Air Freight from China to United States

Air Freight from China to USA - Complete guide

air freight china to usa 1 1

By developing trade marketing, transportation has changed to a big issue and different ways such as rail, road, air and sea are considered important. Among all of these methods, air flights are the fastest ones which cost a lot of money and are used when the weight of cargo is not huge or the things being transferred are very delicate. This service has some advantages in comparison to other ways when the air freight from China to USA is considered:

  • It has a five-day period to buy things in China and receive in the US.
  • It is highly preferred for a city to city transfer between different countries
  • Its service is fast with reliable schedules for leaving and arriving goods.
  • There are strict regulations for control and storage of goods at the airport.
  • Its accessibility is better and there is no need to wait a lot.

There are two types of air cargo; firstly, general cargos such as electronics, jewelry and pharmaceuticals which need to be transferred in a good condition. Secondly, special cargos which need specific conditions or are dangerous such as animals, chemical goods and food. There are also some disadvantages regarding to this service:

  • It costs a lot for transferring goods. It is about $400 by air transfer a medium size box from China to USA.
  • It is not a green way because it emits a high amount of CO2 which is dangerous for the environment.
  • Air shipping is priced based on weight and size which leads to heavy shipments.

Don’t miss this guide: Freight Forwarder from China to USA – Step by step guide

Air Freight from China to USA Cost

There are different costs which should be paid for air shipments. Freight forwarders usually get $5 to $8 per kilograms for air freight from China to USA. Here are the charges for a 384 kilogram package:

  • Freight charges
    • Air freight: $2.39 * 384 kg = $918.53
  • Origin charges
    • Pickup: $126.50
    • Airline terminal (weight): $0.09 * 384 kg = $35.33
    • Automated manifest system: $18.40
    • Documents: $11.50
    • Export customs clearance: $34.50
    • Handling: $50
  • Destination charges
    • Airline terminal: $74.75
    • Handling: $55
    • Pickup and delivery: $150
    • Warehouse and value-added: $138
  • Customs charges
    • Import customs clearance: $99
  • AMAZON charges
    • Amazon partnered courier pickup and delivery to Amazon FBA warehouse: $161.60

When the goods have standard size Unit Load Device (ULD), which is about 307 cm long * 213 cm wide * 193 cm high, their shipping costs will be more reasonable.

Air Freight Price Table per KG

ng way has a mixture of base and variable costs which are $200 and $3, respectively. Different weights have different costs for air freight from China to USA which are as the following:






Flight Schedule


West of US(8.9)





Transit time 7-10days

Middle of US(5.6.7)





Transit time 7-10days

East of US(





Transit time 7-10days

By changes in oil price, the cost of carrying cargos is also changed based on destination and weight. When the distance is shorter to transfer, air freight costs are higher because most of the trip is on the road and air taking off and landing which is not reasonable.

Factors Influencing Costs

Considering air freight from China to USA, there are several factors influencing the costs of air freight which can be controlled by investigating them:

  1. Demand: When people need a special thing, its cost will be increased. So, when the need for special shipping services rise, the air freight costs also rise.
  2. Containers (ULD): they are used for conservation of goods due to the damages of the trip. If a specific kind of container is used to protect goods, the price is higher.
  3. Manpower: the number of workers helping in transferring goods or handling the paperwork can affect the amount of cost.
  4. Speed: there are different speed options to deliver goods which the sooner the products will be received; the higher cost should be paid.
  5. Economic conditions: the costs will be increased when the economic conditions are good.
  6. Regional factors: some circumstances such as strike, war and terrorism will result in low demands. Generally, airlines optimize their costs based on the situation.
  7. Operating expenses: by increasing fuel costs, tariffs, landing fees, parking fees and security measures and the air freight costs will be increased.
  8. Temperature-sensitive cargo: transferring goods which need a special temperature costs more than other ones.
  9. Weight and volume: they are important for pricing because bigger and heavier cargos cost more.

Air Freight Rates from China to US

As a particular process, air freight from China to USA needs a range of rates. Apart from air freights, there are other services which should be provided:

  • Fuel surcharges
  • Security surcharges
  • Container freight station
  • Airport transfers

When a door-to-door service is selected, the following services are added:

  • Customs brokerage
  • Pickup and delivery
  • Cargo insurance
  • Accessorial charges

There are some rules to calculate rates which are based are based on chargeable weight. Rates for international services from china to USA are calculated based on the following formula:

Volumetric Weight (kg) = length (cm) * width (cm) * height (cm) / 5000

Cheapest Air Freight from China to USA

Standard air freight is considered as the least expensive way of shipping for cargos from 150 to 500 kilograms which is about $3 per kilo. When the shipments are light, their dimensional weight is calculated instead of its actual weight.
It is easily possible to check the cheapest air freight from China to USA in Alibaba services as the best reference to find the ideal price. A lot of advertisements are shown in order to be selected by different customers. Therefore, it is not a very hard task to find the least expensive air freight option online and in no time.

Air Freight from China to USA Time

Standard air freight from China to USA is usually about 8 to 10 days which is because of its complex process. However, express air freight from China to USA is about 2 or 3 days. The restrictions related to air cargos are higher in air freight which make this process longer and more complex. When the importer knows all details and exact time duration of shipment, he or she can plan well to get the goods on time.
The typical day of the standard is the working day and it is not related to the date of receipt, weekends and holidays. The real delivery date is based on the zip code of destination. So, longer distances, customs clearance and flight delays add to the delivery date. When the declaration documents are complete without any detainment risks by customs, more time is added to the transit time.
When importers declare goods, one or two days are added to this time. When luggage declares goods from China, 2 or 4 days are added. In order to decrease the level of risk, the documents which are incomplete in some fields; such as, shipper’s name and false declared value, should be written correctly.

Time Table

Different airlines, for air freight from China to USA, provide a variety of services based on the destination and the conditions which the importer or supplier are looking for. The table below compares some airfreight services from different cities in China to different airports in the US [13].

Departure AirportDestination AirportTransit TimeFOB PriceMinimum Order
Beijing, Qingdao, Shanghai, ShenzhenUSA1 day$2.1 – 4.7 /KG100 KG
ShenzhenMiami1 – 4 days per route$4.2 – 4.8 /KG45 KG
ShenzhenOakland7 days$1 – 6 /KG1 KG
ShenzhenAtlanta3 – 4 days per route$4.2 – 4.8 /KG45 KG
ShenzhenBoston3 – 4 days per route$4.2 – 4.8 /KG45 KG
Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, GuangzhouUSA3 days1 piece
ShenzhenWashington3 – 4 days per route$4.2 – 4.8 /KG45 KG
ShenzhenSan Francisco1 – 4 days$1 – 10 /KG1 KG
ShenzhenDetroit3 – 4 days per route$4.2 – 4.8 /KG45 KG
ShenzhenMemphis3 – 4 days per route$4.2 – 4.8 /KG45 KG
BeijingDetroit3 – 4 days per route$4.2 – 4.8 /KG45 KG
GuangzhouMiami4 hours$3.85 – 4.5 /KG

45 KG

Each shippi

Best timing for shipping

Air Freight Process 

One of the key points regarding to air freight from China to USA is to counsel with the customs broker or freight forwarder to avoid any financial penalties or problems. There are important steps while importing goods from China:

  1. Assembling the shipment which is achieved by collecting, preparing and packing goods that should be done by the importer or freight forwarder.
  2. After packing and labeling goods, all security and transportation documents should be prepared by making RFT (Read for Transport).
  3. When the package is arrived, it will be kept in the warehouse until to be delivered.
  4. Goods will be picked up based on the order and POA (Proof of Acceptance).
  5. Goods will be checked and arranged for appropriate flight dates. Then, they will be rechecked for labeling errors. Also, all customs documents should be prepared.
  6. Goods are consolidated based on the rules and master AWB (Air WayBill) is issued. Then, all goods are transferred to airport.
  7. According to the previous reservations, the goods are prepared for storage and all incoming and administration checks will be done.
  8. ULDs are prepared based on some instructions. After security checks goods will be loaded and prepared for the flight.
  9. Shipments will be checked against the documents and they are ready to be sent to warehouse by trucks.
  10. When the shipments are received, they are checked to not have any damages. Then, they are ready to be delivered.

Main Airports in China

Airports are really important for air freight from China to USA. As an important country in Asia to transfer goods, China is very famous with its airports around the world. Here is the list of five main airports in China based on their cargo shipping:

  • Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG): it is one of the fast growing locations for cargos with about 4 million metric tons in a year which makes this airport a really popular and busy one around the world.
  • Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK): it is located near Shunyi District and transfers a big number of cargos and passengers. This airport is the busiest airport in Asia by passenger.
  • Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN): this new airport serves a large number of airlines and is five times bigger than its previous building.
  • Shenzhen Baoan International Airport (SZX): this airport is located near Shezhen and Guangdong. So it is easy to travel to different cities in China on rail, road, air and sea.
  • Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU): it is situated 10 miles away from downtown Chengdu and it is important for the western part of China.

Main Airports in USA

Finding the main and busy airports is not a very hard job because they are usually located near large and populated cities but there are some other factors; such as, workforce, geography, technology and infrastructure. Five famous airports in air freight from China to USA are listed below:

  • Memphis International Airport (MEM): it is specifically about cargo. As FedEx’s SuperHub is located in this city, a big number of packages should be transferred per hour which leads to about 400 flights every day.
  • Louisville International Airport (SDF): as UPS’ Worldport is located in this city, about 400000 packages should be transferred hourly to different domestic destination. The airport is near the highway and railroad which makes it more accessible.
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX): Los Angeles, as a metropolitan city, has an important international airport. It is located in the center of some big cities in the US; such as, Ontario and San Diego which can be accessible by railroads and land roads.
  • Miami International Airport (MIA): it is the capital of Latin American cargos both for import and export. Its advantage over other airports is its innovation in eliminating paperwork and install different internet-based real-time cargo tracker.
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD): 25 percent of cargos arrived to this airport are from China while it is about 13 hours from Shanghai to Chicago by plane. Its Midwest location makes this city a great place for Asian freight.


 There are a lot of points regarding to air freight from China to USA which are mentioned:

  • Target customer: there is a big range of customers who are interested in importing goods to their countries. So as a supplier, the needs of people should be recognized to transfer goods to a small or a medium sized business with cost effective fees.
  • Minimum weight of cargo: there is a range of 1 kilogram to more than a hundred kilos for cargos depending on the destination. Generally, this minimum weight is about 45 kg for most destinations in the US from China. The best suggestion is to ship cargos with at least 100 kg because the costs will be more competitive and reasonable in international level [18].
  • Volumetric weight: for air shipments, volumetric weight is calculated based on the following formula: length (cm) * height (cm) * width (cm) divided by 5000.
  • Insurance: when a cargo is lost or damaged, its weight, not its value, is considered for compensation. So it is important to insure cargos.
  • Necessary documents: for air freight from China to USA, there are some documents such as Air WayBill (AWB) which is a document of title to the goods, commercial invoice which is a document for establishing the conditions of sale for the goods, packing list which is a list of contents in a package and customs clearance authorization which is a document to show that the importer or exporter authorizes an agent.

How Long Does it Take to Air Freight from China to USA?

Take a quick look at the process of air freight from China to USA indicates that the best suggestion is to find a freight forwarder to do the requirements. He or she needs to collect all goods from supplier(s) around China, pack and label them. Then, he or she transfers them to the airport and prepares all related documents. It sometimes takes a few days to load all goods to the plane. All costs should be paid to be able to deliver goods from airport or warehouse to the US. There are different companies which claim they can deliver goods by air from China to the US in three days but it can only be true when the goods are bought and collected and they know all the ropes related to lights times and booking services. Generally, it takes a least about a week to buy goods and transfer them by plane from China to the US. Remember that if time is considered as the only important factor in air freight, more money should be paid. So it is more advisable to go shopping sooner and plan cargo shipping in advance in order to avoid paying a lot of money for this service.

How to Apply for Shipping Order? (in Topshipping)

When you need to have the chance to air freight from China to USA, selecting a good agent can be highly valuable. As an air freight forwarding company from China to USA, topshipping, with its headquarter in Shenzhen, gives a full service of logistics with several customer services in cargo shipment. As the regulations of countries are changed during time, the shipping company should be updated with all these changes. As an importer, more research and effort is needed to find the best company with a reasonable fee to work with. If you have chosen topshipping, you need to visit the website of Topshipping. Then, fill in a form to get a quote by writing departure and destination places, your personal data, the type and name of the product and the preferable shipping method, or send them a message to ask them a question. They will send you a complete response or give you a quote with suggested steps to be followed. There are a lot of options which can be selected.