How to Ship from China to the US
Importers who manufacture products in China for sale in the United States have various shipping options available to them, including express shipping, air freight and sea freight.
For detailed guides on each of these shipping methods, check out the links below:
Regardless of the method used, most importers will rely on a China Freight Forwarder to manage their shipment. This is because a reputable freight forwarding company like Guided Imports can help them navigate complex logistical requirements while also providing significant savings thanks to their high-volume shipping agreements with major airlines and freighters servicing China.
What is the Best Way to Ship from China to the United States?
While its a great question, there is no universal “best way” to ship from China. You should carefully consider the following variables:
Product and Load – what is being shipped and how big is it?
Destination – is it going to a small office or a warehouse?
Timing Requirements – do you need it the same week, or can you wait? This is a crucial consideration, especially during the Chinese holidays.
Product and Load: Some shipments, like aerosol cans and strong magnets, are very difficult to ship by air. Other products like lithium-ion batteries can be shipped via air, but the documentation required is often difficult for suppliers to provide, and can only ship via specialized aircraft. Because of this, it is often easier to ship batteries by China sea freight.
Some products might be too heavy or too large to be shipped via air, and can only be shipped by sea or rail.
There are some situations where it would be better to ship products by air. Products with dimensions less than 1 cubic meter are often ideal for air shipments. High-value cargo is sometimes both safer to be shipped via air and at times a requirement by China freight insurance companies.
Destination: End to end shipping services that most reputable China third-party logistics companies offer are capable of delivering shipments to warehouses, small commercial buildings, and residential locations. But, there are times where it could prove to be difficult to ship a container to a location that is not equipped to unload the container. Because of this, the end destination should be considered and how the cargo will be unloaded, so the most ideal shipping plan can be defined.
In some instances, buyers may find it easier to ship smaller sized shipments via China air freight, whereas others could benefit from deconsolidation services once the cargo arrives at the port in the United States.
Timing Requirements: If cargo is needed urgently, there is no faster way than shipping by air.
For some containerized shipments going by sea, the transport time could be reduced by shipping to the West Coast, as opposed to the East Coast, and then fulfilled from truck or rail once the cargo arrives in America.
If timing is not a priority, shipping by ocean freight to a popular port close to the final destination, and trucking the final leg of the journey is most likely the least expensive option.
Why Timing Requirements Primarily Dictate the Best Shipping Method from China
When timing is the top priority, businesses will look for all possible options to move their cargo the fastest possible way.
If a business were to ship a 40-foot container filled with clothing to New York City, from Shenzhen, they would most likely ship by sea, but how much would it cost if they needed it faster?
Below, we have created three shipping options the business could choose from, which would allow them to get their products in as little as 3 days and up to just over a month.
Route: Yantian (Shenzhen) Port to New York City Port, and trucked to the center of the city.
Route: Yantian (Shenzhen) to Los Angeles Port, cargo unloaded at the port and trucked across the country to New York City.
Route: Yantian (Shenzhen) to John F. Kennedy Airport via air freight, and trucked to the center of the city.