Shipping From China to USA Guide 2021

Categories: UncategorizedPublished On: March 19th, 20210 Comments

Are you looking to import good products from China and sell them to different market places in US? shipping from China to USA?
If yes, you must read this article.
This article helps you understand the estimated cost for using 5 main shipping solutions from China to US. Thus you can do the math by yourself, to decide if a product is worthy to import, or which shipping solution is most cost-effective. (NOTE: The shipping cost for each shipping method is not fixed. The article only provides you with a reference range of shipping price based on my industry experience.)

There are currently the following logistics methods on the market:

  1. Express Shipping from China to US
  2. Air Freight from China to USA
  3. Sea Freight from China to USA
  4. Door to Door(You don’t have to pay duty)
  5. Private lines

Express Shipping from China to US

At present, there are mainly FEDEX, UPS, DHL, in the market.
Express has the following characteristics:

  • Quick delivery(usually only 6-8 days)
  • High express cost
  • Convenient(you need not do any other thing)

When is it suitable for use?

  • Time requirements are very high.
  • Important document
  • When the quantity of products is not a lot

How to choose? Which Express Company is Better?

You need to consider these three factors:

1.What is your product?

First of all, you need to determine what product you want to send.
If your product is an electronic product, or a special product(Liquids, powders, cosmetics),
The express company will probably tell you it can’t be sent. Therefore, when your product is very special, you need to determine which company can send it first. Then compare prices and timeliness.
Generally speaking, shipping costs for special products are more expensive.
and They are sent to the United States through Hong Kong, so it may take a long time to ship from shanghai.(usually, DHL and FEDEX can ship it)

2.The number of your goods?

First of all, I recommend UPS and FEDEX,
Sometimes DHL will ask you to pay additional duties, and DHL’s customs clearance process is slower than that of FedEx and UPS.
Furthermore, sometimes DHL’s shipping cost from China to the US is also relatively higher.
so I do not like it.
As for the shipping cost of FedEx and UPS, you have to ask your supplier or your freight forwarder to provide you with a real-time price according to the quantity of your goods, then choose a cheaper one.

air freight to us

Express Shipping Costs from China to USA

The following points are the main factors that affect the price:

  • The discount rate the agent gets
  • Off-season or peak season
  • The amount of empty space left in plane
  • Dimensional Weight VS Real Weight

Please keep in mind that if you are not a cooperating customer of these courier companies, the shipping fee is very expensive.
The best way is to contact the freight agents in the market, usually speaking their prices are cheaper.
The difference in the agents’ discount also influences the cost of express delivery. So before sending the goods, it is necessary to know more about the prices of several agents.This can avoid paying unnecessary fees.
Expenses are usually lower in the off-season and higher in the second half of the year because of Christmas and Thanksgiving.
FedEx offers International Priority and International Economy delivery, also known as IP and IE. Transit time for IP is faster than IE. In general, IP takes 4-5 working days, and IE takes 7-8 working days.IP ship fee is more expensive than IE.
If your goods are relatively bulky but the actual weight is very light, then the price will be calculated according to the volume;
Here’s the formula to calculate it:
Dimensional Weight = Length(cm) x Width(cm) x Height(cm)/5000.
About the customs duties, US Customs imposes tariffs on all imported goods valued at $800 or more. Values below $800 are tax-free.more about tax you can check U.S. Customs and Border Protection site

Air Freight from China to the USA

The following is the main difference between air freight and express:

  • Usually, the factory needs to deliver the goods to the Freight agent’s warehouse
  • Air shipping from Chinese airport to American airport.
  • You need to contact the local customs clearance company for customs clearance and let them ship to your address

When can you consider using air transport?

The weight of the cargo is over 300kg
The time requirements are very high.
Goods of high value and lightweight

What is All-Included Air Freight Cost to US

As stated earlier, the shipping process for air freight includes 3 main steps:

  1. The supplier ship to the freight agent’s warehouse
  2. Air shipping from Chinese airport to American airport.(
  3. Local logistics in the USA and import process.

The cost of air freight at different times, the price is different. It is the same as express. It is recommended that you try to contact several freight forwarders to compare prices.
Similar to Express, air freight has its own calculation formula that you can use to calculate the charged weight of the air freight.
But, the dimensional formula of air freight is slightly different than this:
Dimensional Weight = Length (cm) x Width (cm) x Height (cm)/6000

shipping from china to usa
Sea Freight from China to the USA

The sea freight include Less Than Container Load (LCL) and Full Container Load (FCL)
(Usually suitable for multinational import companies, generally the quantity of goods is large)

What is FCL?

FCL is when your cargo quantity is large enough, and you can fill one or more containers.
In this case, FCL freight is calculated on the basis of the whole container.
Generally, it will be cheaper than LCL freight.
Furthermore, the container model is mainly divided into three types:





If the quantity of your goods is small and its volume is less than 15CBM, the freight forwarder will help you ship your goods by LCL.
It implies you have to share a container with other importers because your cargo load is less than a container.
LCL uses CBM (Cubic Meter) as the unit to calculate the freight.

difference between lcl and fcl
What is Sea Freight Cost to US?

This part of the cost mainly includes 2 parts of the cost:
(Please note that different transaction methods have different fee calculation methods, FOB calculation is used here)

  1. Container shipping charges(China to US)
  2. US port customs clearance
  3. Local logistics cost in the USA

Container shipping charges(China to US)

The cost from China to the different American ports varies a lot. and prices are different at different times.
If you want to know the specific cost to your port, you can directly ask our customer representative. we can help you with contacting the shipping company and offering you a real-time quotation.
and you can check the price on this site (The price on the website is a reference)
If you is LCL, the fee is according to volume, You need to know the volume of the cargo
then ask our customer representative.

If you on an EXW basis, your supplier will not help you ship the goods to the port of shipment.
so you need to add Local logistics cost in China and China export cost

shipping to china cost

Door to Door

This is a smart and cost-effective shipping solution,Usually suitable for e-commerce sellers(Many Amazon sellers use this method) Its fast shipping time and efficient customs clearance.
The logistics company will solve all logistics matters, without you need to operate complicated tasks.

There are mainly two ways:

  • Sea Freight+UPS or FEDEX Domestic delivery(30-45 days)
  • Air Freight+UPS or FEDEX Domestic delivery(10-16 days)
  • The main difference between the two is timeliness and price

Below is the workflow:

  1. The logistics company takes the goods from our warehouse.
  2. Use sea or air freight to the U.S.
  3. U.S. port customs clearance, delivery to U.S. freight forwarding warehouse
  4. Contact UPS or FEDEX to dispatch to the Amazon FBA warehouse

Its disadvantage is that there is no tax refund

Shipping from China- to Amazon FBA
Private lines

There are many people who have heard about ePacket or China Postal Parcel and believe these two are one type of cheapest shipping solution for sending from China to US.
but Epacket and China Postal Parcel is very slow, usually need more than 30 days, Especially in 2020 COVID-19, deliveries will be much longer than before, and it is very likely that items will be lost. Therefore I do not recommend it.
If you do dropshipping business, The best option is to use Private lines, it is only 6-15 days, and the cost is not high. (The premise is to find a good partner)

Below is its workflow:

  1. Print out the USPS label and attach it to the package.
  2. The freight forwarder picks up the goods from our warehouse
  3. Uniform ship to the US warehouse
  4. Contact USPS for delivery
  5. Private lines are similarly with door to door, it is Very suitable for e-commerce sellers

Over to you:

Hope you got lots of valuable information and inspiration on more strategies for reducing shipping costs through this article and choosing the suitable shipping method for your goods.

And I was able to resolve your confusion surrounding the topic.

However, if you are still confused and have any queries just let me know by leaving a quick comment below.

I’ll make sure all your questions are answered.

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