Shipping from China to the US is something that shippers have been doing for a long time now, but for new shippers this might present a challenge as the options available have too many different factors to be taken into account and quickly gets overwhelming when trying to decide which method to go with. This article will be your complete guide to shipping from China to the US, talking about ways to ship from China to US, cost breakdown, and the shipping time. 

Various ways to ship from China to US

Shippers who want to import their products from China to the US have various options available to them when it comes to shipping. This includes express shipping, air freight, and sea freight. With each having their own pros and cons, shippers must understand how each option works.

Express Shipping

If you have a shipment that doesn’t require containers (up to about 150kg), express shipping would be the most reliable way to ship your products. 

International couriers like DHL or UPS usually charge at a rate of $5 per kilogram, making express shipping the fastest and cheapest shipping mode for small packages. Another benefit to express shipping is that tracking your shipment is usually pain-free as international courier companies have advanced tracking capabilities, letting you know exactly where your shipment is throughout the shipping process.

Ocean Freight

The most common shipping method used when maneuvering freight. Ocean freight usually means that your products will be shipped in containers through the pacific and in regards to this, there are 2 terminologies you have to be familiar with: LCL (less than container load) and FCL (full container load). Knowing what LCL and FCL means will help you determine how your products are shipped and what to expect in terms of cost and time.
 

LCL Ocean Freight

As the name suggests, LCL ocean freight is when your products are not enough to take up the whole volume of a 20’ or 40’ container. This means that your products have to be shipped and consolidated along with other boxes or pallets at the origin port before being loaded onto a container and deconsolidated at the destination port.

FCL Ocean Freight

FCL ocean freight on the other hand is when your products are enough to fill a whole container or if you just chose to rent the whole container even though the products are not enough to fill it. FCL shipments do not have to be consolidated and deconsolidated at their respective ports. This is the main reason why FCL shipments arrive days faster than their LCL counterparts.

Air Freight

If you just want your products to arrive in the US at the earliest time possible and cost is not too much of a concern, air freight will be your most optimal choice. While being relatively more expensive than moving freight through the ocean, air freight is faster than ocean freight by a significant margin be it LCL or FCL.

Since air freight charges per kilogram, there are times where if your shipment is less than 100kg, air freight will be cheaper than ocean freight so it’s generally a good idea to keep your options open and check the current rates before deciding which one to go with.

China to US Shipping Costs

The cost of shipping from China to the US can usually be calculated based on the shipping method used and the weight and/or volume of the goods being shipped.

Here is a rough estimate of what your shipments costs could look like. This largely depends on the current freight rates:

  • Express Shipping from China to the US: $5 to $9 per kilogram
  • Air Freight from China to the US: $3 to $8 per kilogram
  • Ocean Freight from China to the US: $3000-$3900 per container

Aside from these costs, there is also the “landed” cost which includes the cost required for the transportation of your package to the actual destination, warehousing, and customs clearance. 

Here is a table of miscellaneous costs that you might encounter when shipping from China to US:

ServiceCost
Insurance0.2% x 1.1 x Cargo Value
Port Charges$100 – $450
Customs Bond$100 – $200 (Single Entry)
Port Charges$100 – $450
Domestic Transportation
(Port to Destination)
Depends on the proximity of the port to the destination.

If you’re looking for a quick quotation and a more complete explanation of the involved costs, contact us now and we will tell you everything you need to know about your shipment costs.

China to US Shipping Time

The time it takes for your shipment to arrive largely depends on the shipping method that you use and the proximity of the destination warehouse/port. Ocean freight shipments can take anywhere between 21-46 days with FCL shipments being on the quicker side of the spectrum. Take note that the time range mentioned only accounts for the time between the origin port and the destination port. 

For Air and Express shipments from China to the US, this usually takes only 8-10 days for standard air shipments and about 2-3 days for express shipments but since air freight has stricter regulations, the process is more complicated. As a result, the importer must know all the details about the shipment and plan accordingly.

Shipping Delays

Unfortunately, delays are a common part of shipping, especially in this season where due to COVID-19, everyone is buying through online channels causing the logistics industry to be overloaded resulting in disruptions throughout the supply chain.

If your products need to arrive as soon as possible, the best way to mitigate shipping delays is to ensure the address is correct and in the right format, prepare the required documents in advance and ship them out when shipments are not in peak volumes. Peak times include special holidays and gift-giving seasons such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Chinese New Year. 

What is the best way to ship from China to US

There is no collective standard answer as to what is the “best way” to ship from China to the US because the “best way” usually depends on the time and cost restraints of the shipper.

Regardless of the method chosen, most importers will choose to rely on a freight forwarding company to make the process seamless as freight forwarders have the accumulated domain expertise and knowledge required to ship the products from China to the US.

SFI will be glad to take care of your shipments from China to the US and provide effective, reliable, and cost-effective freight solutions for all your freight needs. Get in touch with us and we will walk you through the whole process.