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Shipping from china to us

How to ship from china to us

When sourcing from China, our main concern is shipping, which, if done properly and professionally, is a profitable experience for you. But if done unknowingly and by irresponsible people, it will definitely be your last time. If you are planning to ship from China and you are new, this article is definitely a good starting point and obviously, you are in the right place.

Customs clearance during shipping from China

One of the important steps that affect your costs and shipping time is customs clearance. This process is an official authorization for the import and export of goods.

It is better to prepare the documents in advance and deliver them to the Chinese and destination customs in time. Because if your documents are incomplete or you are late in submitting them, you will be fined thousands of RMB. It also affects your shipping time.

The documents you need vary depending on the product you import. Some goods whose export and import are restricted require special permits. Search for your goods information for shipping from China here.

Chinese customs inspect only 10% of goods when exported. But if yours is a small percentage, you must have the documents. Some documents should normally be prepared, such as

Bill of lading(BL) or Air waybill(AWB)

Commercial Invoice

Packing list

Shipping list


Customs declaration

Customs entry documents

Export license

You must hire a customs broker who will help you a lot in this process and make it faster.

Sea freight shipping from China

Sea freight is the most popular shipping method from China. Because it is very cost-effective for importers who are constantly dealing with transportation. On the other hand, they do not have volume and weight restrictions. You can move any kind of goods by any size by ships.

Remember it is a mistake to think that sea freight is always a cheaper option. If your goods weigh more than 500 kg and contain several pallets, sea freight is a good option. Otherwise, it is more economical than standard air freight.

You can move the goods in two ways, FCL and LCL.


In FCL, your goods are placed in a container and it does not matter how much space it takes up. Because you pay a fixed rent for a container and you can not share it with another customer. So it is better that the volume of your product is enough to fill at least 70% of the space.

FCL has many advantages:

The risk of damage to the cargo is very low. Because nothing is placed next to it. Also, from the time of loading at the supplier’s factory or warehouse, the container is not emptied until the final destination.

Delivery time is shorter. Because the container has only one destination.

If your product fills a full container, FCL is the cheapest way. Because LCL costs are calculated based on the dimensional weight.

In this situation, the shipping industry provides you with containers of different sizes.

 Some of the most widely used are:

20 ft container. 8’6″ standard    Inside cubic capacity: 32,8 cu.m

40 ft container. 8’6″ standard    Inside cubic capacity: 67,2 cu.m

40 ft High Cube container. 9’6″ Inside cubic capacity: 75,9 cu.m


In this way, your goods are placed in a container next to other customers’ shipments. As a result, you pay for the space it occupies. The main advantage is that your freight rate is cheaper than FCL. But in some cases the overall costs increase. Because the local and port costs are high. Its cons are:

Its transit time is longer. Because the goods must remain in storage until the container is completely filled. There may also be several stops along the way.

Its safety is less than FCL. Because it is placed next to other goods where there is a risk of scratches, material leaks, and pressure. It can also be damaged with each unloading and loading of goods.

Sea freight shipping time

Your shipping time depends on the distance between countries and continents and from China. For example, shipping from China to the United States takes about 30 days. But if you are importing to an Asian country, you do not have to wait long. So try to shorten the distance as much as you can. Because it affects both time and cost. Here are the shipping times from China to some of the countries.

Note: These shipping times may increase due to delays, unexpected problems, and different ports.

Some example of shipping time:

Shanghai to Germany→28 days

Ningbo to Italy→30 days

Shanghai to Croatia→25 days

Ningbo to France→30 days

Ningbo to Us→30 days

Shenzhen to the UK→29 days

Shanghai to Spain→27 days

Qingdao to the US→29 days

Airfreight shipping from China

China has the world’s largest air cargo industry after the US. Fortunately, there are a variety of flights with different prices and speeds. Airfreight is the safest and fastest method of shipping from China, which is very suitable for time and temperature-sensitive goods.

shipping from china

Airfreight shipping from china

Regular post

The cheapest air freight shipping from China is post, which is suitable for small goods, such as samples and boxes. But its transit time is longer than other air transportation methods, 2-5 weeks. China Post has very good options for you.

Standard air freight

It is affordable for goods between 150 and 500 kg. On the other hand, it is faster than regular post and cheaper than express shipping. But the customs process is longer than express.

Express courier

It is the most expensive and fastest method of shipping from China. Express companies such as UPS, FedEx, TNT, and DHL offer two-day delivery and online tracking services. I highly recommend UPS for shipping from China to the US. In addition, FedEx is suitable for shipping to the USA, Asia, and Africa.

Airfreight shipping time

Beijing to Denmark→9 hours

Shanghai to Germany→11 hours

Zhengzhou to Russia→8 hours

Shanghai to the UK →11 hours

Beijing to Canada→10 hours

Shanghai to the US→12 hours

Beijing to Japan→2 hours

Incoterms rules for shipping from China

These rules are clear global contracts to determine liability for costs and ownership of goods during shipping. With them, if there is a problem or weakness, it is easy to determine whether the seller is responsible or the buyer. Most of the incoterms used in shipping from China are:

FOB System:

In shipping under these Incoterms, export customs clearance, carriage to the Chinese port, loading, and unloading in China are the responsibility of the seller. Instead, the buyer is responsible for the main shipping, insurance, import taxes and customs, pickup, and delivery. It is highly recommended for sea freight shipping from china.

CIF System:

Its contract is like FOB. But it is the seller’s job to insure the goods.

EXW System:

Under this, the whole shipping such as export customs clearance and carriage to the port or airport is the responsibility of the buyer.

DAP System:

When shipping from china under DAP rules, the seller’s responsibility is doing customs export, taxes, and insurance. Also, pick up and delivery, loading, and unloading in China, carriage to port, and main shipping is the responsibility of the buyer.

So, you got the answer of shipping from china to us or other countries. Did I miss any of the terms? Share a few insights concerning working for you, and I’ll add them to the rundown!

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