How Long Does It Take To Ship From China To The US?

How Long Does It Take To Ship From China To The US

For people who are engaged in international trade, when it comes to shipping from China to the US, the transit time and freight cost are their two most significant concerns.

How long does it take to ship from China to the United States?

The amount of time it takes to ship a product from China and the United States will depend on which shipping mode you are using and the exact route the ship will take and the speed of the ship if you are using a ship. Usually, these journeys take between two weeks and a month to complete. 

In addition to how long it takes to cross the ocean physically, customs, handling, and other processes can also affect the amount of time it takes to ship goods from China to the U.S.A. It can take up to 33 days to prepare a shipment for transit, and once the ship arrives lands in the US, it can take up to six days before the cargo is released.

If you are a trader shipping from China to the US, there are many options you can choose from. The shipping options that are best for you depends on the urgency, preference, and cost. Once your preferences are, the freight forwarder will set the shipping into motion.

In this article, we are going to give you a comprehensive guide on the cost of shipping, and choosing the freight forwarding services from China to the United States. After reading this guide, you would have known everything you need to know about shipping from China to US.

What Is The Cheapest Shipping Method From China To The U.S.A?

Most of the time, the most important freight factor to consider when shipping from China to the United States of America is the shipping cost. Continue reading to know everything you need to know about the cost.

When You Are Shipping Small Packages

If the good you are importing is small, for example if you are sending a product sample, using freight shipping for this is not a wise decision. It is more expensive, and it will take a very long time to get there. The best options for small goods are:

Regular Post

The cheapest option for shipping small and light products ismail. For example, China post has different options: Surface Mail or Air Mail/SAL for small products; SAL, Air Parcel, or Surface Mail for products that are large; and EUB Priority systems and the EMS or China International Express for packages.

Make sure you carefully do your research about each option and compare it with courier charges before you decide. The weightier the product, the more possible it is that the express freight will cost less. While mail is cheap, the long time it will take is also something to consider.

Using Express Shipping

A quicker and more reliable method than mail is an international courier. This is popularly known as express shipping. Whether it is UPS, TNT, or DHL. This shipping mode charges about $5 per kg, which makes it the most affordable mode for small shipments and packages that weigh up to 150kg.

However, if you are not registered with them, some couriers will charge you an astronomical amount.

Freight Shipments Costs

Air Freight from China

Costing approximately $3 per kilo, the most affordable shipment option is the standard air freight. It is the best option for items that weigh between150kg and 500kg. Shipments that are very light may be charged on dimensional weight instead of actual weight.

Air freight is the fastest shipment method, although express air freight costs more. Freight rates also vary widely between the forwarders, and prices also change regularly, so make sure you compare.

For larger sizes and pairs, Less than container load, commonly referred to as LCL, andocean freight might be your cheapest option, so don’t forget tocheck that out.

Shipping from China by sea

If your package weighs over 500kg, ocean freight is the most affordable mode of shipping. Ocean freight offers excellent economies of scale. Some companies have started offering a premium service, usually called expedited freight, which costs more than the usual ocean freight.

Ocean freight’s rates, just like air freight rates, freight forwarders don’t charge the same the rate, so shop around.

How Air Freight Is Cheaper Than Ocean Freight

Both air freight and ocean freight have their combination of variable and base costs. The one that has a lower base cost is a cheaper option for shipping small packages, while the one with the lower variable cost is perfect for hipping larger packages, even if their base cost is high.

Shipping Lead Times

When you’re shipping from china, the cost of missing sales is sometimes more important than the freight cost. For regular posts, rules of thumb for lead times are 1-2 weeks, while that of express freight is three days. Also, the rule of thumb for air freight is 8-10 days and 30-40 days for ocean freight.

Regular Post

Shipping from china by surface can take a very long time. China post offers faster, cheaper options in airmail and express mail services and these will likely take between 1 and 2 weeks.

If something does not look right with the paperwork, US customs will deprioritize the release of the parcel. So, to increase your chances of your regular post taking just one week, check to make sure the supplier gets the paperwork right before sending it.

Express Shipping Options

When shipping from China to the US by international courier, wait for three days. That includes picking the package up from the Chinese supplier, unless the supplier has dropped it at their depot. If the package needs to reach the US urgently, there are more expensive services that can deliver overnight.

Air Freight Shipping Time From China To US

Standard air freight between these two countries usually takes between 8 and10 days. This does not mean planes are slow; it is because the procedures of air freight are more complicated than that of express freight. Express air freight shaves off about three days off the time standard air freight transit takes to ship.

Ocean Freight Shipping Time

Ocean freight has the longest shipping time at about thirty to forty days for a doorstep shipment from Chine to the US. That’s because planes move much faster than ships. Beyond extra preparation that is mandatory, ocean liners now move slower because they want to save fuel.

For example, US customs mandates importers that are using a single entry bond and shipping through ocean freight, to also use an ISF bond. Also, port congestions, lousy weather, port congestion conditions affect ocean freight more than they affect air freight.

Ocean shipping’s frequent delay has reduced and it has become a lot more dependable, that electronic companies have started shipping by the ocean.

Factors That Significantly Affects Shipping Time And Cost For Every Transportation Method

When there potential factors such as festivals in China or U.S.A, it will change the time and logistics dramatically.

Major festivals in China, such as the Chinese New Year, National Holiday/Oct 1, and Labor Day) usually bring about long vacation periods, so cargo shipments are typically fully-booked in the days before. Due to this, shipment cost increases because of the strong demand.

During the Chinese holidays, the best thing to do is to arrange all your cargo shipment before the celebrations start. If you don’t do this, you will likely get a massive headache from worrying about the delay in shipment.

The country you are shipping to and shipping from can also affect the time it would take your package to ship from China to the United States of America.

How Long Sea Freight Shipping Takes From China To U.S.A

Hong Kong to Los Angeles, USA— 20 days

Xiamen to Houston, USA will take 37 days

Qingdao to Miami, USA takes 35 days

Hong Kong to New York, USA takes 32 days

Xiamen to Oakland, USA takes 20 days

Xiamen to Seattle, USA will take 19 days

Xiamen to Houston, USA takes 37 days

Courier Average Shipping Time From China To US

Couriers shave off two or three from the number of days air shipping from China to US would usually take. These courier services are best used for smaller cargo that needs to be delivered urgently.

The list below states the averages of couriers’ shipping time between China and the United States

EMS takes 15.7 days

DHL will take 3.5days

Ali Express Standard Shipping will take 20.6 days

FedEx takes up to 4.6 days

DHL ECommercetakes up to 19.7 days

UPS takes 5 days

Mail Americas takes 13.4 days

The fastest shipping time from China to the United States of couriers ranges between two and five business days for their premium services. Their lower-priced services will take up to 5 days or even more.

Bottom Line

If you are looking to start a business that requires you to ship from China to the US or order from China to US, these are facts that you need to know before you venture into the business.

After reading this guide, you should have known everything you need to know about shipping time, cost, and the best option for you. Now, you are ready to start your business. Always remember to compare prices of different services before you make your decision.

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