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A Complete Guide To Shipping From China (2022 Update)

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Express Shipping from China to the US

You can find plenty of information on Google about Express companies like FedEx, UPS, and DHL. So I am not going to waste your time reading top Express couriers again here. Instead, I’ll answer the two more important questions directly:

  • When is it more cost-effective to choose express?
  • What type of goods can be transported via express?

Which Express Company Is Better?

Compared with sea or air freight, express is the easiest and fastest transportation method from China to the US.

You won’t have to bother about the custom clearances process. And whether you are getting the goods delivered to the east or the west of the United States, delivery fees will likely be the same. All you have to do is to find an express company that gives you a reasonable quote and waits for the goods to be delivered to your address.

About 95% of the product samples and high-value goods in small quantities are shipped by express. Besides, if you are online sellers who are in a hurry to restock, like Amazon sellers, express is highly suitable to you.

FedEx, UPS, DHL, which is the most reliable and cost-effective one for shipping from China? I recommend FedEx and UPS. Because generally, DHL’s customs clearance process is slower than that of FedEx and UPS and sometimes DHL’s shipping cost is also relatively higher.

FedEx VS UPS VS DHL

Express Shipping Costs from China to the USA

Whether FedEx, UPS, or DHL, the official price is generally higher, because these express companies give their agents (your supplier, or freight forwarder) different discounts based on the annual shipments of each agent, usually 20% – 50% off, which further influences the prices.

If your Chinese supplier doesn’t often use FedEx to ship goods from China to the US, he can find an express agent with a discount and ask him to ship the goods to the United States. So, you’ll get a lower shipping cost.

Except for the different discounts of each agent, the impact of season, the amount of empty space left in the plane, etc., will also influence the cost of express delivery. For example, the price can quickly escalate during the high season, like a month before Christmas and Thanksgiving, and drop significantly during the low season.

So the shipping cost is quite unstable and may even change every week. You have to ask your supplier or freight forwarder to provide you with a real-time price, then choose a cheaper one.

FedEx IP & IE

Although the delivery charges often change, the prices of FedEx are still within a specific range. Using the reference price I provided and considering the other influencing factors above, you can easily estimate the cost of delivery to your address.

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 2-3 working days, and IE takes 4-6 working days, as the picture below shows.

Then let’s have a look at the estimated shipping rates for smalle packages below 20kg and cargo above 21kg.

 

Fedex IP (<21KG)

0.5-5.5KG Cost $ 6-11KG Cost $ 11.5-16.5KG Cost $ 17-20.5KG Cost $
0.5 25 6 97 11.5 169 17 241
1 31 6.5 103 12 175 17.5 248
1.5 38 7 110 12.5 182 18 254
2 44 7.5 116 13 189 18.5 261
2.5 51 8 123 13.5 195 19 267
3 57 8.5 130 14 202 20 274
3.5 64 9 136 14.5 208 20.5 280
4 70 9.5 143 15 215 _ _
4.5 77 10 149 15.5 221 _ _
5 84 10.5 156 16 228 _ _
5.5 90 11 162 16.5 234 _ _

1kg≈2.2lb

 

Fedex IE (<21KG)

 

 

Cargo (>21KG)

Caego Weight Fedex IP Fedex IE
21KG-70KG $7-$7.5 $6.5-$6.7
>70KG $6.3-$7 $6-$6.5

 

Note: Prices fluctuate too frequently during the pandemic. Please email us to get real-time shipping rates.

The tables above clearly show that IP delivery is more expensive than IE. Generally, Fedex IP is the best choice for sending product samples. However, if it is CARGO >21KG, I suggest you choose Fedex IE.

In addition, please note that the goods containing lithium batteries, powder and liquid are not allowed to be shipped by official Fedex. If you really want to ship these products by express, you have to find some express agents to ship the goods to Hong Kong first, and then ship them to the United States by Fedex or DHL of Hong Kong. Of course, the cost for shipping such sensitive goods is more expensive, usually around $10/kg or more.

Dimensional Weight VS Real Weight

To express, you should pay special attention to the charged weight. The express company will compare the dimensional weight with the real weight, and choose whichever is larger as charged weight to calculate the shipping cost. Dimensional weight is calculated by volume, which is Length(cm) x Width(cm) x Height(cm)/5000.

Now if you are going to ship a huge foam that is 100cm x100cm x 100cm, and weighs 20kg.

Dimensional weight = 100cm x 100cm x 100cm/5000 = 200kg. It is far larger than the real weight (20kg).

Therefore, the express will charge you 200kg, rather than 20kg, because the size of the package is large and will take up a lot of space.

dimensional weight

As for customs duties, if the value of goods is less than $800, it is duty-free by FedEx. If more than $800, the courier company will pay for you first, then you pay it to the courier when you receive the goods.

One last thing, if you ask your supplier to help you ship goods by FedEx, it’s better to pay the fee to your supplier in advance. Even if you have a FedEx account in the United States, you should not pay the freight until you sign for it, because it will be very expensive.

Air Freight from China to the USA

Both air freight and express use planes to ship cargo. If you are wondering about the differences between the two and when to choose express or air freight, please read on.

The Differences between Air Freight and Express

Express delivery is quite simple and straight-forward,  while air freight is a bit more complex and its import and export procedures are similar to traditional sea freight. It includes the following three steps:

  • Local logistics in China and export process.
  • Air shipping from Chinese airport to American airport.
  • Local logistics in USA and import process.
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Usually, if your cargo is more than 500kg, air freight is cost-effective. While if your cargo is below 300kg, express shipping will be a better choice. But what if the cargo is between 300-500kg?

At this time, it’s impossible to exactly say which one is cheaper, because the prices of both are always changing in real-time. For example, FedEx is cheaper than air freight if the plane of FedEx has a lot of empty space left or when there are irregular discounts.

What Is All-Included Air Freight Cost to the US?

When you are going to ship by air, whether you are planning to consult a freight forwarder or are dealing with an Alibaba supplier, it’s essential to ask for the price of the whole shipping process, i.e. the all-included price. It covers the cost of shipping from the China airport to your door.

air freight process

Pay attention, it’s important to decide beforehand whether you want to ship your goods to the airport of your country or directly to your door.

Sometimes, freight forwarders or suppliers only quote you the price of shipping from the China airport to the destination airport in order to attract you. Such price seems low but it does not include customs clearance costs and domestic land costs, which you need to pay extra.

Air Freight Costs per Kg for Your Reference

More than 500kg and the air freight all-included price is around $5.5/kg, while the express price is $6.5/kg, so you can have an intuitive comparison. But this price I gave you doesn’t include the cost from a Chinese factory to a China airport.

Shipping time for air freight =Time required for booking shipping space+flight time+Local delivery time in the USA. It usually takes 4-7 days in total.

The Cost Breakdown of Air Freight

If you are a newbie, you can just keep in mind the shipping costs mentioned above and seek help from your Chinese supplier or freight forwarder. However, you may carry out the shipping process on your own, then the next will surely interest you.

Firstly, the charged weight of air freight is also calculated by real weight or by volume, just similarly to Express. But air freight has its own formula to calculate its Dimensional Weight, which is: Length (cm) x Width (cm) x Height (cm)/6000, slightly different from Express.

Furthermore, if you’re shipping your goods yourself, you should know the cost of each part of the air freight, as it’s not just an all-included price.

Shipping Cost under FOB Term

Usually, while buying wholesale from Alibaba, most of the suppliers will quote you FOB price.

FOB price on Alibaba

This means, your Chinese supplier is responsible for the transportation cost from a Chinese factory to the Chinese airport and Chinese export costs, while you are responsible for:

  • The cost from China airport to an American airport.
  • The cost from American airport to your door.

Thus, by FOB, Shipping cost (FOB) = Cost for air shipping from Chinese airport to American airport + American customs clearance cost+ Local logistics cost in the USA

For the accurate cost of American customs clearance and local logistics in the USA, you’d better ask your local freight forwarder. Additionally, the type of cargo and the destination airport will make a great variation in the cost.

FOB VS EXW

Shipping Cost under EXW Term

But when you get EXW price from your supplier, it means that the supplier won’t offer any shipping and exporting service. That is, you’ll be responsible for the whole transportation cost:

  • from the Chinese factory to a Chinese airport
  • from China airport to an American airport.
  • from American airport to your door.

So, by EXW, Shipping cost = Local logistics cost in China + China export cost + Cost for air shipping from Chinese airport to American airport + American customs clearance cost + Local logistics cost in the USA

As you can see, the shipping costs consist of several parts, the price of air freight is not fixed, and you have to consult some of the costs by yourself, which makes your estimation very complicated. As a leading sourcing company in China, we can help you source and ship goods to the US and help you calculate your shipping cost.

Sea Freight from China to the USA

If your goods exceed 2 CBM (Cubic Meters), you should consider sea freight. Though it is the most complex shipping method, you don’t need to worry as this guide will make the process simple and clear for you.

Less Than Container Load (LCL) and Full Container Load (FCL)

The cargo shipped by sea freight is carried in containers. There are two types, LCL and FLC.

If the quantity of your goods is small and its volume is less than 15 CBM, 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 size.

LCL uses CBM (Cubic Meter) as the unit to calculate the freight. For example, if your product is 12 CBM, then the shipping fee = the price per CBM * 12CBM.

FCL is when your cargo is enough to fill one or more containers. In this case, the freight is calculated on the quantity of the whole container. For example, if your goods can fill 2 containers, then the shipping fee = the price of a full container * 2. Generally, it will be cheaper than LCL.

Furthermore, the container model is mainly divided into three types:

 

 

What Is All-Included Sea Freight Cost to the US?

Just like air freight, I will also provide you with an all-included price so you can compare the prices and roughly calculate the shipping cost. This cost includes the delivery to your door but excludes the local logistics cost in China.

For bulk cargo, i.e. LCL, I’ll provide the price to the western, central, and eastern United States. However, for the FCL price, I can only provide the cost to the Los Angeles port, because the cost to different American ports varies a lot. And, there are more than 100 ports in the US. The table below will give you an overview of container freight rates based on cargo CBM.

 

 

Note: Sea freight rates change frequently during the pandemic. Please directly email us to get the real-time quotation.

Then how can you calculate the rough shipping cost by this chart and better estimate the profit of your products? Here is a real-life example.

Now you want to purchase 400 red wine glasses from China to Los Angeles (western United States), and the size of the red wine cup with the package is 19cm x 23cm x 19cm.

See also  Sea freight from China VS Air freight from China

The total CBMs for the 400 PCS will be: 400 x19cm x23cm x19cm/1,000,000=3.3CBM

According to the chart above, the freight rate should be $310 per CBM.

So, the total shipping cost will be $310*3.3CBM=$1,023.

Then, the average shipping cost of a wine glass will be:

Total shipping cost/400 units=$1023/400=$2.56

The Cost Breakdown Of Sea Freight

Again, I will explain the composition of sea freight under FOB and EXW terms, as they are the most common. Nearly 90% of the trade is done under these two terms. Take Alibaba for example, suppliers on it usually offer you FOB and EXW prices.

The FOB price includes the cost of the product and the local cost in China, so your supplier will help you ship your goods directly to the port of shipment. After that, the part of sea freight you need to pay will be:

Shipping cost=Cost for sea freight from a Chinese port to America port +American customs clearance cost + Local logistics cost in the USA

The EXW price is just the product cost, which means your supplier won’t help you ship the goods to the port of the shipment. In this case, the part of sea freight you need to pay will be:

Shipping cost = Local logistics cost in China + China export cost + Cost for sea freight from a Chinese port to America port +American customs clearance cost + Local logistics cost in the USA

To explain everything about the price in the sea freight process, I’ll divide the sea freight process into three steps and show the cost of each step.

Cost in China

It includes the cost of shipping your goods to the port of shipment and the China export cost.

If it is bulk cargo (Goods quantity is less than container load), the price from the factory to the Chinese port will generally be around $10 -$30/CBM, depending on the distance from the factory to the port, and the volume of the goods. The smaller the volume is, the more expensive the price will be.

China export cost includes booking costs, export operating costs, and customs documents costs. It is generally around $100-$300: $100-$200 for LCL (bulk cargo, less than one container), while about $300 for FCL (Full container load).

So, if you have 5CBM bulk goods, the cost in China will be: ($10-$30) x 5CBM+($100-$200) ≈ $150-$350

Cost of Ocean Freight

It is the cost from a Chinese port to an American port. The ocean freight is quoted by the shipping company, and the price is not fixed. Just like the price of an air ticket, you are likely to get a 50-60% discount if there are still lots of seats left. However, in high season, the tickets will be quite expensive, maybe full price.

Also, the prices from China to different ports in the eastern, central, and western United States are different. As there are more than 100 ports in the US, it’ll be difficult to give all the prices. So I list the prices of Los Angeles and New York for your reference. But remember, the actual cost depends on the real-time quotation.

 

(Note: Regular rates for your reference. Please email us to get the real-time prices. )

Cost in the Local US

It includes US customs clearance, customs duties, and local logistics costs in the US. For this cost, you’d better consult an American customs clearance company or a local freight forwarder. It will be much simpler and more efficient.

A smart and cost-effective shipping solution (SFUC & AFUC )

SFUC—Sea Freight UPS Combined

Generally, the shipping time for sea freight is about 30-45 days. Besides the shipping time on the sea, the local logistics in the USA are also quite slow. There is a faster and more cost-effective way than traditional sea freight and I prefer to call it Sea Freight UPS Combined– –SFUC. But actually, not all freight forwarders provide this service and there is no unified English name for it.

First, Chinese freight forwarders will help you ship the goods to the nearest port to you by traditional sea freight. Then, UPS is responsible for the local logistics in the US. It means transporting goods to your address as soon as the goods arrive at the port. This will save you at least 10 days.

SFUC is one of the main methods to directly ship from China to Amazon FBA because of its fast shipping time and efficient customs clearance.

As for the price, it is shown in the chart below. For some goods with high taxes, like textiles, hardware, and accessories, some freight forwarders will charge you an additional fee, i.e. $0.3-$0.4 per kg.

USA 100KG+ 300KG+ 500KG+ 1000KG+
US West ($) $1.5
Cen.am ($) $1.6
US East ($) $1.8

Please note that the shipping cost of SFUC is charged by kg, not by CBM or container like traditional sea freight. Because after arriving at the port of the US, unlike traditional sea freight that uses trucks to deliver goods, UPS is responsible for the delivery, while the express is calculated according to kg.

AFUC—Air Freight UPS Combined

Air Freight UPS Combined means that your goods are first delivered by air freight and then UPS is responsible for the local delivery within the United States. It is cheaper than Express but won’t take much longer than the express. Express takes 3-5 working days, air freight takes 4-7, and AFUC takes 11-15.

For the price, you can refer to the table below and contact us to get a real-time quotation.

 

 

Though AFUC is not a mainstream shipping method, if there is an urgent replenishment for Amazon FBA or other e-commerce platforms, AFUC can be considered as it’s more cost-effective than express and faster than sea freight.

How Much Does ePacket or Postal Parcel Cost? What Item Is Suitable?

Many people have heard about ePacket or China Postal Parcel, and believe they are the cheapest shipping solution for sending from China to the US. But very few people on the internet have introduced the rough cost for using these methods, and how to use them.

Actually, these two methods are only useful for people who do dropshipping business, because they are cheap but very slow, and only suitable for very small packages.

Shipping Cost from China to the USA by Epacket

When you want to ship a small package that is around 2kg weight, it will cost you $45 to send by FedEx IP. To reduce the cost, ePacket is a better choice, which is an economical International express service of China Postal Express & logistics.

See also  Shipping from China to the USA: Ways to Save Time and Money

If you have shopped on eBay or Aliexpress, you will know that many Chinese sellers send their cheap Chinese products directly to your doorsteps via ePacket. Now let’s discuss the ePacket delivery costs from China to the United States.

 

From China to USA
Fixed Fee /package $2.17
Charge/weight (g) $0.009
Starting Weight 50g
Weight Limit 2000g

 

For example, one lipstick with package is 120g, then the total cost is:

$2.17 (Fixed Fee/package) + $0.009 x 120g = $3.25.

If it’s a very small-light item, like a marking pen, which weighs around 35g, then the shipping cost is:

$2.17 + $0.009 x 50g= $2.62.

That is to say, anything less than 50g should still be charged on 50g.

In addition, please pay special attention to the size of the package:

Maximum size: Length + Width +Height <90cm,The longest side ≤ 60cm。If it’s round roll shape, its diameter x 2 + Length ≤ 104cm,and its length ≤ 90cm.

Minimum size: The length ≥14cm,the width ≥11cm。If it’s cylinder shape, its diameter x 2 + Length ≥17cm,and its length ≥ 11cm.

For shipping time, it usually takes you about 8-14 days to receive a package in the US. But in exceptional cases, you may receive nothing after 1-2 months.

ePacket clearance is quick because the goods go through customs in bulk and usually leave the port within 1-2 days. But during the busy seasons, many packages will be stranded at the airport for a long time. In this case, the shipping time will accelerate and may be delayed by 1-2 months. So, the shipping time of the ePacket is very unstable.

Additionally, if the barcode of a package is damaged during transportation, the package will be stranded at the airport, and cannot be tracked in time. Also, it’s quite common that you don’t know where your package is and it gets lost in transit.

What’s more, the official of ePackage says that the average shipping time is 7-10 working days, and China post does not provide any compensation for delays beyond that.

Additionally, according to the regulations of international aviation, these goods can not be shipped: Powder, liquid, flammable and explosive goods, and other dangerous goods, as well as alcohol and tobacco, cash and securities, infringing products, etc.

dangerous-goods

Despite so many flaws, ePacket offers an economical shipping service and many people are willing to bear the risks to save money. For instance, people who do dropshipping tend to use this shipping method.

Shipping from China to the USA by China Post (For small parcels)

I don’t want to give up this shipping method, though its shipping time is pretty unstable. And unless you have insurance, China post won’t even compensate you if your package is lost. Moreover, it is not the most popular shipping method in China, with only a few e-commerce sellers using it.

For example, if you are from America and want to buy 100 carbon pens from Aliexpress or Dhgate. The total weight of your package is about 2kg. You are not in a hurry to receive the goods and think express shipping is costly. Then Postal Parcel will be a good choice.

In this case, even if the package is lost after 1-2 months, since the value of goods was not high, you will not lose a lot.

As for the delivery time, it will take about 1-2 months by sea, one month by air + sea, and 15 days by air. All shipping times do not cover the time spent in customs and China Post would not guarantee delivery time.

For the price of Postal Parcel, you can check out its official website by Google translate. You’ll see the following image and just enter specific information here to get the price.

price of Postal Parcel
Click to enlarge

Note: The maximum shipping volume for post small parcels is 30kg.

If you have a small parcel of low value and ask me what the cheapest shipping from China to the USA is, I’ll say Epacket and China Post Parcel. However, you have to accept the risk of goods lost and long wait.

Over to you:

Hope you get lots of valuable information and inspiration on how to reduce shipping costs and choose a suitable shipping method for your goods through this article. If you are still confused and have any queries, just leave a quick comment below. And feel free to CONTACT US to get the real-time freight rates or help you source and ship your goods.

Duty free Parcel clearance to the USA

With regulatory changes in March of 2016, it is possible to import many items valued up to $800 USD duty free. Via express consignment clearance processes, shippers to the USA can take advantage of section 321 entry for efficient consolidated clearance of parcels.

customs-clearance-parcel


Sending Direct to the USA

Shippers of ePackets from China are increasingly interested in establishing direct parcel import processes from China. Jet can help American, Chinese and European retailers set up parcel logistics processes for duty free imports. Having direct access via high volume parcel import processes gives retailers / e-tailers more control and more consistent delivery times.

Jet Worldwide can help you develop secure parcel import solutions to the USA via Express Consignment Clearance Facilities (ECCF’s) and Container Freight Stations (CFS).


New type 86 entries are expanding the ability to clear under section 321 provisions to the US

Using Section 321 clearances via Express Consignment Carrier Facilities (ECCF’s) allow cross border e-commerce merchants to bypass the traditional logistics flow. Using efficient high volume parcel clearance processes, American retailers can react faster to market trends and take advantage of duty free processes.

  • Section 321 Entry Types:
  • Section 321 Express Consignment
  • Section 321 Container Freight Station CFS
  • Section 321 Type 86 / ACE via automated Broker Interface
  • Section 321 cross border via Canada to USA (contact Jet’s team)

Section_321_USA_Parcel_import_jetworldwide.jpg


Conclusion

ePacket will continue to define low cost e-commerce shipping from Asia but significant cost increases have already been announced and more are expected. E-commerce merchants should develop alternative parcel flows that include the integrators and direct injection into high volume target countries.

With the increase in the low value threshold to the USA (section 321 de minimis) to $800, e-commerce companies are seeking duty free parcel import solutions to the USA. Jet provides express consignment clearance (via our ECCF’s) across the USA.

Jet Worldwide’s recommendations for high volume parcel flows from Asia to the USA:

  • Continue to take advantage of the ePacket pricing from the USPS for low weight parcels.
  • Develop alternative high volume parcel flows into the USA for direct injection for heavier parcels and to protect against clearance and service delays of high volume postal networks.

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