Container shipping from China to USA includes any cargo that is transported in ocean containers along a fixed route. A shipping container can use several modes of transport before reaching its final destination, including trucks, trains and ships.
There are two types of ocean freight container: FCL (Full Container Load) and LCL (less than a full container load).
FCL ocean freight container : If your cargo is large enough to fill an entire container, your load is called a “full container load”. The unit cost of FCL is cheaper than LCL, and the import fee is fixed. FLC is also the safest as only your items are loaded into the container, so other shippers’ shipments cannot contaminate or damage yours.
LCL ocean freight container: If you only want to ship a small amount, it is more economical to share a box with other shippers than to use the entire container yourself. LCL is more expensive per unit, but cheaper overall because the volume is lower than FCL.
Different Types of ocean freight container
There are a variety of containers that can be used in ocean freight from China to USA, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most common types of containers are:
Dry van: A dry van is the most basic type of container, and is typically used for general cargo that does not require special conditions. Dry vans come in a variety of sizes, but the most common are 20-foot and 40-foot containers.
Reefer: A reefer is a refrigerated container that can be used to transport perishable goods. Reefers come in 20-foot and 40-foot sizes and can be set to specific temperatures to ensure that the goods inside remain fresh.
Flat rack: A flat rack is a type of container that does not have sides or a roof, and is typically used for oversized or oddly-shaped cargo. Flat racks come in 20-foot and 40-foot sizes.
Open top: An open top container is similar to a dry van, but does not have a solid roof. This type of container is typically used for taller cargo that would not fit in a standard dry van. Open-top containers come in 20-foot and 40-foot sizes.
ISO tank: An ISO tank is a type of container that is used to transport liquids or bulk materials. ISO tanks are available in a variety of sizes, but the most common are 20-foot and 40-foot containers.
Specialty: There are a variety of other specialized containers that can be used for specific types of cargo, such as dangerous goods or oversize/overweight cargo. Specialty containers typically come in 20-foot and 40-foot sizes.
Choosing 40ft or 20ft ocean freight container?
A 20ft ocean freight container holds half as much goods as a 40ft container; but it costs about 80-90% as much. A 20-foot container is suitable for heavy cargo that may reach the maximum weight limit of a 40-foot container long before the container is nearly full.
You can still save a little by shipping in a smaller box, so you’ll need to evaluate your specific needs. Let’s take an example.
If you have a shipment of auto parts that weighs 74,000 pounds, you can fit the entire shipment into a 40-foot container, but weight restrictions prevent you from doing so. In this case, shipping two 20-foot containers (37,000 lbs each) would be your cheapest option.