Shipping from China to USA

Shipping from China to USA

Make Logistics Your Competitive Advantage

Are you looking for a shipping forwarder company who can arrange the ship from China to USA? It is recommended that you choose CUC as your designated shipping agent China to USA! Because many customers of CUC are in the USA, we have rich experience in American market and are good at providing various customized services according to your needs. Whether air freight or sea freight, our team will work hard to provide you with the best solution of shipping from China to the US.

If you need to ship something from China to the USA, here is a shipping guide for you.

It contains all the factors you need to consider when shipping goods from China to the USA: mode of transportation, shipping process, transmit time, shipping cost, tax & duty, risk of shipping and so on. It will help you to improve transportation efficiency and safety, reduce your transportation costs, and save you valuable time and effort.

What kind of transportation can be chosen from China to the USA?

Usually, you can choose the following three main modes of transportation for your shipment from China to the USA:

1.1 Ocean freight shipping / Sea freight shipping

Ocean freight shipping is the most important mode of transportation in international trade between China and the United States, and most of the goods imported and exported from China to the United States are transported by this way. The large volume and low cost of ocean freight are its advantages. While it has its inadequacy, like slow speed limited, navigational risk of bad weather, or even be robbed by pirates. Ocean freight is suitable for large shipments and does not rush in time.

1.2 Air freight shipping

Air freight is a fast and reliable modes of transportation from China to the USA. Compared with sea freight, air freight has the advantages of speed, safety and punctuality.

Air shipment is usually used in areas where time requirements are high, goods are of great importance and cannot be reached by other modes of transportation.

Air freight with its fast and punctual characteristics greatly shorten the delivery time, to speed up the capital turnover and circulation of the owner has played a great role in promoting, but the cost of air freight is relatively high.

1.3 Express

If the size of the goods is small, and there are high requirements for speed and security, you can choose international Courier services. Major international Courier companies have extensive coverage within China, offering door-to-door services.

Before choosing a mode of transportation, you need to consider the type of goods, package size, weight, volume, value, time requirements, and your shipping budget.

At the same time, it is also necessary to understand and meet the relevant export and import requirements, such as export declaration, import clearance, shipping documents, etc.

It is recommended to compare as many different freight forwarders' services and prices as possible before choosing a mode of transport to ensure that you choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.

It is also possible to consult a professional freight forwarding company who can provide more detailed and personalized guidance.

Sea freight shipping from China to the USA

Sea freight is divided into FCL and LCL two ways, both of them have their own advantages and application scenarios in the international freight. The choice of which method to use depends on factors such as the characteristics of the goods, quantity, timeliness and budget.

2.1 Sea freight- FCL

FCL usually means that goods are transported in the form of an entire container, which is suitable for situations where the volume of goods is large or needs to be shipped independently.

If your cargo can be filled a container, or even 75% or more of a container, then FCL transportation may be the most economical option.

FCL shipping is faster than LCL shipping because there is no need to spend time merging or splitting your shipments with others.

FCL shipping is also safer than LCL shipping because the whole box remains sealed during the entire transportation process until it reaches your designated destination, unless the customs requires opening the box for inspection.

FCL type and model—Which type or model of container to use needs to be selected based on comprehensive considerations such as the type, nature, shape, packaging, volume, weight, and transportation requirements of the goods. The general selection principle is to choose the most economical type or model of container on the basis that the goods can be loaded and meet the transportation conditions required by the goods.


The rate of FCL---Fuel prices, transport distance, cargo type and quantity, vessel size and type, port fees and taxes, market supply and demand conditions are the main factors affecting the price of international sea freight.

Some of these factors are things that we can predict and control (such as choosing what kind of vessel), while others are things that we cannot predict nor control (such as fluctuations on the prices of fuel and the changes in market supply and demand). It is important for companies and individuals who need to use international shipping services to understand and recognize these factors in order to better manage and control shipping costs.

The whole container is priced at a fixed rate at that time, whether the container is fully filled or not. Suggest you to fill as many carton as possible to use the space of the container.

While in different time, the price is waving. The shipping company will update the price every week in fact.


2.2. Sea freight- LCL

LCL is a relative term for FCL, which means combining multiple goods and loading them into one container for transportation. This mode of transportation is suitable for situations where the volume of goods is small and does not fill a container. By combining the goods of multiple customers into the same container, the utilization rate can be maximized, the waste of space can be reduced, and the transportation cost can be reduced. Since LCL goods will share space with goods from other companies, the process of consolidating and packing at the port of departure and unpacking and sorting the goods at the port of destination is increased. Therefore, under the same circumstances, the delivery time of LCL is usually longer than that of LCL. The box length varies from about 5 to 10 days.

The basic principle of LCL billing is based on the actual occupied space or weight. There are usually two types of billing basis:

A). Billing based on actual volume: Billing is based on the container space occupied by the goods, usually in cubic meters. Specific billing methods can vary based on the size and type of container.

B). Billing based on actual weight: Billing is based on the weight of the goods, usually in KG. Among them, the weight can be confirmed through weighing equipment, quality certificates, delivery orders, etc.

It should be noted that the specific LCL charging standards may vary depending on different countries, transportation methods and freight forwarding companies. Therefore, when performing LCL transportation, it is recommended to conduct detailed consultation with a professional logistics company or freight forwarder to ensure an accurate understanding of the relevant billing rules.


2.3 China & American main port

Major ports in China include Shanghai Port, Shenzhen Port, Guangzhou Port, Qingdao Port, Tianjin Port, Dalian Port, Ningbo Port, Wenzhou Port and Xiamen Port. These ports play an important role in logistics transportation. Among them, Shanghai Port and Shenzhen Port are the two largest ports in China. They are located at the mouth of the Yangtze River and the Zhujiang River respectively and are one of the busiest ports in the world.

The main ports (also called basic ports) in the western United States are: Los Angeles, Long Beach, Seattle, Oakland, Portland, San Francisco, and Tacoma. The main ports (also called basic ports) in the eastern United States are: New York, Savannah, Miami, Houston, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Charleston, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Mobile, New Orleans, Everglades Port, Philadelphia, Savannah, Tampa. In addition to the basic ports, the main inland points in the United States are: Denver, Chicago, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Kansas City, Louisville, Memphis, Minneapolis, Norfolk, Nashville, Newark, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, St. Louis, Orlando, etc.

Under normal circumstances, shipping from China to the United States goes to basic ports in the United States for unloading. The basic ports have complete facilities and are connected to the land transportation network, which is conducive to further distribution and distribution of goods. For those goods that need to be transported to inland areas of the United States, other modes of transportation, such as rail, road or inland shipping, are usually selected to transport the goods to the destination after unloading is completed at the basic port. This ensures that goods can reach inland areas quickly and safely, and reduces transit links in logistics.


2.4. The main shipping company from China to the USA

There are many shipping companies can be chosen from China to the USA, and each one has its own advantages. Generally, it manifested in the following aspects:

A) Speed (number of sailing days)

B) Layover (call)

C) Shipping capacity (TEU)

D) Services at the destination port

E) Dispatching capabilities,

The following is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of current mainstream shipowners. You can make an appropriate choice based on cost, timeliness and other needs.

2.4.1 Matson -- Fast boat.

Advantage: Mason Express has two main routes, namely CLX (regular ship) and CLX+ (overtime ship). It departs from Shanghai to Long Beach Port in the West Coast of the United States, with an average sailing time of 10-11 days. It is currently the fastest route from China to the West Coast of the United States. route. The main difference between the regular shift and the overtime shift is the docking station. The regular shift ship docks at an independent private dock, which can ensure the same unloading speed for ten years (fast enough). Therefore, the Matson regular shift ship is almost unaffected during the peak season. Able to maintain the stability of the entire route. Overtime ships dock at public piers, and the speed of unloading and picking up containers is slower than that of regular ships. However, if the overtime ship is lucky, it may dock at a private dock, but the premise is that the crew members on the overtime ship must all be American citizens.

Disadvantage: Currently, the US shipping line has the highest price. In addition, the route is relatively simple, only going to the western United States -- LB port.

2.4.2 ZIM -- Fast boat.

Advantage: The Israeli shipping company provides ZEX e-commerce routes with stable timeliness and fast container unloading. It departs from Yantian Port with a fixed sailing time and an average voyage of 12-14 days. It resumed sailing in November 2023. The timeliness was unstable, and we need to wait and see the specific timeliness.

Disadvantage: The price is relatively high. There is poor flexibility in handling unexpected special situations.

2.4.3 CMA


Line EXX (Yantian-Ningbo-Shanghai-Los Angeles-Oakland-Honolulu) is an express route specially designed by CMA for highly time-sensitive cargo. It has a short voyage, high on-time rate, and will mark time-sensitive cargo with a "priority cargo" mark. When goods arrive at the Port of Los Angeles, there are dedicated storage yards and dedicated truck channels, and the goods can be quickly unloaded and departed from the port.

Line EX1 (Qingdao-Shanghai-Busan-Los Angeles-Oakland) is another line served by CMA EXX Clipper. The voyage is slower than EXX, but it is also ranked at the front of the actual voyage in the current market. The punctuality rate is relatively good, and other characteristics Similar to EXX.

Disadvantages: Often orders cannot be placed due to lack of boxes, and the cabinet cannot be picked up.

2.4.4 COSCO

Advantage: COSCO is the shipowner with the best service and timeliness among ordinary ships. Compared with Matson and other fast ships, the price is much more affordable. The SEA and SEAX routes launched by COSCO have an average shipping schedule of about 16 days. They provide non-return of containers and quick pick-up services at the destination port. The docking terminal LBCT is the most automated Los Angeles terminal. It takes 2-4 days to pick up the containers after arrival. favored by overseas e-commerce sellers.

Disadvantages: It is easy to lack cabin space during peak season.

2.4.5 OOCL

Advantages: It has been acquired by COSCO, with stable routes and competitive prices. The flagship routes PVSC and PCC1 dock at LBCT Terminal, the most automated terminal in Los Angeles. Unloading and picking up containers are very efficient. The average shipping time is 14-18 days.

Disadvantages: In peak season, it is easy to be unable to place an order due to lack of boxes, and cannot pick up the cabinet.

2.4.6 EMC

Advantages: It has a dedicated terminal and has fixed delivery services for HTW and CPS routes. Battery space is available, and the timeliness is stable during normal times. The average sea route time is 13-14 days. You can collect goods in South China and sail from Yantian.

Disadvantages: Delays, warehouse liquidation, etc. are prone to occur during peak seasons, which in turn causes the speed of picking up containers at the destination port to be slower.

2.4.7 MSK

Advantages: One of the largest shipowners in the world, the fleet has multiple routes and a wide range of routes, provides sufficient space, transparent prices, and convenient online booking.

Disadvantages: The timeliness is relatively slow, and there is a risk of liquidation and dumping.

2.4.8 MSC

Advantages: routes are all over the world, there are many and large ships, the space price is relatively low, and we can accept non-hazardous zone guaranteed battery cargo. We can accept heavier goods at no additional price.

Disadvantages: The bill of lading has been too slow, the shipping schedule is unstable, the route has many ports of call, and the route is long. It is not suitable for customers with high shipping schedule and timeliness requirements.

2.4.9 HPL

Advantages: One of the five largest shipping companies in the world and a member of THE Alliance (HPL/ONE/YML/HMM). The price is affordable and the cabin space is relatively abundant.

Disadvantages: Weak flexibility in handling emergencies and special circumstances.

2.4.10 HMM

Advantages: We can receive battery goods, provide MSDS, transportation appraisal report, and letter of guarantee, and can ship them as regular goods. We provide freezers, dry-freeze cabinets, and can also accept dangerous goods, and the price is relatively cheap.

Disadvantages: Occasionally the bill of lading speed is slow.

2. 5. Shipping routes from China to the USA

The shipping routes from China to the United States are roughly divided into East-U.S. and West-U.S. routes.

The West Coast routes generally depart from Chinese ports (Yantian, Xiamen, Ningbo, Shanghai, etc.) and arrive at ports in the West Coast via the Pacific Ocean. Major ports in the Western United States, such as Los Angeles (LA/Los Angeles), Long Beach (LB/Long Beach), Oakland (Oakl), etc., if you choose a fast ship, the voyage time is 11-16 days, if you choose a slow ship, it will take 18-25 days About a day's voyage. China's cross-border e-commerce goods generally dock at the Port of Long Beach or the Port of Los Angeles, which are also the two busiest ports in the Western United States. For example, COSCO, ZIM, CMA, etc. all dock at these ports. Take the Matson Regular Shipping (CLX) route as an example. CLX is the direct route from Ningbo-Shanghai to Long Beach Port.

The US Eastbound route is subdivided into eastbound routes and westbound routes. The eastbound route needs to pass through the Pacific Ocean, then through the Panama Canal to the Atlantic Ocean and then to the East US ports. The westbound route will pass through the Strait of Malacca, then through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea, and finally through the Atlantic Ocean to the Eastern United States. Major ports in the eastern United States include New York, Savannah, Charleston, etc. The fast ship takes about 30 days to sail, while the slow ship takes about 40 days to sail. Of course, you can also choose to transport the freight to the West Coast first, and then transport it inland to the East Coast. The delivery time is about 21-25 days, so the freight cost will be higher than taking the East Coast route.

In addition to the sailing time of the ship, it is also necessary to consider the time it takes for the goods to arrive at the destination port for customs clearance, unloading, container pick-up, container unpacking, sorting, and delivery. Therefore, it usually takes 3 to 7 weeks from the time the order is placed until the goods are finally delivered to the consignee's designated destination.


What Is The Cheapest Way Shipping From China To USA?

It depends on the quantity of your shipment. If you just send documents, it must be the cheapest way to express, but if you ship in large shipment, there is no doubt that sea freight must be the cheapest channel among all transportation methods. Sea freight is one of the most popular transportation methods and an important transportation method for shipping cargoes from China to the US. Shipping from China to the US by sea is the specialty skill of CUC. Regardless of the volume, CUC can be combined flexibly to provide you with faster, more stable and cheaper services.

What Is The Fastest Way Shipping From China To USA?

The fastest way to ship from China to USA is by air or by express. Which one to be chosen depends on your shipment quantity, packaging size, and timeliness requirements. CUC has rich experience in air freight and express delivery, and we will choose the most reasonable airline or express carrier for your shipment, according to your  requirements.

What Is The Fastest Way Shipping From China To USA?

How Long Does It Take Shipping From China To USA?

The transit time from China to the USA depends on the mode of transport and the specific route. The most common modes of transportation are sea freight and air freight.
It usually takes you around 12~45 days to ship from China to USA by sea freight. while air freight is faster. The airlift transit time range will be 1 day to 15 days. However, these times may vary depending on factors such as customs clearance, weather conditions, and other transportation delays.

What Items Cannot Be Shipped To USA?

There are several items that cannot be sent to the USA, including:

1. Illegal drugs and narcotics, including marijuana.

2. Hazardous materials, such as explosives, flammables, and radioactive materials.

3. Weapons, ammunition, and related items, unless authorized by the US government.

4. Obscene or immoral materials, including child pornography.

5. Endangered species or wildlife products, such as ivory or rhinoceros horn.

6. Counterfeit goods and pirated media infringing on intellectual property rights.

7. Products violating US copyright or trademark laws, such as knockoff designer products.

8. Fireworks, whether personal or commercial.

9. Foods that are not packaged or properly labeled to comply with US requirements, or contain illegal or banned substances.

Additionally, there may be specific regulations and restrictions imposed by the US government that may prohibit or restrict certain products' importation. It is essential to check the US government's customs website or contact a customs broker or freight forwarder for further guidance on import restrictions and compliance requirements.

FAQs About Shipping From China To USA

Do I have to pay customs duties for ship from China to USA?

Since former U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 in March 2016, the import duty-free amount has been increased from $200 to $800. Therefore, for Chinese goods imported into the United States, all items over $800 are subject to import taxes, depending on the specific item value and tax rate.

How to calculate import duties from China to the United States?

To calculate import duties, you need to know the value of the items and the tax rate.

You need to obtain the commodity value and HS CODE (or product name) , and then go to the website to query the corresponding tax rate through HS CODE (or product name).

When you have the value of the item and the tax rate, import taxes include:

Duty=Value * tax rate;

MPF=Value*0.3464% (Min USD29.66, Max USD538.4.);

HMF=alue*0.125% (Applicable to sea freight only).

Do I need an import license when shipping from China to the USA?

In general, an import license is not necessary when shipping goods from China to the United States. However, certain products, due to their nature, may require specific permits, certifications, and licenses to be imported. It is essential to be aware of the regulations concerning the goods you wish to import to ensure that you comply with all relevant requirements. Proper research or consultation with a customs broker can ensure that your shipment meets all necessary regulations and avoid any potential complications with customs.

What are Incoterms, and how do they affect shipping from China to the USA?

Incoterms are international commercial terms that define the responsibilities and obligations between buyers and sellers during international trade. Understanding and selecting the appropriate Incoterm is essential when shipping from China to the USA, as it outlines the responsibilities, transportation costs, and risks throughout the shipment process.

What Our Clients Are Saying?

Your satisfaction are our utmost priority and we strive to provide professional, hassle-free, safe, secure, dependable and timely deliveries each and every time.  After had tried our service, most of them become our regular customers and they praise for our service.

Steven Rush

I am very grateful for the experience comes from CUC International Freight— it’s really the best. They are very polite and responded promptly. The also gave me a lot of professional advice. Everything is to my satisfaction every time. Now, I assign all my orders to them because I trust them.

Denver Rashid

I have been looking for a reputable logistics company in my area and I finally found one with CUC. The staff are very professional and they helped me move all my items without any damages. They delivered the container right on time as well. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for a good logistics company in USA!

Jason Klapciukas

CUC is a great forwarder company. They always offer flexible shipping solutions to us. I like LCL shipments from Chinese suppliers’ warehouse to our warehouse. They help us book vessel, pick up the goods, customs clearance, almost all tasks by them. I don’t  need to worry about my shipment. They have helped me get my business up and running in no time. Thanks CUC professional support for always.

Fred beehler

CUC is a top-notch vendor for me and my company. I can count on them 100% to get my shipments to all my trade shows on time. They are communicative and helpful for any last-minute changes that occur. I cannot say enough good things about them. I have now started using them for my customer demos after several bad experiences with a national company we use to ship our inventory shipments with!

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