Shipping From China to US can be done via express shipping, air freight or sea freight, but the best among these methods has no universal answer. Three major factors determine the best shipping method for you. These are:

Product and Load: What are you shipping, and how big is it?
Destination: Where will it be delivered; at the warehouse or a small office
Timing Requirement: How quickly do you need the product? Is it time-bound or not?

Product and Load

Some products are too heavy and large to ship by air. Also, shipping some large products can still be done with specialized aircraft requires cumbersome documentation processes. So, If your products fall within any of these categories, sea freight may be ideal for you. However, if you are shipping products with less than one cubic meter dimension, air freight will be a suitable option for you. Meanwhile, it is often safer to ship high-value cargo by air freight.


The end destination of your goods and how the cargo will be unloaded is important for selecting an ideal shipping method. So, find out if the China third-party logistics companies offer end-to-end delivery that allows your products to be delivered at your choice warehouse, small commercial building, or residential area. This will assist you, and the logistics service provider meets the best shipping method requirements for your product.

Timing Requirements

Timing is a significant factor that must be considered before choosing your ideal shipping plan. Delay at delivery of some products for a certain season like the fourth quarter could result in loss. If timing is a priority, it’s best to ship the product by air, which is the fastest shipping means. However, suppose the timing is not that important. In that case, it’s less expensive to transport your shipping by the ocean to a popular ports close to your final destination in US, then truck to your final destination.

It is crucial to note that the choice of shipping method affects sales price. So, if the timing is important to you, you have to ship by air, which costs more than ocean freight. Ocean freight from China to US via sea takes up 25 – 50 days depending on the route.

The impart of Chinese and US holidays can also influence your shipping plan. Deliveries may be delayed because of these holidays if viable prior shipment plans are not put in place. Shipping delays are common during Christmas. It is also important to pay attention to not only Christmas but also to Chinese new year (in February) during which life really slowens in China.

Congestion during this festive period leads to air and sea shipment delays. Shipping terminals and warehouses are often overwhelmed with the parcel. To beat delays during the festival period, you might consider working with inventory in this season. This prevents delay to some extent.

Going by this, it becomes obvious that there is no absolute answer to the best way to ship from China to the US. Just choose the way that works best for you after considering the earlier mentioned variables.

The three main methods of shipping from China to US include:

• Air Freight
• Ocean Freight
• Express Freight
• DDP or DDU (Door to Door)

Knowing and choosing the right shipping method for your product saves you cost and time.

Air Freight From China To US

Air freight is the fastest shipping method from China to US; it typically takes between 20 and 30 days. It is the preferred shipping option for importers that moving time-sensitive goods from China to US. Air freight is not only fast, but it is also safe and reliable.

However, these benefits of air freight come at a high cost, making it the most expensive shipping method.

Shipment weight and volume typically determine air freight rates. Carriers often charge by dimensional or actual weight depending on one with the more expensive figure.

Air freight charges include fuel surcharge, terminal handling charges, security surcharge, airport transfer charges, custom brokage fees, pick up and delivery cost, etc.

Ocean Freight From China To US

With an estimate of 90% of all shipping done by ocean freight, it is by far the most common international shipping method. Ocean freight is best for shipping high volume and heavy shipments, making it the most cost-effective method of shipping large quantities of goods from China to the US. Apart from being cheap and having low CO2 emissions compared to the shipping method, ocean freight involves fewer restrictions than air freight.

But the major downside of ocean freight is that it takes a longer time compared to other shipping methods. Air transport is 30 times faster. Port congestion, weather, or customs issues often causes the delay. The heavy duty capacity of ocean freight makes your goods more prone to damage compared to other methods.

Ocean freight may be categorized into two types: full container loads (FCL) and Less than container load (LCL).

FCL involves shipment orders large enough to occupy the entire shipping container. While the LCL involves orders that are not large enough to fill an entire container. The shipping orders are often combined with others to shipment to fill the container.

It is measured in cubicle feet and charges by volume. The extra cost involved in ocean freight include LCL consolidation charges, custom security surcharge, terminal handling charges, fuel surcharge, insurance cost, pick up and delivery cost, storage charges, routing charges, custom brokerage fees.

Express Freight From China to US

Express freight, as the name suggests, is used for shipping products on short notice. Though it involves air transportation, it’s faster than air freight. But air freight can be used for shipping larger products compared to express freight. It’s time-efficient and cost-effective for shipping small items. Express freight shipping is often entirely handled by a courier or shipping company such as FedEx, UPS, and DHL.

DDP or DDU (Door to Door) International Shipping

DDP or DDU, which stands for Door-to-Door, is a service that provides picking items from supplier factories’ doors and direct delivery to Amazon FBA, with all prices included, so there are no extra or hidden costs, no difficulty, especially dealing with Customs, and no surprises. The freight forwarder gives Amazon Sellers an all-included price per kg in this transportation option, so everything is set up front. We strongly advise Sellers to use this strategy in order to avoid unpleasant surprises during the transaction.

Freight forwarding cost from China to US varies. Different variables determine the freight forwarding cost. The weight of your container, shipping route, mode of shipping, the shipment’s destination, and more are some of the factors that will be considered to determine the shipping cost.

Ocean freight rate from China to US differs depending on the port of export in China and the port of import in the United States. It also depends on the container type like 20″ or 40HC. Here is some freight on board (FOB) ocean freight prices:

Although ocean freight accounts for 90 percent of shipping from China, express freight and air freight are other ways of shipping from China to the United States. Air cargo can be used when shippers urgently need to get shipments to other countries quickly and reliably. The departure airport and destination port also impact air freight from China to USA.

As prices are so much volatile and changing daily, it is not possible to give a standard price list both for air and ocean shipments. So please contact [email protected] to get actual prices of the week.

In conclusion, when choosing a logistics company to work with, choose one that offers the exact service you need. It could be port-to-port services, door-to-port services, or door-to-door services.

It is undeniable the current shipping cost from China has risen very high, affecting companies and sellers of imported products. As the demand for consumer goods continually increases due to the covid-19 pandemic, importers have been grappling with the problem of high shipping cost, delayed delivery, and container shortage, among other issues. Studies show that shipping prices from China which have increased by about 360%, are causing inflation in import commodity prices.

Why Shipping by sea from china is high?

Lack of ShortTerm Relief

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, global shipping costs skyrocketed to an all-time high. The shipping rate in 2020 has increased by 360% compared to 2019. There have been rapid increases in freight rates, such as container and dry bulk along important trade routes, without any attendant short-term relief. This is a significant reason for the current increase in the shipping price and might continue if no relief measures are implemented. The disruptive lockdown has resulted in increased global demand for limited shipping capacity.

Non-stop Global Imbalance

Global imbalances caused by the locking down of countries at different times halting production, global shipping, and other economic activities coupled with increased demand and limited shipping company capacity because of the pandemic push up the shipping price to an all-time high. When things were getting back to normal after the pandemic and China factories and ports resume activities, other US and several European countries could not import from China because they are still under lockdown restrictions. This global imbalance also contributed to an increase in shipping costs from China to a large extent.

Limited Alternatives to Ocean Freight

Excessive dependence on ocean freight also contributed to the increase in the shipping price. Though there are alternative shipping modes such as rail or air freight for moving high-value products such as electronic devices, most importers prefer using sea freight to ship their goods. That is why ocean freight accounts for 90 percent of the world’s total shipping. The current increase in demand and the limited shipping capacity resulted in a hike in shipping costs from China. Little wonder why the price of low-value products such as household items, apparel, and toys has since soared.

Delay Due to Port Congestion and Closure

One of the major problems of the post-pandemic period in international shipping is port congestion resulting in shipment delay and cancellation. Though there are signs of slight improvement and probably will continue, the situation was some of the significant reasons for shipping prices surge.

Excess demand for household products due to pandemic

Since households started staying at home during the pandemic, their spending habits shifted from service industry to household goods. Since they could not spend money at restaurants, travel or concerts, sports events, they poured this money to renovate goods, white goods, furniture at their homes. So, import demand from China to US tripled compared to pre-pandemic levels, but the container capacity did not change. So this supply-demand imbalance brought a scarcity to ocean transfers and both lengthen the durations of the transport and increased the prices enormously.

Container Shortage

This is another significant reason for the increased freight rate. As companies are producing more products and there is swelling demand for product supply, there are fewer containers causing cancellation or delay of shipment, thus pushing up the rate.

Lines Add Surcharge to Ocean Freight Rate

In addition to the many challenges of the shipping companies caused by the pandemic, shipment delay, shortage of containers, port congestion, and more, shipping companies still had to struggle with the newly imposed surcharges by some steamship lines. This has resulted in a massive increase in shipping prices.

3pl Amazon; a third-party logistics service is an outsourced service provider that offers companies logistics services and solutions like handling several aspects of a company’s supply chain, inventory management and warehousing, fulfillment services, shipping and return logistics, and many more.

Assuming you are shipping from China to US, 3PL can effectively handle the logistics activities. 3PL can be a viable way to improve sales or rapid business growth due to launching new products and improving your company’s overall efficiency.

Therefore, securing the service of the suitable 3PL for your brand is essential for a successful relationship. When searching for 3PL, be sure to select a 3PL that offers services and resources that correspond with your business needs. For instance, if you’re an Amazon seller, it is best to work with 3PL Amazon. To avoid customer satisfaction issues and less quality service, it’s essential to ensure your potential 3PL service provider can meet all your brand requirements. That is why it’s important to ask a few questions from available 3PLs to know your company’s most appropriate one. These questions include:

  • Does my order volume exceed the monthly fees charged by the 3PL?
  • Is it beneficial for my company to outsource logistics services like picking, packing, transporting, and return logistics?
  • How well do they understand my market? Do they work with similar brands and products?
  • How well do they know the ship channel I want to ship to? Are they already shipping there?
  • Do they have software and technological tools that meet my needs?
  • What do previous clients say about their services?

Pros of Working with a 3PL

Warehousing and Fulfilment Center

A reputable 3PL provides sufficient warehousing space for your inventory storage in the warehouse. Also, they offer some warehouse management software and tools for optimal daily inventory management. Although you have to pay for storage space within their site, they allow you to distribute your inventory to various warehouses with the country, thus saving you some shipping fees.

Personal Attention to Your Products

When you work with 3PL, you get a dedicated account manager who monitors and manages your sales growth. So, they discover and resolve any possible logistics issue that may arise. The account manager keeps you updated throughout the onboarding process and stays in touch before and after the product launch. This fosters efficient management of sale activities and improves your sales growth.


It is hard to be an expert in every aspect of logistics like inventory management, fulfillment, shipping, warehousing, and more. Fortunately, an established 3PL provides you with a range of experts to handle various logistics activities from distribution infrastructure, picking and packing, to shipping and handling. You can be rest assured that logistics professionals will handle your products. Working with experts relieves you of stress when shipping internationally. For instance, when shipping from China to US, 3PL will effectively help you handle the international shipping protocols like documentation, customs clearance, customs duties, and many more.


Most 3PL offer many value-added services and customization options that reflect your brand’s identity. Most 3PLs provide you with packing inserts, specialty packaging, in-person inventory counts, and many more. So, 3PL lets you customize your boxes and internal packaging according to your brand’s unique specifications, thus promoting your brand’s identity. Moreso, reputable 3PLs offer excellent business-to-business (b2b) and business-to-consumer (b2c) consumer service. They can help you handle both b2b and b2c fulfillment and support different e-commerce sales channels like Amazon, Shopify, and even brick and mortar stores.

Cons of Working with 3PL

Small Order Volume

3PL is not the best option for shippers or online sellers just starting and ordering in a small volume. It won’t be cost-effective for you to use 3PL. If you are not getting plenty of orders each month, it might not benefit you to have inventory in storage with a 3PL until you are sure you will be shipping out a steady amount each month. This is why some people prefer to use the Amazon FBA service when shipping from China to US.

Finding a Reliable 3PL

Due to many 3PL service providers in the market, it is not easy to find a competent and trusted 3PL that guarantees quality service. Not all of them deliver the services they claim. And working with an inefficient 3PL may affect your business/company reputation. However, by using recommendation and past clients reviews, you can find an efficient 3PL that offers services that meets your needs

Requires Advance Fees

3PL involves some initial cost which you need to pay monthly, or per SKU depending on the 3PL you’re partnering with. These fees include the following:

  • Set up Fees: You have to pay this fee at once; it covers warehouse tours, software integration, training, and more, depending on the 3PL.
  • Receiving Fee: 3PLs usually charge per shipment received to their warehouse in most cases. So, the charges may be an hourly rate for unloading, performing cycle counts, and entering products into an inventory management system. Conversely, it could as well be a flat rate per SKU or a flat fee per delivery.
  • Storage Fees: Typically, 3PLs charge a storage fee per square foot or necessary space in their fulfillment center. But some charge on a per pallet basis.
  • Fulfillment Charges: This cost cover fulfillment services like picking, packaging, labels, package inserts, package branding, among others. The fulfillment costs are determined by how many of the steps mentioned above are necessary for your products. So the cost varies.

Shipping Cost: You may receive a certain discount over shipping carrier listed rates because 3PLs receive bulk shipping rates based on their scale, order volume, and discounts negotiated with specific carriers.

There are various methods of shipping from China to the United States. These methods include express freight, air freight, and sea freight (FCL or LCL sea freight). Each shipping mode has a different rate. These shipping rates from China to the United States are determined by the type of goods being shipped, the capacity of goods, shipping mode choice, product destination, season, and current events. Also, the total cost of shipping required from China to the US includes several extra charges, which may put some pressure on the importers.

So, importers often try to identify and use the cheapest shipping way to ship from China to the United States. The cheapest shipping from China to US is determined predominantly by the quantity of goods you are shipping. Hence, it is difficult to single out a particular shipping mode as the cheapest for shipping from China to the United States.

When shipping small products such as new product samples, freight shipping will be too expensive. The cheapest shipping, in this case, will be the regular post like the China post. Some of the mail options offered by China mail include Air mail/Surface mail for small parcels, air parcel/Surface mail for large packages, and the EMS/China International Express and EUB priority system for packaging.

Meanwhile, when shipping a small package shipment of about 150 kg from China to the US, express freight that goes for around $13 per kilo is the cheapest and fastest shipping option. Ensure you are a registered customer with any of the couriers to enjoy this rate.

However, standard air freight, which costs about $11 per kg, is the cheapest shipping option for moving 150 – 500 kg shipments from China to the US. It can be vary port to port. Very light shipments are likely to be charged on dimensional weight instead of actual weight.

Ultimately, for shipment that weighs more than 500 kilos, ocean freight is the cheapest shipping option to ship such products down the United States from China. Ocean freight is the cheapest way of shipping a large volume of goods; some ships can ferry up to 20,000 twenty-foot containers. So, when looking to optimize your shipping cost from China to the US, consider your shipment capacity to arrive at the most economical shipping cost from China to the US.

In summary, the cheapest ways of shipping from China to the United States are regular post, express freight, and air freight, depending on the volume of the shipment you want to import from China. However, if the timing is not that important to the product you intend to ship from China, sea freight is the cheapest shipping method, especially for large quantities of goods. Though it is often said that it takes a very long time, expedite freight may reduce the transit time to a large extent, making it more competitive with air freight lead time. Expedite freight streamlines the ocean freight processes and offers the fastest shipping service and trucking service.

**Prices may vary depending on the date the content was viewed.

Shipping from China to the US is either done by air or ocean freight. As such, the freight duration for both vary. Shipping from China to US by air which is the fastest, takes up to five days. At the same time, ocean freight from China takes up to 40 days, depending on the shipping routes.

You might wonder why it takes days to freight goods from China to the US by air when a flight from China to US is less than 24 hours. The reason is that air-cargo transit involves various shipping processes that are not common to normal flights.

Some of these shipping processes include consolidation at the departure airport, export custom procedure, unloading at the destination airport, and import customs clearance. Also, indirect flights are used for freight that will involve transshipment time (involving several waiting hours or a day or days). That is why air freight from some destinations in China to the US might take more than 5 days. Here are few examples:

Port of LoadingPort of DepartureTransfer Time
Shanghai(SHA)Sacramento(SAC )2-3Days
Shanghai(SHA)Houston(IAH )3-5Days
Shenzhen( SZX)Atlanta(ATL )2-5Days
Shenzhen( SZX)Miami(MIA)2-5Days
Shenzhen( SZX)Dallas(DFW)2-5Days
Beijing(PEK)San Francisco(SFO )3-5Days
Xiamen(XMN)Los Angeles(LAX )5-7Days
Xiamen(XMN)Houston(IAH )5-7Days
Wuhan(WUH)New York(JFK)2-5Days
Qingdao( TAO)New York(JFK)3-5Days
Qingdao( TAO)Houston(IAH )3-5Days
Qingdao( TAO)Chicago(ORD)3-5Days

In comparison, the duration of sea freight from China to US is determined by the origin port in China and the destination port in US. Ocean freight from China to US can take between 25 to 40 days. Below are examples of ocean-freight transit duration between ports in China and the US:

ShanghaiLos Angeles14-20days
ShanghaiNew York25-32days
ShenzhenNew York21-40days
ShenzhenLos Angeles13-40days
QingdaoLos Angeles18-24days
QingdaoNew York29-44days
XiaMenLos Angeles14-17days
XiaMenNew York28-43days
NingboLong Beach12-16days

China which is popularly known as the world’s factory is a major source of import goods for most countries of the world. There are various ways of shipping items from China to any region in the world. These shipping modes include express shipping, air freight, and ocean freight.

Timing is an essential factor that influences the choice of shipping mode and even profit in the long run. There are some goods with less timing such product can be shipped with sea freight that takes a longer time. But there are some products with specific time requirements. An importer who deals with such goods with time priority needs to utilize the fastest shipping option for shipping from China to meet their product’s timing requirements. The fastest shipping option from China to the United States of America or any other continent is express shipping or courier. The express freight, which takes 2 days to 5 days, involves the use of a single courier or shipping company that effectively manages the entire shipping process from the beginning until the ship gets finally delivered.

Express freight is the fastest shipping mode because it involves less custom clearance, and the courier has taken care of the shipping process. Express freight typically offers door-to-door shipping makes it not only the fastest by the most convenient. However, express freight is only ideal for shipping small shipments of about 150 kilos.

The fastest shipping mode from China for a larger volume of items is international air freight, which is between 5 – 15 days. Airfreight takes longer days than express freight because it involves different carriers and more shipping processes than express freight. But the shipping option is fast and more reliable than sea freight. Air freight is also best for delicate shipping shipments. Sea freight, on the other hand, has the longest transit time. Shipping from China to any region involves 25 days or more transit time depending on the destination of the cargo. On the other hand, a door-to-door shipping service covers all the steps required for shipping cargo from origin to destination. Door-to-door service includes the pick-up, shipment, customs, delivery, ground transport, handling costs. Forceget offers the best shipping rates and door-to-door delivery for all Amazon FBA shipping from China to the US.

Shipping products that have time priority from China requires the fastest shipping mode, so importers of this kind of product often choose between express freight and air freight depending on the shipment size. However, importers have to pay more for any of the two shipping options compared to sea freight.

Nowadays, shipping cost from China to other countries has immensely increased. Even the cheap ocean freight cost has become expensive, and the expensive air freight and express freight costs have gotten more expensive. The increase in the demand for consumer goods due to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and limited shipping capacity has culminated in the increase in shipping costs from China by over 350%. The increase in shipping costs has badly affected companies that depend on importing goods from these countries.

The high shipping cost was solely caused by the negative effect of the recent pandemic on the shipping industry and the lack of uniform timing for national lockdown imposition and implementation around the world. This resulted in an imbalance recovery and returned to normal economic activities.

Countries like China recovered earlier from the pandemic and returned to the factory for more production; however, most of the manufactured goods and the ones already on the ground before the pandemic couldn’t leave China. This is because most of China’s top trade partners like America and Europe have yet to lift their lockdown restrictions. This caused China manufacturers to remind stranded, causing the shipping rate to rise.

Also, the shortage of shipping containers caused by the lockdown restrictions has a lot to do with the increase in the shipping cost. The pandemic which distorted shipping routes and forced countries to impose lockdowns caused containers to get stuck in three possible places, resulting in a shortage of containers. Some containers are stuck in China’s top export destinations like US and EU and couldn’t be returning because of the pandemic. While some are stuck in China because manufacturing companies in China cannot export goods to EU or US ports forcing them to store the goods in available containers and portside until the lockdown is lifted in the West. And some containers are on ships diverted to serve the US and EU market in South Asia and Africa.

Additionally, the persistent increase in demand for consumer products due to the national lockdown restrictions couldn’t be addressed effectively due to limited shipping capacity. These, alongside no short time relief from the government, cause the shipping cost to soar massively.

Ultimately, the excess reliance on sea freight for shipping from China resulted in the problem of port congestion in China ports, cancellation, and delivery delay. This has made sea freight shipping costs increase like that of air freight, thus resulting in towering shipping costs from China. Regardless of the shipping mode, you decide to use; you have to pay more than the usual fee pre-Covid era. The surge in shipping prices has consequently increased import products prices.

When Will Sea Freight Rates Go Back To Normal?

According to recent data, freight costs are starting to fall on some of the world’s most popular shipping routes.

The spot rate for shipping a 40-foot container from China to Los Angeles has decreased by 51% in November, according to the South China Morning Post.

Drewry, a maritime consultant, warned the Loadstar that the supply chain crisis would not be resolved by the end of 2022. Although it anticipates spot rates to fall next year, it forecasts “a large increase in contract pricing, leading to a 6 percent increase in average global pricing.”

What can be done to counter rising freight rates?

One of the most efficient strategies to combat excessive freight charges is to organize shipments ahead of time. Every day, the cost of transporting goods rises. Companies must carefully plan their shipments long in advance to avoid paying surging charges and to take advantage of early-bird discounts. This can save them a significant amount of money and help them avoid delays. When planning ahead of time for a shipment, digital platforms can be used to utilize historical data on freight costs to estimate rates as well as patterns affecting rates.

In the shipping and logistics industry, technology has the potential to bring in a strategic shift. There is now a significant lack of visibility and transparency among ecosystem players. Re-inventing procedures, digitizing shared operations, and using collaborative technology can all help to increase efficiency and lower trade costs. Aside from strengthening supply chains, it will enable the sector to rely on data-driven insights, allowing participants to make more educated decisions. As a result, the industry must adapt technologically, resulting in a systemic transformation in how it functions and trades.

Whether online seller, brick and mortar seller, or both, every seller desires to find cheap shipping from China to augment their profit. As such, they always think of various strategies to get cheap shipping. If you are in search of cheap shipping from China, here are simple tips that work like magic:

Find a Supplier that Offers Good Price

Carefully search for a supplier from China that offers products at competitive prices without compromising its quality. This will allow you to make so much profit after reselling to your customers even after adding import duties. So, don’t just go with the first supplier you find in your research. Search for more suppliers and compare their prices and quality to choose the one that can improve your profit. Not all top-quality supply comes at an expensive cost.

Keep Your Options Open

Don’t just settle for one courier service, have many alternatives so you can select one with the best offer. Reason being that each courier service has its own tariff determined by the product length, size, weight, and destination. For example, you might decide to use a courier that charges an extra delivery fee for residential address delivery if you need to deliver to a residential address. Not all courier offer this, therefore take you time to identify couriers that provide your exact desired services. This will save you unnecessary extra costs.

Find a Trustworthy Digital Freight Forwarder

Be careful not to play into the hands of exploitative forwarders from China. Take your time to choose a reliable forwarder without any hidden charges and will always be available to assist you through cross-border shipping and logistics difficulties. Working with a reliable freight forwarder from China saves you stress, time, and money.

Match Your Delivery Plan with your Courier Schedule

Since Ocean freight is less expensive than air freight, you can prepare your delivery schedule to perfectly suit ocean freight. This will definitely reduce your shipping cost massively. Many online merchants explore this tactic to find cheap shipping from China. If you are not shipping time-sensitive products, you can prepare your schedule around ocean freight, and you will get your good at the appropriate time and at a cheaper rate

You May Consider Other Alternative to Flat Rate Shipping

Sometimes flat rate shipping is not the safest and smartest choice. Though you may be delivering items of different sizes, weights, and measurements, sometimes you might be unknowingly paying more even with a flat rate. To find cheap shipping from China, you need to carefully consider the flat rate and alternative prices to settle for the best price that will allow you to gain more.