade relations between the two countries and finally we will discuss the two existing freight methods.



What is the best method to ship your goods from China to Sri Lanka?


At SINO Shipping, we facilitate your international business, and assist you with tactical and procedural aspects of exporting such as logistics, packing and labeling. Thanks to our know-how and our decade of experience, we will give the best solution for your conveyance for any means of transport.


Let’s see the best transportation methods according to the nature/volume/weight/class of goods :


shipping service

Overview – Ocean cargo from China to Sri Lanka

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is an island country situated in the ocean Indian, precisely in the Bay of Bengal, separated from India by Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar. Its long coastline, measures 1,340 km long, and the country is the 25thlargest island of the world.

Thanks to its geographical position in the ocean Indian, Sri Lanka is ideally situated on the sea routes between the Orient and Occident. Regarding to the World Bank, the sea freight reached 8,1 million of container of 20’ in 2015, and the forecast are 10,5 million in 2024.

The strategy of the government was to create the biggest transshipment hub in the region in 2012 at Colombo port.

The major manner of transport of goods are transiting via sea freight, and 70 % of ship traffic from and To Colombo are transshipment cargo.

Historically, the relation of trade between china and Sri Lanka began in 1952 with the Rubber-Rice pact.

Nowadays, the island is part of the Chinese strategy in the Ocean Indian, also called as the Maritime Silk Road or the china’s overall strategy “One Belt, One Road” 

Concerning the means of transport by sea, if you are in a hurry to ship your products from China to Sri Lanka, shipping is not relevant.

Ocean freight is optimal for individuals’ customers or smalls enterprises which don’t make the time of transportation a priority. On the other hand, this means of freight is economically interesting. Indeed, the cost and high volume are the principal advantages.

*In short, sea freight is recommended for regular traffic.

Shipping company offering services from China to Sri Lanka ports


Port of Colombo

The port of Colombo is the only one container terminal of the island and the busiest port which represents in average, 5,7 million TEU of containerized cargo. With its 27 piers, the port is a maritime hub in this region.


Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port

The port was opened at the end of 2010 and it is the second biggest port, after Port of Colombo. It has been funded by the EXIM Bank of the People’s Republic of China. It is ideally located, very close to the major international east-west shipping route.

Should I ship by consolidation or full container from China to Sri Lanka?


LCL – Consolidation

LCL (less than container load), Packages are potted (grouped with other customers) in a container. At destination, the container is unbundled by a service provider. All these operations are not without risk for the goods. Packaging and rigorous palletization are essential. There are two types of groupings. The groupage made by the shipping company and the consolidation of freight forwarder made by the provider.

FCL – Full Container

FCL or Full Container Load it is the most used solution. The goods travel alone, in a closed steel box. It is possible to load the cargo in bulk to optimize the full space of the container.

For China, about sea freight, you will find all you need in our guide.

TOP 5 – Shipping line









How much does it cost to ship a container from China to Sri Lanka?


Regarding to your requirement, the shipment varies in price: storage, packing services, license agreement… we adjust our proposal to your projected spending.

The cost of operation will be inconstant, related to your needs. For instance, door-to port shipment and port-to-port don’t have the same fare.

Special sea freight services


Reefer container from China to Sri Lanka

Reefer container or refrigerated container is a container capable of maintaining a certain temperature whatever the external conditions.

*At Sino Shipping, we offer temperature-controlled shipments from all mains Chinese ports.


Roro/Bulk/OOG from China to Sri Lanka

For any oversized conveyance, we provide different services such as Roro (Roll on / Roll off) devoted for heavy good vehicles or trailers. Moreover, we offer other service like bulk shipments or OOG (Out of Gauge) for parcel with dimensions exceeding those of the container



Overview – Classic vs Express air freight


We propose 2 method of transport air freight shipping and Express air freight.  It will depend on if you are in a hurry or not. Classic may include stopovers whereas “Express air freight”, “as its name indicates, it will send as fast as possible. As you might expect, Express air freight is more expensive due to less transit time.

*if you don’t give priority to the transit time, you can flavor your conveyance with one or several stopovers.

What is the difference between volumetric and gross weight?







*Your products will be charged with another method for our express services. The volumetric weight will be calculated with this ratio: 1 CBM = 200 kgs.

As an example, let’s take the following situation :

You need to ship the following parcel: W: 130, H: 88, L, 55, for a total volume of 0.629m3. 0.629 * 167 = 105 kgs. (rounded). The volumetric weight of your parcel is thus 105 kgs. If this weight is higher than the real weight of your shipment, we have to consider this one when quoting for it.

Please, bear in mind that the weight is not the only factor affecting the quotation.

Should I choose a Classic Air freight from China to Sri Lanka?


Which airlines company should you ship with?


FitsAir (formerly known as ExpoAir) is a Sri Lankan airline. The company has cargo flights to several cities in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.


China cargo airlines is the cargo subsidiary of China Eastern, and it represents the first all-cargo airline operating dedicated freight services.

How long does it take to ship from China to Sri Lanka by sea freight?


Colombo Mattala
Beijing 1-3 days 1-3 days
Shanghai 1-3 days 1-3 days
Guangzhou 1-3 days 1-3 days
Hong Kong 1-3 days 1-3 days

How much does it cost to ship a container from China to Sri Lanka?


Price for Air freight rely on various criteria. Regarding to your requirement, the shipment varies in price:  the arrival and departure, the nature of your goods, customs clearance…

Should I choose an Express Air freight from China to Sri Lanka?


Express service – Perfect solution for small package

Express freights are handled by companies such as DHL, UPS or FedEx. These companies manage the entire shipment lifecycle, with door-to-door service. Most of the time, compared to the normal air freight, these shipments are smaller. In average, they don’t exceed 1 cubic meter and 200 kilograms.




How long does it take for a package to be shipped from China to the Sri Lanka?


The transit times will be more or less the same than for classic air freight. The point that will change will definitely be others process.  Indeed, international courrier has dedicated customs department due to their volume of parcels. This advantage allows them to clear goods and finalize the shipment very quickly. While the total (all process included) delay by classic air freight is  4/6 days, you can expect to have your parcel delivered from Door to Door within 3 days.


How much an Express service costs from China to Sri Lanka?


We can’t provide prices for Express service as there are so many factors that influences the prices of your shipment: packing, distance from airport (both departure/arrival), any license needed..

Thanks to our partnership with these companies, we have very attractive fares and will select the best courier option according to your needs.


Major airports to ship in Sri Lanka


In addition to the sea freight, Sri Lanka is linked through its airports. The island has 23 airports but only 3 of them are international.

Colombo airport

Bandaranaike International Airport, also called Colombo Airport, is the main airport serving Sri Lanka.


Ratmalana Airport

This airport was the only international airport of Colombo until 1967, which coincide with the inauguration of Bandaranaike International Airport. This airport handles around 1,256 cargo tonnage in 2016.


Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport

This international airport is located in the South of the island, near Hambantota. It is the second busiest airport of the country. In 2017, the airport handled 69 tons of cargo.


trucking service

Overview – Door to Door


Door to Door service, also known as house to house service, ensure direct flows of products from the point-of-origin to the point-of-sale. This kind of service is the most convenient means of shipment for the client. Indeed, it has several advantages with a significant saving in time.

However, as you probably know, a door-to-door service will obviously be more expensive than a door-to-airport.

Why door to door service is necessary?


For instance, importer have to pass the customs authority.  We can manage this process and prove that all applicable customs duties have been paid. As forwarder, we are able to handle this step among others.


SINO Shipping – Door to Door specialist


Thanks to our know-how and our experience, we’ll provide you the most fitting solution for tour shipment at the best price.


LTL and FTL Trucking


For both countries, China and Sri Lanka, we have at ours’s disposal a fleet of trucks. That’s why, we are able to manage trucking service, LTL as well as FTL.

As container, LTL or less than Truckload, is referred to load stands for less than the capacity of lorries. Naturally, the price will be correlated with the space used.

On the other hand, FTL or Full Truckload shipping refers to when customers has enough goods to fill the truckload. In reality, some clients use it to save time, because the shipment will be delivered faster.





Although Sri Lanka has strong relation with India, China and Sri Lanka are cooperating more and more especially due to the fact that there is a huge diaspora of Chinese people in the island.

How much duties and taxes will I pay?


Calculate applicable tariff with the HS code

Sri Lanka uses the Harmonized System (HS) of Tariff Nomenclature for traded goods created by the World Customs Organization. It represents a standardized system of names and number for each product used by more than 200 countries in order to facilitate international trade and Customs regulation.

To obtain it, just refer the Tariff Guide, or if you can’t find it, use the Commodity Classification Branch.


The HS code is the identification number attributed to goods through the HTS. Here is all the information contained in a HS code :

harmonized stystem codes

Let’s continue with the “pineapple” as an example, it will provide you these rates :



Different taxes existing for your goods

The importer has to declare their conveyance thought a customs House Agent and submit the de Customs Declaration online, also called the Entry. The entry should be submitted two times, after arrival of products and after obtaining the delivery order from the shipping agent.


According to the Sri Lanka Customs, customs charges are the following:

  • Take a look to the tariff Guide of the Sri Lanka customs to be aware about the new customs tariff for your products.
  • Furthermore, you will be charged of Rs. 250 for the custom declaration and around Rs. 100 for each containerized cargo and 1000 for full container.

The payment can me made online or at the Customs Headquarters Banks by Bank Drafts.


Customs Duties on Motor Vehicles

For customers who want to import a vehicle, several documents are required :

  •  Customs Goods Declaration
  •  Commercial Invoice
  •  Letter of Credit
  •  Bill of Lading or Air Way Bill (in case of air freight)
  •  Delivery Order issued by the Shipping Agent
  •  Value Declaration Form

For your information other documents are required for a used vehicle :

  • Export Certificate
  • English Translation, if above certificate is not in English language
  • Pre-shipment inspection certificate issued by an approved inspection agency 

*Taxes will depend on the value of the vehicle. First of all, you have to determine the HS code of your vehicle. As we mentioned before, please refer to the Tariff Guide to find it.

Does Sino Shipping charge duty?


We won’t charge any further shipping costs to our customers.  More accurately, you will be asked to pay only customs duties, taxes and others import charges related to customs clearance in your home country, as per local regulation.

Customs contact in China

China customs emblem

Customs contact in Sri Lanka


Custom clearance process


First of all, in order to operate as declarant (new customs house agent), you have to provide several documents. Please check this page for all the requirements.

The second step is that you have to register with Sri Lanka Customs. This automation process is called ASICUDA (automated system for customs data). You will find all registration information at this page: Importer registration in Sri Lanka.

The importer has to declare their conveyance thought a customs House Agent and submit the de Customs Declaration online, also called the Entry.

The entry should be submitted two times, after arrival of products and after obtaining the delivery order from the shipping agent.





What are the Licenses required (import & export) ?


Import license

Regarding the Customs Classification Code, as we mentioned above, it will rely on the types of goods and the origin.


Export license

The process for exporting is almost the same as importing, but If you want to know more about how to start an export, we suggest taking a look at the FAQ guide, made by the customs service of Sri Lanka.


Necessary documents


The Bill of Lading or Airway bill (BL)

The Bill of lading represents the basic contact between importer and shipper which authorizes the shipping company to transport products to the buyer’s destination and also serve as the importer’s receipt and proof of title for purchase of the products.

Here we’re detailing you how is built a BL:

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

A packing list

This document is essential for the customs and should detail the HS code(Harmonized System of Tariff Nomenclature)

A Certificate of Origin (CO)

This document is the official document, given by the government, also called as “birth certificate” of the goods, showing country where the product originated.

A commercial invoice

The commercial invoice is the actual demand for payment issued by the exported when a sale is concluded.

Insurance certificate

It is the document which protects the imported goods against damage, loss and sometimes delay.

Shipper’s export/import declaration

This document refers to the contact information of the exporter and buyer, which contains a full description, declared value, and destination of the products being shipped.




Drug Contraband

































Counterfeit Notes





Trade relationship


Regarding the World Bank, China is the number one ranking to which Sri Lanka imported goods in 2016, for a total of US$4,271 million.

In 2018, Sri Lanka is determined to make a free trade agreement with China. This discussion started in 2012, and so far, it is the sixth round of negotiation.

In short, business between China and Sri Lanka is rising year by year. Moreover, this agreement, would be very welcomed for importer/exporter because it will facilitate trade between China and Sri Lanka, and will reduce duties and taxes.

Additional shipping services


Our warehousing services


Storage service in China

Thanks to our network, we have warehouses in all major cities of the country.


Storage service in Sri Lanka

We can put into storage your products both North and South of the island.

Our packing/unpacking services

Packing material


Carton boxpacking-service-in-china-logo

The cheaper option makes by the simplest packing materials. 


Benefits of Palletized goods are tremendous, for instance they reduce risk of temperature abuse for fruits or vegetables or increase maneuverability of transport tools. Furthermore, there are different kinds of pallets. 

Wooden boxes

The crate in wood, is a large container used to convey heavy items. the material guarantee security and protection for your goods, and wooden crates can be manufactured locally.

On the other hand, you can opt for wooden boxes which are smaller than wooden crates. They can be used to carry perishable products for example.


Others: bubble wrap, tape, wrapping paper… 

According to your requirements and your products, we will provide the perfect packing with the aim to transport them under the best conditions.


Why packing is important for the insurance?

In some cases, the insurance could reject the refund if they consider the packaging was inadequate. For this reason, we urge you to pay attention to the types of materials and the container used.


Freight insurance


As you probably aware, the freight insurance is a document used to cover against risks during the transportation. Regarding to your international commercial agreement, you can know what is covered by it. SINO shipping highly recommends ensuring your load, whatever it is.


How much does a freight insurance cost?

According to the value of your load, take precaution to protect your goods against risks. We advise you to find a happy medium in terms of expenses that you want to devote for it.

Supplier management in China


Control quality in China

In order to avoid any issue during the freight, we check all the process in accordance with the international trading standards. Our aim is to ensure that everything goes as planned. We start close relationship with your supplier to retain your load secure.


Relationship with supplier

Among our manpower, we have Chinese’s native speakers, thereby facilitating discussions with suppliers.


PL Services in China


Order fulfillment/Packing & labelling in China

At Sino Shipping, we manage order fulfillment for e-commerce. In this process, we handle all the steps from receiving, until delivering orders to the clients.


Last mile delivery

We are able to provide last mile delivery for our customers, especially for small package.


Shipping personal effects from China


Excess baggage

We propose service for excess baggage by air freight at a reasonable price within a short period of time.


Moving service from China to Sri Lanka

We offer relocation service for customers with our dedicated department: SINO-Relocation.


Free regulation advisor


Bear in mind that you will need a lot of documentation for your shipment. Feel free to get in touch with us, at SINO-shipping we deal with all the documents, refers to the official forms and others paperwork required for shipping and customs services.

More than 10 years of expertise in Asia, enables us to deliver tailor-made freight solutions at hyper competitive prices. Do not hesitate to contact our dedicated staff for more information about your transfer, we’re always happy to serve and spread knowledge!

FAQ – For 1st time importer from China

FAQ – Regulation

Pay attention to get accurate paperwork and shipping documentation. we remind you that several documents are required at your border country such as Bill of Lading for the carrier, Packing List, Commercial Invoice, and other optional documents for the Customs. All these documents are used in every kind of import.

For more than 400 goods and regarding the Harmonized Tariff System, importers need license to import products.

Yes, obviously, you need a customs broker in Sri Lanka.

FAQ – Shipping budget optimization

In some cases, air freight is less expensive than sea freight. In average, if your load has a volume less than 1CBM and weight less than 100kgs, Air freight should be cheaper.

We strongly advise customers to pay insurance whatever it is.  It is not mandatory, it’s at your own risk.

We urge you to declare the right value of your shipment, don’t try to underestimate it.

No, importers or exporters don’t have to pay any taxes and duties in China.

Please refer to tariff guide of the customs according to your product.


EXW or Ex works means that buyer has to support all the process from the original seller’s warehouse until the delivery address.

FOB or Free On Board, the seller support all the risks until loading products on board of the ship or the plane.

CIF or Cost, Insurance and Freight refers to the term that seller handle for the transport to buyer’s chosen port of destination. The seller takes on responsibility, risks, costs, and pay for insurance.

Regarding to your agreement, if you use CIF or CFR, you can hire a local agent.  On the other hand, if you opted for DAT/DAP with us, we can handle the conveyance to the place of delivery.

You need to provide us the exact address of departure and arrival.

First of all, check the website of suppliers/factories, to find further information about them such as physical address or their policies.

Then, you can research them on Alibaba, Global Sources, Hong Kong Trade Development Council. You will find references, feedbacks of former customers…

FAQ – How SINO will help you?

Yes, we can assemble several shipments in our warehouses.  Please keep in touch with us for consolidation services.

We handle all the process until the place of delivery. Your satisfaction is essential for us that’s why we attach great importance to our services.

Our strength is that we understand perfectly the needs of our customers and establish a win-win contract with them.

Please feel free to reach us by mail or phone, our expert will reply within 48 hours.

Obviously, we never disclose confidential information about our customers.

Obviously, we never disclose confidential information about our customers.



At SINO-Shipping, our experience in every stage of the supply chain is an important asset.

We are leveraging our expertise in the field to offer and develop services which are tailored to suit our customers’ requirements and always adaptable according to their specific needs.




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 Chinese to avoid any communication issues


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

Recurrent questions regarding the shipping from China to Sri Lanka

What is the shipping cost from China to Sri Lanka?

LCL: 50 USD /cbm FCL: 200 USD /20’: 400 /40’ Express shipping door to door (10kg): 800 USD

How long does it take to ship from China to Sri Lanka?

Average transit time by sea: 2 days Average transit time by airfreight: 3 days (daily direct flight) Express shipping door to door (10kg): 2 days

What are the best freight options to send good from China to Sri Lanka?

There are only 2 options, by sea or by air, it depends on how big the volume and the weight are, and then you will decide which shipping methods is more adequate. You must calculate the ration time/cost.

How much tax will I pay for importing goods from China to Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka uses the Harmonized System (HS) of Tariff Nomenclature for traded goods created by the World Customs Organization. It represents a standardized system of names and number for each product used by more than 200 countries in order to facilitate international trade and Customs regulation.

Do customs open every package?

No, they don't immediately open your package without any reason. ... They will only instantly check what's inside of your package if: Your package has been damaged when it reached the Customs office or desk. The damages can include broken seals or plastic or any cover of your package.

How do I avoid custom charges?

When you make a shipping request, you’ll have to declare the value of your shipment. The value you enter on your request form is the value that will be declared at customs, so it is important that you declare accurately. If you declare too high a value, you may be assessed more taxes than you want to pay! If you declare too low a value, your declared value may be considered unreasonable and adjusted upward.

How can I reduce my shipping costs?

-Negotiate with multiple carriers -Get suppliers to use your shipping account number -Use packaging provided by your carrier -Consider a regional carrier -Use online shipping -Invest in prepaid shipping -Buy insurance from a third party -Factor in all shipping fees before billing customers -Consider hybrid services -Ask about association discounts

Interested in our logistics services? Need further assistance & dedicated information?
Our SINO experts answer within 48h !