Shipping From China to USA Ultimate Guide 2024

  Shipping products can be a daunting task. It is costly, and you also need to consider its complexity.

  When shipping goods from China to the USA, you need to consider the option of weighing a few shipping companies. Also, you need to know the methods they use to cut off freight costs and time.

  Cost plays a significant role in shipping. It determines the type of goods you ship in, the cargo weight, and the means of transport. It also affects the distance from your shipping country to your cargo’s destination.

  Once you consider the above, you are sure of having a successful shipping experience. However, a few questions may run into your mind when shipping your goods from China to the USA. That’s why we are presenting this guide to clarify all possible doubts in your mind.

china freight forwarder

Importers that sell products to the US have various shipping options. It’s because many resellers choose to ship products from China. Most importers tend to put their trust in China Freight Forwarder. They come in handy in managing their shipment.

Primarily, these four ship methods.

  • Sea freight
  • Air freight
  • Express 
  • Small parcels

Different Methods To Ship Goods From China to the US

In the world we live in, saving comes in handy. Be it in money or time! Saving is something you can’t ignore. So, you may need to think about a few things before choosing the shipping method.

Before shipping items from China to the US, you need to find more effective ways to save time and money.

You also need to find out first about the shipping method that will suit you. So, let’s delve into the shipping methods you can choose from at the moment.

1. Air Freight

Would you want your products to reach their destination as fast as you would wish? Then Air freight is the only way out if you are time conscious.

One thing that can set it apart is its reliability and safety. Air shipping from China to the United States usually takes only a few days, contingent on the arrangement of flights.

Are you an importer that is time conscious? Are you part of coordinating international time-sensitive shipments? Then, this should be your preferred method.

One thing, though, that can discourage you is the cost. Air transport is way too expensive. Did you know that air freight is expensive than trucking 5 times? Now you know. It is also a costly mode of transport in comparison with ocean freight. It’s 16 times more expensive.

Limitation when transporting large and bulky items is a downside of this method. Weight and volume play a significant role in air freight shipping.

Also, shipping costs increase because of the extra charges. Let’s have a look at the expenses that are included in the last freight charge:

• Pick-up and delivery costs
• Terminal handling charges
• Fuel surcharges
• Customs brokerage fees
• Cargo insurance
• Security surcharges
• Accessorial charges
• Airport transfer charges

air frieght cargo

2. Sea Freight/Ocean Freight

Ocean transport is the best shipping method to use if your goods are bulky and of significant quantity. Sea freight method from China to the USA is ideal since it is the most cost-effective method of transport you can use. Another thing is, as compared to air transport, ocean freight has few restrictions.

Ocean transport gets affected by bad weather and can slow down the process of shipping. With this kind of transport, be sure of incurring losses since your goods may get damaged along the way. The reason behind this is the heavy-duty nature of ocean freight.

There is also the issue of port congestion and customs issues. Ocean freight can offer you two transportation types:

Shipping by sea to the United States typically takes 25-40 days, depending on the selected shipping route.

Full Container Load (FCL)

It includes shipment orders that can take the whole shipping container space. They are usually massive.

Less Container Load (LCL)

With L.C.L., the cargo loads aren’t huge to fill a container. The only option is to combine the loads with other shipments to create space. And, out of this, be sure of damages and loss of goods. It is costly and too way slow.

Cubic feet are the measurement used in ocean freight, and the shipment is charged per volume. Out of the cost you get when shipping, there is also extra addition to the ocean freight shipping rates. Some of these extras are;

• Terminal handling charges
• Fuel surcharges
• Customs security surcharges
• Customs brokerage fees
• Routing charges
• Fuel charges
• Insurance costs
• Storage charges
• Pick-up and delivery charges
• Consolidation charges (for LCL only)

DDP (Delivered Duty Paid)

For both FCL (Full Container Load) and LCL (Less than Container Load), you need to liaise with a customs clearance company and a logistics company locally in the United States. If you prefer a simpler process, you can choose the DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) mode.

In this method, the supplier will directly deliver the goods to your address, similar to express delivery. Typically, the final leg is handled by UPS.

3. Express Freight

Express freight comes in handy when one wants to send a small package. Goods needed within a shorter period are better off shipped using this mode of transport.

It is cost-effective to the nature of shipping small items. Besides, it is also time-efficient. It includes the name of couriers companies such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL. These all provide express freight shipping upon request.

4.Similar to postal services like ePacket.

These services are typically suitable for sending small packages and samples, with delivery times ranging from 7 to 20 days depending on the chosen channel. They are often more cost-effective compared to express delivery.

Ship MethodWhen UseFeeDelivery Time
FCL-Sea FreightWhen the cargo is large or can fill at least a 20GP (20-foot General Purpose) container.Cheap15-40 days
LCL-Sea FreightWhen individual items are heavy or in large quantities, enough to fill at least half of a containerCheap15-40 days
DDP-Sea FreightWhen the quantity of goods is low, individual items are relatively light, typically a few dozen boxes, or when shipping to Amazon FBA.expensive than FCL or LCL15-30 days
Air FreightWhen there is an urgent need for the goods.More expensive than Sea freight7-14 days
ExpressWhen shipping samples, documents, or when there is a high demand for timeliness.expensive than Air freight6-8 days
Small PackageWhen sending general items with no specific timeliness requirements.expensive than Air freight,cheap than Express7-20 days

What Is the Cheapest Shipping from China to the US?

Generally speaking, sea freight costs are the lowest,but usually need long time(20-40days) 
Freight type and landed costs make shipping costs from China to the USA. To come up with a conclusive cost idea on shipping from China to the US, you need to consider a few things.

If you want to get the cheapest option for the transportation of your goods, you must know that a few things play a part. And it will also help if you keep them in mind.

A. Goods Volume and Weight

You need to know how much your goods weigh and the volume they hold. It will determine whether you will opt for the expensive or the cheapest mode of transportation.

B. Transportation Speed

Another factor is the speed your goods will take to get to their destination. It means that if you want your goods to get to their destination at the least time, then you need to pay extra.

Let’s look at how much freight costs on average on different shipping methods.

Air Express Cost from China to the US: In this method, the cost ranges from $5 to $9 per kilo.
Air Freight Cost from China to the US: The per kilo cost ranges from $4 to $8.
Sea Freight Cost from China to the US: In this method, the cost is per container, ranging from $3000 to $3900.

So, as you can see, the cheapest transportation method from China to the US is Sea shipping. It’s ideal for bulk goods above 500 kg with a significant volume. But, note that it takes 30-40 days for the goods to reach their destination.

What Are the Landed Costs From China to the USA?

Landed costs are costs you get during the transportation period. They also include warehousing or customs clearance. It is the average the seller spends.

It can include all costs from the production to the last stage till the customer gets hold of his products.

What Is the Average Shipping Duration From China to the US?

Resellers often ask, how long does it take to ship from China? As a customer willing to ship from China to the US, you need to have the timelines at your fingertips. That’s because you alone know the urgency of your products. You know whether your products are perishable or not.

Having this point at the back of your mind is very vital. You at least have an idea of the shipping time of your products and the best shipping method to use. For example, a regular post takes an average of 1-2 weeks.

Likewise, Air express takes 3 days to have the products to their destination. Airfreight takes 8-10 days, while ocean freight takes an average of 30-40 days.

Well, it’s best when you have all this figured out. It will save you a lot by helping you to choose the shipping method that will suit you best. Let’s delve deeper into these options:

1. Regular Post

Surface mail is slow. It’s not the best option if you are shipping from China and expecting your package in a short time. It is because it takes forever.
With China post, you are sure of faster and cost-effective choices. It works in both airmail and the express mail service (EMS). They both take 1-2 weeks for your package to get to you.

2. Express Shipping Option

It is the best and fastest way to ship from China using an International courier. It takes approximately 3 days. Thus, it is best for people who are time conscious. Though not cheap, it is the best option if you want your package to get to its destination within 24-72 hrs.

With express shipping, you are sure of reducing the risk of damaged goods. It is an advantage since it helps in retaining customers. So, if you want your goods in the shortest time possible and are willing to pay for premium services, this is for you.

3. Air Freight

It takes around 8-10 days for standard air freight to deliver your product between China and the US. That’s because processes on air freight are more complex than express freight. With Express air freight, your product will take 2-3 days to get to you.

4. Sea Freight From China to the US

Sea freight is the slowest method of transportation. Custom delays and port congestion slows the process. Bad weather conditions are also a factor that leads to taking much time for delivery. These factors affect Sea freight more than air freight.

Another thing that leads to delays with sea freight is the issue of wanting to save on fuel. It happens when the ocean liners start to move at a slow pace to cut costs. The case of shipment preparations plays a significant role, also.

If this is not the type of shipping you prefer, you can pay for premium service if you are time conscious. Expedited freight can cut down the transit time. It depends on the shipment requirements, though.

air frieght companies

How to track packages from China?

Sea freight

If it’s a sea freight container, you can track it on this website.


Air freight

you can check Air freight in this site


Express & Small Package

If you want track your express or small package then you can track in this site


How to Choose Express for Shipping from China to US?

The commonly used express include FedEx, UPS, and DHL.

These three companies in China also have various channels and services.

Many articles may provide approximate prices, but those are not necessarily accurate.


  • Prices often fluctuate.
  • Different channels may have different agent prices,
  • prices can vary based on the product
  • prices can vary based on the product weight range.

Different agent companies may obtain different pricing, leading to variations in costs.

Electric electronic products with batteries are typically shipped using DHL or UPS.Electronic products are commonly shipped from Hong Kong .Due to shipping from Hong Kong, the delivery time may be longer compared to regular shipments.

For regular products, choosing the courier with the lowest shipping cost is generally sufficient.

Be especially cautious when shipping from China to the United States; the declared value must not exceed $800, or else it may incur customs duties.

How Can You Get a Shipping Quote for China to US/ Amazon FBA/ Other Countries?

Before getting to this stage of receiving a quote, you need to know what it entails. Familiarize yourself first with the trade terms best known as incoterms. They notify you where and when the cargo destination will be.

It’s a quote from the supplier that has 3 sets of info. These are the MOQ, shipping terms, and each unit cost. MOQ are initials that stand for Minimum Order Quantity.

When making international sales, these are contractual terms that you need to apply. The terms determine when and where the cargo transfer will take place. To avoid paying more than you need, you need to speak with your supplier or freight forwarder.

When getting a shipping quote, let them know the type of incoterm you want. You need to be keen on knowing what you need to get a shipping quotation. Let’s look at some of the requirements that freight forwarders need from you.

• Shipping method: Whether it’s air or ocean!
• Delivery address
• Freight term: EXW Factory or FOB
• Freight Quote
• Pick address
• Insurance (YES/ NO)
• Total Cargo Volume: Total weight (kgs)
• Weight and DIM of each carton: DIM is the space a package occupies with its actual weight.

Thus, you need to have this information to be on the safer side. It helps when you ask for a shipping quote. Once the products get manufactured and packed, that’s when you can confirm the freight costs. You can get an estimate, though, by giving this information.

How to Find a Qualified Chinese Forwarder?

Picking and settling for a qualified Chinese forwarder who is genuine is not easy. Failure to scrutinize will most likely make you lose your goods and money.

Since it happens now and then, we have compiled a few things to examine. These will help you choose the best and avoid loss at all costs.

1. Registered Company

Let them show you the business license.
It should come first even before considering other options. As a reseller, you need to ensure the forwarder you have shortlisted is registered and is legal to be in the business.

Cases of fraudulent forwarders have been there before, and that’s why you need to be extra careful. They scam innocent traders and freight forwarders their hard-earned cash/products. They do so by giving out cheap ocean freight rates.

Even when a dispute arises with a registered company, you can protect your goods.
This is the request of the Chinese government:
1. For those engaged in maritime international cargo transportation agency business, the minimum registered capital is 5 million CNY;
2. The minimum registered capital is 3 million CNY for operating aviation international cargo transportation agency business;
3. The minimum registered capital is 2 million CNY for the operation of land international freight forwarding agency business or international express delivery business.

2. Specialization

You need to find out if your forwarder specializes in the goods you need to ship. If a person specializes in a specific product, be sure their services will be the best you may need.

Specialization is vital for businesses that choose to deal with special cargo. They range from fresh produce, refrigerated goods, and hazardous materials. It also plays a significant role if a need arises for a particular freight service or shipping mode.

3. Location

It is a positive if you find a forwarder that works in the same locality as your manufacturer. But, it is better to hire one whose locality is around the port of departure. You will benefit most since the forwarder knows the ins and outs of the shipping from the port.
Most logistics companies are in Guangdong, Zhejiang, Shanghai,

4. Strong Supply Chain Network

A forwarder needs to have connections. These will range from customs agents, logistics providers, and industrial connections. We bet it’ll favor you with these connections since the forwarder will get the best deals in freight rates.

Besides, the processing of documentation will be fast and accurate. It will also help you get the shipments through customs without issues.

5. Good Communicator

The language barrier can frustrate you in your business dealings. Knowing the local language, i.e., Chinese is the only way to go, and it’s crucial. Having a common language with your local shipping forwarder is vital. English will also be a good language if both of you have mastered it.

6. Experienced and Reputable

It means that the forwarder has been in the industry for some time. It also means that the forwarder’s reputation is at par. You can verify that by checking whether they belong to reputed organizations.

Such organizations have vital service and financial records, which is positive if your freight forwarder belongs to any of these.

7. Cargo Insurance

You need to know that shipping is a risky affair. Shipping uninsured cargo is a risk in itself. It is because anything can happen from the point of origin to the destination of the products. A genuine freight forwarder will at least let you know the benefits of insuring your products.

The freight forwarders should accept to insure the cargo from its origin to the destination.

8. Cheapest Isn't Best

They say that cheap is always expensive. You need to compare quotes from a few forwarders and their services before settling for one. The forwarding fees show the services provided.
If their offer is much cheaper than others’ prices, it’s probably a liar, or you need to pay extra after the goods arrive in the U.S.

Final Thoughts!

You need essential information when you plan to ship from China to the USA. You need to know what it takes to ship the cargo. That is right from choosing the transportation methods to negotiating the cost. Knowing the time your shipment will take from its place of origin to its destination is also necessary.

Having all these and summing it up with a qualified forwarder will save you a lot. Well, there you are, get in the shipping space and ship the goods.

Do business with no fear of the unknown since you’re now well-informed to do business at an international level.

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