shipping from china to usa

Nowadays, China has become the world’s factory. However, there are currently no overland services that will bring goods from China to the US. International shipping surely comes with its challenges. Without the proper strategy, you might end up spending a lot of money just to ship something from China to the US. Here are some things you should know to speed up and save some money if you’re shipping from China to the USA.

How to speed up and save costs on shipping from China to the USA

Speed and costs are two of the main factors that we all look into when shipping virtually anything. We don’t want to skimp out on the cash because it might affect shipping time and the state of the shipment. However, we also don’t want to spend too much money on shipping either. Finding the right balance is important. Here are some things you can do to speed up your shipment and save costs.

1. Take note of the Chinese Holidays.

The last thing you want to happen is experiencing a delay in any of your shipments. However, as countries have different calendar holidays, you may forget to check Chinese holidays that coincide with shipping dates and other concerns. You may check the time of your shipment so that it won’t coincide with US holidays. However, you may forget that holidays from the shipment’s country of origin also affect shipment times.

Moreover, port congestion is commonly experienced during these holidays. Thus, you might want to move up your shipment date so that it won’t conflict with these days. You can also check with your supplier so you can meet any deadlines you have. Let them know if you have a deadline so they can give you an estimated date of delivery.

2. Optimize shipment.

Optimizing your shipment is key to minimizing shipment costs as much as possible. It also affects how quickly your shipment can arrive at its final destination.

Container loads

Sea freight is undoubtedly the best way to transport goods in terms of cost-effectiveness. When shipping large volumes, full container loads or FCL’s are significantly more cost-effective than other means. FCL is one full container load from a single importer. It’s currently the cheapest method to go for if you’re shipping goods from China. However, this is not ideal for shipments with cargo volumes lower than 15 to 20 cubic meters.

If that is the case, you can utilize a Less than Container Load shipment or LCL. This is an international ISO standard that refers to shipments from various consignees or importers but are grouped in one container. When shipping from China to USA, your cargo could be too heavy for Air Freight. Moreover, your cargo can also be not too heavy to qualify for an FCL shipment. Thus, LCL is your best bet.


Packaging also plays a significant role in your shipment costs and speed. Typically, companies just leave the packaging process to their suppliers. However, you can get involved in this process. Talk to your supplier about the number of items for a shipment. Moreover, you can ask for other ways to make it more efficient. Note that ocean freight doesn’t look into the cargo’s weight but more on its size. This is often called the dimensional weight. Thus, if this is your chosen shipment method, you should consider this.

air cargo

Air cargo vs sea freight

In the previous paragraphs, we have discussed Container Load shipments in ocean freight. We discussed how they are the cheapest route to go by for large volumes of shipment. However, you should also know that air cargo isn’t expensive at all. It just depends on your shipment. Shipping through air freight can indeed get expensive as the space is quite limited in airplanes compared to a cargo ship. But if your shipment is light and the priority is to have it delivered on time, then you are better off spending extra bucks for air cargo.

3. Make sure documents are ready.

It is unheard of that missing, incomplete, or erroneous paperwork may delay shipments from China to the US. Thus, you need to have all papers ready as your shipments are being transported. Some papers you need to secure are Certificate of Origins, Commercial Invoice, Bill of Lading, etc. Your International Security Filing or ISF papers should also be on file and ready for any sea freight shipments. Failure to secure an ISF will result in thousands of dollars of penalties.

If you prepare the documents beforehand, you will save yourself a lot of hassle and unnecessary expenses.

documents for shipping

How to ensure your shipment is protected from damage

Saving costs on the shipment as well as making sure it arrives on time is certainly important. However, how good is a cheap and fast shipment if it arrives with damages? Remember that a lot of factors influence the state of your shipment. From the moment it leaves the factory up to the moment it reaches your warehouse, your shipment would have come across a lot. This includes the local trucker in China, origin terminal, port terminal, customs warehouse, and a local trucker in the US.

Moreover, certain things may be out of your control. This includes weather and other natural occurrences. Both air and sea freight is dependent on good weather. If a hurricane comes along, it may delay shipments from both freight and unfortunately cause damages. These things are beyond your control. But for everything else, there are certain things you can do to ensure your shipment is safe. These are mostly things you can talk about with your supplier or wherever the shipment will come from.

1. Proper container stuffing

Most large-volume shipments end up getting shipped through sea cargoes. You will be surprised to know that 1 out of 5 shipment damage is due to water damage. This isn’t only due to water actually coming in contact with the products inside a container. Oftentimes, the condensation due to temperature changes and humidity will result in water damage. You can avoid this by making sure all containers are properly stuffed.

Moreover, choosing the right container in accordance with your overall shipment weight is also an important factor. It also depends on the products contained in your cargo. For example, electronics may need extra protection compared to fabrics or textiles.

2. Get cargo insurance.

For things that are out of your control, you can get cargo insurance to give you protection. This is important especially if your business and reputation depend on your shipments.

 3. Choose the right freight forwarding service provider.

A lot of things are at stake when choosing a freight forwarding service provider. If you choose a good one, you are leaving your shipment in good hands. Thus, it is crucial to choose the right company. You should choose a company that already has years of experience in the field. Moreover, you can always look up testimonials or reviews online to check their performance. Check the company’s website for the services that they offer. Also, make sure their customer support is always available. This way, you can get hold of them if any issue arises.

What you should know about freight forwarding services

We have discussed how important it is to choose a reliable freight forwarding service provider when shipping from China to USA. However, you might not be familiar with this service. If you are, there are still things that you should know about these companies. Keep on reading to find out more about this service.

What do freight forwarders do?

Freight forwarders essentially take care of your shipment as it is being transported from the manufacturer to you, the buyer. You essentially entrust your shipment, which includes the products within, to these companies. Once they take hold of your shipment, they take complete responsibility for them.

They take care of putting labels, using the right packaging, as well as the actual shipment of your cargo or package. Oftentimes, they do most of the paperwork for you. It’s a hassle-free way to ship anything and everything from China to the USA.

What services and solutions do freight forwarders offer?

Freight forwarding companies offer more than just forward your shipments. Here are some of the services and solutions your chosen freight forwarding service should offer. Note that these are just basic services that you may need when shipping from China to the US.

Sea freight from China to USA

Sea freight from China to USA

Forwarders usually team up with reliable carriers to bring your cargo sailing right on schedule. Furthermore, they typically utilize technology to speed up the whole shipping process. This includes digitizing information from clients to shipment vetting, as well as handling customs inspections. They also offer both FCL and LCL shipping services. Although international sea shipments can get complex, your freight forwarder should make it seamless and hassle-free for your sea freight from China to USA.

Air freight from China to USA

We all know by now how shipping through the air can get expensive. However, freight forwarding companies typically offer varying rates for your shipment. Depending on the urgency of your shipment delivery, you can choose the appropriate air freight option. Thus, if you are more flexible with delivery times, you can enjoy more savings. If your cargo is time-critical, these forwarders can also rise to the challenge of bringing your shipment on time.

Customs brokerage

International shipments are always subjected to customs duties. Thus, you need a freight forwarding company to help you optimize tariffs, duties, and other taxes. Documentations are crucial when shipping from China to the US. The company should help you comply with Customs rules and regulations to help the shipment arrive at its final destination as fast as possible.


Oftentimes, you may need warehouse services for any of your cargo shipments. You want your freight forwarding company to also have the ability to offer this service. You should expect excellent short- or long-term storage plans to accommodate your needs and requirements. Lastly, you want a warehouse or storage facility that is 24/7 secured from theft, fire, or any occurrences that will lose or damage your cargo.

Cargo insurance

It might not seem like it but insurance is a must when you’re dealing with cargo shipments. Your forwarding provider should give coverage for all types of shipment – sea, air, or land. This protects your products, reputation, as well as your profits. Unexpected circumstances may occur as your shipment is being transported. This includes theft, fire, water damage, or any damage that may occur during the shipment process. Furthermore, you want to claim on your insurance as soon as you need to.

Shipping to Amazon FBA

Fulfilled by Amazon or FBA is booming right now. If you still don’t know how it works, it’s just sending your products to Amazon warehouses. Then, once someone buys your product from Amazon, Amazon will ship it to your buyer. Most who do FBA get their products from China. What your freight forwarding company will do is to pick up your cargo directly from suppliers in China. Moreover, they will also inspect the cargo for you to make sure it’s ready for shipment. Then, they will pack and label it and ship it either by sea or air. The company will also take care of any custom concerns.

E-commerce fulfillment

If you don’t use Amazon FBA in your business, forwarding services can also help you. You can save time on getting shipments from suppliers, packing them, and shipping them to your buyers. The company can do all of these for you. With this service, you get to focus more on your actual business. No need to keep a warehouse and keep track of your inventory now and then.


International shipments can surely get complicated if you are not on top of things. When shipping from China to USA, there are some things you need to consider. This includes costs, speed, reliability, and safety. Thus, you should choose the best freight forwarding service provider to handle your shipment. This is a crucial step you will make when shipping anything from China to the US.