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How much does it cost to ship from China to the USA?

Are you going to import products to the USA from China? China boasts several wholesale markets and websites, and you can buy quality products at a reasonable price. In the past few years, the United States is giving more focus on domestic production to shorten the supply chain. Still, lots of merchants in the USA have become highly dependent on imported goods from China. As a first-time importer/exporter, you may be concerned about rules and regulations for shipping freight. Moreover, you have to choose the right transport method for successful shipping. The most critical issue is how much you need to pay to ship goods from China to the USA?

We cannot mention an accurate figure that denotes the overall shipping cost. Shipping is a complicated concept, as it relates to the transport time, cost, and other factors. The time for shipping goods may be different based on your chosen destination and transportation modes. Thus, you can find variations in the cost for shipping from China to USA.

As there is a possibility to choose overland services to ship from China to the USA, you have two options – air and ocean freight. With a good logistics budget and a high need for rapid transit, you can prefer air freight. Conversely, when you have a low budget, you can send your cargoes with ocean shipping mode. It is a slower shipping mode for importers.

The significant percentage of your shipping cost constitutes the freight charges. However, freight forwards change these costs based on different factors-

  • The season
  • Fuel costs
  • The available capacity
  • The nature/type of your shipments
  • The shipment size
  • Other environmental and commercial issues

You can notice frequent variances, and it is difficult to calculate the cost accurately.

Sea freight- Know the essential details before calculating the shipping cost

Sea freight from China to USA refers to the process of transporting goods, materials, and cargos over the sea/ocean. This shipping method has been prevalent for several years. However, nowadays, you may need to have a freight forwarder’s help to manage a shipment of high volumes.

The process for sea freight shipping is simple.

Freight forwarders will ask you to provide some details-

  • The preferred shipping method- LCL/FCL
  • Essential documents
  • Intended Intercoms
  • Containers used for sea freight-

Normally, you can find containers of three types-

  • 40 ft. (General Purpose)
  • 40 ft. (High Cube)
  • 20 ft. (General Purpose)

20’GP can be the best choice for dealing with heavy shipments. On the other hand, 40’GP is another category intended for spacious goods. However, the highest load capacity for these two options has no difference.

  • Packaging for your ocean freight- 

You have to include this factor to make the estimate to ship from china to the USA. As you need to stack your cartons and parcels, you can use pallets. To choose the pallet, you need to focus on the container space, unloading requirements, and load height. As it may take a month to reach your shipments to the USA from China, you must use quality packaging.

Basics of air freight to make your shipping cost calculation easier

Every year, lots of merchants choose air modes for faster shipping of their products. You need to rely on aircraft to transport your products to the chosen destination. There are both chartered and commercial airlines available for shipping commodities. 

However, make sure that the route for air mode helps with the smooth landing of the carrier. Better security and marginal handling are some advantages of choosing air freight. 

You can prefer the air shipping mode for perishable products, pharmaceuticals, jewelry, electronics, and other valuable items.

Air freight- From China to the USA- Calculating the rates and costs

The standard rate of air freight is $3 per kilo, and it is the most affordable option when your shipments weigh 150 to 500 kg. For small and light shipments, you have to calculate the charge based on the dimensional weight and not the actual weight, it’s cheaper than DHL or any other courier company.

While air freight is the fastest mode, express air freight can be a costly choice. Due to the regular fluctuation in prices, you can find a difference in freight rates. Moreover, freight forwarders have set their own rates. 

However, when your shipment size is large and Less Than Container Load, ocean freight is the cheaper choice for you. 

Sea freight- Calculating the rates and costs

With the shipment weighing more than 500 kg, you can choose sea freight to save money. The most notable fact is that some big ships are capable of carrying 20,000 twenty-foot containers. Some freight forwarding companies have started providing premium services (expedited freight) that may be slightly costlier compared to that of the standard ocean freight. Based on your chosen forwarders, you can find variations in the ocean freight rates. Consult with your freight forwarder to know the estimate to ship from china to the USA.

For every shipping mode, you need to focus on variable cost and base cost. When the transportation mode has a low base cost, it is affordable for shipping smaller goods. Conversely, if the variable cost is low with your chosen mode, you can choose it for larger shipments. Your shipment weight determines the cheapest shipping mode. 

LCL versus FCL- Varying shipping rates– 

To ship your goods from China to the USA, you must understand the terms, LCL and FCL. LCL refers to Less than Container Load, and you can transport your sea freight as LCL. Here, your freight forwarders consolidate with goods of other shippers. They use a carrier for transporting it in the container.

Full Container Load is another preferable option while shipping large quantities of commodities that fill the container. Only your goods will consume the space of the container. Thus, there is no need to rely on cargo consolidation. It helps with the faster delivery of your cargoes.

Now, let us tell you why the choice between LCL and FCL can make a difference in your shipping cost. As freight forwarders need to consolidate and de-consolidate many shipments during the process, they need to apply physical efforts. Besides, it is not easy to trace your shipment from one of the containers. Thus, LCL needs more paperwork and results in a higher risk of delay. The delay will finally increase the cost of shipping goods.

When you are sure that your commodities will fill the shipping container, you may go for the FCL service to save money. The cost-per-unit rate for FCL is lower than that of LCL. For this reason, freight forwarders use a dimensional weight formula for the calculation o LCL shipping rates. However, the FCL service charge presents you with a flat per-container rate.

It is not affordable to transport a partially filled container. If your shipment constitutes 2 to 3 pallets, the FCL shipping cost shipping will be very high. Now, based on these details, you can decide on FCL and LCL shipping services.

Shipping time and the associated costs

We have talked a lot about the weight and size of shipments to calculate the freight transportation cost. However, now, we will discuss the transit time that affects the overall cost to ship from China to the USA.

  • Air freight- Duration for shipping commodities to the USA from China

You know that air freight can be the faster option for importers. Still, you can question- How much time does it take to reach goods to the USA?

West Coast- To ship goods to the West Coast (America), you may need to wait for 2 to 3 days.

East Coast- In the case of the East Coast, the duration can be 4 to 5 days.

Sometimes, your shipping may cover 4 days to 1 week to reach its destination. You may wonder- Why doesn’t the air freight reach the destination country within a few hours? Several factors affect the time for air-cargo transit-

  1. Consolidation during the time of departure 
  2. Export customs processes and import customs clearance
  3. Unloading the shipment at the airport

When you have chosen indirect flights for the freight, you should not overlook the transshipment time. Transshipment can make the process longer. 

Now, for your ocean freight, you have to calculate the duration in terms of weeks and not days. Moreover, the overall voyage duration depends on the chosen route. Some carriers provide a direct service, whereas others visit multiple ports before the arrival at the destination.

  • Shipping cargoes by cargo- Find the duration

The origin of the shipment and the destination port- these two factors are always important. Let us tell you about the approximate time taken to transport cargoes from one port to another.

    • Guangzhou to Los Angeles (LCL) – 26 days 
    • Huangpu to Miami (LCL)- 40 days
    • Jiangmen to Los Angeles (LCL)- 27 days
    • Ningbo to Chicago (FCL)– 29 days
    • Qingdao to Oakland (FCL) – 24 days
  • Shipping by air- Estimated time for shipment

  • Guangzhou to Miami- About 6 days
  • Shanghai to Atlanta- Nearly 3 days
  • Wuhan to New York – 8 days
  • Shenzhen to Houston – 2 days

Both China and the USA has numerous ports. You have to ship your goods to the nearest port, and based on your choice, you can find out the overall time for the transport.

Importing goods from China to the USA? Know the sea freight shipping cost

While you can import the best quality goods at a lower price, different factors can affect the overall transportation cost. Your shipment size, weight, shipment time, and location are some factors to determine the cost.

  • Importing goods from one port to another– Port-to-port shipping service is the most common choice to move your commodities to a different country. When the shipment has reached any port of the USA, you have to deal with other tasks, like document submission, clearance, and unloading. In most cases, to ship a 20’GP container to the western coast, you need to pay $2000 to $2500. For the eastern coast, it can be between $3000 and $3500.
  • Door-to-door transport– This mode is for covering a small distance, and you have to pay for the freight after receiving it at the given venue. 
  • Landed cost– This term indicates the overall amount to be paid for shipping service. You have to include all relevant charges, like Customs Clearance Fees and Import Duties.

Air freight- Analysis of the cost

You are aware of the fact that the air freight shipping process is costly. Similar to the sea freight, the air freight shipping cost depends on-

  • Chargeable weight
  • Volume

Choosing a reliable freight forwarder-

You have more to learn about the import of goods by air and sea. We have presented you with a brief guide on calculating the cost to ship from China to the USA. Your first step is to choose the freight forward and get the quote for your shipment. You can find a reliable shipping company by browsing the load board here. A reliable freight forwarder like China Freight will surely help you with a reasonable charge. By choosing them, you can keep away from the pitfalls. Moreover, they will take the responsibility of reaching your goods to the right place within the shortest time. Although you do not have the idea of the terms related to freight, your forwarders would relieve your stress. They also help you with the arrangement of freight documents.

China Freight is a highly reputable freight forwarding company that manages the technicalities related to the shipping procedure. They try their best to prevent delays in the process. The most important thing is that you must be aware of the Chinese Holidays while shipping goods to the USA. Moreover, products, shipped to the USA from China, have varying storage and handling needs. The company knows about those requirements and keep your commodities safe until they reach the USA. Thus, you can now rely on China Freight and get its professional solution to avoid any risk during the shipping process. 

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