If you are looking to import Chinese products to the USA then understanding the shipping cost from China to USA will help you boost your business.
China is a huge marketplace for high-quality products, and none can deny this. More and more people import goods from China to extend their business or use them for home or office purposes.
People have many questions circulating in their minds when they are shipping goods from China to the USA, and it is normal to have questions as it helps to avoid confusion while importing goods and creates a better understanding of business. Not everyone is aware of the things required for shipping cost from China to USA and the risk associated with it.
A definitive guide is much needed at that moment to provide the right information related to shipping, its cost, options that can be picked for shipping, ports in China and the USA where your goods come from and at what location, etc.
In this definitive guide on shipping costs from China to the USA, you will get all your questions answered. And, you will easily import goods from China to the USA with confidence.
When you buy goods from China or any other foreign country and get them shipped to the USA or any other country, you become an importer.
The first thing you need to identify before purchasing the goods is your importing rights. If you are buying goods for the first time and shipping it from China to the USA, it is indispensable for you to know about your importing rights.
-Your Social Security Number (SSN as an individual) or Internal Revenue Service Number (IRS EIN as a business) is required if you are from the USA.
-People from EURO needs to register as an economic operator (EORI Number)
I-f you are from Japan, you must declare yourself to the Director-General of Custom and get an import permit after the inspection of the goods.
-Any person from Canada wishing to import goods will be needing a Business Number issued by CRA (Canada Revenue Agency)
-If you are from Australia, no requirement for importers is needed to obtain an import license.
On goods imported for resale purposes or commercial business, many import regulations apply to all items. And, the judgment calls only be made by customs authorities about what goods qualify. Identical suits or similar handbags have a tough time passing the credibility assessment as goods for individual use.
2. Identify the goods you want to import
When you import goods from China to USA, it is essential to identify the goods you want to import as businesses are boosting their growth by selling items. And, choosing a wrong item may result in not only a waste of time but also loss of money.
To become a successful importer, you need to choose the right product for reselling as products define your business. It would be a good idea to pick products that you know a lot about as it the basics of your business and it will be going to affect your profit margins, designs, and marketing.
If you know about the products, you will also know the legal restrictions and logistics that play an important role in the growth of the business.
If you are importing goods for the first time, you need to do proper research and get to know about the niche and market for the goods you are willing to import. Another important thing you need to know is to get a rough idea about how much your products should cost to make enough profit.
Always gather as much information about the products as possible before importing. It would be necessary to get product composition information, descriptive literature, and, if possible, samples of the product.
This information will help at the time of determining the tariff classification. The HS Code (tariff classification number) will be utilized to find the rate of duty applied to the products you are importing.
You don’t need to always look for the ‘cheap’ or ‘hot’ products as it is often seen people searching for the perfect items’, and they get stuck looking for such perfect products and never get started. There is no ‘perfect product’ thing at all. Every single product has challenges that you need to overcome to yield profit.
It is your jobs to search for your product and launch it, then proceed towards the growth of your business.
3. Make sure the goods you want to import is not banned in the country
When shipping goods, you need to be aware that some goods are not permitted to be imported. You also need to ensure the goods you wish to import are not subjected to any permits, regulations, or restrictions by the government of your country.
As an importer, it is your duty to make sure the products comply with all regulations and rules. Products you need to avoid are:
Milk, Cheese, and Dairy Products
Fruits, Vegetables, and Nuts
Livestock and Animals
Meat, Poultry and Egg Products
Plants and Plant Products
Wood Packing Materials
Motor Vehicles and Boats
Trademarks and Trade Names
Foods, Drugs, Cosmetics, And Medical Devices
Gold and Silver
It could cost a bit of money in penalties and fines if you import unsafe goods that do not meet the requirements of the health code or violate restrictions. It is also possible that such goods could be detained or destroyed.
4. Classify goods and calculate the landed cost
You need to determine the tariff classification number (10 digit number) for each importing product. The Certificate of Origin along with those numbers, help determine the rate of duty you need to pay when importing goods from China to USA. After determining both, you can do the calculation of the land cost.
You need to attentively check incoterms and calculate the landed cost before placing the order. For instance, FOB means adding three things together:
Obtain the price of the product from the supplier
Get duty and tax, customs clearance, and land transport charges from shipping to landing to the warehouse
Obtain shipping charges from the freight agent
To get landed cost earlier is a bit complicated as no one wishes to lose customers because of too high estimating cost and earnings because of too low estimating cost. If it’s higher than what you anticipated, you can look for ways to reduce the cost. And, if it is in your budget, you can start the process and go ahead.
An importer may not calculate the exact cost of goods till the shipment arrives. You have to estimate the cost of goods as precisely as possible.
You can look at the company’s previous shipping costs you are working with, to get an idea about how much you will have to pay, and if you are new to shipping from China to USA, you need to estimate the cost.
You may experience unexpected fees that can be different from what you estimated from the total landed cost, which is obviously normal. While estimating the cost, you need to add possible costs in advance. Once you get your final cost, reconcile all against the cost you estimated.
5. Find your supplier in China to place an order
You need to place an order with the shipper, vendor, or exporter and find the shipping terms that can be used. After selecting a supplier, you need to request P/I (Performa Invoice or Quote Sheet) for the purchases in order to include description, harmonized system number, and value of the item.
Terms of purchase, packed dimensions, and weight must be visible on your P/I (a non-binding document that can assist in budgeting future purchases).
1. You need to make sure the supplier agrees to ship the goods under the FOB terms
They should ship the goods from the nearest airport or port to reduce the shipping cost to a greater extent and also allow you to have quick and better control over the shipment.
For instance, if one is importing products from Yiwu-China, Ningbo is the nearest port to your supplier, you will need to request Ningbo FOB terms.
2. Shipping by the ocean is quite slow
which means you need to make long-term planning compared to the purchases of domestic products. It would take up to 7 days to export goods.
This time is required for inland travel, documentation, terminal or port handling, and customs clearance, it is recommended to place an order at least 3 months before you need the products.
1. Show distrust towards the supplier
Trade is always based on mutual trust, and if you don’t trust the supplier, there is a possibility that no one takes care of your production, nor do they help you sincerely in case of any trouble.
2. Look for the lower price
If you find a significantly cheaper quote as compared to others, you should raise a red flag. High risk has been associated with the lowest price that can compromise the quantity, quality, and reputation as there is no lowest price in China. The best way is to look for a reliable supplier to grow your business.
3. Fail to Explain product details
If you are importing from China and you are not clear to the supplier about your requirements, there is a chance you would end up receiving the products you didn’t need.
In case you are not clear, the factory takes the responsibility to make decisions for you, be it quality or cost-saving. You need to be confident when purchasing products by double-checking the manufacturing process as well material used.
6. Arrange transport for your cargo
The shipping cost from China to USA includes terminal handling, container fees, broker fees, and packaging. To get an idea about the shipping cost, you need to take these factors into account. Your transport services will stay in touch with you and your supplier. You should ensure the transportation offers quick and safe delivery.
Be ready for a delay
Delay in the consignment might happen for many reasons, such as delay in the production, the vessel got late, or custom might hold the goods. You need to be ready for it and plan accordingly.
One should not expect the cargo to leave the port the day it is completed in the factory as it takes at least 1 to 2 days for the cargo transport to take it from the factory to the port. And 1 to 2 days can be taken in the customs declaration process.
Other than that, each week, only one route frequency can also cause the day, and missing that day means you need to wait till the next week.
Selection of a freight forwarder partner
Choosing logistics really matters as it is one of the valued aspects of modern businesses. Direct and indirect costs of transporting from the origin to the destination are a part of shipping costs from China to the USA.
If you select the right logistics provider, they make sure of manageable costs, continuous cash flow, and smooth operation. Picking the wrong one can end you up with wastage and raised costs. You will also be losing a lot of money if the logistics are not well managed.
7. Keep track of your cargo and get ready for the arrival
Shipping products from China to the West Coast USA can take up to 14 days to reach and 30 days to get goods delivered to the East Coast. You will be notified around 5 days or even less when goods arrive at the port through an arrival notice by the destination agent.
As an importer, you need to fill entry document for the products at the port of entry. Documents include:
List of packing that has details about the products imported
Bill of lading that lists the goods to be imported
Official invoice listing purchase price, tariff classification, and country of origin of the products imported
Arrival notice by the freight agent
You need to arrange everything systematically to get your goods clear from the border. To release the goods and arrange for the assessment is the responsibility of the importer of record.
Chapter 2: Tables of all the shipping cost from China to USA By Air and By Sea
Rates by FedEX:
FedEX have 2 shipping methods. One is called the International Priority (IP) and the other one is called International Economy (IE) delivery. The International priority one is the fastest and usually delivers within 2 days whereas the International Economy one takes around 4 to 7 days.
Please note that the rates provided in these tables and for reference only. To get the most latest rates according to your products, you have to send us an inquiry with your product details or contact a freight forwarder.
The table below shows the rates of FedEX for packages under 21kg for their International Priority service.
The table below shows the rates of FedEX for packages under 21kg for their International Economy service.
The table below shows the prices for both International Priority mail and International Economy mail for packages over 21KG.
FedEX IP (>21KG)
FedEX IP (>21KG)
Rates by DHL:
Here is a list of rates of DHL from 0.5KG upto 500KG+ items. The charges are per KG.
CHINA TO USA SHIPPING RATES($) BY SEA
40FT HQ Container
Note: These rates are during the period of Covid19. Thats the reason the rates are high because of the pandemic. However, once this pandemic is finished, we believe the rates will decrease alot. For updated rates please contact us directly.
What is AMS?
In the table you can see that with each container charges, we have included AMS charges of 30$. So what is this AMS and why there are charges for it.
The Automated Manifest System (AMS) is an electronic information transmission system operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Air and ocean shipments into the U.S. require an AMS filing with detailed information about the cargo, as a security measure.
To prepare these documents takes a lot of time and effort due to which charges are incurred.
To get the best rates, EJET Sourcing offers you a wide selection of logistic services covering all routes to any country you designate.
EJET’s experienced team of logistical experts is ready to tackle any delivery issues for you., all your needs to do is sit back and wait for shipping.
Chapter 3: Impact of COVID19 on shipping cost from China to USA
1. Is China Shipping right now to the USA?
China is shipping products to USA. Right now, all the shipping modes are active, but the cost and speed have been impacted since the COVID-19 outbreaks, which also depends on the transportation mode. It is a wise idea to opt for a renowned china freight forwarder to reduce the delays.
There is no restriction on import from China by USA, which means no delays from custom.
2. Is it impacting Amazon Shipping?
Warehouses of Amazon FBA are understaffed that is causing significant delays from booking appointments to shipping goods to the warehouses. Customers who are shipping to Amazon are requested to allot more time than usual. These delays are unavoidable, and customers are requested to have patience.
If you experience sensitive inventory time, you need to place an order earlier as much as 30 days so that you can have extra time for delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. Ways to avoid Covid affecting your business
COVID-19 has been impacting businesses when it outbreaks. To avoid the impact related to logistic issues, strength and communication in the supply chain are the keys to focus on. If you work with a renowned China freight forwarder, your hurdles can be taken care of in both USA and China. Your freight forwarder also keeps track of the changing political climate.
Chapter 4: Options for shipping from China to the USA
1. Process of air freight from China
Shipping from China to USA via air freight can bring your goods from the factory to the warehouse in a few days. Airfreight is the best option for shipping valuable goods or saving time. Airfreight from China to USA is an easy process with minimum actions required. Below is the process of air freight shipping from China to USA:
-Obtain a service of the freight company.
-Give shipment details to the chosen freight company.
-An arrangement is made with the supplier when cargo is shipped to the airport.
-Export clearance will be taken care of by the freight company.
-Your cargo is loaded in a plane and then reached an airport in USA.
-It is unloaded when reached the airport, and then, goes through the custom.
-The cargo is delivered to the address of the consignee. You also have to pay for the taxes and customs fees.
2. Shipping by sea process
Sea freight is time-consuming if you compare it with air freight. It involves a shipping company to handle the shipment of goods from China to USA.
A customs broker is also playing a role in sea freight shipping as it is the broker’s responsibility to handle documentation and get the required permits from the government.
Freight forwarder works with the customs brokers to handle tasks and work with the customs broker. A simplified sea freight process is given below:
-The cargo is moved from the supplier to the forwarder’s location.
-The cargo passed to custom for clearance that will be taken care of by the broker.
-Shipping will be picked by a freight forwarder to handle the transportation from port to port.
-When shipment reached the USA port, it will go through import custom clearance.
Once the cargo is offloaded from the ship, the separation of shipment process starts, and then it is reached the consignee to claim it.
If you are shipping from China to the USA via sea freight, you should be familiarized with the incoterms that are internationally used the information about the cargo. A few common trade terms include:
–FOB (Free on Board Shipping) – this term is frequently used that signifies the ownership is transferred to the seller from the buyer.
–CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight Shipping) –this shipping indicates that the seller will handle the process of shipping the cargo via sea freight. The seller also takes the responsibility to provide required documents when the consignment arrives at the USA port.
4. LCL and FCL
LCL refers to Less Container Load, while FCL denotes Full Container Load. In LCL shipping from China to USA, the cargo is mixed with other goods that are transporting to the same location. In FCL shipping, your cargo is not mixed with other cargo as you need to pay for the whole container
Chapter 5: Documentations required for Shipping from China to the USA
1. Bill Of lading
For international shipping, the bill of lading is an important document that has a lot of information such as the name of the consignee, name of the consigner, mark and the quantity of the products, the origin and destination, and name of the ship.
Bill of lading is available in two forms; non-negotiable bill of lading and negotiable bill of lading. A non-negotiable BOL is a straight bill. The goods can be picked up by a consignee whose name is mentioned in the bill of lading.
The negotiable bill of lading is different from the non-negotiable bill of lading. It allows the goods to be delivered to the person who has the bill of lading, so you should carry a copy of the bill of lading along with you as it makes you request to claim the consignment.
2. Airway Bill
If you are shipping goods from China to USA by air, the airway bill is one of the indispensable shipping documents you must have. Airway document is issued by air carriers, which is a receipt of the products a carrier received as well as the contract of carriage between the carrier and shipper.
This bill certifies that goods have been received by the carrier that is listed in AWB. It is proof that the carrier is responsible for handling your products to the destination. The airway bill is non-negotiable.
3. Commercial invoice
The seller produced this document that contains the name, price, and quantity of the consignment. A commercial invoice is basically a name to the buyer from the seller. For import and export between countries, commercial invoices are used. It is a must-have document for international trade and is used for tariff collection and customs clearance.
4. Consular invoice
The consular invoice is another document that you will be needed, which is issued by the consul of importing country in exporting goods country. As an exporter, you are required to fill a form that is provided by the consular office of the country from your import.
Export of products is attested by the consular invoices to prevent the importing country from dumping foreign products. This document is a bit like commercial invoices. It contains the name and address of the seller and buyer, the value of goods, and more relevant information.
5. Certificate of origin
The Agency of the government of the exporting country issued a Certificate of Origin, which certifies the origin of the goods. It is basically for the importing country’s custom to instrument differential tariffs and implements import quotas and import tax rates according to country policies.
Exporters are asked to provide the certificate of origin by importers. Countries that do not provide consular invoices or customs invoices are used the certificate of origin and GSP certificate of origin. For instance, if you are importing goods from China, the customs department of the Chinese government issued the certificate of origin.
6. Import license
An import license is a must-have document for importers that they need to obtain in advance before the shipment arrives. Otherwise, engaging in the business becomes difficult. If you are importing from China to the USA, you must apply for the import license to get the consignment shipped to your destination.
7. Fumigation certificate
A fumigation certificate is another document that you will need if required by the importing country. It shows that exterminator has been fumigated while exporting and importing beans, oilseeds, grains, packaging plant fillers, wood, etc.
8. List of packing
A list or packing or packing list is a document that contains details about the shipment. This supplementary document lists the information about the packing agreed between the seller and buyer in the contract to help buyers and customs inspect the goods when it arrives at the destination port.
9. Certificate for dangerous goods
If you are shipping-certain commodities from China to the USA, you need to have certificates for dangerous goods. Other than this certificate, you should also use dangerous goods notes, called DGN.
The note will describe the dangerous goods in detail about the risk exist to transport, and how to tackle the dangerous goods in a safe and efficient manner during transportation.
10. Insurance document
Documentations required for Shipping from China to
An insurer issued an insurance policy on the acceptance of insurance. It is an underwriting certificate or document you need to have for the sake of security. You need to purchase cargo insurance at the export port before your shipment arrives. This policy covers the loss if goods are damaged, stolen, or lost.
Chapter 6: Weight determination of the package
1. Real or dimensional weight
When shipping from China to the USA via express and air freight, you need to attentively check the charged weight as if it is calculated in “kgs” or it’s the real weight or volume.
You will be charged according to the volume of your goods’ volume is larger than the weight. For example, if a foam of 100cm x100cm x 100cm is shipped that weight 20kg, the express companies will never charge you for its real weight as the size of the package will be larger and definitely occupy more space.
The cost is not even estimated as per the volume of the package; instead, it is determined by the dimensional weight.
You can check the dimensional weight by this formula:
Dimensional weight = Height (cm) x Weight (cm) x Length (cm) / 5000
Chapter 7: Time Taken for Shipping from China to the USA
1. By air freight
Airfreight is a faster freight that can save time when shipping goods from China to USA. For the East coast, air freight takes up to 5 to 7 days to ship goods to the East Coast of America from China. For the West Coast of America, the standard time to ship goods is around 2 to 3 days.
2. By sea freight
Sea freight shipping from China to USA takes around 30 to 40 days. Due to a few factors, it takes this extended time for shipping, including required documentation, varying weather, port congestion, and customs delays.
3. By express air
Indisputably, courier shipping to ship goods from China to USA is one of the fastest modes. It is the best service for items either needs to be delivered as fast as possible or too expensive. Courier Shipping from UPS, FedEx, and DHL takes an average time of 3 to 5 days to deliver goods, respectively.
Chapter 8: Prominent ports for shipping goods from China to USA
1. Renowned ports in China
When you are shipping goods from China, you need to have information about the nearest port to get the consignment at your destination easily. Some prominent Chinese ports are:
-Shenzhen Port – it is an indispensable port that serves as the Hong Kong gateway and also links remote areas of China to the world.
-Shanghai Port – Shanghai is located near the Yangtze River delta that is easy to access by the inner provinces of China. It is recognized as one of the best ports for shipping from China to USA due to its availability to many manufacturing factories.
-Hong Kong Port – it is an important port for import and export known to offer 340 container liner services in a week. Moreover, this Hong Kong port is linked to around 470 destinations per week.
-Ningbo-Zhoushan Port – It is known as the busiest port in China as well as throughout the world. On an annual basis, millions of tons of cargoes. Ningbo-Zhoushan Port is situated on the East Coast of the China Sea in Zhejiang province.
-Guangzhou Port – it is located in the Pearl River Delta. Guangzhou Port has been frequently used for trade purposes. It is ready to serve as a key port for global trading.
–Xiamen Port – more than 50 countries are connected to this port, which is situated in the moth of Jiulong River. It is also known for boasting more than 68 routes.
–Qingdao Port – Capacity-wise, it is the largest port in northern China. Goods under the banner of data, automation, and e-commerce umbrellas are what this port is popular for.
–Dalian Port – it is the largest port of the northern area. Dalian Port is popularly known for connecting over 160 countries. It links with seaports situated in East Asia, North Asia, and Pacific Rim.
-Tianjin – in terms of capacity, this port is a bit left behind the Qingdao Port. Tianjin experiences a smooth growth as more and more international and domestic shipping is added that increases the popularity of this port.
2. Renowned ports in the USA
To get the shipment to USA from China, you should know about the ports that are closest to your destination so that you can avoid delays. Take a look at ports:
-Port of Los Angles – As per container volume, this port has been among the 20 busiest ports that are located along the California coast. It serves a major role in the Trans-Pacific trades.
-New York & New Jersey Port – it is known as the busiest ports situated on the Eastern seaboard. This port witness’s larger consumer trades throughout the world.
-Long Beach Port – this port records a trade of $180 billion every year. It is located near Los Angeles port. Long Beach port plays an indispensable role when it comes to shipping goods to the west coast of USA from China.
–Port of Virginia – the reason for the immense popularity of this port is its location. It connects with railways and also partners with other ports of the Eastern board.
-Port of Miami – it is situated in Florida and connects South and North America. It also plays a key role in global trade.
-South Carolina ports – two ports that can be found in South Carolina include Georgetown and Charleston. The former is used to offer access to other ports. The latter is known to have five terminals to handle cruise ships, containers, and motor vehicle shipments.
-Port of Oakland – it is known for handling all shipments that enter or exit North California. Port of Oakland has three container terminals and also connects to two railways.
-Port of Houston – due to the large area with advanced equipment, this port makes the unloading of containers easier.
-Seattle-Tacoma – these ports are located in Washington and are set to take over the handlers of international container volume of America in the coming years.
Chapter 9: FAQ’s about shipping costs from China to USA
1. How to reduce shipping costs?
To reduce the shipping cost from china to USA follows the steps below:
-Amalgamate LCL shipments into a single FCL container
-Adjust the volumes of your order based on the capacity of the container (e.g. 20” FCL = 1200 pcs)
-Choose ocean freight
-Avoid CIF shipping and opt for DDU and DAP shipping
-In order to reduce the total volume of the cargo, optimize packaging dimensions and export carton
2. What is the cheapest way to ship goods from China?
When it comes to shipping costs from China to USA, the cheapest way you need to pick is FCL container Sea freight. You will pay less if you ship more. You will get better freight rates as compared to small competitors if you buy a large volume from your suppliers. It is obviously a million times better option than getting yourself stuck between air freight and LCL shipping.
3. Do a few suppliers offer free of cost shipping?
Yes, suppliers can offer free shipping costs from China to USA if the shipping cost is included in the price of the products you order. If it is not included in the product price, you will have to pay for shipping. So, one or the other way, you have to pay the shipping cost.
4. Why insurance is important when I ship from China to the USA?
Yes, an insurance policy is important when you are shipping from China to USA to secure the goods against any damage or loss. Get an insurance policy before your shipping goods to the USA from China is the best option. If you choose the CIF agreement, then the insurance policy is already a part of it.
5. Can I gather all the products in China and then get them delivered to my address?
Yes, you can gather all products in China, thanks to the freight forwarders as they accept such requests. All you need to do is to provide the contact details of all the sellers with cargo details so that the freight forwarder merges all the goods in one shipment to ship from China to USA.
6. When do I need to make payment when it related to shipping cost from China to USA?
It depends on the type of freight you pick. If you choose sea freight for shipping from China to USA, then according to the freight forwarder, you are required to pay 5 days before the issuance of the Bill of lading. For the air freight option, all dues need to be cleared prior to the plane takes off.
After going through the definitive guide of shipping cost from China to USA, you may get a clear idea about importing cost, shipping ways, along with prices and terminologies used for importing goods.
For importing products from China to USA, you will need many documents to get the products delivered to your destination. Ports information is helping people understand the nearest possible location to avoid delays.
There are many ways of shipping, some take less time, and a few are expensive, so it’s up to the importers to choose according to their budget and needs.
We hope this definitive guide helps you to ship goods to the USA from China. In case of any questions, free to contact us.