Shipping From China to USA – 2022 Complete Guide

If you’re shipping from china to usa, this is your guide.

It provides all the information you need to consider when shipping from china to usa, helping you choose the best freight forwarder, best China supplier, and more.

Our articles focus on international logistics between China and the US: mode of transport (sea or air), regulations (customs clearance, prohibited products, required licenses…). Our experience in the Chinese market enables us to provide the most reliable technical solutions for your logistics needs.

Whether you are a savvy exporter/importer or new to the field, planning a one-time import/export to/from the US or regular business, our team will strive to provide you with the best service!

FBA.FO provides a unique freight forwarding service that makes importing shipping from china term hassle-free. Our online freight forwarding platform provides comprehensive shipping solutions and access to a wide range of global supply chain facilities.

shipping from china to usa
Shipping from china to usa

Also check out this video if you want to save time and learn about shipping from china to usa

Shipping from China to USA: A Complete Guide on Ocean and Air Freight from China to USA.

Table of Contents

Options For Shipping From China to USA?

1:Sea Freight From China To USA

ocean shipping is the cheapest way to ship from China to the United States.

It usually provides a lot of flexibility in shipping different types of products.

This is especially true for buyers who ship large quantities of goods.

Despite its slow speed, sea shipping is still the most popular shipping method for U.S. importers.

Our experienced freight professionals will help you determine the best option for your shipping needs based on the size and weight of your load and your delivery service:

Sea Freight

Shipping Routes Ship From China To USA

China-US West Coast route

West coast routes generally start from Chinese ports (Yantian, Hong Kong, Xiamen, Ningbo, Shanghai, etc.) and arrive at ports in the western United States via the Pacific Ocean.

China-US East Coast route

There are two routes for east coast flight routes. One is westbound, passing through the Strait of Malacca, then through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea, and finally through the Atlantic Ocean to the east of the United States

The other is eastbound, through the Pacific Ocean, then through the Panama Canal to the Atlantic Ocean and then to the eastern port of the United States

Large container ships can only go through the Suez Canal. The water level of the Suez Canal is deep, and there is no need to raise the water level. In theory, a cargo ship with a maximum capacity of 250,000 tons can pass, and the maximum draft is 20 meters. And with 50% OFF, the toll is cheaper, making more boats choose this route

China-US East Coast route
China-US East Coast route

Sea Freight from China to USA :Less-than-container-load (LCL)

Best for loading up to 20m³ and over 500kg (approx), your cargo will be combined with other cargo in one container, meaning you won’t have to wait for a full container. However, LCLs typically take 5-7 days to arrive at the port of delivery, and they tend to clear customs more frequently due to split/merge requirements.

If you plan to export a shipment weighing less than 35kg, you may not find a carrier to handle it. It is impossible to ship such a small amount with freight logs. Instead, contact an international courier company that will ship your shipment by air at affordable rates.

Ocean freight will be the best deal for you if :

  1. Your suppliers are located near a major Chinese port
  2. Your goods are bigger than 2 CBM
  3. You’re not in a hurry to receive them

Sea Freight from China to USA :Full Container Load (FCL)

Your shipment will be shipped in standard 20 or 40 foot containers.

Shipping costs are also affected by your choice of door-to-door, port-to-door, door-to-port or port-to-port delivery service.

Many other factors will affect your final cost and delivery time, including duties and taxes, insurance, etc., but the biggest factor is the origin and destination of the shipment, which will determine the port of loading and unloading.

Still, there are some general guidelines to help you compare the costs of different shipping methods.

For example, if you can fill a container, the FCL service will save you the most on shipping as the cost per unit is lower than LCL. This is because LCL shipping is calculated using the dimensional weight formula. In contrast, FCL is a flat rate per container.

How long does it take from China to USA by sea?

Sea shipping is by far the slowest option you have: you should allow around 30-40 days to ship by sea from any country. These transit times are not only due to advance preparation, but also because shipping lines are now operating at slower speeds to save fuel. Also, keep in mind that many unexpected events can happen: bad weather, port congestion, etc.

These are obviously not fixed and depend on variables such as weather conditions, port congestion and cargo size. If you plan to use other methods that require shipping to and from seaports, you must take this into account for shipping times and the time it takes for your cargo to clear and clear customs. Correct documentation from a knowledgeable carrier can reduce the time spent managing the process.

Port of Origin in ChinaDestination Port in USAEst. Transit Time
DalianLong Beach24 Days
NingboCharleston29 Days
NingboSeattle17 Days
NingboSavannah27 Days
NingboOakland19 Days
NingboLong Beach15 Days
NingboLos Angeles20 Days
QingdaoSavannah29 Days
QingdaoTacoma21 Days
QingdaoOakland26 Days
QingdaoLong Beach19 Days
QingdaoLos Angeles19 Days
ShanghaiCharleston29 Days
ShanghaiLos Angeles18 Days
ShanghaiLong Beach17 Days
ShanghaiSavannah26 Days
ShanghaiOakland22 Days
ShanghaiSeattle13 Days
ShanghaiBoston30 Days
ShanghaiTacoma12 Days
XiamenNew York28 Days

Major cities and seaports in the USA

Port of Los Angeles
Location: Los Angeles, California, West coast USA
Annual Container Volume: > 9million TEU

Port of Long Beach
Location: Long Beach, California, West coast USA
Annual Container Volume: > 8.0million TEU

Port of Savannah
Location: Savannah, Georgia , East coast, USA
Annual Container Volume: > 4.0million TEU

Port of Seattle
Location: Seattle, Washington State, North West coast, USA
Annual Container Volume: > 3.5million TEU

Port of Miami
Location: Miami, Florida, South East coast, USA
Annual Container Volume: > 1million TEU

Other Major cities

  • New York – USNYC
  • Houston – USHOU
  • San Francisco – USSFO
  • Oakland – USOAK
  • New Orleans – USMSY
  • Boston – USBOS
  • Baltimore – USBAL
  • Atlanta – USATL
  • Charleston – USCHS
  • Norfolk – USORF
  • Tacoma – USTIW
  • Port Everglades – USPEF

Top 10 Busiest Ports in the World

Major cities and seaports in the China

Port of Shanghai
Location: Shanghai Municipality, East Coast China
Annual Container Volume: 42million TEU

Port of YanTian
Location: Guangdong Province, South Coast China
Annual Container Volume: 27.7million TEU

Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan
Location: Zhejiang Province, East Coast China
Annual Container Volume: 26.3million TEU

Port of Guangzhou
Location: Guangdong Province, South Coast China
Annual Container Volume: 21.8million TEU

Port of Qingdao
Location: Shangdong Province, North East Coast China
Annual Container Volume: 18.2million TEU

Port of Tianjin
Location: Tianjin Municipality, North Coast China
Annual Container Volume: 17.3million TEU

Port of Dalian
Location: Liaoning Province, North Coast China
Annual Container Volume: 11.1 million TEU

Port of Xiamen
Location: Fujian Province, South Coast
Annual Container Volume: 10million TEU

Port of Hong Kong
Location: Hong Kong, Kowloon Peninsula, China
Annual Container Volume: 19.6million TEU

2:Air Freight from China to USA

If you don’t want to wait weeks for your shipment to cross the ocean from China to the US, air freight can reduce the transit time to a few days, although the shipping costs are much higher.

Air freight is only economical if the package is not too large and most importantly not too heavy. Cost is based on a combination of volume (dimensions) and weight (volumetric weight).

Shipping less than 0.5m3 or less than 150kg may be worth air freight, but depending on the value, security requirements, type of cargo (perishable or sensitive) or urgency, you may need a larger air parcel despite the cost. In general, if air freight costs less than 20% of your total freight value, this may be a viable option.

FBA.FO can provide competitive ocean or air freight quotations and can get all the relevant resources needed for air or ocean freight.

IATA – The Air Cargo Tariff and Rules (TACT)

How long does it take from China to USA by air?

This table shows some air freight lanes from airports in China to the USA. Transit times are estimates and include only the airport-to-airport times. Customs clearing and transport to and from either domestic airport should be taken into account. Air freight usually takes up to a week to arrive at the final destination but it may arrive in only a few days.

  • Guangzhou to Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago – 5 days
  • Guangzhou to Miami – 6 days
  • Zhengzhou or Beijing to Los Angeles – 5 days
  • Chengdu to Los Angeles – 12 days
  • Beijing to Boston, New York or Atlanta – 6 days
  • Beijing to Chicago or Cincinnati – 4 days
  • Beijing to San Francisco, Dallas or Houston – 7 days
  • Shanghai to Atlanta – 3 days
  • Shanghai to Dallas, Boston or Cincinnati – 7 days
  • Shanghai to Chicago, Miami, New York, or Los Angeles – 5 days
  • Shanghai to Sacramento, Detroit or Houston – 6 days
  • Shenzhen to Atlanta, Miami, or Dallas – 6 days
  • Shenzhen to Chicago or Los Angeles – 5 days
  • Shenzhen to Denver – 7 days
  • Shenzhen to Houston – 2 days
  • Qingdao to New York, Houston or Chicago – 8 days
  • Qingdao to Seattle or Los Angeles – 5 days
  • Wuhan to New York – 8 days
  • Xiamen to Atlanta or New York – 4 days
  • Xiamen to Detroit or Houston – 7 days
  • Xiamen to Los Angeles – 8 days

Main Airports in China

Airport Information:
Guangzhou is the third busiest cargo airport in China and the seventeenth busiest in the world.
In 2018, Guangzhou’s cargo throughput exceeded 1.8 million tons.
It is the main airport in Guangdong Province.
The facility includes two terminals and three runways.
China Southern operates some passenger and cargo routes between Guangzhou and U.S. airports, as well as cargo services to Chicago and Los Angeles.

Airport Information:
It is 31 kilometers away from the center of Qingdao, Shandong Province.
Surrounded by urban development, the existing airport has no room for expansion.
The existing airport will soon be replaced by the larger Qingdao Jiaodong Airport, which has been under construction since 2013 and is scheduled to open by the end of 2019.
Airports served in the United States: Los Angeles, San Francisco.

Airport Information:
Wuhan Tianhe connects central China with freight destinations around the world.
The busiest airport in the entire Central China region.
The hotel is 26 km from the city centre of Wuhan, Hubei Province.
Consists of two runways and a terminal, the second is under construction.
Kalitta Air offers all-cargo flights from Wuhan to Anchorage and Chicago.
China Southern Airlines carries passengers and cargo to San Francisco and New York.
Over 220,000 tons of cargo are handled each year.


The Beijing capital international airport in Beijing
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

Main Airports in USA

Main Airports in USA
Main Airports in USA

Los Angeles
In 2020, more than 2 million tons of cargo passed through LAX’s terminals. More than half of the cargo passing through LAX is carried in the cargo hold of passenger aircraft.
About 1,000 flights arrive or depart from Los Angeles Airport each day with cargo on board.
Most imports into the U.S. through LAX come from China.
One of the five busiest passenger and cargo airports in the United States.
Located 30 kilometers southwest of downtown Los Angeles.
Affiliated airports in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Zhengzhou.

Freight carriers from China to Los Angeles: AirBridge Cargo Airlines, China Cargo, China Cargo Airlines, China Southern Cargo, National Airlines, Qantas Freight.

Miami International Airport handles more than 2 million tons of cargo annually.
Additionally, Miami handles more international cargo than LAX and all other U.S. airports.
Ranked 15th busiest cargo airport in the world in 2018.
Provides connections to more than 160 cities on four continents.
There are no direct flights from Chinese airports.
Affiliated airports in China: None.

Chicago O’Hare Airport can unload up to 15 wide-body freighters at the same time.
The cargo terminal covers an area of ​​about 185,000 square meters.
A full quarter of the goods arriving here come from China.
No. 3 cargo airport in the United States.
In 2018, more than 1.8 million tons of cargo were handled.
It can accommodate 15 wide-body freighters.
You can ship your cargo here via one of seven international airlines.
Five all-cargo airlines operate flights from Chinese airports to Chicago.
Affiliated airports in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Zhengzhou.

China to Chicago freight line operators: Air China Cargo, Rwanda Cargo, China Southern Cargo, Qantas Cargo, Yangtze River Express.

New York
In terms of cargo value, U.S. airports are number one.
The sixth busiest airport in the country.
Located 16 miles southeast of Manhattan.
It covers an area of ​​21 square kilometers and has 4 runways.
Provides a number of direct passenger and cargo flights from Chinese airports.
Korean Air Cargo, Air China Cargo and Qantas Cargo operate cargo-only flights from China.
The third largest U.S. gateway by cargo handling value, only the Los Angeles and New York seaports have higher cargo handling value.
Affiliated airports in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu.

Cargo operators from China to New York: Korean Air Cargo, Air China Cargo, Qantas Cargo.

Dallas/Fort Worth
In the United States, the flight distance from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is less than 4 hours.
It offers a storage capacity of 1.8 million square meters.
American Airlines and other carriers fly between Dallas and about 190 U.S. destinations.
In the freight business, nearly 2,000 tons have been shipped per day.
The central hub for American Airlines, the national airline.
The airport serves more than 190 cities in the United States.
Affiliated airports in China: Beijing, Shanghai.

Cargo operators from China to Dallas: Air China Cargo, China Airlines Cargo, Qantas Cargo.

Other US Air Freight Destinations
By air freighting your imports from China to LAX, MIA, JFK, ORD or DFW, you should be able to add them to your inventory quickly, although not as economical as sea freight. However, these are not the only international airports available for your cargo. You can also ship your imports from China to the following destinations in the United States:

  • Atlanta
  • Charlotte
  • Denver
  • El Paso
  • Houston
  • Philadelphia
  • Seattle
  • Cleveland
  • Cincinnati
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Boston
  • Detroit
  • Sacramento

3:Shipping With Courier Services From Shipping From China to USA

Courier services involve the transfer of messages, packages and mail from one destination to another. While this service is a bit expensive, it offers importers a number of advantages. These include: Speed, Security, Tracking Services, and Specialization.

If you are importing Shipping from china to usa, express shipping is best only if your shipment is small and you value fast shipping. Note that China has established standard shipping services.

These include China Post offering security, tracking services, and affordable prices. China Post takes at least 7 business days to deliver packages being sent from china

On the other hand, China Post takes 10-20 days for delivery.Compared to express delivery, it is a bit slower.

Express shipping companies like FedEx, UPS, and DHL offer faster shipping. Their average shipping time is only 5-8 days.

You can look for a Chinese freight forwarder to serve you as they can offer express shipping with discounts

Shipping With Courier Services From Shipping From China to USA
Shipping With Courier Services From Shipping From China to USA

FedEx Shipping from China to the USA

If you frequently ship goods/packages to different destinations, you may be familiar with FedEx. It is a US-based courier service that has rapidly grown to become the world’s leading courier service.

FedEx is headquartered in the United States. It also has regional offices in other parts of the world including China. The company’s business in China began in Shanghai in 1984.

Today, FedEx has more than 80 offices in China with nearly 10,000 employees. Note that FedEx is one of the few non-Chinese couriers with a domestic shipping license. Therefore, if you need to move urgently, you will need to ship the package within China. FedEx would be a good choice.

Fedex China Tracking:


DHL Shipping from china to usa

DHL is a world-renowned and respected courier company. It offers tailor-made 24/7 shipping services alongside online transactions.

DHL was founded in Germany in 1969. It is headquartered in Bonn, Germany, and has regional headquarters in several other countries, including China.

It has to be said that DHL’s market in China has been well established. It beat thousands of other companies working in the same field to ship goods shipping from china to usa



UPS is an acronym for United Parcel Service, founded in Seattle, Washington in 1907. It is historically the oldest courier service in the world. UPS is currently headquartered in Sanding Springs, Georgia.

It has regional offices in several countries around the world, including China, Canada, Germany, and more. You might be interested to know that UPS first started doing business in China with China Express.

UPS China ,That was in 2001. It wasn’t until 2005 that it started operating solely to and from China. Today, the company opened a regional office in Shanghai. In addition, it has two other branches in Beijing and Guangzhou.

Like FedEx, UPS has a license to carry out domestic shipments in China.So if FedEx isn’t right for you, you can choose UPS to ship packages in and around China.

UPS China Tracking:


FedEx, UPS, DHL; Who Offers the Best Express Rates?

Shipping is usually calculated based on volume and weight. The cost of air freight used by courier companies is based on quantity.

This means the more you ship, the less you will spend per kg/lb. Note, however, that the three are not much different in terms of shipping costs.

The best thing you can do is find ways to reduce shipping costs.

  • One of the options is to use the standard express service instead of the overnight express service. The latter are usually very expensive.
  • You can also try looking for shipping companies that offer discounted packages.


Well, most freight forwarders contract with major couriers like FedEx, DHL, and UPS. These freight forwarder thousands of customers to the courier service, which gives them huge discounts.

So if you work with such a freight forwarder, some of the discount they get from your shipment will be passed on to you.


The percentage each carrier enjoys varies widely based on the number of its customers. The discounts given to you are only part of what is offered to the carrier. I mean they have to get involved too, they’re in business.

So, please note that while you can go directly to FedEx, UPS or DHL, you won’t get a discount. Instead, find the right freight forwarder and you won’t have to worry about a thing.

Door To Door Shipping From China To USA


Door-to-door service is an end-to-end logistics service that allows your goods to be transported from your warehouse/factory/home to the agreed final destination.

Also known as “turnkey” shipping solutions, these services allow each customer to entrust their cargo to professionals for successful and efficient shipping.

As part of these services, you can choose a pickup location and a delivery location.The staff responsible for your shipment will take care of your shipment from start to finish based on your requirements and recommendations:

Pickup location of your choice: Supplier factory, warehouse, port or international airport
You choose the final delivery location: your warehouse, your customer, your home…

These services cover all the complex administrative procedures you need to follow (customs clearance, etc.)​​ to deliver your goods with peace of mind.

Door-to-door shipping is a one-stop solution for importing goods from China to the United States.

In this case, the service is just what it sounds like: the carrier collects the cargo from the supplier and arranges for the shipment to be delivered to the selected importer at the destination. You don’t have to do anything. Well, other than figuring out what to import and hiring a carrier.

From here, the carrier takes care of everything related to the shipment until it reaches your final destination.
From here, the trucking company you hired will ask you to provide details of your shipment.

Please note that the cost depends on the size, type and other factors of the shipment. Once you agree to the shipping terms, the shipping service will collect your shipment from the supplier’s yard.

They deliver the goods to the warehouse and pack them in the safest and most efficient way possible. Packaging is designed to keep items safe during transport.

Here, also check for loss or damage insurance for goods in transit. After the packing is complete, the freight forwarder delivers the goods to the port of shipment. Here, the cargo is loaded into a container, which is then transported to its destination by a ship.

Door-to-Door shipping is fairly extensive

Therefore, when your cargo arrives at the port of destination, your carrier will assist with customs clearance. After that, he arranges the transportation of the goods from the port of destination to your designated final destination.

One of them is that you can save time and money.

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

shipping from china to usa : Customs Clearance

Customs clearance Only after fulfilling various obligations and going through customs declaration, inspection, taxation, release and other procedures, the goods can be released, and the owner or Customs Broker can pick up the goods.Before your international shipment can be delivered to customers, it must clear customs. Customs clearance is simply the process of getting goods into the country through customs.

Each country imposes import duties and taxes on cross-border goods. This helps generate income and protect the economy, the environment and citizens.

Regarding the issue of customs clearance, you can refer to our article 《CUSTOMS CLEARANCE PROCESS: 6 MUST-HAVE DOCUMENTS

customs clearance
customs clearance

Necessary documents

This is the most important shipping document as it is used to identify the shipping company, seller, buyer, type of shipment, volume, Incoterms applicable to the shipment, etc.

1 = Shipper
2 = recipient
3 = Notify participant
4 = Ship number
5 = Loading port
6 = Receipt Location/Delivery Location
7 = container number
8 = Product Description
9 = net weight
10 = size/volume

According to the payment terms agreed by both parties, the bill of lading can be used as a document:

Confirm release of letter of credit (L/C)
Or as proof of postage, prompt the buyer to wire the balance to pay.
*The second option is common when paying by wire transfer (T/T).

commercial invoice
This invoice will be used for customs clearance and to calculate duties and other charges such as GST.

packing list
Certificate of Origin/Form A
A document indicating the origin of the goods. This document can also be used to determine tariffs (as some countries benefit from exemptions or preferential tariffs), as well as statistics and embargo enforcement.

Import permit
In most cases, an import license is not required when importing into the United States.

However, here are some exceptions:

certain types of chemicals
animals and plants
food product

U.S. Import Duties and Taxes


When entering U.S. territory, goods are not officially considered imported until they have been approved and cleared by CBP (Customs and Border Protection).

Products must be declared within 15 days before arriving in the country or leaving the bonded warehouse. As an importer, you must declare the transaction value of your products, and CBP can calculate duties.

Some products are exempt from tax. Even if your product is not taxed, you still need to declare it as above. Let’s take a closer look at the specific rules that apply to certain types of products.

You must ensure that all import documents are in order. Properly filed documents help ensure smooth passage of shipments through Chinese and U.S. customs.

It also helps assess duties, taxes and duties on your shipments. Now we know that all of this can be nerve-wracking, especially filing paperwork, customs clearance, and more.

So you need to work with the right carrier. The right agent can assist you during your import process from China to the United States.

When shipping from China, you need to be familiar with two types of import regulations.

There are Incoterms and the Flat Tariff Program (from the US)

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

Harmonized tariffs are a global classification system that applies a specific code to each import. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) maintains these codes for shipments entering the United States. Before purchasing certain products, it is important to understand the tax rates for importing certain products into the United States.


Importing goods from China to the US can be very profitable for your business.

You need to do good research and use a reputable freight forwarder. Provide you with the service of shipping from china to usa

Relying on just one or two suppliers can be difficult. This is because these suppliers sometimes manage to provide the highest quality products and sometimes they don’t.

Companies and individuals who are familiar with the ins and outs of Sino-US import and export business. With that in mind, I hope this guide helps you get started and take action to ship from China.

Feel free to share with your friends or business associates.

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