Shipping from China to USA

Many of our customers are based in the United States, therefore it has become a very important market for us. We have signed contract rates with carriers such as COSCO, OOCL, APL, EMC, MSK, and HMM. These relationships let us provide you with very good freight rates when shipping from China to any port in the United States.

With Bansar as partners, shipping goods from China to the United States will be much easier, you will only need to leave your goods with us, and we will do the rest. Bansar aims to be your best freight forwarder from China to the United States. Ask for a better quote now.

Sea Freight from China to USA
We can provide competitive ocean freight rates, and the best shipping solutions, based on your required transmit time when shipping from China to a port in the United States (especially to inland ports).
Air Freight from China to USA
We will choose the most reasonable airline for your shipment based on your time requirements. Bansar is your best freight forwarding solution for air freight from China to the United States.
Door to Door Shipping from China to USA
Whether for personal or business needs, we can provide a door to door shipping service for you, which includes customs clearance in the United States.
shipping from China to Amazon FBA
If you're Amazon seller in US, and you have a lot of goods to ship from China, finding a reliable freight forwarder partner is a must. And Bansar maybe your better choice. We also provide free warehouse servicer, ask our best shipping rate to FBA warehouse.
cheapest shipping from China to US
This depends on how many goods you ship from China to US, if you do not hurry with a very small sample, you can use China Post or express like DHL, if you have more goods, then contact Bansar, you will get our best shipping rate from China to US.
how long and how much to ship from China to US
Sea freight 10 to 30 days depending on your shipping port and destination port. Air freight 1 to 5 days depending on if it is a direct airline. Shipping Cost depending on your goods amount, shipping methods and shipping time. Details please ask our support team.

FCL Shipping from China to USA

We have contract rates with carriers that will reduce your shipping costs. If you choose the FCL to ship your goods to the USA, Bansar is your best logistics partner.

LCL Shipping from China to USA

Besides the competitive ocean freight rates, Bansar provides the best service in the destination port.

Additional services for shipping from China to the United States

Pickup and Delivery
Pick up your goods in any city in China.
Shipping to Amazon FBA
Arrange your shipment to Amazon FBA for any of your goods in China.
Warehousing Distribution
We provide free warehousing services for your goods.
Cargo Insurrance
Cargo insurance protects your goods all the way to the United States.
Custom Clearance
We handle all paperwork and other details for you.
Loading Inspection
Ensure safe packaging and loading of goods in your suppliers factory.
We can also handle courier from China to the United States.

Your Best Freight Forwarder from China to USA

  • Provide competitive ocean and air freight rates from China to the USA.
  • Charge shippers a competitive local fee under FOB terms to avoid complaints from them.
  • AMS and ISF delivered on time.
  • Free warehouse service in any city in China.
  • Vast experience in shipping hazardous and large sized goods.
  • Professional paperwork done for you.
  • 24/7 online service to support your business.

Shipping From China to US

The Ultimate Guide

If you are shipping from China to the USA, this is the right guide for you.

It has all the information to consider when shipping from China to the USA, it will help you in choosing the best freight forwarder, the best supplier in China, and more.

Chapter 1: Bansar Shipping from China to U.S.A


China is a thriving market and is among the top three leading trading centers in the world.

Importing goods from China can be a major boost for your business’s landscape.

However, it does come with specific challenges especially if you are a first-time importer.

Sourcing of goods, paperwork, customs clearance, inland transportation and the likes are all of the things that can complicate the shipping process.

How then do you solve this?

You must partner with a very reliable freight forwarder in China.

This way, you can be able to overcome the challenges and stresses that accompany importing from China.

And that’s why BanSar is here;

To provide you with a cost-effective supply chain solution.

BanSar is a renowned China-based professional and reliable freight forwarding and logistics company.

BanSar China

BanSar China

We attribute our success as one of the best shipping agents in China to a lot of things.

These include;

  • first class customer service
  • professionalism
  • Fast delivery of services.

At Bansar, we have a solution for everything.

From pickup and delivery, warehousing and distribution, shipping to Amazon FBA to cargo insurance.

We also do customs clearances, provide loading and inspection services as well as handle courier from China to the US.

As I said, Bansar is your ultimate solution to supply chain management.

With us as your freight forwarding partners, importing from China to the US should be the least of your worries.

What’s more?

At Bansar we don’t give empty promises.

We only provide guarantees of quality for a wide range of services.

To prove this, we have liaised with major carriers in freight shipping.

This enables us to get great shipping discounts thus allowing you to enjoy the industry’s most competitive shipping rates.

At Bansar, our primary concern is to ensure that you enjoy world-class services at a pocket-friendly cost.

Therefore, all you need to do is trust to take care of all your shipping needs.

Chapter 2: How to Find a Product Supplier in China

How to Find a Product Supplier in China

Let’s be honest here;

Nowadays, almost everything is made in China.

From electronics, electronic devices, shoes, machinery and many more.

Interestingly, most business people know that if they want their products made today, China is probably the place.

The above may be true.

However, stories of how some importers have had disappointing experiences with suppliers in China are on the rise.

Note that this disappointment is not just one way.

Trust me.

Some Chinese suppliers have had similar experiences with US importers too.

Now what?

You know that China is the best place to source your products from, right?

However, you are worried about the quality of the supplier?

Don’t worry, in this chapter; we’ll help you learn how to find a good supplier in China.

As Bansar, we have seen some people do this, and we have sourced some suppliers for many of our customers.

Searching for poduct suppliers in China

Searching for product supplier in China

Based on this experience, we have developed this simple guideline that takes very minimal effort and cost.

It also offers the lowest risk.

So, before we start, what is your product?

To be able to find a good supplier, you first need to have a product.

In the importation business, there are three categories of products.

  • Existing products; these are products that already exist. They are not an invention or derivation of another product.

For these products, customization may be done, but there is nothing new about them.

So if your product falls into this category, all you need to do is find an already established supplier for such.

  • Inventions;this is a new product targeted for a new/different market.

For this kind of product, you’ll need to find a manufacturer that can make and package the product to your specifications.

This means that you’ll need to define the parts, materials to be used and design the product should follow.

Note that inventions may need to use more than just one supplier.

You may need a manufacturer for parts, another one to do the assembly, etc.

  • Derivations; this is the third category. Products in this category pose similarities to already existing products.

For these, a few changes are made to customize the product according to client’s specifications.

Unlike inventions which may target a whole new market, the market for derivations is in most cases already existing.

So if you need to customize an already existing product, you’ll have to find someone who specializes in customizations.

Note that this also has to be someone that can implement new ideas and processes.

This will be helpful in producing your signature product.

Take note also; finding an already established manufacturer is suitable if you are sourcing derivations.

Already made manufacturers tend to have lots of connections to possible markets.

This without a doubt may be advantageous to you when the time for distribution comes.

So those are the three kinds of products you need to be familiar with.

Keep in mind that knowing your kind of product is essential in helping you locate a reliable supplier in China.

Let’s move further to explore this subject in details.

The Process of Finding the Best Supplier

So now that you understand your product and know what kind of supplier you need, let’s find him;

Step 1: Search Online

Quite obvious isn’t it?

Well, the world today revolves around technology.

It is pretty apparent and somehow nice that the internet can help us solve almost 100% of our problems.

For you that’s looking to find a reliable supplier in China, the internet might be the place.

So start there.

Go to directory website likes;

To find the best suppliers on these sites, you’ll need to use the right keywords.

For instance; if you have an existing or derivation product, use its description as your search terms.

Searching for Chinese suppliers

Searching for Chinese suppliers

For inventions, you may want to use the Manufacturing operations as your search keywords.

Step 2: Shortlist the best Suppliers

For this, you’ll need to use your best judging skills.

Based on the results you get from your search, begin by reviewing the profiles and website of the suppliers that you find.

Filter the results to only remain with the best candidates.

Your shortlist should only comprise of suppliers that demonstrate the ability that they can make what you want.

Step 3: Contact the Shortlisted Suppliers

Well, emailing is, in this case, preferable as written English for Chinese people is easier than spoken.

Remember that contacting shortlisted supplier helps you to interact and build a relationship with them.

This way, it is easier for you to decide on who in particular you want to do business with.

Of course, after considering several factors like their product cost, distribution networks, product variations, lead times, etc.

Step 4: Review the Best Suppliers and Make a Choice

While there is no substitute in making a factory visit, you can do a virtual review if you are at a faraway location.

Remember that you want to use the supplier with the best rating.

As such, you’ll need to review everything about them and be satisfied with your findings.

You’ll need to go over their history, mission, vision, and inventory.

I mean everything that you can.

Review their best response time, customer service, professionalism, etc.

Since distance and cost can hinder you from doing the review in person, you can always get a third party to help.

Various companies provide this kind of service in China.

Bansar, for example, has agents that can visit and review a supplier for you.

Comparing costs, using a third party is a whole lot cheaper than having to travel to China yourself.

Besides, we are professionals at this.

We know precisely what to look for to verify the reliability and general suitability of a supplier.

Step 5: Make a Factory Visit (if need be)

Third party agents in China do a good at job at verifying the credibility and suitability of suppliers.

Nonetheless, there are situations where you may need to visit the suppliers to verify certain things personally.

This is mainly if you are sourcing for an invention or derivation.

So if you have to make a personal visit, ensure that;

                    i. You reengage the third party for translation and possibly advice when making your conclusions

                   ii. Ask for and take samples to help give the supplier a visual idea of what you want

                  iii. Check if the supplier is ISO certified and meets the set quality standards

Once all this is done, you can draw your conclusion on whether or not the supplier suits your needs.

You can then begin production of your invention/derivation or buy the existing goods for shipping.

Additional resources;

Chapter 3: How to Get a Freight Forwarder in China When Shipping to the USA

So, you’ve found a good supplier and your products are ready for shipping.

What next?

I’ll tell you.

So many things follow after this.

But first, you need to find a reliable freight forwarding agent to help you with the shipping process.

Like a products supplier, a freight forwarder can make or break your business.

As such, you need to find one that’s trustworthy, and that can handle your supply chain needs.

Freight Forwarder

Freight Forwarder

Here are tips to help you find the best freight forwarder that you can trust in China.

1. Size does not matter

The size of the company does not determine how well your shipment will be taken care of.

So when looking for a freight forwarder, find one that’s capable of accommodating all of your supply chain requirements.

2. Go for experience and stability

These are the two most essential elements of a reliable freight forwarder.

It is very critical for you to ensure that the forwarder you use has at least five years of experience in the shipping industry.

This will guarantee you of the company’s reliability and capability to handle your shipment with excellence.

3. Infrastructure

Go for a company that has the relevant expertise, resources, and capacity to move and manages your products.

The company should be able to do this with utmost efficiency.

4. Excellent communication

When shipping from China to the US good communication is not enough. It has to be excellent.

The shipping process, terms involved and the requirements tend to be very complicated at times.

As such, you need a company that can elaborate all this with utmost clarity.

Like I said, excellent communication is critical in succeeding in this industry.

Therefore, ensure that both you and your freight forwarder read from the same page.

5. Product knowledge

You want to use a freight forwarder that’s knowledgeable about the type of product you are shipping.

This is particularly important if you are shipping products that have special shipping requirements.

Your supplier in China can help you identify the best forwarder for this.

If you are looking for a reliable freight forwarding company in China when shipping to the USA, then consider BanSar.

We will handle and manage your shipments in the best possible way and at a price that you will be happy with.

Chapter 4: U.S. Import Duties and Taxes – How Much to Pay when Importing from China

Goods shipped from China to the United States incur certain duties and taxes.

Of course, you know this.

But do you know what these duties and taxes are?

Or how much you’ll have to pay to import from China to the US?

Before we even look at the monetary aspect of shipping from China, you need first to understand a few things.

One, it is both yours and your supplier’s responsibility to ensure that your shipment complies with the standard shipping practices.

Custom Duties

Custom duties

You need to ensure that your consignment meets all of US’ regulations and safety standards.

Besides, proper documentation is very critical in this process.

You need to ensure that you all of your importation paperwork is in order.

Properly filed paperwork will help with the smooth clearing of goods through the Chinese and US customs.

It will also assist in evaluating the dutiable charges, taxes, and tariffs on your consignment.

Now, we know that all this can be nerve-wracking especially the filing of paperwork, customs clearance and all.

This is why you need to partner with the right freight forwarder.

The right agent can help you with this as you master the process of importing from China to the US.

Back to duties and taxes.

There are two types of import provisions that you must be familiar with when shipping from China.

There is the Incoterms and the harmonized tariff schedule (from the US)

Incoterms are a set of logistical terms used in international shipping.

The harmonized tariff schedule is a global classification system that applies specific codes for every import.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) administers this codes for goods entering the United States.

It is essential to know the tariff rates for importing certain products into the US before buying them.

U.S Customs and Border Protection

 U.S. Customs and Border Protection

How are the Duties and Taxes Calculated?

To get the total amount owed to customs, several steps have to be followed.

These include;

1. Classification of goods

To determine a shipments import duty information, you first need to identify its product classification number.

This is the harmonized system code for the product (6-10 digit number).

Note that goods can’t be shipped without this number indicated on vital shipping documents.

Finding the HS code for products will help you move to the next step which is to determine the duties and taxes.

2. Customs value declaration

For this, customs officials in the US use the declared value of the shipment alongside the good’s description.

Please note:

Most Chinese suppliers deal with FOB terms.

Due to this, the customs value for imports to the US is calculated based on the FOB value.

It is therefore imperative to ensure that the customs value given is accurate.

To verify this figure, check to ensure that it corresponds to the value indicated on the commercial invoice.

3. Merchandise processing fee (MPF)

There is the merchandise processing fee (MPF) which is a minimal charge that sometimes goes unnoticed by most importers.

It is however applicable to all goods brought into the United States.

MPF fees are calculated based on the order value.

In this case, goods with a value under $200 are charged $2, $6, or $9 per shipment.

Products with an order value of over $200 attract a charge of 0.3464% of the goods value.

Please note: CBP requires that the maximum amount of MPF fees not exceed $485 or be below $425.

As I said, merchandise processing fee is trifling.

4. Harbor maintenance fees (HMF)

The harbor maintenance fees is another cost that you’ll have to incur to liquidate your goods in the US.

This may sound funny but oh well!

The CBP expects you to share in the cost of maintaining container terminals in the US if you import by sea.

So if you ship by sea to the US, you’ll have to include an HMF fee to whatever you’ll pay to customs.

Harbor maintenance fees are only a standard 0.125% of the total cargo value.

Note that goods shipped by sea are both subject to HMF and MPF.

5. Other taxes

Additional taxes may factor into the total import duty payable for your shipment.

VAT is however not part of these taxes.

Estimating Import Duties

Estimating Import Duties – Source: Simply Duties

The tax that you may pay is the federal excise tax which is only charged on specific items like fuel, alcoholic beverages, and tobacco products.

If you are importing consumer products, don’t worry about this.

The federal excise tax does not apply to consumer imports from China.

All these steps help customs officials to determine the total import duty payable for your goods.

Once the valuation is over, you can proceed to pay the tariff amount using whatever means is applicable.

This could be by cheque, wire transfer, credit card, etc.

With a payment receipt, you can clear with customs and officially take possession of your consignment.

To learn more, you can follow this link: Determining Duty Rates (U.S.)

Chapter 5: Sea Freight from China to the U.S.A.

Sea freight is known to be the most cost-effective shipping method from China to the United States.

It tends to offer a lot of flexibility when shipping various types of products.

This is especially true for buyers shipping vast amounts of goods.

Shippers of bulk cargo like heavy machinery and coal to also tend to prefer sea freight.

Despite the fact that sea freight is slow, it remains to be the most popular shipping method for US importers.

Here are the basics for shipping to the US from China by sea.

5.1. Factors affecting Sea Freight from China to the USA

Like everything else, sea freight has its cycle of boom and recess.

There are times when it flows smoothly, and there are times when sea freight is just adverse.

Just like any business, several factors contribute to changes in this cycle.

Below given are these factors

1. Fluctuating fuel prices

Changes in fuel prices is a significant factor that has adverse effects on the sea freight industry.

An increase in fuel prices tends to increase the operating costs of companies in this business.

Flactuation in oil prices

 Fluctuation in oil prices – Source IIAPS

Shipping companies in this case never fail also to increase their freight rates.

The same applies to when there is a reduction in prices.

Operation costs reduce thus leading to a decrease in sea freight costs.

2. Adverse weather conditions

One of the major factors affecting sea freight operations is adverse weather conditions.

Unfortunately, weather conditions are unpredictable.

Bad weather conditions in ocean freight

 Bad weather conditions in ocean freight – Source: Port Technology

Strong winds and tides tend to make it impossible for ships to sail through the water.

Ships could sink when sailing in such conditions.

It is bad enough that ships have to pause operations until the weather calms.

3. Piracy threats

This is yet another thing that has had and continues having a negative impact on sea freight shipping to the US.

Cargo ships are continually being hijacked, and pirates demand ransoms before the releases of these ships.

Piracy Threats

Piracy threats – Source: Business Insider

The rising piracy reports have led to increasing losses in the sea freight industry.

This has also driven fear into most US importers.

Most of these importers fear to incur losses that may drive them out of business.

4. Customs and taxes

Customs regulations and taxes is an essential aspect of sea freight shipping from China to wherever.

Note that every country has its regulations.

The United States, in this case, has its own set of rules and regulations governing imports from China.

Some of these rules prohibit/restrict the importation of certain goods, i.e., alcohol, tobacco, gasoline, etc.

The set custom duties and taxes also affect the sea freight cost from China to the US.

It also tends to affect insurance fees for the same.

Generally, duties and taxes are very crucial in determining the suitability of importing from China by sea.

U S Custom and Taxes

U.S. Customs and Taxes – Source Quora

Importers have to calculate the landed cost of their shipment before they begin the shipping process.

5. Demand and supply

Freight rates are often an outcome of the interaction between demand and supply.

When supply is high costs reduce, when supply is low, freight costs increase.

When demand is high especially when leading up to Chinese holidays, prices increase; when demand is low prices reduce.

6. Politics

Politics affects so many things.

In the sea freight shipping, political tensions tend to affect the flow of goods, their demand and ultimately the sea freight rates.

Video courtesy: NBC News

Wars, trade agreements, sanctions, and revolutions are some of the events that impact sea freight rates from China to the US.

7. Chinese holidays

Holidays in the Asian community are very sentimental.

They are taken with great seriousness and tend to last quite long.

The Chinese New Year, for instance, is a holiday that often disrupts the sea freight business in totality.

Factories close for weeks during this period.

Workers go home early and report back late.

Chinese New Year Holiday

The Chinese New Year Holiday

Congestion at the seaports increases as importers tries to get their goods out of the country before the holidays begin.

I mean, it’s often chaos during the pre and post-Chinese New Year period.

8. Economic changes

Fluctuations in global trade and economies tend to affect the sea freight industry in various ways.

Economic downtimes usually lead to a reduction in sea freight trade activities.

These periods are often a low season for sea freight companies.

During an economic crunch, the level of trade reduces significantly across national borders.

This means that very little freight can be moved from China to the US.

It gets even worse when the dollar weakens.

this happens, the industry has to receive less regarding payment advanced to them by importers.

5.2. Main Seaports in U.S. and China

There is more to shipping from China apart from knowing how to negotiate rates and build relationships with the locals.

Port knowledge and familiarity is essential when shipping from China to the US via any water bound vessel.

Understand that there are several seaports in the US and China.

The ports all vary in type, size, and locale.

With that said, here are the;

· Shanghai

With an estimated 40 million TEUs handled in 2017 alone, Shanghai is currently the world’s largest and busiest seaports.Port of Shanghai

Port of Shanghai

The port is strategically located in Zhejiang, and Jiangsu-lots of factories are found here.

You would also want to know that the port of Shanghai houses one of the largest automated container terminals.

It also utilizes some of the best modern cargo handling equipment and machinery.

· Shenzhen

Shenzhen seaport closely follows Shanghai in the ranks of busiest and largest seaports in China and the world.

Port of Shenzhen

Port of Shenzhen

This port that’s located in Guangdong provide of China is said to connect China’s hither land to the rest of the world.

· Qingdao

Located in the yellow river basin in Shandong, Qingdao port holds the record of China’s largest transshipment center.Qingdao port

 Qingdao port

Most reefer shipments from China to the world is handled here.

This is all thanks to the port’s reefer handling infrastructural capability.

· Hong Kong

Before, Hong Kong seaport used to be world largest and busiest seaport.

However, the position was later taken by Shanghai after China’s decision to improve on its mainland ports.

Port of Hong Kong

Port of Hong Kong

This, however, doesn’t mean that the port of Hong Kong is on the down low.


The port still ranks among the world’s top 10 busiest container shipping ports.

It handled an estimated 20 million TEUs in 2016.

· Guangzhou

The port of Guangzhou is located at the mouth of the Pearl River Delta which is near Macau and Hong Kong.

It is the main seaport of the Pearl River delta.

I must say that this port is strategically located.

Guangzhou port

 Guangzhou port

It sits at the confluence of the rivers Dongxiang, Xinjiang, and Beijing.

All of these regions are equipped with railway, waterway, air and expressway services.

Because of this, goods coming in and out of the neighboring provinces, i.e., Yunnan, Jiangxi, and Guangxi have to go through this port.

· Other ports

Other major ports in China that you should know include;

Main Seaports in the U.S.A.

sea port of USA

Like China, the United States also has many seaports.

They are so many that we can’t mention even a quarter of them here.

Due to this, we will only mention a few of the main seaports receiving cargo from China in the US.

These include;

· Port of Long Beach

The port of Long Beach is located in the state of California USA.

It is among the largest and busiest container shipping ports in the United States.

It is also the major trade gateway for the US-Asian trade.

Port of Long Beach

 Port of Long Beach

The port occupies a surface area of about 3200 acres.

· Port of Newark

The Newark seaport is the main loading and offloading facility for cargo ships coming in and out of Asia.

The port is located at the Newark Bay in New Jersey.

It is often confused with Port Elizabeth and port of New Jersey.

Port of Newark

Port of Newark

Well, these are all different seaports.

Note that Port Elizabeth and Port Newark sit side by side in the Elizabeth and New Jersey.

· Port of Tacoma

The port of Tacoma is a seaport in the northern parts of USA.

It ranks among the region’s top 10 largest seaports regarding cargo throughput.

Here is something that may interest you:

Tacoma seaport’s largest trading partner is China with agricultural produce being the main products of trade.

Port of Tacoma

 Port of Tacoma

Also in 2015, the port of Tacoma was merged with Seattle seaport to form what is now known as northwest seaport alliance.

The ports annual cargo handling capacity is estimated to be between 9 to 13 million tons.

· Port of Houston

Houston seaport is situated in the 4th largest city in the United States, Houston, Texas.

The port handles an average of 33.8 million tons of cargo annually.

Port of Houston

Port of Houston

In 2017 alone, the Houston seaport handled an estimated 2.14 million TEUs.

The port’s main cargo handling terminals include Barbours cut and Bayport.

· Port of Savannah

The port of Savannah, to begin with, is North America’s largest single container facility.

Located in Savannah, Georgia, this is not a coastal port.

It is a port located along the Savannah River, 20 miles upstream of the Atlantic Ocean.

The port’s location is just perfect as it provides for the more coastal area to load and offload cargo.

Port of Savannah

Port of Savannah

Plus, the waters upstream are often calmer compared to those of the open sea.

You should know that the port of Savannah specializes in RORO, break bulk, heavy and project cargo.

Regarding cargo handling capacity:

The port moved about 33.4 million tons of cargo and 3.8 million TEUs in 2017.

· New York seaport

The port of New York is located along the shorelines of New York and New Jersey.

This seaport is the largest in container shipping on the east coast and the 3rd largest in the US.New York Seaport

New York Sea Port

It is also considered one of the largest natural harbors in the world.

In 2016 alone, the New York seaport handled over 3.6 million TEUs.

· Oakland seaport

The port of Oakland is a deepwater seaport located in Oakland, northern California.

It is the 7th busiest container seaport in the US and 4th major port on the Pacific.

77% of Oakland’s seaport trade is with Asia.

Oakland seaport

Oakland seaport

So, if you are shipping from China to northern California, the port of Oakland would be your best destination.

Note however that this port does not handle or store coal and coke.

· Los Angeles seaport

Commonly known as America’s port, the LA seaport is ranked among the top 10 largest seaports in the US.

This is based on total trade operations.

Note that the port is located in the San Pedro Bay in San Pedro, Los Angeles.

The port has 27 cargo terminals.

In addition to this, it has about 86 container cranes and 8 container terminals.

It also has about 113 miles of on-dock rail.

The seaport handles mainly electronics, automobile parts, furniture, plastics, and footwear.

Its main trading partner is China with goods coming in from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

5.3. Sea Freight Routes from China to the U.S.

Several routes are used to ship goods from China to the United States.

Here is a table showing some of the routes used from ports in China to the USA, their lead times and average shipping distance.

Sea Freight Routes

5.4. Shipping Companies from China to the U.S.

Several shipping companies operate routes from China to the US.

This variety tends to make it difficult for importers to choose a particular company to move their goods from China to the US.

Here is one thing though;

The wrong choice of carrier for your shipment can be nerve-wracking.

You may have to deal with shipping delays, damaged goods on arrival, high freight rates, longer routes, etc.

It is, therefore, necessary that due diligence is done when choosing any particular carrier for your imports from China.

Of the many things that you should factor in when selecting a shipping company, the following matter most;

  • cost of shipping
  • Reliability
  • Shipping routes
  • shipping lead times

You need to prioritize these items to be able to find a carrier that can meet your shipping needs.

When shipping from China to the United States, here are some carriers that you may consider;

1. PIL

PIL is an abbreviation of Pacific International lines.

It is a Singapore-based company founded in the late 1960s.

Currently, PIL stands as one of the largest ship owners in the Asian region.

It operates more than 150 vessels with a handling capacity of over 447,000 TEUS.PIL


PIL operates container liner services from the Far East to the whole of Africa, Europe, and Canada, and Asia.

For the USA, PIL calls ports that are in the western coats.

These include the ports of long beach, Oakland, Seattle and Los Angeles.

The good thing about PIL is that it offers some of the best shipping rates.

Plus, you won’t have to wait too long for your goods to be delivered in the United States.

2. EMC

EMC which stands for Evergreen Marine Corporation is a Taiwanese container shipping company.

Founded in 1969, EMC acts as a major carrier for importers shipping from the Far East to different destinations across the globe.

This company like PIL is known to offer very affordable shipping rates and reasonable transit times.



The headquarters of the company is based in Luzhu, Taoyuan City, Taiwan.

It, however, offers its carrier services to clients from all over the world including that shipping from China to the United States.


Do you know that COSCO is the 4th largest ocean shipping company regarding TEU capacity?

Well, it is.

The company whose full name is China ocean shipping company currently one of the largest fleets of ships.

COSCO Shipping

COSCO Shipping

It has over 1000 ships with a capacity of 1.58million TEUS.

The company call over 1000 ports in the world.

COSCO’s headquarters are located in Beijing China.


MAERSK is a world leader in ocean shipping.

The company’s freight revenues by 2017 stood at $35 billion.

 Maersk Line

It is based in Copenhagen, Denmark but has subsidiary offices in more than 130 countries across the globe.

5. HPL

Hapag Lloyd follows closely in the footsteps of MAERSK in delivering quality and impeccable container shipping services.Hapag Lloyd

Hapag Lloyd

The German company was founded in 1970 as a merger that has today proven to be one of the most successful in the shipping industry.

Today, HPL ranks 5th in TEU capacity among the largest container transportation companies.

6. APL

The American president line is a subsidiary of CMA CGM shipping group.

Together with its parent company, APL is the world’s 3rd leader in container transportation and shipping.

The company currently has 150 vessels operating at terminals in ten strategic points around the world, including China.

7. ZIM

ZIM integrated shipping company is the largest shipping company in Israel and among the top 20 carriers in the world.ZIM


The company is headquartered in Haifa, Israel but has a regional office in Virginia, US.

ZIM is a private company that is owned and by operated by Ofer brothers group.

8. MSC

The Swiss company MSC Mediterranean shipping company is the world’s 2nd largest shipping company regarding TEUs.


Their 2,435,000 TEUs of ocean freight in 2014 brought in $28.19 million in revenues.

MSC has its headquarters in Geneva and has operations in all major ports in the world.

9. NCL

NCL is a subsidiary of the Norwegian cruise line holdings.

The company was founded in 1966.

It currently has its headquarters in Miami, Florida.NCL


Norwegian cruise line’s (NCL) acquisition of the France 1969 boasted its growth in the shipping industry.

The acquisition and conversion cost the company more than $100,000

Other carriers from China to U.S.A. include;

  • CMA
  • MOSK
  • HMM
  • YML among others.

As you make your carrier choice today, remember that needs change with every shipment.

Your supply chain needs today won’t be similar to tomorrows.

Tomorrow you may be dealing with a different budget, may need a shorter transit time, etc.

This means that your considerations on the best carrier will also change to one that suits your current shipping needs.

5.5. Sea Freight Cost from China to the U.S.A.

The thing with freight cost in this article is that we’ve mentioned it a couple of times in this article.

So, we’ll get straight to the point.

First of all, shipping costs are mainly based on the types of goods shipped, weight and volume of the goods.

Transit time also comes into play.

And usually, people consider sea freight because they believe that it is cheaper compared to other forms of transportation- which is true.

As such, the cheapest way to ship bulky goods from China to the USA is no doubt by sea.

You may be worried that sea freight is slower.

Well yes, it is a lot slower by the way.

But then, it comes with the benefit of cost efficiency and convenience.

Shipping Cost

Shipping cost

You can ship anything by sea whether general or sensitive goods, large or small, heavy or light.

All can go by sea as it has different ways of transporting goods that require different conditions.

Now, about freight cost, which is the main ‘agenda’ of discussion in this section.

What is it?

Freight cost is the cost of shipping goods from a loading port in China to an unloading port in the USA.

It doesn’t account for costs such inland transportation and the likes.

It just involves the local charges you incur at both the origin and destination ports.

Note that in sea shipping there are two major types of loads; FCL and LCL.

Shipping companies charge in two ways.

One is where you pay very high shipping cost but low port fees upon arrival of goods.

Another is when you pay meager shipping costs but very high port fees.

For FCL shipments, the freight cost mostly depends on the destination and is often set according to the first set of terms.

Factors like the distance and cargo volumes in this case also matter a lot when calculating FCL freight costs.

For instance;

When shipping a standard 20’’ FCL shipment from the port of Shenzhen to Los Angeles, you’ll incur about $2,230 to $2460 in freight costs.

From the same port to the New York seaport you incur about $2,275 to $2515.


LCL shipping works a little bit differently.

The rates for shipping less than a container load are often quite low compared to those of FCL.

They can sometimes go as low as $30 per cubic meter of shipment.

The problem is that while you may think that you are paying very little to ship an LCL load from China, you are not.

This is because what you are going to pay at your port in the US will be very high.

It may even go as far high as three times your shipping costs.

Low shipping cost, high port fees, remember?

Keep in mind that there is nothing you can do when you are faced with the just mentioned situation.

Shipping companies tend to do this because not many of you ask for proper shipping quotations.

When you fail to ask for a proper quote, it is inevitable to incur very high costs of shipping.

Luckily, today, you can easily estimate your freight cost without even consulting with any freight shipping company.

This is made possible by the freight rates calculators.

Read below to find out more.

· Sea Freight Rates Calculator from China to the U.S.A.

Yes, there are sea freight rates calculators.

If you want to avoid the shock of realizing just how much you’ve spent to ship from China to the US, well then this is it.

With a sea freight rates calculator, you can easily estimate your freight cost even before the actual shipping commences.

This way, you’ll know what is in for you if and when you decide to ship your goods from China to the US by sea.

Online sea freight calculator

Online sea freight calculator – Source: Freightos

Also, with estimate rates in mind, you can easily try to find ways to reduce the cost you may incur.

For instance, you can;

  • Use a more cost-efficient freight forwarding agent to work with.
  • Choose a more direct shipping route (they tend to be cheaper and faster).

You’ll also find more cost-efficient ways to package the goods as this reduce the cost of shipping significantly.

That said, how do you go about estimating freight costs using this calculator?

Well, I can say that with all confidence that it is simple.

All you need to do is to locate a freight rates calculator online. (Search on your favorite search engine)

Make sure that you have the specifications of your shipment and name of origin and destination port.

The above elements are very important as they are what is used to generate the estimate freight rates.

With this, all you have to do then is feed the data in the respective sections and then ask the calculator for a quote.

Note that this is just an estimate cost.

It helps you compare quotes from various shipping companies.

· Estimate Cost of Shipping Containers from China to the U.S.A.

Again, this takes us back to FCL and LCL terms – remember them?

I bet by now you understand that sea shipping largely depends on the container load.

The more you can ship the less you pay.

Unfortunately, the less you ship, the more you pay.

That’s just ocean shipping for you.


FCL as severally mentioned is a full container load.

If you can fill a standard 20” or 40” shipping container, then your shipment is an FCL.Different types of shipping containers

Different types of shipping containers – Source: China Woven Bag

If you are shipping a smaller quantity that needs consolidation with other shipments to fill a container – then you are shipping an LCL.

Now, FCL rates as I said earlier usually depend on the shipping destination, and weight of the shipment.

Taking our earlier example;

Shipping from Shenzhen to New York will cost you about $2275 to 2215

From Shenzhen to Los Angeles will cost you about $2230 to $2450?

Note that these are FCL freight costs.

LCL shipments, on the other hand, depend on both the origin and destination port.

They also rely on the volume and weight of the shipments.

See, LCL shipments are often billed per cubic meter or ton.

Most often, the rates range between $30 to 40$ per cubic meter from China to the US.

Note that this is not all.

In fact, it is just a fraction of the total freight cost as more charges apply to your shipment once it gets your destination port.

But why is LCL shipping expensive than FCL?

Shipping containers cannot leave loading ports half empty unless the shipper has paid for space.

If not, they have to be filled with cargo from other shippers.

My bottom line here is that containers leave the loading port as FCL.

To get this FCL, LCL shipments have to be loaded into it before the ship can leave.

On arrival, the shipments have to be unloaded and consolidated first before customs can clear each.

As you can imagine, consolidation is a ton of work.

It takes a lot of time, effort and lots of shipping processes.

That is why you find that the unit price for LCL shipments tends to be higher than that of FCL shipments.

That said; here are the estimated costs of shipping from China to the US for different container sizes.

Ningbo to Los Angeles

20” $1000 to $1200

40 “$1300 to $1600

Shanghai to Los Angeles

20” $1000 to $1200

40” $1300 to $1400

Generally, the price of shipping a 20GP container from China to the United States starts at $1000

A 40” GP and Container starts at $1300

You can get estimates from the international sea freight calculators online.

Actual quotes can only be given by the freight forwarding company you request from.

Chapter 6: Air Freight from China to the U.S.A.

Those considering air shipping from China to the US, this information is for you.

Those of you who are not sure what transport mode to use, this section might also be useful.

So be keen on the details.

6.1. Main Airports in China

China has several airports that are strategically located in areas with high industrial activity.

So, depending on the location of your cargo, you can efficiently use the nearest airport to ship your cargo.

China air cargo

China air cargo

Some of these airports include;

  • The Beijing capital international airport in Beijing
  • Guangzhou international airport in Guangdong, Guangzhou
  • Chengdu shuangilu international airport in Sichuan, Chengdu
  • Shanghai Pudong international airport located in Shanghai
  • Shenzhen Baoan international airport in Guangdong, Shenzhen
  • Kunming Changshui international airport in Yunnan
  • Shanghai Hongqiao international airport in Shanghai
  • Xi’an Xianyang International Airport in Shaanxi, Xi’an
  • Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport in Chongqing
  • Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou, Zhejiang
  • Nanjing Lukou International Airport Jiangsu, Nanjing
  • Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport in Fujian, Xiamen
  • Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport Henan, Zhengzhou
  • Changsha Huanghua International Airport in Hunan, Changsha
  • Qingdao Liuting International Airport in Shandong, Qingdao

So, when shipping from China to the US, these are the ports that you may load your cargo from.

Your freight forwarder should be able to advise you on the best airport to use.

Just in case you want to learn more about these airports, I have an article here for you: Air Freight from China.

6.2. Main Airports in U.S.A

airport of USA

There are several airports in the USA that receive cargo from China.

In this article, we will only cover 10 of the largest and busiest of these airports.

Please note; these airports rank high up regarding cargo facilities, infrastructures and handling capabilities.

Generally, they are airports that will ensure excellent care for your imports.

They include;

1. Memphis

Memphis International Airport is and has been for a long time the busiest airport in the world regarding cargo throughput.

In fact, in 2015 alone, Memphis international airport handled a total of 4.29 million tons of cargo.

Memphis International Airport_Parking Facility
Memphis International Airport_Parking Facility_Front Elevation_Late Afternoon

Memphis International Airport

Note that the airport boasts of a rail, road, runaway, and river that allow for easy movement of cargo to and from the airport.

2. Anchorage

Anchorage airport is located in Alaska.

It is the one airport that handles most cargo shipped via the Pacific to the US.

You should know that this airport has very limited road networks.

Ted Stevens

Ted Stevens Airport

In fact, most of the communities within the state of Alaska are located far from the road network.

As such, any imports to the US via anchorage airport have to be shipped by smaller aircraft to communities in Alaska.

3. Louisville

Louisville International Airport, Kentucky is one of the world’s popular airports and one of largest and busiest in the US.

The airport as at 2015 had handled over 5 billion pounds of cargo both in freight and mail.

Cargo tonnage in 2015 alone stood at 2.3 million tons.

Louisville International Airport

Louisville International Airport

In term of facilities and infrastructures, Louisville airport is the world’s largest fully automated cargo handling facility.

The airport features an IT customs systems that allows for cargo to be cleared and distributed much quickly.

4. Los Angeles

The Los Angeles International Airport is often referred to as LAX according to IATA codes.

It is the main airport serving Los Angeles and the surrounding area of California, USA.

Note that LAX is a bustling airport both in passenger and cargo traffic.Los Angeles International Airport

 Los Angeles International Airport

It was named the 6th busiest airport in the world in 2010 and the 4th busiest in 2017.

The airport is located southwest of Westchester city which is about 18 miles from downtown LA.

5. Miami

The Miami International Airport is considered one of the busiest airports in the world.

The airport is under the management of Miami’s aviation department.

The same body also operates it.

Miami International Airport

Miami International Airport

According to reports, this airport handles most of US international freight from regions all over the globe.

Over 90 major cargo carriers operate daily flights between the Miami airport and other airports in the world.

These include; Asiana airlines, Cargolux, FedEx express, China airlines among many others.

6. Chicago

Currently, the airlines that serve the Chicago International Airport are China Southern, China Airlines, and China cargo.

Other airlines serving the airport are Air China, Cargolux, Eva air, QANTAS, and Yangtze River Express.

Chicago International Airport

Chicago International Airport

All of these airlines have full service for importers/exporters to and from China.

Please note;

The Chicago airport is also known as the O’Hare international airport, so don’t be confused when you come across this.

7. New York (JFK)

The J.F Kennedy International Airport as it is commonly known is located in the county of Queens, New York.

It is the largest of the three major international airports that comprise the New York metropolitan airport system.

This airport, note, is located about 16 miles from midtown Manhattan.

The JFK airport is the 3rd busiest freight gateway to the United States and the 1st in international air freight.

Nearly 100 different airlines have operations out of JFK International.

These include; Asian, Air China, Eva, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, Nippon, Emirates, FedEx, DHL, UPS and many more.

8. Indianapolis

Indianapolis International Airport is a public airport owned and operated by the Indiana polis airport authority.

The airport is home to FedEx second largest hub after the one located at the Memphis international airport.

Indianapolis International Airport

Indianapolis International Airport

Occupying 3116 ha of dry land, the Indiana polis airport is by far the largest airport in the state of Indiana.

9. Atlanta

Atlanta International Airport is located in Georgia, Atlanta USA.

It is the by measurement the business airport facility in the entire world.

Altanta International Airport

Atlanta International Airport

The airport is the major southern US hub for the rest of the country.

Most connecting and international flight go through ATL before leaving for their final destinations.

It serves as a major gateway for international flights to and from Asia and other regions across the globe.

10. Dallas

This airport is located in between the city of Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas.

The airport is considered to be the busiest flight terminal in the entire state of Dallas.

Dallas International Airport

Dallas International Airport

It is also the fourth busiest airport in worlds considering flight vehicle activity.

Regarding size, DFW boasts of the second biggest aviation terminal in the United States (right behind Denver International).

6.3. Cheapest Air Freight from China to U.S.A

We won’t deny that the most important factor to consider when shipping from China to the US is cost.

Cost is very critical in the air shipping process.

With that said, I know you are itching to find out the cheapest air freight from China to the US.

Well, sorry to disappoint you, but there isn’t exactly a ‘cheap air freight.’

The freight rates vary based on so many factors, i.e., your type of shipment, shipping distance among other things.

Nonetheless, here is some good news;

Air shipping works in two ways.

There is standard air shipping which takes a maximum of 8 days to deliver to the US.

Then there is the express where deliveries to the US take at most three days.


Considering shipping costs, standard shipping is cheaper than express shipping – only when shipping weighty cargo.

Express shipping, on the other hand, is costly when shipping weighty or a large volume of goods.

For smaller shipments, those weighing 150 kgs and below, shipping via express is cheaper.

Most courier services won’t charge you more than $5 per kg shipped.



The only problem with express shipping is that service providers (courier companies) tend to charge non-account holders exorbitantly.

Registration with companies like FedEx, DHL and UPS is necessary if you want to enjoy discounted prices, or should I say reasonable?

Let’s get back to standard shipping;

Here, cargo weighing between 150 kg to 500 kg is cheaper to ship via this means.

In most cases, you’ll only spend $3 per kg shipped.

If your shipments exceed 500kg in weight, I’ll recommend you consider shipping by sea; it’ll be cheaper.

Lighter shipments less than 150 kg will be charged on dimensional weight rather than their actual weight – obviously making the freight cost expensive.

Note however that air freight rates vary significantly between shipping companies and changes occur regularly.

As such the best thing to do is to first compare quotes from different companies before you settle on any particular one.

Below are some of the most common airlines you can consider in any air freight from China to U.S.A.

i. Federal Express

ii. United parcel service

iii. Cathay Pacific

iv. Singapore Airlines

v. Polar air

vi. Suparna

vii. Qantas

viii. Eva Air

ix. China Eastern

x. Asiana cargo

xi. JAL cargo

xii. United Airlines

xiii. American Airlines

xiv. Air Canada


6.4. How to use international air freight calculator

An international air freight calculator is a beneficial tool.

It helps you (importers) to predict price ranges for air freight shipping.

The good thing is that these calculators are available in plenty online.

Just go to any shipping company’s website, and you’ll get one that can help you estimate your air freight costs.Air freight calculator

Air freight calculator – Source: World Freight Rates

Afraid that you may not know how to go about it?

Well, don’t worry.

Here is a brief guide on how to the use an international air freight calculator.

  • First, you’ll need to locate a calculator online by searching the terms freight calculator on your search engine.
  • Most of these calculators come as a general tool for freight rates calculation. That means you’ll have to specify that you are calculating for air freight before you proceed.
  • So then, on the calculator, begin by choosing your mode of shipping-which is air freight
  • Proceed to select your shipping origin. That should be where you are importing from which in this case is China. You may want to be specific with the airport you’ll be shipping from, i.e., Shenzhen, Guangzhou
  • Next, provide your shipping destination airport
  • After that, provide your freight’s approximate weight in kgs or lbs., whichever is needed.
  • Next, provide the approximate volume of your weight in cubic meters
  • If there are other requirements, i.e., accessorial charges, shipment value, etc. please provide these
  • Once all sections are filled correctly, press the ‘get a quote,’ ‘get rate’ tabs to receive your air freight rate estimate.

See, it’s simple.

All you need is an internet enabled device and your shipments specifications to use an international freight calculator.

6.5. Factors Affecting Air Freight from China to the U.S.A.

Shipping cargo from China to the USA by air is faster than other known forms of shipping.

It is however quite expensive and is subject to several other pressures including time delays.

Take for instance; air freight can take averagely 8-10 days to ship to the USA.

You may wonder why not 3 or even 2 days?

I mean its transport by air, the fastest in the world!

Well, here is something you may not know:

In air freight, there is standard freight and express freight.

The transit time for standard freight is what is given above.

Express freight on the other hand only takes 2-3 days to deliver.

This does not mean that planes can get slower.

It is only that shipping processes in standard freight are quite arduous than those involved in express freight.

Apart from time delays, there is, of course, the rise and fall in jet fuel costs which also affects air freight from China to the US.American Airline

American Airline

Remember that these are not the only factors affecting air freight.

There are others that mostly affect the freight rates but are out of the air freight’s industry control.

As you would expect,

Being able to move more goods in one plane results in economies of scale as the fixed costs are spread over more customers.

This is where a new generation of supercargo planes like the Boeing 747 dream lifter have to lower shipping costs on the long run – in as much as there aren’t so many airports that can accommodate them.

Something else;

Both the ports of origin and destination affect individual air freights.

You may ask how?

Well, port fees are inevitable.

And the good or bad thing is that they are not standardized – each port’s respective authorities set them.

For instance, the terminal charges due at both ports of loading and the unloading port vary considerably.

What you’ll pay at Shanghai airport is not the same as what you will pay at the Los Angeles airport.

Varying considerations are made in determining the terminal charges due for individual freight the various ports.

The prevailing exchange rates, for instance, will significantly impact on the final charge given to importers.

Bad weather also affects the smooth operations and delivery of service in the air freight industry.

We know that delays tend to be inevitable when the weather is unsafe for flying.

Storms, dense clouds, fog, etc. significantly affect air freight schedules – which also tend to have a direct impact on the freight rates.

Other factors that tend to affect air freight from China to the US include;

  • Trade policies and agreements
  • Events like wars, strikes, revolutions, etc.
  • Holidays particularly the Chinese holidays
  • Market demand and supply which affects the air freight shipping cycle
  • Trends in the industry. For instance, if an airline drops their rates and starts to enjoy customer influx other lines follow suit.
  • Global economy; an increase or decrease in the worldwide output directly affects the worlds import/export. This, in turn, leads to fluctuations in the freight rates that can sometimes go low or higher.
  • Competition from other transport modes like sea freight
  • Stern security requirements are also causing companies and individual to reexamine their use of air freight.

With all that, let’s move a step further to discuss:

Chapter 7: Shipping with Courier Services from China to the U.S.A.

Courier services comprise the delivery messages, packages and mail from one destination to the other

The service although a little expensive provides a lot of benefits to importers.

These include; speed, security, tracking services and specialization.

If importing from China to the US, courier shipping is best only if you have smaller shipments and value fast shipping.

Note that there are already established standard shipping services in China.

These include China post and ePacket which offer security, tracking service, and affordability.

  • ePacket takes at least 7 business days for packages sent from China to arrive in the US.
  • China post, on the other hand, takes 10-20 days to deliver.

Compared to express courier shipping, this is a little slower.

Express shipping companies like FedEx, UPS, and DHL offer speedier shipping.

Their average shipping time is only 5-8 days.

Besides, you don’t need any formal quotation with courier shipping.

Their rates are plastered all over the internet, on the respective company websites.

So, without further ado, let’s look at the three global players in courier shipping from China to the US.

7.1 FedEx Shipping from China to the U.S.A.

If you continuously move cargo/packages across various destinations, then you probably know FedEx.

It is a US-based courier service that has quickly evolved to become the leading courier shipping service in the world.

FedEx has its headquarters in the United States.

It also has regional offices in other parts of the world including China.



The company’s operations in China began in 1984 in Shanghai.

Today, FedEx has more than 80 branches in China employing almost 10,000 workers.

Please note that FedEx is among few non-Chinese based courier companies with a domestic shipping license.

So, if you need to move urgently need to move a package within China, FedEx would be a great option.

7.2. DHL Shipping from China to the United States

DHL is a worldwide known and respected courier company.

It offers very well-tailored and around the clock shipping services simultaneously with online quotes.

DHL was founded in 1969 in Germany.

It has its headquarters in Bonn, Germany and regional headquarters in several other countries including China.



I must say that DHL has established its market in China pretty well.

It beats thousands of other companies working in the same niche of delivering goods from China to the US.

DHL’s core competencies include international and domestic pick up services and door to door delivery among others.

7.3. UPS Shipping from China to the U.S.A.

UPS which is an abbreviation of united parcel service was founded in 1907 in Seattle Washington.

It is by history the oldest courier services in the world.

Currently, UPS’s headquarter offices are in sandy springs Georgia.

It has its regional branches in several countries around the world including, China, Canada, Germany and many more.

You may be interested to know that UPS started its operations in China first as a collaboration with China express.



That was in 2001. It only began solo operations in and out of China in 2005.

Today, the company has established its regional office in Shanghai.

It also has two other offices in Beijing and Guangzhou.

Like, FedEx, UPS also has a license for domestic Shipping in China.

So if FedEx doesn’t work for you, you can opt for UPS to move packages in and around China.

7.4 FedEx, UPS, DHL; Who Offers the Best Courier Rates?

Here is something you probably already know;

Freight rates are often calculated based on volume and weight.

Air freight costs which is what courier services use are based on volume.

This means that the more you ship, the less you spend regarding costs per Kg/lbs.

Note, however, that between these three, there isn’t much of a difference regarding shipping costs.

The best you can do is find ways to cut on your shipping expenses.

One of these ways is to use the standard courier service instead of the overnight express service. The latter is usually very costly.Standard Parcel

Standard Parcel

You can also try to locate a freight forwarding company that offers discounted packages.


Well, most freight forwarders sign contracts with big courier companies like FedEx, DHL, and UPS among others.

These freight forwarders bring forth thousands of customers to the courier services which helps them get huge discounts.

So, if you work with such a freight forwarder, whatever discount they get on your shipment partly passes on to you.

Please note:

  • The percentage enjoyed by each freight forwarder varies greatly depending on their number of customers.
  • The discount given to you is only a part of what is offered to the freight forwarder. I mean they also have to share in, they are in business.

So, be advised that while you can go directly to FedEx, UPS or DHL, you won’t get a discount.

Unless of course, you are shipping in large volumes.

Fair enough.

So which company should you choose?

To be honest, I can’t tell you which one in particular since all these companies provide quality services.

Just don’t beat your head trying to find the best company.

Instead, find the right freight forwarder, and you won’t have anything to worry about.

Chapter 8: Modes of Shipping from China to the U.S.

Majorly, there are four modes of shipping from China to the US.

Your choice mode will depend on several factors which include cost, transit time and safety.

In this chapter, we’ll cover the four modes of shipping, so you know which one to choose at what times and why.

So, read on.

8.1. Door to Door Shipping from China to the U.S.A.

Door to door shipping is a complete, one-stop solution for importing goods from China to the US.

In this case, the service is exactly what it sounds like:

A shipping agent picks up goods from the supplier and ensures their delivery to the importers chosen a destination.

The best part?

You don’t have to do anything. Well, except for identifying the goods to import and hiring the freight forwarder.

Door to door shipping

Door to door shipping- Source: FedEx

From herein, the forwarder becomes responsible for everything involving the shipment up to when it arrives at your final destination.

From herein, the freight company you hired will request for details of your shipment.

They will then assess all your supply chain needs.

They’ll then provide you with a quote of how much the door to door shipping will cost.

Note that the cost will vary depending on the cargo size, type among other factors.

Once you’ve agreed to the shipping terms, the shipping service will pick your goods from the supplier’s yard.

They’ll transport the goods to a warehouse where they will be packed in the safest and most efficient possible way.

The packaging is to ensure that the items remain safe in transit.

This is also where the goods are inspected for insurance against loss or damage during transit.

Once the packaging is done, the forwarding company will then move the cargo to the shipping port.

Here the cargo will be loaded into a container then into a ship that will transport it to the destination.

It doesn’t end here?

Door to door shipping is quite comprehensive.

So, when your goods get to the destination port, your shipping agent will facilitate their clearance.

After this, they will arrange for transportation of the cargo from the destination port to a final destination that you provide.

Take note that door to door offers many benefits.

One is that it saves you time and money.

Two, it allows you to track your shipments very easily.

Last but not least, it helps the importer void the use of intermediaries that can sometimes complicate things.

8.2. FCL Shipping from China to the U.S.A.

FCL refers merely to full container load (I bet you know that).

This is a form of shipping where a particular shipment can fill up a standard 20 ft. Or 40 ft. Container.

FCL shipping is most common in ocean freight.

This is where container shipping can only be done using 20 ft. and 40 ft. Containers.

The advantage using FCL shipping is that it takes very minimal time to deliver goods to the US.

It is also safe to ship by FCL mode.

This is because only your goods are shipped in a single container.

This helps to reduce chances of damage, loss or even misplacements of goods.

Most importantly, FCL shipping is a tad cheaper than LCL shipping which we will discuss right after this.


Here is the thing;

The freight cost for an average shipment is often almost double that of an FCL charge.

This is when it is broken down by per cubic meter.

8.3. LCL Shipping from China to the U.S.A.

LCL, as you may guess, is the opposite of FCL.

You can consider LCL shipping when your cargo is not enough to fill up a standard shipping container.

How does it work?

Well, it’s obvious a half-filled container cannot be shipped unless you choose to buy out the remaining space.

If not, space is sold out to other shippers.

Here, your shipment is consolidated with those of other shippers into one container for shipping.

This means that you’ll have to find a consolidator who’ll then find other shippers whom you can ship together.

What is the advantage of this?

You get to ship your goods regardless of the fact that they can’t fill up a container.

The bad?

More work for your shipping agent as they’ll have to consolidate the goods before shipping.

Once the products arrive in your port in the US, the shipment will be broken down so that each goes to their rightful owner.

Another disadvantage of LCL shipping is that it not guarantee the safety of your goods.

Also, tracking an LCL shipment is pretty hard since it only a part of many shipments in one container.

Besides, consolidation means that several workers pack goods into one container.

If one shipper’s items are not availed for loading on time, then delays in delivery become inevitable.

Also if someone else’s shipment arrives with problems, i.e., damaged or lost, it may cause your shipment to delay.

8.4. Shipping to Amazon FBA

So you’ve been contracted to ship to Amazon FBA?


Sourcing goods from China?

The better, this means more profits and more business opportunities.

If you are at a point where you can fill up an FCL and are shipping to Amazon, then this service may be the best.

In this service, your goods are shipped directly from your supplier in China to an Amazon FBA warehouse.Amazon FBA

Amazon FBA

It is an excellent service since you save on costs that could otherwise be spent on intermediaries.

Also, your goods don’t have to pass through many hands which would make them susceptible to damage, loss, etc.

Shipping directly to Amazon FBA also offers you with quicker shipping time.

Shipping from China to an intermediary who then ships to Amazon FBA takes a lot of time.

The disadvantage of this mode of shipping is that it is based on blind trust.

You don’t get the chance to inspect the goods before they head over to Amazon FBA.

So even if there is a problem with quality, packaging labeling, etc. you won’t know until the goods get to Amazon.

Chapter 9: Ultimate Checklist for Successful Shipping from China to the USA

Do you want to learn how to import from China to the United States?

Yes – I know you do.

Well, in this chapter, I will try to provide you tips that are essential to first-time shippers from China to the US.Shipping from China to USA

Shipping from China to USA – Source: CN Source Link

But before that,

I want you to understand that importing from China is a great deal.

This is something that can help you not just to locate new business opportunities, but to also improve your profit margins.


We mentioned somewhere in this article that goods from China are very affordable.


Well, that’s true.

It is the reason why most wholesalers, retailers, and distributors from all over the world are attracted to import from China.


1. Identify your target market

A smart business person will always identify their target market first before everything else.

Before you start importing from China, ask yourself to whom am I going to sell this product to?

Will it sell?

You need to ensure that your market presents an opportunity for growth and development.

In reality, this is what will lead to the products you’ll be importing.

2. Recognize your product requirements

It is very important for you to understand what your market wants and needs.

Do not just focus on supplying the market with products you are not sure to meet the market’s expectations.

Find out what is lacking in existing products and provide solutions for these in your product.

Doing this will also help to give your suppliers in China an idea of what it is you want.

3. Find out if any restrictions apply to these products

Crazy right?

Well, it is what it is.

You have to know if the product you are planning on importing is allowed in the US or if there any restrictions.

ITA (international trade association) has all the information you need regarding this.

You can visit or try to contact to get a list of prohibited/restricted import items in the US.

4. Find a reliable freight forwarding partner

If you’ve been reading our previous posts, you may think that this is now cliché.

But then, here is the truth;

Your freight forwarding agent is everything, particularly if you are a first-time importer.

He/she will help you solve your supply chain problems with minimal effort and in a less costly manner.BanSar China

 BanSar China

As such, you must find a partner.

Find an agent that you can collaborate with – one that can deliver your goods from China to the USA according to your preferences.

5. Estimate your landing cost

Before you start moving your goods from China to the US, you need to estimate your landing cost.

This should be the total you would incur to import from China to the US.

Find out US customs duty.

How much will you incur in duties and taxes?

Please note that your customs duty can affect the ultimate cost of your ‘made in China’ products.

Also, the chargeable duties and taxes depend on the kind of products you are importing.

Just try to familiarize yourself with all these things.

The knowledge will come in very handy when you finally decide to import from China.

6. Source products

I assume that at this point, you’ve been able to locate potential suppliers.

I also assume that you’ve settled on whose quotation goes in line with your budgetary needs.

I expect that you’ve made sure the quotation given to you clearly defines the order details.

These should include the product you’ve ordered, their quantity and worth.

With everything in check, you can go ahead and finalize your order.

7. It’s time to pay

Once you settle on whom to source your products from, you need to now agree to the terms of payment.

The payments terms, take note, must also be defined very precisely.

Also, you should choose only the safest payment method to reduce the chances of fraud.

In this case, it is best to let your local shipping agent see out the finalization of the order.

8. Shipping can now commence

Isn’t everything in order?

It’s time to ship.

Together with your freight forwarding agent, locate a reliable and affordable carrier to move the goods to the US.

Remember that shipping rates from China to the US vary on so many angles.

Therefore, ensure that you window shop a while and choose the carrier whose prices are more in line with your budget.

Other things that you may want to keep in mind when importing from China is;

  • Be patient. The process of importation needs time rushing it is not the best thing to do, regardless.
  • Embrace and nurture the spirit of ‘guanxi.’ Relationships which is what the term means are very important in the Chinese culture.
    • As such, learn to build lasting relationships that are based on trust and validation. This is the best way to build stronger and more secure business relationships in China.
    • In this regard, the right guanxi is what’ll determine whether your business relationships will prosper or not. It’ll also break or make your importation business.
    • So, try to be honest, courteous, and non-patronizing.
  • Have local contacts. You know that language barrier is a major challenge for non-Chinese speaking importers.
    • As such, it could be great that you keep contacts of locals in China. You should have a freight forwarding agent, customs broker, consolidator, etc. a call away.
  • Be careful with contracts. Like I said, importing from China can be profitable just as much as it is risky.
    • So be careful when making monetary negotiations and when signing contracts.

You see, it is a simple process – just give it a try and you won’t regret.

Container Shipping from China to the USA

Shipping goods from China to the USA is predominantly done in containers and through ocean freight.

A variety of containers are available for this purpose.

Types of Containers

Four types of standardized containers are used in international shipping.

  • 20ft containers
  • 40ft containers
  • 40ft high cube containers
  • 45ft high cube containers

The standard 20ft and 40ft containers are popularly used to ship normal cargo. 40ft and 45ft high cube containers are slightly longer in height.

They are used to ship light but voluminous freight.

As you can see in the table below, Shipping containers come in standard sizes that can be transported on ships, trains, and trucks.

Dimensions of shipping container

shipping containers

Apart from the different sizes and dimensions, shipping containers also come in various types for different types of cargo.

There are:

  • Dry bulk cargo containers-they are standard containers used to ship normal cargo.
  • Open top container– these are cut out at the top and are used to ship goods of excessive height, such as machinery.
  • As the name suggests, open side containers have one closed side, a bottom, and a roof. The remaining side has a door that can be opened and closed when necessary. This makes it ideal for shipping wide loads from China to USA.
  • Refrigerated containers– these are also known as reefer containers. They are refrigerated to allow for shipping goods with special temperature conditions such as vegetables, dairy products, meats, fish, and pharmaceutical products.
  • Flat rack containers-these containers are designed with collapsible sides. They are suitable for shipping bulky cargo such as vehicles, large equipment, machinery, and water vessels such as boats.
  • Tank containers-these are used to ship liquid goods such as fuel.

Types of shipping container

 Types of shipping container

Note that with container shipping from China to the USA, there are two ways to go about it.

One is to ship FCL, which is only viable if you have enough goods to fill up a container.

The second option is to ship LCL. That is if your goods aren’t enough to fill an entire shipping container.

Choosing between New and Used Containers

Should you ship your goods from China to USA in a new or used container?

This is a question that many importers ask when considering sea shipping from China to USA.

The answer is…it depends on your needs and budget.

If you’re a large volume importer and considering long-term use, getting a new container can be a worthy investment.

Despite being a little pricey, the benefits of a new shipping container are endless.

These containers are new, which means that they have never been used.

So no matter what you’re planning to ship in it, you can rest easy knowing that you won’t be dealing with contamination issues.

Another advantage of new containers is that they’re still new and can last long with proper maintenance.

Also, these containers are usually in pristine condition.

They are airtight and much safer for shipping from China to the USA.

With new shipping containers, you don’t have to worry about dust, debris, moisture, and rodents damaging your goods.

In contrast, used shipping containers, just as the name suggests, are used shipping containers.

At some point, they have been used to store or transport goods.

Note that these containers, although used, they’re cheaper.

They come in different grades at varying prices depending on their condition.

Regardless, you’ll still be able to save a significant dollar when you choose to use a used container.

Despite its price advantage, a used container comes with its share of disadvantages.

This type of container has been used before, creating the risk of contamination when used to ship other products.

Additionally, a used container has been exposed to a fair amount of wear and tear.

It may not be airtight at the time of purchase, thereby exposing your shipment to moisture, rodents, and dust during shipping.

Suffice to say that both new and used shipping containers are suitable.

So no matter the type of container you choose to use, consider your requirements and budget.

Shipping Incoterms to Use when Shipping from China to US Explained

When shipping goods from China to the US, it is vital to know who claims ownership and responsibility of goods during and after shipping.

Incoterms represent the rules of international shipping as set by the international chamber of commerce (ICC).

These terms are used to eliminate costly mistakes during international shipping.

Note that shipping incoterms are recognized by governments, freight forwarders, and attorneys around the world.

This makes it easy for buyers and sellers to understand each other.

While it may not be necessary to master all of the Incoterms, it is crucial to become familiar with and understand them.

Here are the most common incoterms you’ll encounter when shipping from China to USA.


FOB shipping stands for ‘free on board.’ It is the most widely used incoterm in China.

For this, the buyer takes control of the shipment as soon as it leaves the loading dock.

Therefore, they are responsible for shipping up to the final destination.

In FOB shipping, the seller is not liable for any damages or loss experienced during delivery.

They also don’t cater to the freight cost.


CIF stands for ‘Cost, Insurance, and Freight.’

The CIF price includes freight costs and insurance.

This protects you against financial loss in the event of damage or theft of goods.

In this, the supplier is responsible for shipping up to the destination port.

The buyer bears the additional risk and financial responsibility from this point onwards.


CNF is so much similar to CIF. It stands for ‘cost and freight.’

Like CIF, the CNF cost covers freight charges but excludes freight insurance.

Similarly, the seller in CNF shipping delivers goods up to the receiving port.

Once goods arrive at the destination port, risk, cost, and responsibility transfers to the buyer.

Note that with CNF shipping, there are other additional costs such as import duty and clearance costs.

There are also port fees and fuel surcharges that you may end up paying at the receiving port.

Other incoterms that you will encounter when shipping from China to the USA are EXW, CFR, FCA, FAS, CIP, DDU, and DDP.

Remember that there is a lot to familiarize with when shipping from China to USA.

To avoid unnecessary costs and headaches, take the time to understand these incoterms by visiting the ICC website.

While mastering these incoterms is essential, don’t forget that you’ll be the one to arrange to ship and to receive the goods at the port of import.

How to Track Shipments from China to the US

When shipping from China to USA, it is advantageous to track your shipment once it leaves the loading dock.

 Package tracking

Package tracking

If you’re shipping via express means such as FedEx or DHL, it is easier to track your shipment.

Upon loading of goods, your carrier will provide you with a unique tracking number.

On the shippers’ tracking website, you will input this number anytime you want to check your shipment’s progress.

Standard air freight and sea freight also allow you to track shipment while on transit.

For this, you will use the consignment number on the Bill of lading document to monitor your cargo’s location at different times.

Alternatively, you can track your cargo through your China freight forwarder.

All you need to do is choose a reputable forwarder and keep in touch with them throughout the shipping process.

The forwarder will always update you on your shipment’s progress and provide you with a shipping plan.

Your forwarder will also send you a copy of the BOL for your shipment so you can rest easy knowing your goods are on the way.

This way, you can plan your delivery schedules accordingly, thereby increasing your supply chain’s efficiency.

Freight Insurance when Shipping from China to the USA

Freight insurance is vital during international shipping.

It covers your shipment in case of damage, loss, or theft during transportation.

And accidents can and do take place.

Shipping from China to USA exposes your cargo to possible damages and losses.

Piracy, bad weather, natural calamities can take place, among other events, causing you to lose your shipment or experience financial loss.

Cargo insurance was designed to protect shippers’ financial interests while goods are in transit.

This insurance is vital but often ignored by many shippers.

It covers your goods above and beyond that which your supplier or carrier may provide.

Carriers and suppliers hardly offer full protection against loss if a catastrophe occurs during shipping.

Freight insurance makes up for this deficit by providing policies that you can buy to obtain further coverage.

Why Buy Freight Insurance

Anytime you are shipping by sea, air, or waterway, cargo insurance is recommendable.

Usually, shipping lines are legally liable for damages and losses that happen under their watch during shipping.

However, if a risk occurs, their insurance providers will only cover so much of the loss.

Note that what carriers offer is called contingent insurance.

In the event of loss, the insurance will pay you…nearly nothing.

This may be the worst deal, but unfortunately, that is all they can do, and they are backed by law.

The reason for this is that usually, carrier insurance is entirely to the carrier’s liability and terms and conditions.

While you may get better freight insurance with some carriers, the terms don’t change much.

The carrier’s legal liability stands, and most of the terms and conditions remain the same.

Worse still is that such coverage comes at very extravagant costs, which will be based on your cargo’s weight and value.

This type of insurance puts you at risk of getting very little compensation in the event of loss or damage.

You should get primary insurance with reasonable terms and not the limited cover that many carriers offer.

In this regard, you should find a capable freight insurance broker that meets your need for full coverage for your goods.

This is the only way to have confidence and peace of mind when shipping products from China to USA.

Cost of Freight Insurance

The cost of cargo insurance is not cast in stone.

It varies a great deal depending on the type and value of goods you’re shipping.

The rate will also depend on the shipping route and the particular coverage you choose.

The good news is that the cost of freight insurance is usually just a fraction of the total shipping cost.

Freight insurance is obtainable for shipments of any value starting from a few hundred to a million dollars’ worth of cargo.

Don’t worry about the shipping line you’re shipping with, as you can get freight insurance no matter the carrier you’re using.

Besides, you get to obtain your goods insurance policy with the compensation money payable directly to your bank account.

It is not like contingent insurance that blankets you under one policy covering everyone’s shipment.

What you should know about Product Safety when Shipping from China to the USA

The surest way to ensure safe shipping to USA is by using proper and secure packaging.

Your goods must be in a condition that allows them to go through the various transportation stages without damage.

Remember, shipping is a multi-stage process.

It involves moving the goods from the factory to the loading port, loading onto the shipping vessel, and transporting for origin port to the destination port.

Once at the destination port, the goods are cleared through customs before trucking them to the final destination.

As you can see, before you finally receive the goods at the final location, they’ll have gone through various hands.

Hence, your objective should be to ensure a safe shipping process from beginning to end.

Package the goods in a way that eliminates as much risk as possible.

As you do this, make sure that the packaging is fully compliant with international shipping standards.

It should also comply with the US packaging and labeling requirements for imports from China.

You can use bubble wrap for packaging static and fragile items.

Polybags and Styrofoam are also suitable for shipping delicate items from China to the US.

No matter the packaging material you use, ensure compliance as earlier stated.

Make sure that the packaging is labeled correctly and that the labels are readable.

The labels must include the country of origin marking.

This is mandatory for all shipments to the United States.

Labels should be in English.

When shipping kits, we advise that you package the products as one.

In addition to the requirements above, it is also crucial for you to consider the packaging size and weight.

This is because customs authorities tend to impose additional fees for oversized and overweight items.

That’s it for inner packaging.

For the outer packaging, use cartons.

Six-sided cartons with intact flaps are highly recommendable.

Note that each carton must be labeled accordingly and with readable fonts.

If you need more details and specifics on how to package your goods for shipping from China to USA, check the CBP website.

Palletizing Goods when Shipping from China to USA

Apart from the above forms of packaging and shipping goods from China to USA, palletizing is another option to ensure safe shipping.

Pallet shipping

Pallet shipping

It involves shipping goods on pallets (plastic, wooden, or metal platform used to transport cartons or goods).

During shipping, forklifts are used to lift pallets and transport goods to the loading/unloading dock.

They make it easy to move multiple cartons at once.

More importantly, pallets help shipments stay together during shipping providing superior protection from damages.

This is important, especially if you’re shipping fragile items.

Due to the materials used to make pallets, they are sturdier and much more reliable than cartons.

Shipping pallets weigh about 20 to 70 pounds and offer better protection than other shipping materials.

By palletizing your goods, you will protect them from any possible damage during a shipment.

This includes abrasions, punctures, and compression damages.

Palletizing when shipping from China to the US varies depending on the goods you’re shipping.

US customs has a set of requirements for pallets that you can use to ship goods from China.

If using wooden pallets, the US requires that the pallet material be appropriately treated and marked before shipping.

Non-compliance to this rule may delay your shipment’s clearance and even lead to denial of entry into the country.

When shipping with pallets, always pay special attention to the weight and volume of the goods.

Note that pallets are generally heavy and bulky, making them significantly costlier to ship.

To help save on costs, we recommend that you arrange palletization after delivery at the destination port.

This is unless you’re shipping too delicate items such as glass, ceramic, and borosilicate products.

Also, note that FCL shipping involves transportation of the entire container up to the final destination.

In this case, it may be cost-efficient to palletize your goods in China and then load them into the FCL container for shipping to USA.

Pallets with closely spaced pallet deck boards are preferable for international shipping.

Consider those with four-way forklift entry as they are easier to handle, load, and unload.

To ensure further protection of your cargo during shipping, you can wrap, strap, or band the pallets using a stretch wrap.

Shipping HAZMAT from China to the US

HAZMAT is an abbreviation of hazardous materials.

It refers to materials that can cause harm to human beings and the environment if not handled properly.

Classification of HAZMAT

HAZMAT or rather dangerous goods are classified into the following categories.

  • Gases
  • Radioactive materials
  • Poisonous goods
  • Explosives
  • Flammable substances
  • Combustibles
  • Corrosives
  • Oxidizers
  • Fuels
  • Chemicals

All of these materials are very dangerous.

Hence, proper handling is requisite as even a tiny mistake can cause a severe disaster.

HAZMAT classification

 HAZMAT classification

During shipping from China to the USA, correct identification of HAZMAT is essential to ensure safety.

In this regard, different dangerous goods are given identification codes.

The codes are categorized into colors and numbers.

Color codes represent the nature of HAZMAT materials.

For instance, red indicates flammable goods.

Blue shows that the materials are a health hazard, while white is used to reference special types of hazards.

Equally, number codes indicate the degree of hazardous materials.

For example, 0 indicates the least hazard degree, while 4 indicates a high degree of hazard.

How to Identify HAZMAT

There are many ways to identify hazardous materials.

Usually, you need to check for product identifiers, signal words, hazard statements, precautionary statements, supplier Information, or GHS Pictograms.

These should tell you whether a product is or contains HAZMAT.

If you’re unsure of whether a product contains hazardous material, please ask your supplier.

They should be able to provide a materials safety data sheet (MSDT).

Declaring HAZMAT when Shipping from China to USA

The exporter declares goods as HAZMAT during shipping from China to the USA.

In this regard, they must ensure proper packaging and labeling of the goods according to industry and US customs regulations.

Proper documentation is also necessary when shipping HAZMAT from China to the US.

Prepare all paperwork that you need for export from China and importation into the United States.

How to ship HAZMAT from China to the US

There is no standard procedure for shipping dangerous goods from China to the US, as it all depends on your shipping.

What you should keep in mind at this time is how you pack and label the goods.

This is very important as the US border patrol is very particular about this.

As mentioned, you should also file your paperwork correctly, including the necessary permits for the type of HAZMAT you’re shipping.

If you’re not familiar with HAZMAT shipping, we recommend that you hire a reputable freight forwarder to help you.

Bansar can allow you to ship any dangerous goods from China to the US safely and hassle-free.

We are also glad to provide you all the information regarding the steps to follow during HAZMAT shipping.

You can also refer to our guides on HAZMAT and Dangerous goods shipping for more detailed information.

Importance of Export License when Shipping from China to USA

An export license is a document issued to businesses allowing them to export permissible products from China.

It is issued by the Chinese ministry of foreign trade and economic cooperation.

When shipping from China to USA, shippers must have this permit as without, China’s customs won’t allow the cargo to exit the country.

Note that the shipper is the person exporting the product from China.

In this case, the shipper will depend on the incoterms agreed upon at the point of sale.

If the incoterm is EXW, then the importer will be responsible for exporting the cargo and obtaining the export license.

All other incoterms require the seller to ship the cargo and consequently obtain the requisite documentation.

Be informed that you can only get a Chinese export license if your business is incorporated in China.

As a buyer, you should be aware of this when choosing your incoterms.

Under these circumstances, you have to find a reliable China freight forwarder to assist with the export documentation.

If your incoterms require the seller to arrange the export of goods, confirm beforehand if they have valid export documentation.

It is not impossible to export products from China without the seller holding the export license.

Nonetheless, you must be aware of this before placing an order as the buyer.

If your supplier does not have an export permit and doesn’t wish to obtain one, then the only option is to buy on EXW terms.

Any other incoterms such as FOB or CIF, as previously mentioned, require the seller to arrange to ship.

Consequently, they must ensure that the cargo has the necessary documentation to exit the country.

The easiest way to confirm if your supplier has a valid export permit is to request a copy of the document.

Once you get a copy, you can verify its accuracy and validity through the Chinese customs website.

On the search bar of this website, enter the license number provided on the permit and click search for results.

Keep in mind that the China export license and the website are usually in Chinese.

As a result, you will have to find a translation plugin with your browser or find a capable translator to help.

When in doubt, feel free to reach your shipping agent for help.

As a capable and reputable freight forwarding agent in China, Bansar can help you confirm if your supplier’s export license is valid.

Just reach us via email or provided contact and share the details of the supplier.

Shipping Branded Products from China to USA?

Many famous, super quality branded products are made in china.

Branded products are made to very high standards.

They are outsourced to factories with professional management and quality infrastructure.

These products are top-notch.

The brand owner sells, markets, and distributes them.

It would be highly profitable to ship branded products from china to the US.

Unfortunately, these products are not legitimately available to non-approved shippers.

And even if you manage to get a hold of them in China, they will undoubtedly be replicas.

Some may even be stolen products or simply similar products with famous brand logos attached.

Hence, it is not worth the hassle as the US market has a very high demand for top quality products.

You may ask, why does the Chinese government allow the production of replica products then?

Well, it’s a bit complicated.

You see, in China, copyright law exists.

However, it has not yet caught up with copycat manufacturers who copy other people’s products, whether for domestic or export purposes.

But don’t let this fool you, as it is illegal to ship and distribute branded products in the US without authorization.

It is a criminal offense, and when caught, you’ll be in for a severe sentence and penalties.

If you must ship branded products, then be ready to produce proof of brand ownership.

That is if the brand belongs to you.

If not, then source from the brand owner and have the right evidence for this.

Alternatively, seek permission from the brand owner to ship these products from their Chinese manufacturer.

As you do this, put your agreement in writing as this will come in handy during shipping and import clearance.

How to avoid Freight Forwarding Scams when Shipping from China to USA

Shipping from China to USA is often coupled with various scams and fraud.

As a shipper, you need to be vigilant to avoid falling victim to such.

One way to stay vigilant is to learn about these scams so you can know when and how to avoid them.

The various types of freight forwarding scams when shipping from China to USA include:

Cargo Theft

Be wary of freight forwarders and haulers that quote very cheap service rates, especially if you’re shipping high-value cargo.

Some of these forwarders are fraudsters looking for a way to steal your cargo.

If you must employ a freight forwarding agent when shipping from China to USA, then look for a reputable one.

Also, don’t be lured by cheap freight forwarding rates. Not all of them are genuine.

Holding your Bill of Lading Document

This is a pretty common scam that targets new-to-China importers.

In this, a freight forwarder will approach you with low rates, lower than the average market rate.

They will offer to find a quality and affordable carrier for you.

To gain your trust, they find this carrier and facilitate the shipping of your goods from China.

Now it is expected that once your goods are loaded for export, the forwarder should issue a BOL document.

This is a mandatory document that you present at the receiving port failure to which the port will not release the shipment to you.

Instead of the forwarder sending you the BOL document, they will send you a ransom email.

In this, they will ask you to pay a certain amount of money or never receive your shipment at all.

To avoid this scam, you need to do due diligence and ensure that you’re hiring a reputable and trustworthy forwarder.

Also, avoid freight forwarders who offer questionable service rates.

Chapter 10: Shipping from China to the U.S.A. FAQs

I know several questions are running through your mind right now.

Unfortunately, I can’t single out each one of them.

Worry not though as I have here a few of the frequently asked questions on shipping from China to the US.

Shipping from China to USA

 Shipping from China to USA

I hope you find your answers.

1. Why should I source from China?

Let’s be honest here; China makes almost all the great things in the global market.

Besides, Chinese manufacturers are not just good but are also very cost effective.

This is why most established importers spend so little to get so much from China.

What’s more is that the lower costs also contribute to the ideality of purchasing goods for import purposes to the US.

So, if you are still new this, then look the China way.

You won’t be disappointed.

2. Will my products from China get to market in the US?

Yes, they will- as long as they meet the required US quality standards.

3. Are there any special considerations when shipping to the US?


Due to the US customs regulations, there are a few important things to keep in mind when shipping from China.

For instance, there is a restriction for hazardous goods.

Special packaging is also required for certain goods.

In the US, all products imported from China must have a “made in China” label.

Pay attention to this.

Your shipping agent should be able to guide you regarding this.

So make sure you ask them for details before you ship any products into the US.

4. Are there risks when importing from China?

You may not want to hear this, but yes there are risks.

From scamming to damaging goods, theft when shipping, etc.

This is why it is essential to use a reputable local shipping agent to help you with the shipping process.

5. How can you overcome these risks?

There is no guarantee that you’ll be safe from risks.

You need to be wary of the signs.

For instance, never send money to a supplier without proper verification of their authenticity and reliability.

Also, never agree to terms that you don’t understand.

Another thing is to ensure that goods are insured before they leave China.

This will help you avoid any liability when goods arrive damaged.

Most importantly, use a shipping agent.

This is critical when it comes to negotiating deals and rates. They’ll also help you evade scams and the likes.

6. Which is the cheapest method to import from China?

Several things determine the best method to ship from China.

Distance, type of goods, and type of goods all come into play when deciding the suitable method for shipping.

Air best ships perishable goods for instance.

Sea best ships bulk cargo and large volumes of products.

7. What method of payment is recommended for imports to the US?

You can pay via whatever means is acceptable by the US customs, and that’s convenient for you.

8. What is a customs broker?

A customs broker is a licensed agent that helps importers/exporters with customs clearances.

So, say you are importing from chia to the US.

A customs broker, in this case, will provide release instructions to the US customs and other involved departments to allow for the flow of imported goods.

The brokers will classify your goods according to the current tariff rates that will be used to apply duties and taxes.

9. Do I need a customs broker?

Yes and no.

Yes if you are unfamiliar with China custom regulations.

No, if you have an importation license and knows the ins and outs of importing from China.

10. Do I need a license to imports for China to the US?

Not exactly.

For a first time importer or one who is not well versed in the intricacies of Chinese export business, you don’t need one.

I advise that you hire a licensed customs broker and freight forwarder.

These two can help you with customs clearances as well as delivery of your consignment to your ultimate destination.

11. I am first time importer, is it difficult importing from China?

I wouldn’t say difficult.

If you work with the right freight forwarding partner and customs broker, shipping from China is a breeze.

You won’t have to worry about anything.

Whether it is finding a supplier, sourcing the goods, inland transportation, loading and offloading, customs clearance, etc. they’ll do it all for you.

12. How do I locate the import tariff for my product?

The CBP website has a lot of information regarding US customs and duty.

To find your products import tariff amount, you’ll need first to locate its HS code.

Your customs broker can help you with this.

You’ll then use this code on the provided tariffs database to identify what amount has been applied to your products.

13. Do I need to pay insurance for my goods from China?

If you are shipping on CIF terms, you won’t have to pay for the insurance.

This is because CIF covers the insurance bit of shipping.

That’s why it is called ‘cost insurance freight.’

Please note:

In as much as CIF include goods insurance, the terms of this insurance vary with different shipping companies.

So, if for instance, you let your supplier handle the shipping, you lose control of what shipping method they opt for.

They may decide to choose the cheapest method, which again, you have no control over.

To be on the safe side, it is best if you contact your freight forwarder in China to know what the insurance covers.

14. Do I need to pay any duties and taxes in China?

Honestly NO.

You don’t need to pay any taxes in China.

The expense that you’ll incur is the transport costs to the loading port in China.

Also, you’ll have to cater for the documentation costs in China.

Note that all these charges are included in every incoterm issued in China.

From FOB to everything else. So you won’t even have to bother about them.

Unless of course, you source your goods on EXW terms.

15. How long do I have to wait to get my goods in the US?

Well, freight from China to most destination across the United States takes about 2 to 35 days depending on the shipping mode used.

Sea freight as you may guess takes the most time which is a little over a month.

With this, you may even have to wait a few more days up to a week for goods to be cleared at the US customs.

Therefore if you have a specific timeframe within which goods need to be in the US market, start preparations early enough?

16. Goods have arrived at my port in the US, how do I get them delivered to the final destination?

Well, there are two ways.

You can either pick the goods yourself or let your shipping agent deliver the cargo to you via trucks.

The good thing about imports is that once your goods arrive at the destination port, you are notified by your shipping agent.

In this case, you can choose to book transportation to final destination through the agent.

Or, you can organize your transport and pick the goods yourself.

17. Can I ship to Amazon FBA from China?

Yes, you can.

The best part is you don’t even need to be physically present in China for this to happen

Just contact your shipping agent with details of your shipment.

This will include the goods you want, mode of shipping, etc.

The agent will facilitate the sourcing, shipping, and clearing of your goods for delivery to the provided Amazon FBA address.

18. I have friends who ship to the same FBA address, can we ship together from China?

Yes, you can.

This is even great since it helps all of you to save on the shipping costs.

19. LCL and FCL, what is the difference?

Well, LCL and FCL refer to less than container load and full container load respectively.

These terms are used to refer to whether your goods occupy a full container or not.

For importers of large volume goods, FCL is often considered more efficient and less costly compared to LCL shipping.

20. What’s with the Chinese New Year?

A lot.

In China, New Year is an extraordinary time of the year.

There is never business as usual during New Year.

During this time, factories tend to close for almost a month.

Freight costs go through the roof and as issues with product quality increase.

I mean it’s just bizarre during this time of the year in China.

To avoid any inconveniences, plan early and get your shipment out of China before the last days leading to New Year.


Importing goods from China to the USA can be very lucrative for your business.

You need to do your research well and use a reputable freight forwarding agent.

Note that flexibility is critical when sourcing products from China.

Relying on just one supplier or two can be tricky.

This is because sometimes these suppliers do succeed in providing the best product quality and sometimes they don’t.

It is, therefore, best if you look a little into several other sources for your goods.

So, as you embark on this business, focus more on working with companies/persons that are already established.

Companies and people that are knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the Chinese/US import and export business.

With that said, I hope this guide has proven helpful in helping you get started and taking action towards shipping from China.

Feel free to share it with your friends or business partners.

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