While sea freight represents the highest volume of goods shipped internationally and between China and the USA, the popularity of air freight is steadily growing. With modern marketplaces evolving and technical advances in air transport technology, air freight from China to US is increasing. There are now a number of high capacity cargo planes available such as the Antonov An-225 Myria than can transport almost 250 tons. Preconceptions about the cost restrictions of using air freight are being constantly challenged. This article aims to provide information about explain the process involved in using air shipping, the legalities and procedures, and the pros and cons as well as how to optimize the different services regarding price and efficiency.

Part1. Main Airports for Cargo in China  & USA

Part2. Air Cargo Products

Part3. How much for air freight from China to USA

Part 4. How long for air freight from China to USA
Part 5. Air Shipping Process with China Air Freight
Part 6. What Can China Freight Do For You?


Historically, sea freight was seen and the only economic option for sending volumes of goods across distance. Cost was based purely on weight and size and this made air freight non competitive. However, with the increasingly fast pace of international trade, digitization of ordering and just in time logistics, air freight is becoming a more viable option. More efficient aircraft use less fuel and are designed for maximum carrying capacity. Modern airports and air traffic control systems have speeded up turnaround times and streamlined the air industry. Efficiencies of scale have come into play, and high tech logistic systems can be used to maximize the loads on both ingoing and outgoing flights. As demand increases for air freight services especially air cargo from China to USA, costs are more competitive.

Sea freight remains the best option for bulky goods and non urgent deliveries. It is, however, not without disadvantages. Due to the length of time spent in transit, at sea and then onwards, risks to freight are increased. Inclement weather conditions as well as pirating and other unpredictable circumstances can delay and even result in lost cargo. As volumes of trade increase, sea port congestion has become a challenge. Some ports are less well equipped for safe and speedy transfers. Container congestion in and out of the docking areas is common and road or rail infrastructure requires upgrades in many regions. Containerization only allows for certain dimensions and minimum sizes are enforced for loads. All of this means that air freight is becoming a comparatively attractive option.

air freight from China to USA

Part 1. Main Airports for Cargo in China &USA

1. Main airports and cities for Cargo in China

Due to its massive size and geographical variations, China depends largely on air transportation. Not all development areas and manufacturing hubs are close to maritime ports which makes air freight a necessity and convenient for shipping from China to USA by air.

As we know, The major trading cities in China are: Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Hong Kong. Thanks to China’s sustained economic growth and government commitment to supporting international trade, the country’s civil airport sector has achieved high-speed and high-quality advancements in the past decade. The Chinese airport network provides an important system for transport across all of Asia and is integral to air freight from China to USA. The Chinese air cargo market is attracting capital from international investment houses which is adding to the growth and success of the airport businesses, airlines and other related infrastructure. Chinese freight companies shipping from China to USA by air are taking advantage of the increased efficiency of this sector.

The 5 main cargo cities and its airport in mainland China as well as Hong Kong International airport are listed below;
(Statista 2020)


  • a. Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)

Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) located at Shanghai processed approximately 70 million passengers in 2018 and boasts an annual growth of over 5%. It handles over 3.6 million tons of cargo each year and has become the largest air cargo hub in China and also Asia.
Shanghai Airport Authority (SAA) which is state owned, operates both Pudong and Hongqiao international airports in Shanghai. A new satellite terminal was opened at Pudong in 2019. The airport now has an 80 million, yearly capacity. The new H-shaped terminal covers an area of 620km2. This substantial modern airport is now the 3rd biggest cargo hub in the world and a leading port for air cargo from China.


  • b. Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK)

Beijing Capital International Airport is one of two international airports located in the Chinese capital city. Annual passenger traffic of the airport grew by 5.4% in 2018 to 100.98 million making it the busiest passenger terminal in China. The airport also handled two million tons of air cargo from China during the year.
Beijing Capital International Airport Company (BCIA) owns and operates the airport. It is listed in Hong Kong and is partially owned by public investors.
105 domestic and international airlines had established operations at the airport in 2018. Beijing Capital Airport handled over 100 million passengers in 2019 which represented a 1% drop in numbers. This was attributed to the opening of operations at the new Daxing International Airport in south Beijing in September 2019.


  • c. Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN)

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is located in Guangzhou city in Guangdong province, in the south of China. The opening of a new airport building allowed 69.7m passengers to pass through in 2018 which contributed to an annual growth of 5.9%. The airport handled almost 2 million tons of cargo in 2018 making it a leader in air shipping from China to USA. The airport is a hub for a number of airline operations including the cargo carrier Longhao Airlines as well as China Southern Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, and Jiuyuan Airlines, large operators for China air freight.
Shanghai-listed Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport Company is the operator of the airport. The newly constructed second terminal started operating in April 2018.

air freight from China to USA


  • d. Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport (SZX)

Shenzhen Bao’an International Airportis located in Shenzhen in Guangdong province which is reasonably close to Hong Kong city. The airport’s annual passenger traffic increased by 8.2% to over 49 million in 2018, while cargo handled was more than 1.2 million tons. The airport is a hub for Shenzhen Airlines. During the first nine months which ended in September 2019, Shenzhen Bao’an international airport handled almost 40 million passengers.
Shenzhen Airport Group is the airport operator. Some of the major airlines operating out of this airport include Shenzhen Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and Hainan Airlines.


  • e. Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH)

Xiaoshan international airport is located in Hangzhou, capital city of Zhejiang province in the Yangtze River delta region of eastern China. It was opened in December 2000. Passenger traffic through the airport was 38.2 million in 2018, increased by 7.5% from the previous year. The airport handled more than 640 thousand tons of cargo in 2018. It is operated by Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport Company, a subsidiary of Zhejiang Airport Group Company.
Major airlines which operate out of this airport include Air China, Xiamen Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and China Eastern Airlines. They fly tons of air cargo from China to USA every year.


  • f. Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU)

Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is situated outside “The Great City” of Chengdu in China’s western province of Sichuan. The passenger traffic at this airport increased by 6.3% to over 53 million in 2018, while cargo handled was 665 thousand tons. The airport is the main hub for Sichuan Airlines and Chengdu Airlines.
A new international airport is being built in Jianyang City, 50km from Chengdu. Chengdu Tianfu International Airport is expected to open in 2021, initially handling approximately 40 million passengers a year.


  • Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)

Hong Kong International Airport is the main airport in Hong Kong and is located on the island of Chek Lap Kok, which was largely reclaimed for this construction and increased the island diameter by 1%.It is the busiest airport in the world, handling more than 70 million passengers every year. It is also the busiest cargo hub with about 5 million tons of freight passing through annually. A huge component is air freight from China to USA.
Hong Kong Airport is a hugely important hub for the region and connects much of Asia with the rest of the world. It is home to one of the world’s largest terminal buildings.
The government owned airport is the main hub airport for Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, Hong Kong Airlines, Hong Kong Express Airways and Air Hong Kong (cargo carrier).

Shipping from Hongkong to USA

The Chinese economy has been growing steadfastly since the 80’s leading to the development of a new modern transport infrustructure. The China air freight industry is one of the most efficient and successful in the world.


2.Main Airports for Cargo in USA

Unlike passenger transport, cargo hubs in the USA (New York City(NY), Los Angeles(L.A.), Chicago, Houston,  Dallas,  San Francisco, Boston, Las Vegas, Memphis, Miami ) also California, Florida, and so on , are not generally located near the most populous urban areas. Historically, many factors such as geography, terrain, transport links, natural resources and state regulations have lead to the development of the busiest cargo hubs which then also serve air shipping from China to USA. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia records the highest passenger traffic in the country but the following are the busiest cargo hubs for air freight including  air cargo from China to USA:


  • a. Memphis International Airport (MEM)

Memphis International Airport is located southeast of Memphis in the state of Tennessee. Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority owns and manages the airport.
The airport has been the largest cargo handler in the USA since 1993. This has in part been due to the “Super Hub” for the FedEx Express operating non-stop international freighters to London, Frankfurt, Paris, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Tokyo. The airport coordinates with express courier, FedEx to ensure that this large cargo contributor can operate successfully out of the airport. This type of collaboration is paramount to developing the air cargo from China to USA freight industry. Nearly 4.5 million tons of cargo pass through the hub annually and then are forwarded on to an extensive infrastructure network of smaller air, rail and road links.


  • b. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC)

The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is located in Anchorage Alaska USA. It became a popular hub at the time when jet aircraft had a limited range; Alaska was the shortest great circle distance for many Asian routes including air shipping from China to USA. This geographical advantage also enables cargo planes to carry a much higher payload by pit stopping in Alaska for fuel. The airport handles over 2.7 million tons of cargo yearly. While only 5.7 million passengers travel through the hub. The airport has liberal cargo transfer rights and is one of few airports where foreign cargo transfers are not subject to customs and trade regulations. These types of logistical advantages are what have boosted air shipping from China to USA. New developments are planned to match the e-commerce boom which has been pioneered and perfected by China air freight organizations. Air Cargo China, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Cargo Airlines Ltd, China Southern Airlines are all cargo carriers operating out of Anchorage.

  • c. Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF)

Situated in Louisville, Kentucky, this airport is the home of a major UPS express courier hub – ‘Worldport’, and various other cargo operations. It handles between 2.6 and 2.7 million tons of cargo every year. Its main advantage is the easy access to a number of transport networks including three railroads and two inland ports on the Ohio River. Despite being a relatively small site and located in the center of the city, it is the world’s 7th busiest cargo airport.


  • d. Miami International Airport (MIA):

Technological advancements at Miami International Airport have streamlined their air freight operations. More than 100 airlines operate though the port linking the Americas with high growth markets in Asia, Europe and beyond. The Ocean-to-Air Transshipment Program expedites transport of perishable goods which arrive from Latin America by sea and are then air transported to international markets including Asia. A number of China air freight carriers use the airport as a hub including China Airlines Cargo and Asiana Airlines. Asia Cargo News recognized the airport as the 2018 Best Airport in North America for air cargo. The airport handles over 2 million tons of cargo putting it on a par with Los Angeles International Airport.


  • e. Los Angeles International Airport. (LAX)

LAX is located on the South West Coast of the USA making it an important gateway to multiple international destinations, predominantly Asia and the Pacific which is the airports top regional trading partner. At least 50% of the cargo traffic is from this area. China air freight leads all nations in transporting through LAX. It is also conveniently situated for other Pacific Rim countries such as South Korea, Japan and the Philippines.
The airport handled 2.1 million tons of freight in 2018.


  • f. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

O’Hare International Airport just North West of Chicago, Illinois is the ultimate gateway for Asian freight to and from the East Coast of the USA. About 25% of their international trade is China air freight. Since Shanghai is only 13 flying hours away, it is within the range of wide bodied cargo planes and ideal for air shipping from China to USA. The airport has the capacity to offload 15 such planes at one time. It also offers substantial rail links to West Coast ports for ocean freight transfers. From ORD, planes can connect to more than 200 airports including direct flights to Chengdu, Beijing and Guangzhou cities maximising the potential for air cargo from China to USA. The airport is one of the top 20 busiest cargo hubs handling over 2 million tons every year.

A number of smaller airports in the USA host China air freight operations and will handle shipments ranging from parcels to container sized loads.



Part 2. Air Cargo Products

Air freight services can be divided into three categories depending on affordability and the urgency of the delivery. The type of cargo such as perishable/non perishable and dangerous items will also affect the cost. Other cost considerations include the type and amount of packaging required. Once you have decided to use an air freight service the following options are available when air shipping from China( Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Hong Kong) to USA.


1. Economical Air Freight

This service is still much faster than traditional marine shipping options but is suitable for less urgent deliveries at a more economical rate.


2. Standard Air Freight

A high quality service with all the advantages of efficient air transport. Fast delivery, accurate tracking and guaranteed results.


3. Urgent Air Freight

First class offering designed for valuable, time critical deliveries at the best possible rates. Both once-off or frequent deliveries are possible and flexible arrangements for sizes and weights can be made.


  • Express Courier Services

These services offer a door-to-door delivery for one price with all costs and most of the documentation such as customs clearance included. This differs from air freight which is generally an airport-to-airport service. However it is a very expensive option and can eliminate any potential for value or profitability in the process. Unless the goods are of extremely high value, e.g. coins or other precious commodities, it is not really suitable for international trading purposes.

Air cargo China and the USA


  • Types of Air Cargo

Typically all air freight cargo is high value goods which have operationally or commercially critical time delivery requirements.


General Cargo

Appropriate items for air cargo from China( Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Hong Kong) to USA(New York City(NY), Los Angeles(L.A.), Chicago, Houston,  Dallas,  San Francisco, Boston, Las Vegas, Memphis, Miami ) also California, Florida, include; airmail & diplomatic mail, pharmaceuticals, electronics, product samples, express parcels, valuables (jewelry, precious gems and metals) and money. The air freight of electronics is valued at about 40% of all the international air transport commerce. Costs of transport are high but the value of the goods makes this method viable for international trade.


Special Cargo

This includes perishable or dangerous/hazardous items which require special handling and are subject to numerous inspections. This includes;
• perishables such as flowers, human remains, human organs and certain medicines.
• live animals
• temperature controlled items such as foodstuffs (seafood)
• hazardous materials which are flammable, corrosive, or poisonous such as radioactive material, infective agents (microbial/viral) and corrosive chemicals e.g. high strength acids.

Before entering into any trading agreement or freight forwarding agreement, the buyer has the responsibility to establish the type of cargo restrictions which exist for his particular air freight load. Air cargo China and the USA have strict regulations regarding banned and controlled substances for air freight from China to USA. Individual airlines will also have a list of restrictions and controls. In addition most of the relevant airlines will no longer allow the following potentially dangerous items to be carried by air freight; Lithium Battery Toys, Scooter, Hoverboard, Power Supply, Power Bank, Air Bag, Electric Board and Electronic Board.

An Identification and Classification Report for Air Transport of Goods must be received by the carrier before loading takes place.


Part 3. How much for air freight from China to USA



Incoterms are a set of agreed rules or contracts which define the roles and related responsibilities between buyers and sellers sending air freight from China to USA. All parties should be aware of these legal arrangements even if a Freight Forwarder or Agent is being used as ultimate responsibility remains with the commissioners of the delivery. The following Incoterms have been agreed;


1. FOB
Free on board is the most common agreement as it is seen as fair to both buyer and seller. In this case the supplier is responsible and liable for goods until officially received by the carrier. This should take place at the location from where the cargo will leave China for the USA. After this handover the buyer takes liability and is responsible for the goods.

In a  Cost, Insurance Freight agreement the supplier covers all costs for importing from China to USA including insurance. The buyer and supplier agree where the delivery ends and the buyer is responsible for costs after arrival at this point.

2. EXW
This agreement allows the buyer to take reposncbility and remain in control of every part of the delivery of air cargo from China to USA. The Seller is only responsible for sourcing an export license and Certificate of Origin. All other documnetaiotn must be provided by the buyer. This type of agreement is udsusually used in conjunction with other terms or when a Freight Forwarder is involved.

3. DAP
Delivery At Place is an agreement where the seller makes all the arrangements except for the customs import fee. The seller is still responsible and liable for all aspects of the delivery until after the shipment lands at the destination airport. The buyer can then choose where the delivery is to be picked up and is responsible for unloading and further transportation.

4. DDP
Delivered Duty Paid is where the Seller makes all the arrangements for the delivery including customs import fees. It is consiederd preferential to the buyer. Buyers must only unload and pay for import clearance. All details and payments must be agreed in advance and a landing cost is offered as a cumulative quote to the Buyer. If the Buyer agrees on the quote, the Seller can choose the best carrier for air cargo China in terms of cost and time.

5. BOL
The Bill of Lading is an absolute requirement for all air freight from China ( Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Hong Kong) to the USA. It acknowledges the recipt of cargo by the carrier and serves as a document of title to the goods. It is a conclusive receipt and also contains the terms of the agreement. When involved, agents must also be included in the BOL. Other relevant players should also be detailed for example the Shipper & Consignee, the Carrier who issed the BOL, the Origin freight forwarder and the Destination freight forwarder.

6. Waybill
A Waybill is a non-negotiable transport document issued by the carrier. It lists the goods which have been accepted for carriage and agrees to deliver them to the agreed destination according to specific conditions. It differs from the BOL as it is NOT a legal contract and does not legitimize ownership of goods. It is an essential document for recording any and all specific details regarding the goods and transportation.


Air Costs

Total Air freight delivery costs from China(Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Hong Kong.) to USA are made up of a number of components such as type of cargo (handling and documentation), time to delivery and also weight. The air freight cost is for the aeroplane transport portion only. It does not include domestic pickup or delivery on either side of the airport i.e. in China or the USA.


  • Weight Calculations

Air freight is charged according to either the actual weight (kg) of the package or its Dimensional Weight (DIM) whichever is higher. DIM is measured in kilograms and uses a formula which takes into account both the cubic size (volume) and weight of the package. It is calculated as follows;


Air freight from China to usa

Here is an example of an air freight cost calculation for a lightweight foam product;
Shipping Method: Air Shipping from China to USA
Destination: International from China to USA
Actual Weight: 35kg
Length: 100cm
Width: 80cm
Height: 100cm
Cubic Size Calculation: 100 x 80 x 100 = 800 000cm3
Dimensional Weight Calculation (DIM): 800 000 / 6000 = 133kg

In this case the dimensional weight is much heavier than the actual weight (133kg vs 35kg). You will therefore be charged for 133kg of weight for the air transportation portion of the delivery (Billable Weight). However if you were transporting a very high density package e.g. batteries, the actual weight may be more than the DIM, in which case, this is the weight for which you will be charged, i.e. billable weight. There is usually a flat rate charge for the first kilogram depending on cargo types. The Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) is generally 45kg.


  • Some ways to reduce your shipping costs are;

1. Consider the type of packaging material you use. Use the appropriate type and amount of material. Use containers which are the correct size so you don’t have to bulk up with packaging to fill your spaces safely.

2. Arrange for after hours pick up and drop off, since most businesses stipulate office hours you may be offered a lower rate for the convenience of the transport company.

3. Sending off peak can also reduce costs. This will require some investigation or the advice of an experienced freight forwarder. It also requires planning so that for example, you are planning for seasonal deliveries ahead of time.

4. Try to send more cargo but less often, since distance is a determining factor, economies of scale play a big part in the air cargo from China to USA business.

5. If you do need to send smaller packages, ask your air freight forwarder from China to USA or try to find a consolidation service you can reduce your costs by simply filling the gaps in another customer’s bigger load.

6. Time your shipments appropriately. Where possible your logistics plan should take into account urgent as well as deferred shipments which will allow you to negotiate a better rate with airlines using an air freight forwarder.

7. Make sure your paperwork is faultless to avoid custom fines and delays. This can increase your costs and can lead to wastage. It may be useful to consult a freght forwarding or customs expert until you have the in house experience. It is not worth being careless or taking chances with the paperwork which could lead to dire consequences; fines and even confiscation.

8. Make appropriate arrangements for perishable goods and other special cargo to avoid losses and supply chain delays.

9. Make sure you have appropriate and sufficient insurance coverage. This includes using the correct Incoterms to agree responsibilities with other parties to avoid over and under insuring. You will need to use the services of an Insurance broker specializing in international trade.

10. Get your logistics team involved in upstream planning of manufacturing, product design, packaging types and production to take into account all of the above.

11. Stick to the Unit Load Device (ULD) dimensions wherever possible. These are IATA standardized load sizes which take into account safety and efficiency of packing. Maximum loads are up to 6.8 tons.


  • What is included in my quote?

Air freight prices can also include the following;
• Fuel Surcharges – to allow for fluctuations in the fuel price.
• Security Surcharges – storage and guarding provisions for valuable items.
• Terminal handling charges (at container freight station) – dependent on individual airports.
• Airport transfers – if direct flights are not available or schedule cannot be synchronized.

Additional costs of shipping for door-to-door delivery (in addition to air freight as calculated above):

Customs brokerage

1. Import tax, custom duties and tariffs (Customs brokerage)
Harmonized System Code (HS)
Each product has an international classification number. This will affect the amount of tariffs you need to pay. For US importers there is a modified schedule the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the USA (HTS-US) which corresponds to the HS code. It is important to select the correct code for your product to avoid delays and potential penalties. If you are using an air freight forwarder from China to USA you will need to provide very specific details of your shipment e.g. 20% cotton, 80% man-made fabric, for the correct codes to be used.
2. Pickup and delivery – normal transport costs
3. Cargo Insurance
4. Accessorial charges e.g. reclassification and reweigh, care and storage of hazardous materials, additional security for valuable items, specific delivery requirements


Freight Forwarders

To simplify the process especially for first time shippers, an air freight forwarder can be used. They have in depth field knowledge and can assist you with advice and sourcing of all the required documents. They will also calculate all costs and inform you of any extra costs which may occur or other complications which may arise. They have relationships with air freight operatives and therefore have access to more competitive prices due to bulk ordering. If you are not using the services of an air freight forwarder from China to USA, it is recommended that you choose the relevant Incoterms which will carry your cargo as far as possible and in a way that you can arrange the rest of the delivery with confidence.

shipping from Shenzhen to USA

Customers have access to a wide range of information on the internet. Web searches and social media can be used to search for reviews and opinions of the customer service provided by your air freight forwarder from China to USA. These should be investigated before any agreements are made. Not only should your agent have the experience and capacity to handle your cargo, but should also have essential social skills to keep you well informed and at ease. They should also be able to deal with potentially problematic Air cargo China officials and non performing 3rd parties. You should feel like you understand the process, are confident that you have received the best deal and that your cargo is being as well cared for by the agent as you yourself.
You can choose an air freight forwarder operating out of China or the USA. In either case they should have accreditation and established networks in both countries. You should consider getting more than one quote and talking to few different agents before you make a final decision. Once you have set up a good working relationship, the China freight forwarder will make your trading so much easier going forward.

The standard rate for air freight from China to USA(New York City(NY), Los Angeles(L.A.), Chicago, Houston,  Dallas,  San Francisco, Boston, Las Vegas, Memphis, Miami ) also California, Florida, ranges from $2.5 to $5 per kg. As discussed above many factors will affect the cost including typically volatile components such as aviation fuel prices.

An example of how much for air freight from China to USA is provided. This example is an estimate for a 300 kilogram, standard cargo package.

  • Freight charges

Air freight: $3 * 300 kg =$9000.00


  • Origin charges

Pickup $125.00
Airline terminal (weight): $0.12 * 300 kg = $36.00
Automated manifest system $22.00
Documents: $15.00
Export customs clearance $38.00
Handling $50.50


  • Destination charges

Airline terminal $78.00
Handling $55.00
Pickup and delivery $250.00
Warehouse and value-added $280.00


  • Customs charges

Import customs clearance $120.50


  • AMAZON charges

Amazon partnered courier pickup and delivery to Amazon FBA warehouse

You can use the above as an estimate to work out how much for air freight from China to USA.


Part 4. How long for air freight from China to USA

Urgent shipments and just-in-time deliveries are the specialty of air freight services. However, the ability to do scheduling and extend these delivery times will result in much lower transport costs. For certain items e.g. perishables, delivery times have to be short but planning for these can be made well in advance and booked at lower rates.
Knowing the options for times, duration of transport and costs can assist with efficient logistic planning and to know how long for air freight from China to USA takes.


  • Express Courier

This is the fastest and most expensive method of air freight between China and USA. These companies offer a limited but tried and tested door-to-door service. Often they have access to their own fleet of planes and maximize the speed at which they deliver by using specific routes and customs portals. Shipments can be tracked in real time and documentation is largely handled by the courier including customs clearance. The main difference between air freight operators is that they provide an airport-to-airport service, while couriers offer door-to-door. The other main difference is the very expensive rate that they charge. This makes the service largely unsuitable for trading purposes except for the highest value, low volume goods.


  • Urgent Air Freight

These can be as fast as 1 -3 days depending on the pickup and delivery locations. For example, Shanghai is a minimum flight time of 13 hours from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. This is a fixed variable and can NOT be speeded up in any way. A 24 hour delivery to an address in Chicago would need to to take into account;
1.loading and transport time in China (road and airport).
2. flight time of at least 13 hours (weather and route dependent).
3. offload and reloading (road/rail) at O’hare International Airport.
4. delivery distance and time (traffic etc.) to delivery address in Chicago.
In order to be on time for a 24 hour delivery, either pre booking would have to have been arranged prior to time, or the delilvery time could not be guaranteed.


  • Standard Air Freight

How long for air freight from China to USA (New York City(NY), Los Angeles(L.A.), Chicago, Houston,  Dallas,  San Francisco, Boston, Las Vegas, Memphis, Miami ) also California, Florida, by standard air freight delivery time depends on the location and destination of the cargo. From China to the USA West coast can be from 2 – 3 days, and from China to the USA East coast can be 4 – 5 days.


  • Economical Air Freight

Slower deliveries of air freight from China to USA are still much faster than other forms of shipping e.g. marine. This method of delivery takes between 7 – 10 days and is more reasonably priced as freight operators can plan for bulk stowage and submit paperwork for processing ahead of time.

Considerations of how long for air freight from China to USA delivery
A standard ‘day’ in terms of freight quotations is a working day in either country and does not take into account the date of receipt, weekends or holidays. Final delivery dates are based on many factors including airline schedules, road and rail schedules and most importantly, distance to destination. Certain locations in China are less accessible than others and have slower access to air links. Likewise the accessibility of a zip code in the USA will effect delivery times.


Potential Delays

A myriad of factors can delay a delivery of China air freight to USA.. Weather conditions can delay fights as well as air traffic and roadway congestion. Some customs offices are less efficient than others and complex cargos can result in other deliveries downstream running late. Practical considerations such as fuel shortages, mechanical failure of planes, trucks and other delivery vehicles can slow down transportation and human error in the handover chain is always a possibility. Documentation is one of the biggest causes of delays in delivery. This is why the Incoterms were established and need to be used carefully by knowledgeable import practitioners such as your chosen air freight forwarder. Otherwise, when the delivery is handled by importers and a declaration of goods is made, this can delay delivery by at least 24 – 48 hours. Goods declared from China can result in a 2 – 4 day delay and this is why the use of an air freight forwarder is recommended. All details on the declarations must be true and accurate and completed in full. Illegible and incomplete details, false declarations and inappropriate descriptions can lead to further delays and penalties such as fines, confiscations and sometimes even criminal charges. This could increase how long for air freight from China to USA.


Airport of Origin Destination Airport Est. Transit Time
Beijing Chicago 12 Hours
Beijing San Francisco 11 Hours
Beijing Dallas 12 Hours
Beijing Los Angeles 12 Hours
Beijing Detroit 13 Hours
Beijing Seattle 11 Hours
Beijing New York 13 Hours
Guangzhou Los Angeles 13 Hours
Guangzhou New York 15 Hours
Guangzhou San Francisco 13 Hours
Shanghai Los Angeles 12 Hours
Shanghai Dallas 13 Hours
Shanghai Chicago 13 Hours
Shanghai San Francisco 11 Hours
Shanghai New York 14 Hours
Shenzhen Los Angeles 14 Hours
Shenzhen San Francisco 13 Hours
Shenzhen  New York 11 Hours


Flight Schedules

Countless flights from China to USA cross the continents at all times every day. For this reason it is important to consult an freight expert and find out which is the best option or your cargo based on the location of the origin and destination, the regularity of flights and flight times, and also the calculation of how much for air freight from China to USA. There are a number of airports in both China and USA which only handle cargo and some which have a limited passenger service but with extensive China air freight services. The closest and busiest passenger port may not be the best option for your shipping from China to the USA by air. A complete investigation of your options will be necessary to get the best possible pricing.



Part 5. Air Shipping Process with China Air Freight

Which Incoterm to Use

We recommend that you enter into a Free On Board (FOB) agreement with your supplier that includes road haulage from load destination to the airport. This will reduce shipping costs while at the same time you can retain some control and management over the process. If your agreement is Ex Works (EXW), China Air Freight can also arrange for the internal transport and pickup. We recommend this for samples and small orders only. There can be many difficulties if you take responsibility for your cargo until the airport. You will need to arrange for off loading at the warehouse and then potentially also transportation to the carrier. You will also have to deal with customs formalities at the airport and this will means you will definitely have to know how much for shipping from China to USA by air.

If you need China Air Freight to handle these additional EXW requirements, your delivery costs will obviously increase and the shipment will take longer. In theory it makes sense to leave the shipping arrangements and costs to your supplier. However this can end up costing much more than a simple FOB agreement because the supplier can use the transport as a mark up. They are also not in the shipping business and so to avoid under quoting, they will sometimes overcharge. This will also be to take into account the time lag between manufacturing and delivery and the associated increased costs (fuel increases etc.) as they cannot afford to risk paying out of packet for your transport costs.

In addition, using FOB means your cargo will be in the hands of expert air freight forwarders with international logistic experience and a network of support. Unless you are used to operating in this space, it is cheaper and quicker to use FOB and one of our carrier partners to deal with all the logistics and potential pit falls. China Air Freight has a reputation of quality and competitiveness which it will try to maintain at all costs.

How the air freight process works with China Freight
We use a simple
1. Quote
2. Book
and Receive system. Once you have completed the process, we take responsibility for your shipment.


What you need to do;

1. Fill in and submit the China Freight Quote Form with all your shipping details. (Quote)
2. You will receive a response within 12 hours.
3. We contact you and discuss your requirements. We will then come to an agreement.
4. Depending on your preferred Incoterm, you or your supplier then complete and submit our booking form back to us. (Book)
5. China Freight will contact your supplier, recheck your requirements and then book space with the relevant carrier.
6. Either China Freight or your supplier then arrange for inland delivery to the airport.
7. China Freight confirms the chargeable weight.
8. You pay the shipping costs as agreed. (Pay)
9. We arrange for the customs declaration and for the forwarding of the goods.
10. Your receive your goods in good order and on time.

We will keep tracking your shipment and keep you regularly updated until the goods are received as agreed. We strive to deliver your goods and savings and peace of mind.


Part 6. What Can China Freight Do For You?

China Freight can solve your air freight delivery challenges. Your cargo is very valuable, your delivery is urgent, and your goods are perishable or time sensitive. You need a freight forwarder who understands your needs, who will ask you the right questions and make sure you have all the details (dimensions, weight and timeline) required to arrange a streamlined delivery.

China Freight intends to deliver your cargo as quickly, simply and competitively as possible based on your specific needs. You can rely on our professional service whether airport-to airport or airport-to-door and even door-to-door. We offer the following services;
• Cargo Insurance
• Door to Door Service
• Fumigation and Inspection
• Worldwide Direct Flights
• Extensive Destination Options
• Single-source Quoting
• Very competitive air freight rates
• Customs clearance services at both origin and destination.

air freight from China to usa
China Air Freight covers all major airports in China and delivers to all appropriate destinations in the USA. We have the expertise to design a delivery option which is best suited to your needs. We will assess the location and destination of the shipment as well as your specific goals of cost and time, and then offer you a competitive, well thought out quote. Our qualified partner carriers can be relied on to provide safe, careful and efficient services to importers all across the USA and worldwide.

At China Freight we pride ourselves on collaborating with our customers and supporting their initiatives with low cost, on time services and proof of delivery. We encourage businesses to focus on their core competencies and leave us to do what we do best; managing their logistics and providing a great air freight solution.

Your decision to choose the air freight delivery option as opposed to other slower alternatives shows that time is critical for your delivery. Your goods cannot be delayed by customs issues, or any other logistical hang-ups. You also cannot afford the time to try to sort out problems happening on the other side of the world in a different time zone. China Freight encourages you to leave the process in our hands. We only need your involvement in decisions and agreements regarding cargo requirements, freight costs and the estimated time of arrival and final delivery.

Our skilled air freight  experts will gladly provide advice on your supply chain logistics and help you to design a plan for transport management to reduce costs. We are grateful to our many customers for trusting us as your complete logistics provider from China to USA. We want to deliver to you the total peace of mind of having your assets in our careful expert hands.





I choose China Freight for my international logistics needs because they offer excellent service and competitive pricing.

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