Most business people make things in China that they then sell in the United States. When it comes to shipping, they have to choose the best way to ship in order to avoid delays and make the most money possible. Airfreight, express shipping, and sea freight are the main ways to ship.
No matter what method you choose for shipping, you will need to hire a freight forwarder in China to handle your shipment. This guide will help you figure out how to ship from China to the US in the best way.
#1 What choices do you have when you ship from China to the US?
There is no way to bring goods from China to the US by land. So, you can only do one of two things. You can either send your goods by air or by sea. Here’s what you can do.
1.1 Sea Freight from China to the USA
To ship goods from China to the US by sea, you have to do more than just talk about prices and make friends with the locals. When shipping, it’s important to know the port well. There are many different kinds of ports in both the U.S. and China. The ports are shown here.
- Tianjin Port
- Qingdao Port
- Shanghai Port
- Ningbo Port
- Xiamen Port
- Shenzhen Port
- Guangzhou Port
Main Sea Port in the USA
- Long Beach Port
- New York Port
- Los Angeles Port
- Oakland Port
- Houston Port
- Tacoma Port
- Newark Port
1.2 Air Freight from China to the USA
The fastest way to get goods from China to the United States is by air freight. Cargo airports have been growing and getting bigger to speed up and make transportation easier. Here are the most important air shipping bases in China and the United States.
China’s Airfreight Bases:
Main Airport in the USA
- – New York
- – Memphis
- – Atlanta
- – Los Angeles
- – Chicago
- – Louisville
- – Miami
- – Indianapolis
- – Dallas
1.3 Express Shipping from China to the USA
To send something quickly from China to the United States, you need express freight, which is also called a courier. This method is faster and more reliable than the mail. Here are some other things to try after you’ve decided on a method.
– DHL Ships from China to the United States
DHL Express is a courier service that has been around since 1969. It is based in Bonn, Germany. The company is ranked as the world’s largest courier service. It is present in China, and its regional headquarters are in Beijing. It has services for international shipping and delivery all over the world.
— FedEx Ships from China to the United States
FedEx is another top courier service in the world. Its headquarters are in the United States, but it has offices all over the world, even in China. It started in 1971, and it took less than 40 years for it to become a leading courier service. It has more than 82 branch offices, and every week it sends more than 220 cargo flights from China.
– UPS From China to the United States
United Parcel Service (UPS), which is based in the United States, is one of the best international courier services. This company has been around since 1907, making it one of the oldest courier services. In 2005, it teamed up with China Express to offer the first delivery service that goes straight to China without stopping. Its main office in China is in Shanghai, but there are also offices in Beijing and Guangzhou. The company sets up deliveries between the seller and the buyer.
– China EMS From China to the United States
In 1980, China Postal Express & Logistics Co., Ltd., also known as China EMS, began as a company that handled international mail. In 1984, it also began to handle shipping within China. EMS is a courier service with over 45,000 offices and over 100,000 employees. It is owned by the China Post Group Corporation. It works in every town and city in China and in more than 200 other countries. It has its main office in Beijing.
– Shipping by ePacket from China to the US
Most shops in Hong Kong and China use this method of shipping. It is one of the fastest ways to ship from China to the United States, and customers can use China Post to keep track of their ePacket tracking numbers. The majority of packages are sent within 30 days.
1.4 Shipping containers from China to the United States
Shipping companies have different prices for sending containers from China to the US. When sending containers from China to the United States, you need to know what kind of container you are sending. Here are the pros and cons of the two main types of container shipping.
– FCL From China to the United States
FCL stands for “full container load.” This means that the goods fill a whole 20-foot or 40-foot container. Shipping from China to the US in full containers saves money and time. Shipping companies charge the same flat rate for FCL, no matter how full or empty the container is. Think about which companies offer the cheapest shipping rates from the US to China.
– LCL From China to the United States
Less than a Container Load, or LCL, means that the goods do not fill a whole container. In other words, your goods will be shipped with other pallets or boxes. When you use this method of shipping containers, your goods must be put together at the starting port and then again at the ending port. This method of shipping takes longer than FCL because of this. You will have to look at the companies that ship cheaply from the US to China.
1.5 Door-to-Door Shipping from China to the USA
Door-to-door shipping from China to the United States means that the goods go straight from the seller to the buyer without any breaks. This kind of shipping is also called door to port, house to house, or port to port shipping. When you work with more than one shipping company, the cost of door-to-door shipping can be low.
#2 US Duties and Taxes on Imports
How much money is paid in customs duty when goods are brought from China to the United States depends a lot on how much those goods are worth. According to the United States’ customs policy, goods worth less than $800 don’t have to pay customs duty. Goods worth more than $800 have to be taxed. The amount of tax depends on what kind of good it is. Visit the US Customs website to find out how much tax you have to pay on the type of goods you want to bring into the country.
Keep in mind that the amount of customs duty you have to pay depends on how many things you bring in. The people in charge of customs have divided shipments into two groups: formal entry and informal entry. Formal entries are made for imports that cost more than $2500. For the customs office to let the goods through, they must be backed by a surety bond. After you send in the customs entry bonds, you will get your goods even before you pay the taxes, fees, and duties.
The items with a value of less than $2,500 are called “informal entry.” There is no need for an entry bond or a surety bond to cover the goods. When you get them at the port, the customs office will ask you to confirm the terms and conditions.
#3 The Shipping Ways from China to the United States
When sending goods from China to the U.S., you’ll have to choose one of the following shipping routes:
- Shanghai to New York: this route has a distance of 13861nm and the shipping time is 57.8 days
- Shenzhen to New York: it has a distance of 13020nm and the shipping takes 54.3 days
- Shanghai to Savannah: the route has a distance of 18018nm and the shipping time stands at 75.1 days
- Shanghai to Long Beach: the distance stands at 19270nm and the shipping takes 80.3 days
- Shenzhen to Long Beach: the shipping route has a distance of 18407nm and the shipping takes 75.1 days
- Hong Kong to Los Angeles: the shipping route has a distance of 18407nm and the shipping takes 76.7 days
- Hong Kong to Long Beach: the route has a distance of 18407nm and the shipping takes 76.7 days
- Qingdao to Houston: the shipping route has a distance of 16257nm and the shipping takes 67.7 days
- Qingdao to New York: this shipping route has a distance of 14210nm and the shipping takes 59.2 days
- Qingdao to Long Beach: this shipping route has a distance of 19621nm and the shipping takes 81.8 days
- Ningbo to Long Beach: this shipping route has a distance of 19212nm and the shipping takes 80 days.
#4 Incoterms for shipping from China to the US
You need to know what the common incoterms are before you agree to work with a supplier. Some importers agree to incoterms without knowing the risks they are taking. Even though they sometimes get away with it, the shipment can quickly turn into a nightmare and wipe out your profit. Here are some incoterms you should know.
– EXW (Ex Works)
If you choose this shipping incoterm, the delivery will be complete when you pick up the goods from the seller at the agreed place (storage, warehouse, or factory). The seller won’t clear the goods through customs for export. As the buyer, you have to choose a freight forwarder to pick up the shipment from the agreed-upon place, book it, inspect it, declare it to customs, and bring it to your location. You will have to pay for the costs.
– FOB (Free on Board)
After the goods cross the ship’s rail, the seller will have to hand over the goods. The buyer will be in charge of deciding where the freight goes. FOB means that the seller has to get the goods ready to be shipped. After the goods are put on a ship, you as the buyer will have to choose a freight forwarder to set up the shipping. The freight forwarder should also arrange for the goods to be inspected, cleared through customs, booked, and sent to their final destination.
– CFR (Cost and Freight)
When the goods cross the ship’s rail at the destination port, the delivery is done. That means the seller has to pay to have the goods sent to the port of destination and deal with customs for an export declaration. The seller chooses a freight forwarder to set up shipping and handle customs declaration, booking, inspection, and delivery to the destination.
– CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight)
This term is similar to CFR incoterms, but the goods are covered by marine insurance bought by the seller.
#5 How long does it take to send goods from China to the US?
The average shipping time from China to the US is between 1 and 35 days, depending on the mode of transport you choose and where your goods are going. The fastest way to ship is by express, which takes 1–5 days. From China to the US, it takes between 2 and 15 days to get there by air, and it takes between 15 and 25 days to get there by sea. Here are the average number of days it takes to ship goods from China to the United States from different places and using different methods of transport.
- Ocean shipping from China to the US – sea shipping from China to the US time ranges between 15 and 25 days
- Transit time from China to the US – 8 to 10 days
- Shipping from Shenzhen China to the USA – 35 days
- Shanghai to USA shipping – 35 days
- Shipping from Ningbo China to USA – 35 days
- Airfreight transit time from China to the US – 2-15 days
- Courier Freight from China to the US time – 3-5 days
#6 how is the Cost of Shipping from China to the US
Most of the time, the costs of shipping from China to the US are made up of the landed costs and the freight costs. The shipping company you choose will figure out how much it will cost to ship your goods based on their size and weight. The landed costs include the cost of getting the goods from the factory to the shipping agent, storing them, and getting them through customs. Here’s what you can expect from each shipping method.
– China Ocean Freight to the US
Ocean freight is the least expensive way to get goods from China to the United States, but it takes the longest. The amount of goods you are transporting will determine how much it costs to move them. You can choose between a less-than-container load (LCL) or a full container load (FCL). Also, the cost of Sea Freight from China to the USA will depend on the type of container you choose. These are your two choices.
Cost of shipping a 20-foot container from China to the US: It costs about $4800 to ship a 20-foot container from China to the US.
Cost of shipping a 40-foot container from China to the US: It costs about $6500 to ship a 40-foot container from China to the US.
– Rates for shipping by air from China to the US
If your packages weigh between 50 kg and 100 kg, you might want to use airfreight. Airfreight shipping costs can be higher than ocean freight shipping costs, but not as high as express shipping costs. You will also benefit from having short travel times. Depending on what is being shipped, international air cargo rates range from $2.50 to $5.00 per kilogram.
– Shipping Costs by Courier from China to the US
Courier shipping is the best way to send small amounts of goods from China to the US. Even though it is the easiest way to ship, it can be pricey. Still, it makes it easy to get through customs. If the value of your shipment is less than $800, you won’t have to pay any customs fees. The price per kilogram is between $5 and $10.
– Amazon Ships to the US from China
When shipping from China to Amazon FBA USA by airfreight, you should expect to pay around $4 per kilogram. You also need to think about the customs fees and duties. It takes about 10 to 12 business days to get there.
– Drop shipping from China to the US
Goods that weigh between 0.5 kg and 10 kg are in a general category, and the cost of drop shipping from China to the US is between $20 and $100. Shipping costs are between $100 and $200 for items that weigh between 10 kg and 20 kg. Goods that weigh between 21 kg and 100 kg cost between $200 and $500 to ship.
#7 What Customs Clearance Documents Need
After your shipment gets to the US, you will need to give the US Customs and Border Protection the necessary paperwork to get it cleared. The authority wants you to clear the cargo in less than 15 calendar days. If you don’t, your goods may be moved to a warehouse and you may have to pay extra fees for the storage. Still, you will have six months to pay off the debt and keep your goods from being sold at auction. To clear your goods, you will need the following items.
– Invoice of Shipment
This is the most important thing you need to bring goods from China to the US. It shows that the goods were sent and that the importer paid for them. It is a receipt for the cargo that is going to be shipped.
– Commercial Invoice
A commercial invoice lists all of the products and information about the shipment. This document is what Customs and Border Protection uses to figure out how much to charge for customs fees. It lists the product’s name, quantity, country of origin, country of destination, tariff classification, exporter’s name and address, and the goods’ value.
– Packing List
This document tells you about the details of the packaging and the invoice. It is used by the customs office to check the shipment.
– Arrival Notice
This document is sent by the cargo carrier to the importer to let them know that the shipment has arrived.
– Bond of Surety
Make sure that all payments, such as import fees, taxes, and duties, are clear. You can buy the surety bond from a US-based surety company or hire a customs broker. There are two kinds of bonds. The annual bond and the single entry bond are two of them. A one-year bond costs between $400 and $450 and can be used for one year. The single entry bond can only be used once, and it’s a good choice for people who don’t buy from China very often. It will cost you 5% of the value of your package.
When shipping from China to the US, keep in mind that Express airfreight is the most expensive method and FCL sea freight is the least expensive. Costs for sea freight are based on the amount of cargo, while costs for air freight are based on both the weight and the amount of cargo. Make sure you have all the documents you need to get through customs.