Complete Guide on Shipping Container To Iran | China Sea Freight FAQ


Shipping container to Iran

Iran is situated in western Asia and is classified as a Middle Eastern country. China is Iran's largest trading partner, exporting primarily electromechanical products, chemical products, steel products, and medical equipment to Iran. Among these, the most exported electromechanical products include motorcycles and their parts, motors, electronic products, tools, automotive parts, construction materials, household appliances, mining machinery, and power generation equipment. Shipping container to Iran plays a crucial role in the import and export trade between China and Iran.

The main container specifications include 20GP, 40GP, 40HQ, and 45HQ. In addition to these, there are also refrigerated, flat rack, open-top, and tank containers.

shipping container to iran

With containers shipping to Iran, companies are able to expand their global trade networks, enhance connectivity to the Iranian market, and facilitate cross-border trade while ensuring the safety and traceability of goods during long-distance transportation. Understanding and fully utilizing the importance of containerized transportation is, therefore, critical to the success of international trade with Iran.

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What are the common container sizes for shipments to Iran?

Containers shipping to Iran typically come in the following sizes:

20’GP - (L) 591 * (W) 234 * (H) 238CM = 32.91CBM (actual capacity around 28CBM) 40’GP - (L) 1204 * (W) 234 * (H) 238CM = 67.05 CBM (actual capacity around 56-59CBM) 40’HQ - (L) 1204 * (W) 234 * (H) 268CM = 75.50 CBM (actual capacity around 65-67CBM) 45HQ - (L) 1360 * (W) 234 * (H) 268CM = 85.28 CBM (actual capacity around 75-77CBM)

The above are theoretical dimensions; the actual load capacity and volume of containers are smaller due to differences in container sizes, making it impossible to achieve a 100% loading rate.

Each container from shipping companies has a unique container number, typically consisting of four letters followed by seven Arabic numerals (e.g., AMSU4567898).

Once containers are loaded, they are sealed with seals provided by the shipping company. Each seal has a unique number. Once the seal is broken, it becomes easy to determine responsibility for any missing goods. As long as the shipping company delivers the container intact to the designated location, ensuring the seal remains intact, the shipping task is considered complete.

Container loading requires specialized container vessel transportation. The carrying capacity of mother ships generally ranges from 2000 to 6000 TEUs (20GP = 1 TEU; 40GP = 2 TEU), while feeder ships typically carry 200-400 TEUs. Each ship has a specific name and voyage number. Unlike air freight flight numbers, sea freight voyage numbers are unique for each journey. Voyage numbers are represented as V.XXXE, with "E" indicating exports and "W" indicating imports.

Strategies for shipping container to Iran

Type of cargo: Different types of cargo may require different types of containers. For example, liquid cargo may require a liquid tank container, while bulk cargo may require an open container.

Cargo volume and weight: Make sure that the container you choose is large enough to accommodate the volume and weight of the cargo. Containers that are too large or too small may affect the safe transportation of the cargo and transportation costs.

Cargo Characteristics: Some cargoes are environmentally sensitive and require specially handled containers, e.g., temperature-controlled containers can be used to transport temperature-sensitive goods.

Transportation Costs: Consider the transportation costs of different container types, including rental and related costs, to ensure that the choice is both economical and tailored to the characteristics of the cargo.

Cargo Security: Select containers with appropriate security features to ensure cargo security during transportation.

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What are the loading methods for standard containers shipping to Iran?

shipping container to iran

1. Full Container Load (FCL)

  • This method involves filling an entire container with cargo belonging to a single consignee. The container is delivered empty to the shipper's location, where the cargo is loaded, and then sealed with a lock and seal provided by the carrier. Once loaded, the container is transported to its destination without the need for additional handling or consolidation of goods from multiple shippers. We recommend using FCL services when your cargo reaches 18cbm..

2. Less than Container Load (LCL)

  • In this approach, cargo from multiple shippers destined for different consignees is consolidated into a single container. The logistics provider gathers and consolidates the shipments at a container freight station or warehouse. LCL service is suitable for smaller shipments that can not fill an entire container. We suggest using LCL when the volume of your cargo is less than 15cbm. It allows you to share the container space and transportation costs, making it a cost-effective option for smaller volumes of cargo.
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What are the ports for shipping containers to Iran?

Shipping container to Iran

Area Container Port in Iran Province City
Iran Southern Port Bander Abbas (Shahid Rajaee) Hormozgun Bandar Abbas
Iran Southern Port Imam Khomeini Khouzestan Mahshahr
Iran Southern Port Bander Abbas(Shahid Beheshti) Sistan and Baloucheshtan Chabahar
Iran Southern Port Khorramshahr Khozestan Khorramshahr
Iran Southern Port Bushehr Boshehr Bushehr
Iran Southern Port Chabahar Sistan and Baloucheshtan Chabahar
Iran Southern Port Lengeh Hormozgan Bandar Lengeh
Iran Southern Port Bahounar Hormuzgan Bandar Abbas
Iran Southern Port Abaadan Khozestan Abaadan
Northern port of Iran Noshahr Mazandarun Noushahr
Northern port of Ira Anzali Gilan Bandar Anzali
Northern port of Ira Amir Abaad Mazandarun Neka

Bandar Abbas Shahid Rajaee Port is Iran's most crucial port (also known as Shahid Rajaee Sez, the most important port for imports from China). Situated at the heart of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), it boasts a unique geographical position, providing access to the open sea of the Persian Gulf, connecting to the international railway network and the Silk Road, and benefiting from modern facilities, while being close to the Kish and Qeshm free zones and ports near the Persian Gulf.

Imam Khomeini Port is located at the northwest end of the Persian Gulf and the natural waterway of the Hormuz Strait. This waterway, which is 42 nautical miles long, 250 meters wide, and with an average depth of 20 meters, provides a smooth and secure passage for various commercial ocean liners and tankers.

Chabahar Port, exempted from US sanctions, is a crucial gateway to Afghanistan and Central Asian countries, situated along the Oman International Route. Due to its strategic location, it plays a vital role in the transshipment and transit of goods between Afghanistan, Central Asia, and other ports in the Persian Gulf. The port has the potential to provide various commodities and services, including containers (dry, refrigerated, open-top, and flat racks), bulk cargo, general cargo, petroleum products, water, vessels, and processing. Some unique advantages of Chabahar Port include a 75% discount on import container warehousing fees, an 85% discount on export container warehousing fees, and a 30% discount on non-container cargo handling and warehousing costs compared to other Iranian ports. Additionally, India is considering offering import duty discounts (up to 40%) on goods imported through Chabahar Port.

The direct route from Dachanbay (Shenzhen) to Dubai and B.abbas offers a short journey time, taking only 12 days to Dubai and 13 days to B.abbas. Route: Shanghai-> Kwangyang-> Busan-> Ningbo-> Kaohsiung-> Dachanbay (Shenzhen) -> Hongkong-> Dubai-> B.abbas

KHORRAMSHAHR is transited via Dubai (barge) and BUSHEHR is transited via Bandar Abbas (barge). These two ports are in economic zones in Iran, so the import volume is relatively higher compared to other inland points. Few shipping companies in the market provide shipping services to these two ports, and even if such services are available, the shipping costs are several hundred dollars more expensive than HDSL. TEHRAN, the capital of Iran, is an inland city and is transited via B.abbas, then transported to the destination by trailer. Currently, there are no other shipping companies providing transportation services to this destination.

If the documents are issued by HDSL to various points in Iran, consignees at the destination port can enjoy approximately 10% import tariff reduction benefits (please consult the consignees at the destination port for specific refund methods). Therefore, HDSL receives many designations from Iranian customers.

What is the price for shipping containers to Iran from China?

Departure Port of shipping containers to Iran Destination Port of shipping containers to Iran Ship Container to Iran: 20GP Contanier Ship Container to Iran: 40GP/40HQ Contanier Vessel Departure Date
Nansha Port / Shekou Port Abbas Port, Iran $1550 $2250 November 17, 2023
Nansha Port / Shekou Port Abbas Port, Iran $2150 $3100 March 8, 2024
Nansha Port / Shekou Port Abbas Port, Iran $1850 $2800 March 14, 2024
Nansha Port / Shekou Port AbbasPort, Iran $1850 $2800 March 22, 2024
Nansha Port /Shekou Port Abbas Port, Iran $1853 $2753 March 29, 2024
Nansha Port / Shekou Port Abbas Port, Iran $1903 $2853 April 5, 2024
Ningbo Port Abbas Port, Iran $2000 $3150 April 15, 2024
Nansha Port / Shekou Port, Iran Abbas Port, Iran $2250 $3350 April 25, 2024
Ningbo Port / Shekou Port, Iran Abbas Port, Iran $2150 $3350 April 25, 2024
Shanghai Port / Shekou Port, Iran Abbas Port, Iran $2100 $3350 April 25, 2024
Tianjin Port / Shekou Port, Iran Abbas Port, Iran $2350 $3350 April 25, 2024
Qingdao Port / Shekou Port, Iran Abbas Port, Iran $1950 $3350 April 25, 2024
Xiamen Port / Shekou Port, Iran Abbas Port, Iran $2150 $3350 April 25, 2024

Shipping price depends on current market demand. If you need the latest shipping costs for shipping containers to Iran from China, please contact Jikeship.

How long does it generally take to ship container to Iran?

The shipping time from China to Iran by sea is typically around 15-25 days. However, factors such as port congestion, conflicts, or other disruptions could potentially extend the voyage. If it involves transshipment or consolidation via feeder vessels, the transit time could be longer, possibly exceeding 30 days.

ship container to iran

Which shipping companies provide container shipping services to Iran?

Currently, there are several shipping companies available in the market for serving the Iranian market, such as WHL, KMTC, ESL, WOSCO (West Sea Shipping), VOLTA (UAE Valta Shipping), NSL, TDSL, FCSL, SCL, UCL, and other non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs).



  1. Short transit time, approximately 13-20 days, with favorable import tariff policies and extensive port coverage. Additionally, stable shipping schedules.
  2. Iran National Shipping Line operates approximately one voyage per week, offering direct services, a unique advantage not available with other shipping lines.


  1. Insufficient shipping capacity of HDSL may lead to tight container availability, resulting in containers for export to Iran being in the queueing stage.
  2. Not recommended to use HDSL for shipping if the receiving bank is Kunlun Bank, as there is a high chance that the payment might not be received.
  3. Certain hazardous materials, such as UN1262, UN1206, UN1717, UN3181 Class 4.1, UN1340 Class 4.3, UN1444 Class 5.1, etc., are refused for shipment by Iran National Shipping Line.



  1. Adequate space availability, relatively lower freight rates with transit clause, and approx. 10 days of free time at the destination port.
  2. Compared to HDSL, these carriers have broader acceptance criteria for cargo, and the shipper's receipt of payment is generally unaffected. Moreover, they offer more shipping schedules.

Disadvantages: No direct services; usually involve transshipment from Jebel Ali, Dubai, or Nava Sheva, sometimes even Singapore, resulting in a longer transit time compared to HDSL and relatively higher prices.

Loading ports include Dalian, Tianjin, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Guangxi, Jiangsu, and Zhuhai.

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What is the process for container shipping to Iran?

  1. Confirming Cargo Data with the Factory: This includes confirming the product name, weight, and dimensions for shipment to determine the container type: whether it's a 20GP, 40GP, 40HQ, or 45HQ.

  2. Inquiry and Booking: Usually, your factory/supplier will fill out a Booking (BK) with the freight forwarder or shipping company based on the cargo information.

The information required for booking includes: Shipper, Consignee, Notify, Port of Loading, Place of Receipt, Port of Discharge, Marks & Numbers, Number of Packages, Description of Goods, Weight (KG), Cubic Meter (CBM)

If the payment terms are L/C, the above information must match the L/C (including capitalization and punctuation). Additionally, indicate "√" next to Freight Prepaid or Freight Collect, and choose whether the documents required are a Bill of Lading (B/L) or Forwarder Cargo Receipt (FCR) under "DOCUMENT REQUIRED."

Note: Booking should be made with the freight forwarder at least 2-3 weeks before the shipment date to secure a vessel slot, especially during peak seasons.

  1. Confirmation of Booking and Obtaining S/O (Shipping Order): Upon receiving the Shipping Order (S/O) from the freight forwarder, check if the S/O# (Shipping Order No. or Booking No.), container type, and quantity match your booking. Also, note the CY Closing Date, Vessel/Voyage, and SI Cut-Off Date on the S/O, as timely submission of the correct shipping information is crucial to avoid delays.

  2. Container Loading Before Customs Clearance: The factory loads and delivers the goods to the port before arranging stuffing. The freight forwarder then provides the S/O to the trucking company to pick up the container from the terminal for loading. Once loaded, the cargo can be shipped out. Stuffing: Providing container details to the freight forwarder, including container number, seal number, description of goods, quantity, and weight.

  3. Customs Declaration: The factory provides documentation for customs declaration for export, and upon clearance by customs without any issues, the goods are allowed for export.

  4. Container Loading and Departure: The vessel arrives, and containers are loaded onto the ship for departure to the destination port.

  5. Preparation of Clearance Documents and Arranging Customs Clearance: Prepare shipping documents, including a Commercial Invoice, Packing List, and other documents as per Iran customs requirements based on the product HS code. Ensure document consistency with the L/C and Bill of Lading.

  6. Payment of Taxes/Duties.

  7. Delivery.

What documents are required for shipping containers to Iran?

Exporting to Iran typically requires commercial invoices, bills of lading, packing lists, freight invoices, and inspection certificates if needed.

What are the considerations for shipping container to Iran?

1) Bill of Lading Requirements:

  1. The consignee on the bill of lading cannot be listed as "TO ORDER" or "TO ORDER OF..." If this is discovered after the goods have been shipped, the consignee cannot be changed afterward, only the destination port can be altered.
  2. The consignee and notify parties listed on the bill of lading must match exactly with those on the commercial invoice and packing list.
  3. The bill of lading must display the name of the inland transportation company specified by the shipping line. The number of packages and the weight of the cargo on the bill of lading should match the information on the commercial invoice and packing list.
  4. Either the consignee or notify party on the bill of lading must show correct contact information (TEL/FAX). If trade reasons prevent this, a "Letter of Guarantee for Non-Disclosure of Consignee Contact Information" from the shipper is necessary.
  5. The bill of lading must accurately display L/D TERM, such as "CY-CY" or "CY-FO."
  6. The bill of lading must clearly show the container type, quantity, and whether it's a full container load (FCL) or less than container load (LCL).
  7. The bill of lading must correctly display the number of packages in words, such as "SAY THIRTY-TWO CASES ONLY."
  8. Any freight or cargo value should not be indicated on the bill of lading.

2) Booking Requirements

  1. Iranian importers often have many requirements regarding letters of credit (L/C). Often, they require shipping companies to issue shipping certificates to comply with L/C requirements. Before booking, the shipping certificate requirements must be consulted with the carrier. Approval from the carrier is necessary before accepting cargo and issuing the shipping certificate. Special arrangements, such as UNDER DECK, must be requested from the carrier during booking to allow placement of containers on the lower deck and issuance of the shipping certificate.
  2. The nature of the destination port, whether KHORRAMSHAHR or KHORRAMSHAHR SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONE, must be clearly understood. Ports like B.ABBAS/BUSHEHR/CHABAHAR follow similar distinctions.
  3. Generally, dangerous goods and less-than-container load (LCL) shipments are not accepted.

3) Destination Port Regulations

  1. For inland points in Iran, the total weight of cargo plus the tare weight of the container must not exceed 22 tons.
  2. Free storage for up to 10 days is provided upon arrival of goods at BANDAR ABBAS. If goods are not picked up within 10 days, free storage for the initial 10 days is forfeited, and storage charges commence from the first day of unloading.
  3. Food taxes and other taxes at individual destinations are borne by the shipper and need to be confirmed with the shipping company.

How are import tariffs for shipping container to Iran structured?

The taxation rates for most machinery equipment in Iran range from 5% to 10% of the cost, while certain products can be as high as 150% of the landed price.

Additionally, imported goods are subject to several minor taxes, including a 1.5% chamber of commerce tax based on the landed value. Capital goods and raw materials required for approved foreign investment projects can be exempt from tariffs, and pharmaceuticals and laboratory chemicals are not subject to tariffs.

Almost all goods are subject to a commercial profit tax, with rates typically based on weight, although some may be based on quantity or value. If calculated by weight, the customs subtracts the weight of ordinary packaging from the total weight. Tax rates based on value vary from 1% to 200%. The commercial profit tax also includes a monopoly tax, which must be paid before customs clearance.

In cases of false declaration or other violations of import regulations, customs may confiscate the goods or impose fines. If the fines remain unpaid within two months of the due date, a portion of the goods equivalent to the value of the fine will be publicly auctioned. If goods are unreasonably detained by customs, compensation fees of up to 1% of the value of the goods per month may be obtained during the detention period.

What are the common shipping terms for shipping container to Iran?

common shipping terms for container shipping to Iran The most common terms are FOB/CIF/CFR.

FOB - Free On Board (...designated port of shipment). It means the seller delivers the goods when they pass the ship's rail at the named port of shipment. After this point, the buyer bears all costs, risks, loss, or damage to the goods, and the seller is responsible for export clearance. This term applies to maritime or inland waterway transport.

Therefore, FOB goods are usually specified by the buyer, typically with the foreign customer designating the shipper, consignee, notify party, specified shipping company, specified ocean freight sales price, cost, and sometimes the freight forwarder. Currently, 80% of China's exports are shipped on FOB terms, forming a pattern where overseas customers specify domestic freight forwarders to provide services. The choice of who represents domestically depends entirely on the Iranian buyer.

CFR or C&F - Cost and Freight (...designated port of destination). It means the seller must pay the costs and freight to bring the goods to the named port of destination. However, the risk of loss or damage to the goods, as well as any additional costs due to events occurring after the goods are delivered on board the vessel, transfer from the seller to the buyer once the goods pass the ship's rail at the named port of shipment. Additionally, the seller is responsible for the export clearance of the goods. This term applies to maritime or inland waterway transport.

CIF - Cost, Insurance, and Freight (…designated port of destination). It means the seller has the same obligations as under the CFR term, but also must procure marine insurance against the buyer’s risk of loss or damage to the goods during carriage. The seller needs to pay the costs and freight and it is necessary to bring the goods to the designated port of destination. This term also applies to maritime or inland waterway transport.

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Similarities and differences between FOB/CIF/CFR:

Their similarities are:

They apply only to maritime and inland waterway transport and not to other modes of transport. The place of delivery is at the port of shipment, meaning the seller completes delivery at the port of shipment. It is particularly important to note the CIF term, which involves delivery at the port of shipment rather than the port of destination. The transfer of risk occurs at the same point, namely when the goods pass the ship's rail at the port of shipment, transferring the risk from the exporter to the importer. They all involve symbolic delivery. The differences are twofold:

The division of responsibilities for transport and insurance between the parties. Under the FOB term, the importer is responsible for transport and insurance, while under CIF, the exporter is responsible for transport and insurance, and under CFR, the exporter is responsible for transport, and the importer is responsible for insurance. The composition of the goods' price differs. FOB is only the cost price, CIF is the "cost price + insurance premium + freight" price, and CFR is the "cost price + freight" price.

Why Choose Jikeship to Ship Containers to Iran?

ship container to iran

Specializing in Air Freight and seamless shipping container solutions (FCL/LCL services) to Iran, we bring extensive expertise to ++door-to-door++ & ++door-to-port++ & ++port-to-door++ & ++port-to-port++ services, warehousing, customs clearance, and comprehensive domestic logistics solutions to Iran. Whether it's transporting goods via air or sea to Iran, we ensure efficient and reliable delivery every step of the way. Our key strength lies in the swift and expert responses our professional operations team delivers, ensuring rapid handling of all inquiries and requests. We eagerly await your inquiries, pricing requirements, and any other pertinent business matters, anticipating the opportunity to serve you efficiently and effectively!


Containerized transport plays a key and indispensable role in the success of international trade. Its efficient, safe, and flexible nature not only improves the efficiency of cargo transportation but also strengthens the connection of global trade networks and provides crucial basic support for enterprises to enter the Iranian and global markets. By fully utilizing the advantages of containerized transportation, companies are able to carry out international trade more confidently and smoothly and achieve fast and reliable delivery of goods.

Note: Due to the volatile environment in Iran and significant market changes, the above information for shipping container to Iran is for reference only. For the latest updates, please contact Jikeship for the most current information.

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