Costs & Methods of Shipping from China to USA in 2021

by Tim Howard
Costs & Methods of Shipping from China to USA

I’m sure the thought of importing products from China and selling them to different parts of the world has passed by most businessmen’s minds around the world. Even though it is not too difficult to find trusted suppliers on Alibaba and Aliexpress, A lot of people give up on the idea of doing this business plan. Because they are unsure of the methods and charges for shipping items from China to the USA.

More than half of the product distributors and suppliers aren’t experts in the different shipping methods available in China so there is a high probability of being overcharged on shipping costs or they would tend to suggest their own freight forwarder to pick up cargo from the port of china or their manufacturing warehouse. 

If you’re new to importing from China, I’ve put together some of my personal views and points that can help you go about dealing with suppliers. I have put together shipping information and charges of the different methods so you can decide if the product is worth shipping to the United States. 

Related : List of Shipping Companies in China

Costs & Methods of Shipping from China to USA

Express Shipping & Costs from China to USA Costs

Costs & Methods of Shipping from China to USA

You can find ample amounts of information online regarding the different Express delivery companies like DHL, FedEx, and UPS. who will provide excellent service but can be pricey compared to the other options I’m going to show you. The two things you need to understand first. When is it most beneficial for you and your business to choose express and what are the types of goods that can be shipped via express.

How to know which Express Company is Better?

Express is a stress-free mode of delivery compared to air freight or by cargo ship and also the fastest and efficient when shipping from China to the States. 

  • No Issues with the customs clearance process. 
  • Wherever the shipping address in the US, be it in the west or the east, the delivery fees will most likely be the same. 

So, the only thing you would have to do is search for an express delivery company that provides good and affordable quotes, choose the best offer and wait for your product to be delivered. 

It is as easy as that!

It is a good option to have product samples and a small amount of high-value goods like jewelry and precious stones shipped by express for the best security and delivery time frame. 

This is an excellent option for online sellers to restock their inventory, great for sellers from amazon. 

UPS and FedEx are my recommendations for a reliable and affordable shipping experience from china. DHL offers a higher price and their costumes clearance process is slower than UPS and FedEx. 

The shipping cost for FedEx and UPS can be provided by your Alibaba supplier or your freight forwarder to provide you the exact price so you can have the liberty of choosing the one which is convenient for you.

What are the Express Shipping costs from China to USA?

FedEx UPS and DHL prices are generally higher. So keep in mind every Express company offers discounts based on the annual shipment of the shipper which can influence the overall price of your delivery. 

If the supplier you are getting your product from does not use FedEx to ship goods from China to the US he can find an Express agent with a discount and ask the agent to ship the goods to your location for a lower shipping cost. 

Let’s take FedEx delivery price estimates as an example, Even though the price might jump around the prices that FedEx offers fluctuates in and around a specific range so you can get an estimated idea of how much it would cost for your shipping. 

FedEx offers IP (International Priority) and IE (International Economy) 

FedEx International Priority deliveries within two to three days of getting the packages. 

FedEx International Economy takes four to six days.

FedEx IP (<21KG)

1-5KGCost $6-11KGCost $12-16KGCost $17-20KGCost $
13161031217517248
24471161318918261
35781301420220274
470914315
5841015616

1kg≈2.2lb

FedEx IE (<21KG)

0.5-5.5KGCost $6-11KGCost $11.5-16.5KGCost $17-20.5KGCost $
1296.5771212717.5167
2437.5871313618.5175
3538.5971414420186
4619.510715152__
57010.511516155__

1kg≈2.2lb

As you see IE is more affordable than IP so planning for your shipment can save big on your wallet when shipping. 

This is one of the best methods of shipping out of China with minimal risk and hassle. 

Related : Aliexpress Customs – A complete guide

Air Freight Shipping & Costs from China to USA

Both express and air freight use planes as the means to ship the cargo, the main difference between these two methods of shipping is that express delivery is quite simple and straightforward but freight delivery is a bit more complex and its import and export procedures are similar to traditional sea freight shipping. 

Shipping using Air Freight is more convenient if you have a cargo of more than 500 kgs and are looking to bring it to the United States for a good lower price. 

The cargo first goes through the local logistics in China and export process once done it is air-shipped from China airport to USA airport where your cargo will be handed over to the local American logistics and then goes through the import process after which your cargo will be out for delivery. 

Airfreight costs per kg

More than 500kg and the all-included price by air freight is around $5.5/kg. This price doesn’t include the local logistics cost in China (From the China factory to China airport).

  • Shipping time for air freight = Time taken to book shipping space + confirming flight timing + checking local delivery time in the USA. it usually takes 4-7 days in total.

So If you have a large product order to be delivered from your supplier in China which is over 500 kilos and you need the delivery in 4-6 days Air Freight should be your first option. 

Sea Freight Shipping & Costs from China to USA

Sea freight is one of the most tedious and complex shipping methods for getting your goods delivered from China. But I will take you through the process to make it clear in easy for you to understand how this basically works.

If your product order exceeds 2CBM (2,000KG) It is your best option of Shipping to the states. Your goods will be put into a cargo container and depending on the CBM of your goods, it will get allocated to a container. 

There are two types of containers.

LCL (Less Than Container Load) – If the quantity of your goods is small and its volume is less than 16CBM, the freight forwarder will help you ship your goods by LCL. This, basically, means you will have to share container space with another importer because of the small size of your goods. 

FCL (Full Container Load) – FCL is provided when your cargo quantity is big enough to fill one whole container. Where you will be charged for the whole container rather than just CBM.

Generally, it will be cheaper than LCL freight.

When using Sea Freight what is included in the shipping cost

The fares for the sea freight shipping change in real-time and are determined by the shipping company. If you know the specific port you can directly ask the shipping company so they can offer you a real-time quotation. The below table will give you a small idea of the current costs of container shipping rates.

USA3-5CBM5-10CBM10 CBM+20”GP   40”HQ
US West ($)31024018037004200
Cen.am ($)340290240__
US East ($)370320260_

So, how do you calculate freight rates?

Here is an example: you want to purchase 400 beer mugs from China, and the size of the red bug with the package is 20cm x 24m x 20cm, which you want to ship to LA (western United States).

The total CBMs for the 400 PCS will be:

400 x20cm x24cm x20cm/106 =3.8CBM

So, the total shipping cost will be $310*3.8CBM=$1,178.

Then, the average shipping cost of a beer mug will be:

Total shipping cost/400 units=$1,178/400=$2.94

As you’ve seen the above methods, you have come to understand that depending on your goods and the weight you can decide your method of shipping. Note: Always check for discounts with your supplier.

Less than 500 kilos – Express is the best method with two options of IP and IE.

Less than 1000 kilos – Air freight shipping, make sure to check with agents for the best timing for shipping and discounts. 

More than 2000 kilos (2CBM)- Sea Freight

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