We work with top carriers from around the world to offer competitive rates for every customer we work with. We can book your cargo, arrange for delivery, and manage all import/export documentation from country of origin to the final destination. While we can handle the logistics to most countries, we have chosen to discuss China below to give an example of the various options for any of our customers not familiar with the process. 

 Services we offer include:

  • Full container loads (FCL) and less than container loads (LCL).

  • DDP (Delivery Duty Paid) & DDU (Delivery Duty Unpaid)

  • Booking and pre-shipment planning;

  • Inland transportation arrangements;

  • Tracking and tracing.

  • Cargo insurance

  • Customs clearance


Air Freight Costs and Rates from China to the US

Standard air freight is the cheapest option for shipments between approximately150 kilos and 500 kg. Very light shipments for their size might be charged on dimensional weight, rather than actual weight.

Air freight by far is the fastest. Express air freight is a little more expensive. Freight rates can vary widely between freight forwarders, and prices change regularly. For larger shipment sizes and origin/destination pairs, LCL (less than container load), ocean freight costs might actually be cheaper than air freight costs. We will give you the details based on the quantities of your order!

Sea Freight Costs and Rates from China to the US

Once a shipment weighs more than approximately 500 kg, sea freight becomes the cheapest option. Ocean freight offers tremendous economies of scale (some ships can carry 20,000 twenty-foot containers). Some freight forwarders have recently begun offering a premium service, often called expedited freight, which is a little more expensive than normal ocean freight. Like air freight, ocean freight rates vary widely between forwarders, and over time.

Shipping Time from China to the US

How long does it take to ship from China to the US?

Rules of thumbs for lead times are 1-2 weeks for regular post, 3 days for air express freight, 8-10 days for air freight, and 30-45 days for ocean freight.

Regular Post

China Post offers much quicker, cost-effective options in airmail and express mail service (EMS), which are both likely to take between one and two weeks.  Shipping from China by "surface mail" can take a long time.

US Customs will de-prioritize release of parcels if something looks wrong with the paperwork. So, increase your chances of regular post only taking one week by checking that the supplier gets the paperwork correct before sending.

Express Shipping Options

When shipping from China by international courier, allow three days. That includes either picking the parcel up at the Chinese supplier’s door, unless the supplier has dropped it off at their depot. If it’s really urgent, there are more expensive premium services which may even be delivered overnight.

Air Freight

Standard air freight between China and the US generally takes around 8-10 days. It’s not that planes are slower, it's that air freight processes are more complicated than express freight, while express air freight services typically shaves 2-3 days off standard air freight transit times.

Sea Freight from China to the US

Approximately 30-45 days for a door to door shipment from China to the USA. Ocean freight has the longest lead time. This is obviously because ships move a lot slower than planes. Beyond additional preparation required, ocean liners have also started to move slower to save fuel, made critical by crashing freight margins.  That said, ocean shipping has recently reduced the frequency of delays, becoming a lot more reliable. Even electronic companies have begun to ship by ocean instead of air.

Ocean freight also has a premium service. Depending on shipment requirements--expedited freight might be able to decrease the transit time. In some instances, it may be competitive with air freight lead times. Expedited freight works by streamlining ocean freight processes, and by only tying-in with the quicker ocean services, and premium trucking services. That makes expedited freight a great new option when shipping from China.