Shipping by sea from China to US is the cheapest way. This is so because ships can carry a lot of cargo. It also offers shippers the opportunity to share the cost of shipping each item.
If you plan to shipping by sea from China to US, there are two main features you should be aware of.
FCL is suitable for shippers who move bulky cargo at one time. Also known as full container load, if you ship under FCL, your cargo will be loaded into one container without sharing container space with any other cargo belonging to another shipper.
LCL container shipping is for shippers whose hose cargo is not large enough to fit a full container. Under this arrangement, your freight forwarder will commingle your items with shipments belonging to other shippers for further sorting and differentiation at their final destination.
LCL rates are much cheaper than FCL due to the small space required. In most cases, LCL rates can be as low as $30 or $40 per cubic meter.
In addition to the container freight, there are usually some additional costs of shipping by sea from China to US, such as:
- Customs Security Surcharge
- Consolidation Fee (for LCL shipments only)
- Terminal handling fee
- Customs fees
- Pickup and Delivery Fees
- Fuel Surcharge
- Shortage cost
- Routing fee
Factors affecting costs of shipping by sea from China to US
- Weather elements
- Shipping season
- Ports along the route frequently load and unload cargo
- Crude oil cost
Time for shipping by sea from China to US
The time it takes to ship from China to the US depends on whether your shipment is transatlantic or transpacific. The voyage from Shanghai Port to California Long Beach Port takes 13-21 days.
To the Port of Newark on the east coast of the US, the journey can take 26-36 days. This means that you need to consider the port of origin and the port of final destination when calculating the duration of your cargo.
China’s main shipping ports:
- Shanghai Port: One of the largest container ports in the world, the managed container throughput in 2019 exceeded 42 million TEUs.
- Port of Hong Kong: The fifth busiest container port in the world by TEU, operating five main terminals.
- Tianjin Port: Built on the coast of Bohai Bay, it is the largest port in northern China. It is connected to more than 300 ports around the world.
Major shipping ports in the United States:
- Port of Los Angeles: The largest container port in the United States, operating passenger and cargo terminals. The port also handles dry and liquid bulk cargo and offers warehouse facilities.
- Long Beach Port: The second busiest container port in the United States, it is the main gateway for US-Asia trade. It consists of six container terminals and an intermodal rail service.
- Port of Houston: Handles nearly two-thirds of containerized cargo that passes through the Gulf of Mexico. It also provides shippers with direct rail and road connections.
Is shipping by sea from China to US worth choosing?
As long as you can live with the lengthy transit times required for sea freight, it’s probably the most practical way to shipping by sea from China to US.
In either case, you will need to ship your cargo through a U.S. port with container handling facilities. Likewise, you must choose a container port in China as the gateway for your shipment.
Fortunately, both China and the United States have no shortage of container ports. Therefore, you should have no trouble finding a route that minimizes the amount of domestic shipping required. Your freight forwarder will help you determine the port closest to the supplier and the port closest to the recipient.