shipping from china to usa
shipping from china to usa
When you’re getting started with international trade, there are certain factors that you must consider. First, you need to decide what to sell and where to source it — and for many importers, that means sourcing from China. It has a well-developed manufacturing industry, product variety, relatively low production costs, and advanced logistics.
However, identifying a manufacturer in China and placing an order is only part of the equation. You also need to figure out how you’ll ship your goods to the US. New importers may find shipping from China to be a complicated process. You have to understand all the shipping methods available to avoid costly delays and losses.
This article discusses some of the most important things you need to understand about shipping from China to the US.
Is China Still Shipping to the US?
For shippers from China to the US, the coronavirus has been profoundly disruptive, causing major delays to both manufacturing and shipping.
Production in China is essentially back to normal, but COVID-19’s impact in the US is creating a variety of other challenges including declined demand and potential delays at US ports and warehouses.
Additionally, restrictions on air travel both into and within the US have dramatically reduced air freight capacity, leaving space tight and prices volatile.
Shipping Small Packages from China
If you’re importing small goods, like a new product sample, freight shipping is overkill. It will cost you more and take you longer. You’re safer falling back on:
Mail may be the most economical shipping option for small shipments of light and small products. For example, China Post offers several mail options: Air Mail/SAL or Surface Mail for small parcels; Air Parcel, SAL or Surface Mail for large packages; and the EMS/China International Express and EUB priority systems for packages. But carefully check each option out first and then compare it with courier charges. The heavier the parcel, the more likely it is that a courier (express freight) will be cheaper. While mail will run cheap, you’re also looking at a long wait time.
Express Shipping from China to the US
Using an international courier, also known as express freight is generally more reliable and quicker than by mail, whether it’s DHL, UPS or TNT. As a rule of thumb, at about $5 per kilo, express freight is the cheapest shipping mode for packages or small shipments up to about 150 kg. But watch out, some couriers will charge an astronomical amount if you are not a registered customer.
Air Freight vs. Sea Freight: 3 Important Considerations
One of your most significant considerations as an importer is the shipping method you’ll use to transport your goods to the USA. There are two main ways to ship them — by air or by sea. There are three essential factors to think about when deciding which option to choose. These are:
#1 Product Type
The product you’re importing will largely determine whether you can ship your goods by air or by sea from China. For instance, if your cargo is too heavy and bulky, it may not be possible to ship by air due to weight and space limitations. Sea freight is ideal for large and bulky items.
Certain forbidden or restricted products cannot be transported by air. Examples include flammables such as aerosol cans, corrosives like batteries, and toxic substances such as chemicals. There are, however, no such limitations on sea freight.
On the other hand, if you are importing highly valuable products and safety is your biggest concern, you may want to consider air freight.
How soon you need your products to arrive in the USA from China is another factor that will influence your choice of shipping method. Airfreight is the obvious choice for transporting urgent cargo.
To put this in perspective, it can take as little as 3-5 days to air freight cargo from China to the USA. On the other hand, it can take anywhere from 21-30 days to ship cargo from Shanghai to the port of Los Angeles.
Another consideration is where your goods will arrive and how long it will take to transport them to your shop or warehouse. For example, when you ship your products by sea, they will arrive at a designated port in the USA. The distance between the port and your premises may add to your waiting time.
Cost is perhaps the most significant consideration of all. Without a doubt, air freight is several times more expensive than sea freight. In some cases, if you’re shipping a small consignment, it may be cheaper to use air freight over ocean freight. It will be cheaper to transport large consignments via ocean freight.
In some cases, the circumstances around the goods will influence the method you use, even when factoring in the cost. For instance, if you are desperate to ensure that your product is available to customers by Thanksgiving or Christmas, you might use air freight to save on time.