Shipping From China to United States

This page provides you with comprehensive information on shipping from China to USA. By the advent of technology and the growth in economic relationships between countries, international shipping is changed to a vital point which affects these connections. Regarding to distance, time and cost, there are different methods to transfer cargo from one country to another and each of them has its benefits and drawbacks.

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Shipping from China to USA - Complete guide

Shipping from China to USA Complete guide

Considering the world as a global village improves the business relationships among different countries. This is one of the reasons that why China is well-known enough to be the origin of most transfers in the world. The other reason is that China has a productive industry which can help goods’ transit in different fields based on logistics needs. In addition, the United States of America as a rich and developed country is the best destination market to introduce goods to its customers. As the distance between these two countries is a lot, a valid and reliable source can be helpful to facilitate the chance of transfer between them by choosing the best route, time, and cost.


It is a challenging process to transfer goods from China to the US due to its risks. There are some steps which need to be taken into account.

Firstly, you need to make sure of having a license, an importer number and sufficient knowledge about customs bond.

Second, the importer should select the products to be sold in his/her country.

Third, finding suppliers is also important which can be found online through wholesale websites in China or offline via trade shows or other trader’s suggestions.

Fourth, the importer should find the best way to ship products based on their weight, size, urgency and cost. After that the import clearance should be passed and customs duties should be paid. Finally, the cargo is delivered to warehouse and the importer checks to see if they need pre-approval before being sold in the market.

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


Shipping Routes from China to USA

Shipping Routes from China to USA

China, located in Asia, can transfer cargos to the US through three paths; Pacific Lane, Atlantic Lane and Indian Lane. Cargos are delivered in a special part of the US by taking each path. The west of Latin America, the East Coast of the US and North America receive cargos transferred from Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Lanes. There are different ways for Shipping from China to USA. When a good shipping service is selected based on the needs and budget, a high amount of money will be saved which is beneficial both for buyer and seller. The first step to start this business is to get more information related to the process in order to make the decision well. Some popular shipping routes are sea freight, air freight, door to door, and express shipping.

1. Sea Freight

Most ports in the list of world’s top 10 ports are located in China. This point shows that China has the ability to attract a lot of international customers and makes the way easy for them to shop and ship a variety of goods. This method of shipping has some benefits.

Firstly, its price is reasonable and efficient in comparison with other methods.

Secondly, the transfer of big and heavy goods is possible which lets sellers transit them easily around the world. However, there is a disadvantage which is the slow speed of this method that makes the transfer impossible for fast and emergency deliveries. In order to decrease the high volume of work in one part of the US, every group of ports is divided into different sections; including, East Coast, West Coast and Gulf Coast.

Shipping Container from China to USA

Ocean Freight FCL

When you conclude for FCL( full vessel cargo) for dispatching your goods, it means that your goods will enthrall the entire vessel, which can be either 20′ or 40′ long. This option is salutary if you’re dispatching a large volume of goods. By choosing FCL, you can save both time and plutocrat. The pricing for FCL is determined by a flat rate, irrespective of whether the vessel is fully full or not.

Ocean Freight LCL

On the other hand, LCL( lower than a vessel cargo) is suitable when your goods don’t fill an entire vessel. rather, your goods will be packed together with other boxes or pallets in a consolidated manner. It’s important to note that with LCL shipping, your goods will be consolidated at the origin harborage and deconsolidated at the destination harborage. Due to this connection and deconsolidation process, LCL shipping takes a many redundant days compared to FCL shipping.

2. Air Freight

Air freight is every type of item which is carried by an airplane. It is more recommendable to use this service for goods from 250 to 500 kilograms. Its advantages outweigh disadvantages because air freight is secure and fast but it needs the seller or buyer to check the documents themselves.

When the cargo is at the departure airport, inspection will be done in a few hours. Finally, the cargo will leave the airport if customs procedures, inspection, cargo handling and warehousing continue well. Air freight from China to US facilitates the delivery when the goods are highly valuable or there is not a lot of time to receive goods by sea.

Don’t miss this guide: Air Freight from China to USA – Complete guide

3. Door to Door

Door to door service is a direct transfer of items from seller to buyer without a lot of interruption which is also known as door to port, port to port or house to house. This service can be done by sea, road or air with more guarantees. Accordingly, the freight forwarding company picks up the shipping container and brings it to buyer’s warehouse.

It is important to consider that when a buyer works with a variety of shipping companies, the costs can be less in comparison to working with a specific one [9]. In conclusion, investigation of different shipping methods is very necessary before choosing the suitable one.

4. Express Shipping from China to USA

Express shipping is well-known in China under the name of some companies such as DHL, FedEx, TNT and UPS based on the destination. This type of service delivers the goods from 2 to 5 days. In addition, it is easy to track the records.

When the goods are exported from China to USA, UPS and FedEx are reliable and cost-effective methods. Most of the goods ranging from a small sample to a valuable one are delivered through this method. Moreover, express shipping is really popular among online sellers because of its fast speed.

Shipping from China to USA Time

 Port To PortDoor To Door
Sea Freight (FCL)14 – 42 Days19 – 47 Days
Sea Freight (LCL)14 – 42 Days22 – 50 Days
Air Freight1 – 5 Days4 – 11 Days
Express 2 – 5 Days


Shipping time is an important factor when it comes to a long distance transfer. By choosing a good delivery service, time can be managed in order to get the good on time.

It usually takes two days to two months to deliver goods from China to the US depending on the selected way. To save time, try to pre-plan all transfer because of numerous festivals and holidays Chinese have. Also, an experienced forwarder who is knowledgeable in trading is very useful to show the details. The other main factor is to take advantage of a mixture of transport modes to make it both faster and cheaper.

Sea Freight Time

Sea freight is not as challenging as what people think. After comparing the prices and bargaining, the ship should be reserved 14 days I advance, then the customs declaration is finished in China and it will take for the ship to arrive to the US about 30 or 40 days later to transfer goods to the warehouse with a more reasonable price. In addition, time duration for each coast of America is different for receiving cargos.

For example, shipping from China to the East Coast takes from 23 to 25 days while it is 13 to 15 days for the West Coast.

Air Freight Time

When time limitation is important in air service, paying attention to some points can be helpful.

First, to transfer the goods on time, a 4 to 11 day reservation in advance is necessary and gives a better opportunity to find the best air flight agents.

Second, as there are not daily flight schedules to all parts of the US, it is needed to plan it in advance with the flight agent and keep it in mind that there is a 1 to 5 day free storage of goods in the flight agent’s warehouse.

Third, this delivery takes about 7 to 12 days but it can be changed because of different reasons such as delay in customs declaration in China which affects the whole timing. Fourth, for packages lighter than 200 kilograms, it is better to counsel the flight agent to find a way to reduce the cost.

Other Routes Time table

Apart from sea and air freights, there are some other ways to transfer goods from China to the US based on their time periods. Express courier is one of these ways and depending on the company type; this service can take 30 to 60 days to deliver a package from China to USA but it has some limitations regarding to its weight and size.

Fastest Shipping from China to US

It generally relies on the weight and volume of the goods. If it is less than 100 kilograms, express shipping can be the fastest method but for packages more than this weight, air freight can be a better option for Shipping from China to the US, so air freight is the quickest way of transportation for a gigantic number of items in the shortest time period. The other service which is also really cheap and fast is ‘epacket’ with a delivery time about 7 to 15 days and only costs $2.

All in all, considering all these things is important but when more attention is paid to complete clearance paperwork correctly and have all documents ready in the destination and be aware of holidays in China or hire a skillful agent or company can help save time to receive goods sooner.


Shipping from China to US Cost

Shipping from China to US Cost

Financial issues are inseparable part of trading, and businessmen always try to find the most reasonable and cost-efficient way to transfer goods around the world.

Cost is one of the most important factors, which needs to be considered in transfer. Some festivals or special events can influence on these costs both in China and the US. New Year period is a long vacation and cargo shipping is usually reserved in advance; so because of high demand of customers, the costs increase.

The best suggestion to save more money while shipping is to ask for a quote from different agents and companies and set everything to transfer sooner. There are some tips which can help save money:

  • Plan shipping process well in advance
  • Ask the supplier to do packaging
  • Try to ship a FLC in a 40’GP container
  • Use a mixture of methods such as air and sea freight

Shipping Costs

When trading comes to transfer goods from a place to another one, shipping costs are regarded. Popular shipping costs and a rough estimate of them are as the following:

  • Factory to port transportation: from $50 to $480
  • Export clearance in China: from $100 to $300
  • Cost of freight: depends on departure and destination places, weight and volume of goods
  • Insurance: 0.2% * 1.1* value of cargo
  • Document delivery: from $40 to $50
  • Port charges in the US: from $100 to $450
  • Customs bond in the US: from $100 to $200
  • Domestic transportation from the US port to final address: depends on the location

Other Important Costs

If it is not possible to use FedEx to transfer goods, the seller needs to find an express agent who gives discount and transits to USA.

Therefore, apart from the season and the amount of empty space in airplane, the seller’s discount, paid in advance, can change the delivery cost. Shipping prices are different based on the selected method but for air freight, it equals to logistics cost in China, China export cost, price of shipping from China to US, American customs clearance and logistics costs in USA.

In addition to previous prices of Shipping from China to the US, there are some other costs which are related to shipping quotation sample. For example:

  • CFS charges: $69.30
  • Origin documentation fee: $30
  • ENS fee exempt: $30
  • Re-weighting and VGM sending fee (LCL): $15
  • Export customs clearance fee: $23
  • Freight: $277.20
  • Cargo insurance: $63.15
  • Other charges in destination: $590.62

Shipping Rates from China to USA

Freight rates are different among forwarders and costs which change in a regular pattern. Importers are usually interested to find the most reasonable rate to transfer cargos nationally or internationally.

When shipping in a long road is taken into account, all details should be clarified to avoid any irregular events. There are not only different agents who can support importers to find the best rate but also a variety of websites get details related to the cargo and estimate the shipping rate.

This information is about departure and destination places, type of materials which are going to be transferred and some details regarding to payment options. After entering all this information on the website, the shipping rate is calculated and announced.

Cheapest Shipping from China to USA

When the time period is not considered as a factor, less money will be paid. Also, buyers who buy a huge number of goods can have better freight rates in comparison with those who buy smaller ones.

All in all, FCL container sea freight is the least expensive shipping method from China to USA while Express air freight is the most expensive one.

Because of unpredictable discounts, if FedEx airplane has much empty space, the service can be cheaper than air freight . Regular post system in China has a variety of options; including Air Mail/ SAL or Surface Mail for small parcels; Air Parcel, SA: for big packages also the EMS and EUB priority systems for packages. Although the mail cost is cheap, there is a long wait.

FAQ about Shipping from China to US

it usually takes about 3 to 5 days for air freight which is more expensive but sea freight is cheaper and it is about 25, 27 and 30 days for shipping goods from China to Western Europe, Southern Europe and Northern Europe, respectively.

it is calculated based on the goods’ net weight, volume of goods, delivery time and the exact destination. In general, the price is about $4 to $5 per kilogram for air freight which is more expensive than transferring by sea.

the best suggestion is to write all details of your preferred goods on a paper contract in China in order to take specified ones. Also, it is a good idea to have a quality check in the factory before shipping.

Finding the best shipping company is a challenging task but there are a lot of companies which do it. Here is a list of three best ones:

  • Freightos: it is possible to compare and reserve different services for small or huge goods with online customer support. It is free to register and compare different shipping methods. Most reliable companies work with this company so it is truthful.
  • Fleet Logistics: it connects different importers with freight services to find the most suitable shipping method with appropriate time and cost. This company can be a good option for small buyers who need a fast and cost-effective way.
  • Flexport: As the first company in electronic international shipping, it is famous as the Uber of the oceans because of its online and quick connections. The buyers can reserve and track goods by an app and get more details about their cargos.

Most companies have an online system for calculating shipping costs and quotes because every item has a stable cost which is usually said on a per Cubic Meter (CBM) basis.

In order to avoid unexpected charges, it is advisable to ask for a total Under the Delivered Place (DAP) or Delivery Duty Unpaid (DDU) price according to the weight and volume of goods, departure and destination places and final delivery address.

When the goods are manufactures and packed, the final freight cost should be confirmed which means you have the opportunity to get an estimate [8]. To get a correct quotation price, some detailed information from Chinese supplier is needed:

  • Name and volume of commodity and HS code
  • Estimation of shipping time
  • Delivery location
  • Weight, volume and transfer method
  • Trade mode
  • Way of delivery: to port or to door

Previously, it was about 6 to 8 months to get packages from China to the USA but now it is about 15 or 16 days. A noticeable factor is the type of materials.

If general products such as books and clothes are shipped, it usually takes about 3 to 6 days while it may take longer for sensitive products such as foods, drugs and cosmetics.

There is not a fixed method for Shipping from China to USA because it varies based on the weight so time estimation is not easy due to delay in departure or some other issues. Generally, Express shipping for single packages is the fastest method. Air freight for shipping less than 10 tons is a fast way and FCL shipping by sea which is used for transferring more than 10 tons has the longest time period to be delivered.

When the shipping cost from China to USA is considered, FCL sea freight and Express air freight are the least and most expensive methods. Sea freight costs are calculated based on the cargo’s volume, and for air freights, volume and weight should be considered. Therefore, shipping cost will be varied according to the volume or weight of goods and the selected method.

In addition type and value of goods and destination are important to estimate the cost. The importer should know about restricted ports or airports in the US which need additional paperwork leading to more delays. Getting enough information about these points can help calculate the shipping cost exactly and accurately.