Most people in the Unites States source products from the Chinese market. In 2020 alone, US imports from China accounted for 18.6 percent of the total imports in the US.
Many people may find it difficult to import goods from China into the United States. However, it’s a seamless process when you understand every step involved.
If you plan to source products from China to the US market, but you don’t know where to begin, worry no more. This guide will address all your concerns.
That said, let’s dive into the facts!
1. What is the Best Method of Shipping from China to the US?
What comes to your mind when you think of outsourcing things from a Chinese supplier?
You have to contemplate how the products will reach your preferred destination. It can be air freight, sea freight, DDP shipping, or express shipping.
Your good’s urgency and your budget determine the shipping method you’ll use. But before we get into that, let’s look at the four shipping methods.
Air Freight Shipping from China to the US
The fastest way to ship goods into the US is by air freight. However, there are many other things to learn about this shipping method.
Most American importers dealing with time-sensitive products use air freight to deliver their products on time in the United States.
Other shipping methods might inconvenience the importers because they take longer. For example, a ship can take 20 to 30 days to move from China to the United States.
Why should you choose air freight over other shipping methods besides time advantage?
Air freight comes with many advantages, including improved safety, reliability, and time consciousness. You don’t have to wait for 4-5 weeks to receive your goods.
Also, air freight can be the most convenient method when shipping lightweight products weighing less than 100 kilograms.
It will be better to use air freight if you are shipping fragile, perishable, and precious goods. That’s because the risk of damages or losses is low.
Most air freight companies will also provide you with a tracking number to help you track your goods’ movement. That way, you can predict when your cargo will get delivered.
Unfortunately, shipping by air is the most expensive option. You may also incur additional costs and customs fees at the airports.
Air freight is costly when shipping heavy cargo. That’s because the air freight companies charge their rates based on the cargo’s volume and weight.
Some of the expenses included in air freight charges are fuel surcharges, airport transfer charges, security surcharges, customs brokerage charges, and terminal handling charges.
Sea Freight from China to USA
Sea freight is a popular shipping method globally. That’s because about 90 percent of global shipping is through ocean transport.
If you plan to transport large volumes of goods from China to the United States, sea freight can be the most convenient and affordable shipping method.
Besides shipping high volumes of goods, you can also opt for sea freight when transporting bulky and heavy cargo. It’s cheaper to transport them by sea freight than with air freight.
Another reason to opt for sea freight is the large number of seaports in both countries. Goods can get delivered to your nearest seaport in the US.
Also, if you are not ready for the strict restrictions by air freight companies, you can opt for sea freight. That’s because sea freight has fewer restrictions.
Despite the benefits of sea freight, it also has a few drawbacks that you need to know.
Sea freight is actually the slowest shipping method, and your goods can take a long time to arrive at their destination seaport in the United States.
Delays are common due to seaport congestions, bad weather conditions, and prolonged customs processes.
Another drawback of sea freight is that cargo damages are more common because large volumes of handles get handled at the port and carrier.
When you’ve decided to transport your goods by sea freight, you can opt for FCL or LCL.
LCL shipping is ideal for goods not large enough to fill a single container, while FCL shipping is suitable for goods or a large cargo to fill a container.
Choosing between LCL shipping or FCL shipping depends on the size of goods you ship from China to the United States. However, Winsky Freight specializes in LCL shipping.
DDP Shipping to the USA from China
If you have ever shipped products from China to the United States, you have probably heard about (DDP Delivered Duty Paid) shipping.
DDP is a combination of trade terms that serve as an agreement between the supplier in China and the buyer in the United States.
In this agreement, it’s the seller’s responsibility to incur all the costs incurred to transport the goods to the destination port. The supplier assumes all the risks involved.
So, how does DDP shipping works?
Here is a step-by-step process of how DDP shipping works?
- You buy the goods and choose DDP as your preferred delivery contract
- Agree with the seller where to deliver the goods and also negotiate other details
- The seller will pick a suitable carrier(s) and place your goods for delivery in the US
- The supplier clears the cargo both in China and the United States
- Your goods finally get delivered to the preferred destination in the United States
- You pick the goods after presenting all the required documentation
The fact that the seller assumes all the responsibilities doesn’t exempt the buyer from all the duties. The buyer must still get involved in some things, including:
- Paying for the goods sourced in China for the United States
- Providing the relevant information required to acquire licenses and authorizations
- Picking the goods at their destination in the US once they arrive
- Paying for the inspection costs before the products leave China for the US
- Assuming all the costs and risks involved once the goods arrive in the US
Express Air Freight from China to the US
Express shipping is another incredible way to transport your goods from China to the American market. It’s ideal for shipping goods needed urgently in the US.
A plausible reason express shipping is time-conscious is its streamlined services. One company completes the entire shipping process from China to the US.
Express air freight is cheaper for small and lightweight products. For large-sized goods, consider sea and air freight.
Express shipping is the fastest way to deliver goods to the United States from China. But it’s only convenient and cheaper for goods weighing less than 100 kilograms.
The most common express air freight service providers are UPS, DHL, TNT, and FedEx. These express freight carriers can deliver goods to any part of the world.
Since express shipping takes between one to five days, it helps you plan because you can predict when your cargo will arrive at your preferred airport in the destination.
The good thing is that you can also track your goods when shipped from China to the United States. Your freight forwarder will provide you with the tracking number.
On the flip side, express shipping is the most expensive shipping method, especially when you want to transport heavy goods. It’s only affordable for lightweight products.
2. What Things Must You Consider to Select the Best Shipping from China to USA?
Now that you know the different ways to ship goods from China to the United States, you can choose a method that suits your needs.
If you are unsure about the shipping method to pick for your goods, consider the following:
The urgency of the Goods from China
How fast do you want your goods from China to be delivered in the United States?
This freight method is ideal for goods needed urgently. That’s because shipping by air is the fastest way to transport goods.
However, if the timing is not a significant factor to consider, you can select sea freight to help you save on shipping costs. It’s cheaper than air freight and express shipping.
Nature of Product Being Shipped
Is your cargo bulky and heavy, or is it small-sized and lightweight?
Well, some of the features that describe a product’s nature are size and weight. A product’s perishability can also influence the shipping method.
If your goods are heavy and bulky, consider sea freight because transporting them by air will be very costly. And if they are highly perishable, you need to choose air freight.
Destination Port in the United States
Which airport or seaport do you want to deliver the goods in the United States?
For convenience, you need to choose a port near you, whether an airport or seaport, to help save on transport costs.
When choosing a destination seaport, ensure that the port has the essential equipment for offloading the containers carrying your goods.
3. How Long is Shipping from China To US?
How long can goods take to move from China to the US by air, sea, or express shipping? It’s essential to know the timing to help you prepare your schedule.
Shipping Time from China to US by Air Freight
When shipping by air freight, your goods will take around 5-10 days to arrive in the US.
Air freight involves many logistics and complex procedures, so the goods can take longer than express shipping to arrive in the United States from China.
Shipping Time from China to US by Sea Freight
Shipping by sea freight takes the longest because it’s the slowest method.
Any cargo that leaves China for the US will take around 20-30 days to reach your preferred destination. It’s ideal for heavy and non-perishable goods.
Shipping Time from China to US by Express Shipping
You are probably wondering, “How long is DHL shipping from China to US?”
Generally, express shipping from China to the US can take within 2-3 days.
4. How Much Does Shipping from China to USA cost?
Before selecting air freight, sea freight, or express shipping, try to figure out the costs.
Shipping Cost from China to US by Air Freight
Air freight is fast but expensive for goods weighing more than 150 kilograms.
Some air freight companies charge around $3 to $5 per kilogram from China to the US for goods weighing 150-500 kilograms.
If your cargo is light, you’ll pay the shipping fees based on dimensional weight. Other expenses that the carriers can include in your overall shipping cost include:
- Airport transfer charges
- Terminal handling charges
- Customs brokerage fees
- Security surcharges
- Fuel surcharges
- Cargo insurance
Shipping Cost to the US from China by Sea Freight
The shipping cost varies, depending on the freight forwarder’s fees and the carrier’s charges. So, it would be best to inquire about the actual prices from your freight forwarder.
But generally, some of the charges that may contribute to the overall cost include:
- Insurance charges
- Customs security surcharges
- Customs brokerage charges
- Consolidation fees for LCL shipping
- Pick-up and delivery charges
Shipping Cost from China to US by Express Shipping
Express shipping is the most expensive way to transport goods from China to the US.
Most shipping companies charge between $5 and $9 for every kilogram. For that reason, express shipping is only cheaper when shipping lightweight products.
5. What Are the Major Airports for International Trade Between China and USA?
The goods’ departure and destination airports can influence the shipping costs involved. It means that you have to know
For that reason, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the major airports in China and the US. Here are some of the international airports in both countries.
International Airports in China
China is home to many airports located in strategic places to boost international shipping.
So, you can use a Chinese airport nearest to the supplier’s factory to save on cost.
Some of the airports include:
- Changsha Huanghua International Airport in Hunan in Changsha
- Chengdu Shuangilu International Airport in Sichuan in Chengdu
- Guangzhou international airport in Guangdong in Guangzhou
- Nanjing Lukou International Airport Jiangsu in Nanjing
- Qingdao Liuting International Airport in Shandong in Qingdao
- Shenzhen Baoan International Airport in Guangdong, Shenzhen
- Xi’an Xianyang International Airport in Shaanxi in Xi’an
International Airports in the United States
Like China, the US also has many airports to facilitate international shipping.
Some of the international airports in the US include:
- Atlanta International Airport in Georgia, Atlanta
- Chicago International Airport in Chicago, Illinois
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas
- Indianapolis International Airport in Indianapolis, Indiana
- F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, New York
- Louisville International Airport in Louisville, Kentucky
- Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California
- Memphis International Airport in Memphis, Tennessee
- Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida
- Nashville International Airport in Nashville, Tennessee
6. What Are the Major Seaports for International Trade Between China and USA?
Knowing all the seaports in both countries is essential if you plan to transport your goods from China to the United States by sea.
That will help you plan effectively and source goods from a factory near one of the airports.
International Seaports in China
As one of the largest exporters globally, China has many seaports to facilitate international trade between China and the United States.
Here are some of the international seaports in China you should know.
- Port of Shanghai in Shanghai
- Port of Shenzhen in Guangdong
- Port of Qingdao in Shandong
- Port of Hong Kong in Hong Kong
- Port of Guangzhou in Guangdong
- Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan in Zhejiang
- Port of Tianjin in Tianjin Municipality
- Port of Dalian in Liaodong Province
- Port of Xiamen in Fujiang Province
- Port of Yingkou in Liaoning Province
International Seaports in the US
The US is also home to several international seaports where goods from China arrive.
Here are some of the international seaports in the United States.
- Port Miami in Florida
- Port Houston in Texas
- Port of Virginia in Virginia
- Port of Savannah in Georgia
- Port of Oakland in California
- Port of Long Beach in California
- Port of Los Angeles in California
- South Carolina Ports in South Carolina
- Port of New York in New York and New Jersey
- The Northwest Seaport Alliance in Washington
Pro Tip: Select a seaport nearest the supplier in China and one near you in the United States. If you don’t know how to do that, let a reliable freight forwarder help you.
7. What Factors Can Cause Delays When You Ship by Sea from China to USA?
Delays are common when shipping goods from China to the US by sea freight.
However, that doesn’t have to stop you from importing goods by sea freight. Just be aware of the following factors that can cause delays and work against them.
Most Chinese suppliers and manufacturers usually close down their factories during public holidays such as the Chinese New Year, affecting the supply and delivery of Chinese goods.
Before shipping any product from China, ensure that you are within the correct timeline to avoid congestion at the seaports. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait for weeks to get the goods.
Congestion at the seaport is a common cause of sea freight delays.
When there’s congestion at the port, ships can’t load or unload goods on time.
That means the ship won’t sail on time at the departure seaport and fail to arrive at the destination port on time.
Import Customs Inspections
Although delay cases due to customs inspections are rare, they still happen occasionally.
When sea freight goods go through the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspection, the shipment can delay for about one to two weeks.
If that happens, you need to give the freight forwarder more time to ship the products.
Adverse Weather Conditions
Another common factor that can cause delays in sea freight is adverse weather.
Bad weather conditions like strong winds make it difficult for cargo ships to sail smoothly on the water. The ship can even sink when the winds get higher and the waves bigger.
When the weather condition at sea is unfavorable, the ship will have to dock somewhere until the weather becomes calm.
8. What Are the Tips to Find the Best Freight Forwarder in the Chinese Marketplace?
Shipping products from China to the United States involves many logistics, which may be difficult for you to handle. So, you’ll need help from a reliable freight forwarder.
However, finding the best freight forwarder can be challenging when you don’t know what to consider during the search.
Here are the tips to get the best freight forwarding company in China.
Freight Forwarder’s Capability
Is the freight forwarder capable of handling the shipping procedures?
If the freight forwarder can fulfill all the supply chain requirements, you should consider it the best company to handle your goods.
The company’s size doesn’t matter here. In fact, small freight forwarding companies tend to give more attention to their clients.
The best freight forwarder has exceptional communication channels.
Since shipping from China to the United States involves complex procedures, effective communication between you and the freight forwarder is essential.
Ensure that the freight forwarder is reachable at any time to address your concerns.
Consider this factor when shipping products that require special care and handling.
If you are unsure where to find a freight forwarder specializing in your goods, you can consult your Chinese supplier to help you find one.
Shipping Options Available
A good freight forwarding company provides several shipping options to fulfill the needs of every client. The most common shipping methods include air freight and sea freight.
For example, you must confirm whether the freight forwarder offers LCL or FCL shipping if you plan to ship by sea freight.
9. What Are the Advantages of Shipping with Winsky Freight?
Here are the reasons to hire Winsky Freight to process your shipment from China.
Established Relationship with Top Shipping Companies
Winsky Freight understands that you need high-quality shipping services, and it all starts with the shipping company handling your goods.
Notably, Winsky Freight has a great relationship with leading carriers worldwide. You can rest assured that your goods will arrive in the US in good shape.
Better Shipping Prices than Other Freight Forwarders
Every importer’s top priority is to save on shipping costs.
If you want to enjoy competitive shipping prices, consider hiring a reputable freight forwarder, like Winsky Freight, to enjoy better prices.
At Winsky Freight, we offer the best shipping rates for various goods. We provide free quotes with no hidden charges.
Multiple Shipping Methods to the US
Whether you plan to ship your goods to the US by air freight, sea freight, or express shipping, you can get all the shipping services at Winsky Freight.
We are the most trusted freight forwarding company in China, specializing in several shipping methods, including DDP shipping and Amazon FBA shipping to the US.
10. Are LCL Shipping Services Available from China to USA?
In Less than Container Loading (LCL) shipping, a freight forwarder consolidates several shipments in one container and delivers them to different United States clients.
The freight forwarder consolidates the goods and de-consolidates them upon arrival in the United States. It means this shipping option involves more work.
Since LCL shipping involves many procedures, it takes longer than FCL (Full container loading). It also consists of a lot of paperwork, increasing the risks of delays.
LCL shipping is charged based on the weight and volume of shipments, such as “per cubic meter or ton.” LCL charges from China to the US can range from $30-40$ per cubic meter.
LCL shipping is slightly costlier than FCL shipping because filling up a container takes time. Besides, a container can’t leave a loading port half-filled unless the space is paid for.
If you are importing goods that can’t fill up a 20-feet or 40-feet container, you’ll opt for LCL shipping services. However, you’ll need to be a bit patient to receive the goods in the US.
The good news is that Winsky Freight offers reliable LCL shipping services. You won’t have to wait for many days or weeks for your goods to move from China to the United States.
11. Can You Ship Goods from China to USA Amazon FBA?
The straightforward answer is “yes.”
You have to send the shipment details to your freight forwarder in China, including your preferred shipping mode and the nature of goods you intend to import from China.
The good news is that Winsky Freight also offers Amazon FBA shipping services.
As the most reliable freight forwarder in China, we’ll source, ship, and clear your goods for shipping to the specified Amazon FBA address.
We’ll ensure that your goods get delivered to your preferred Amazon FBA warehouse at the right time.
Winsky Freight will also ensure that your goods arrive at their destinations in great shape. So, you don’t have to worry about things like packaging labeling.
Watch the video below to learn more about shipping to Amazon FBA.
12. What Are the Tips to Ensure Efficient Shipping from China to USA?
As a beginner, sourcing goods from China to the United States can be challenging. That’s why you need tips and ideas to help you get started.
Here are the tips and ideas to ensure smooth shipping to the US from China.
Evaluate the Product Requirements
Not every product is acceptable in the United States.
For that reason, you must know the restricted and prohibited products in the US to ensure that you are on the right side of the law.
Otherwise, you might import goods that don’t meet the country’s import rules and the potential buyers’ expectations.
If you are unsure whether a product is allowed in the US or not, you can get information from the relevant authorities in the United States.
Source Products from a Reliable Supplier
China is home to many manufacturing plants, making it challenging to identify the best supplier for your goods.
To find the best Chinese supplier, compare the services of different companies in China and settle on one that offers exceptional customer services and affordable prices.
Hire a Reputable Freight Forwarder
A reliable freight forwarder understands every step involved in shipping goods to the US.
Although many freight forwarders claim to offer the best services, you can count on Winsky Freight. We’ll help you find the best Chinese supplier and deliver your goods.
13. Do You Need a Freight Insurance to Ship Goods from China to USA?
There’s no doubt that shipping cargo from China to the United States involves many risks. Accidents can occur due to bad weather, and containers can drown in the sea.
For that reason, it’s essential to buy freight insurance to protect your goods against theft or damages that may lead to losses. In other words, the insurance covers your cargo.
You don’t need to ignore the freight insurance because it offers additional protection, besides what the carrier or supplier may provide in case of losses.
Even if a carrier or supplier insures the cargo, the chances are high that you’ll not receive total compensation. That’s where freight insurance comes in to fill up the deficit.
Primary insurance comes with many perks and reasonable terms. It’s different from the contingent insurance offered by most carriers.
When you buy insurance that offers full coverage for your goods while on transit, you’ll have peace of mind and confidence that you won’t lose the goods if anything happens.
Thankfully, many insurance companies offer freight insurance. All you need to do now is compare the quotes from different insurance companies and select the best.
The insurance rates depend on the value and nature of goods you are shipping from China to the United States. However, the insurance cost is a fraction of the overall shipping cost.
14. Which Incoterms Are Suitable for Shipping Goods from China to USA?
If you’ve ever shipped items from China to the US, you probably know what incoterms are.
Incoterms are formal agreements between the supplier and buyer, specifying who is responsible for loading, shipping, delivery, offloading, and customs clearance.
Here are the most common incoterms you need to know.
- Cost Insurance Freight (CIF): This trade term gives a seller the responsibility to cover for transport to the US. The seller is responsible for the risks involved.
- Free on Board (FOB): The supplier delivers goods to your preferred port in China, then you become responsible for anything that happens from there to a US port.
- Ex Works (EXW): When you choose this incoterm, the supplier delivers goods at their factory gate, then you (the buyer) are responsible for shipping to the US.
15. How to Track the Shipping from China to USA?
Sourcing goods from China is a long way to go, and you need to be sure about your goods’ movement. The best way to achieve that is by tracking the goods’ movement.
Tracking goods is easier when transporting them by express shipping services, such as DHL and FedEx. The carrier will offer you a tracking number to track the good’s movement.
Whenever you want to track your cargo, you can visit the carrier’s tracking website and enter the unique tracking number to know your shipment’s progress.
You can also track your cargo’s movement when shipping by sea and standard air freight.
If you have trouble tracking the goods, let your freight forwarder do it on your behalf.
Tracking your shipment’s movements helps you plan delivery schedules appropriately.
16. How Do You Determine the US Import Duties and Taxes?
When importing goods into the US from China, you must be ready to pay duties and taxes.
It all starts by complying with the requirements for shipments entering the United States.
Your consignment must fulfill all the US import rules and safety standards.
You must also arrange your documentation correctly to ensure smooth clearance.
Once you do all that, calculating your duties and taxes will be easy.
Here are some factors that can influence the cost of duties and taxes you’ll pay.
- Good’s Classification: Check for the product’s harmonized system code (HS Code), which identifies its classification.
- Declared Value: In this case, the US customs officials use the shipment’s declared value and description to set duties and taxes.
- Harbor Maintenance Fees (HMF): This cost applies when liquidating your cargo in the United States. The standard HMF is a percentage of your cargo’s total value.
- Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF): All imports entering the US are subject to the MPF. Unfortunately, most importers may not notice these fees as they are minimal.
17. What Documents Must You Have to Ship Goods from China to USA?
To ensure smooth shipping, you must get all the required documentation ready.
You can get the documents from your freight forwarder, goods supplier, and carrier.
Here are the documents you need to source goods from China and deliver them to the US.
- Bill of Lading: This is an agreement form issued by a carrier acknowledging that they have received a cargo for shipping from China to the US.
- Packing List: This contains all the details of the goods transported, including their size, volume, and weight. You’ll need this document when shipping by sea freight.
- Commercial Invoice: Acts as proof of sale when you source goods from a Chinese supplier. It gives information about the items sold, such as the number of units sold.
- Certificate of Origin: This specifies the country where the goods come from, and in this case, it’s China. A supplier declares that the goods came from their factory.
Sourcing goods from China for the US market can be daunting when you don’t know how things work. This guide has enlightened you on the basics, so you don’t have to worry.
The most crucial step of shipping from China to the US is to contact a trustworthy freight forwarding company, like Winsky Freight, to take you through the whole shipping process.