Importing from China to the USA has become the biggest shipping market in the world in the last 2 decades. We have seen growth in this market that has outperformed the other markets combined for some time now. The main reason for this is a consistent increase in the production output from various Chinese manufacturing sectors and the lowered cost of having these products produced in mainland China.

However, for many importers, it is often a case of cost vs speed when it comes to shipping options from China. The world has moved significantly into the on-time delivery of goods to the final destination and this has placed tremendous strain on the shipping industry to come up with better and faster means of transporting goods.

The phenomenon has also sparked the occasional production burst in the local markets trying to compete with the manufacturing cost of Chinese producers. Over time this has been short-lived as cost overruns and the competitive nature of the industry have pushed down the cost of manufacture. So importers have been shopping around for the best shipping vendors in the last few years to compete in their local markets with Chinese imported goods.

This has led importers to try multiple  Chinese freight forwarders and other shipping companies to find the best and fastest route to the USA from China. In this article, we will be exploring the many ways of shipping your goods from mainland China to the continental USA.


Where to Start – How long does it take to ship from China to the USA

The best starting point is the size and frequency of your package or goods. If you are a once-off client you might want to look into getting your goods shipped the most cost-effective manner and be done with it. However, if you are shipping from China to the USA on an ongoing basis you might want to consider one of the following options for smaller packages.


  • Small Packages Regularly – Single Units

For small packages on a regular basis in single units, you might want to consider a normal courier service. These companies specialize in this field and will offer you the best rates per kilogram of goods. Depending on the size of your goods you might find the cost is related to the volume of your package rather than the weight if the shipping cost is greater.


  • Small Packages Regularly – Multiple Units

This is where you can start to shop around for the best vendor based on the weight and size of your goods. The rule of thumb with courier services is, cost = weight or volume X $ per kg. This means your small but heavy box will cost you more than the same size box if it’s lighter. However, the same product could cost you more if it is a large container (box) that needs to be shipped. In this case, you might find the air freight might be the best option depending on time frames. Sea freight is also an option if time is no option at all as seas freight is the most time-consuming form of shipping method.


  • Larger Single Units packages

For the informed reader you might have already guessed the answer to this shipping issue. Larger packages take up more volume and depending on the weight you might have to cost the size of the box rather than the weight. Air and Sea freight options are available in this case once again depending on the time frame for your delivery.


  • Assembled goods and semi built goods

If you are importing fully assembled goods to the USA or a semi built product, there is a frailty issue that needs to be addressed with your shipping supplier. As most manufacturers will not cover any breakages after the goods leave their premises, your freight agent must be informed of the fragility of your goods beforehand.
We have heard many horror stories where the client did not inform or the shipping agent did not take sufficient measures to protect the goods from damage during transport. Failure to do this will cost you money and time waiting for the replacement units or parts.


  • Express Shipping – Any size or Weight

If your package or goods needs to be delivered in the fastest time possible, there are many options depending on the budget for the shipping. The simple rule is that if you have the funds to pay for it you can get it, meaning that if you can afford the high cost, you can get your goods shipped from China to the USA in as little as 3 days. The average time for express shipping depending on the size of the goods is about 7 to 10 working days which is equal to an average cost factor.


Where to start? Again?

If you are new to the world of importing you might have already spotted a trend developing in the above explanations of shipping methods. Size = cost, weight = cost and size and weight = cost². With so many shipping options at your fingertips, you could easily get it wrong and lose a lot of money.
So where do you start? How do you get to the best shipping agents and price points?

The first decision you have to make is the most important one – you have to decide on a freight forwarder. This is crucial to the sustainability of your operation assuming that you are going to be using the service often going forwards. If you are only going to be shipping a few items every so often you might not need the services of an experienced freight forwarder, or would you?

The short answer is a resounding YES! Whenever you need to ship anything anywhere you need to have the confidence that your goods get to the destination in one piece at the best cost possible.

As I said, the decision of the shipping company is the most important decision you are going to make regards your goods for your business.
There are a few key aspects of freight forwarding that you have to keep in mind when deciding on a shipping company. These are:


  • Experience with shipping your type of goods

Shipping companies just like any other type of company often specialize in a specific type of product or goods. Their shipping routes and costs are therefore designed around these routes and goods based on their client profile.


  • Access to alternative shipping methods or routes

As above the specific nature of the goods often predetermines the route and method of transport that needs to be used. Dry goods like grain and rice cannot be shipped via airfreight cost-effectively and thus are transported by sea and in bulk. Small electronic items can be shipped by air in the right quantities as the costing becomes more affordable to the end-user of the product.


  • Industry experience and size of freight handler

A very important factor is the experience of the forwarding company you use. The more established your forwarder is, the better the service will be over the long run and the more options you might have available to you when things do go wrong. The unfortunate truth about freight forwarding is that invariably something does go wrong now and then.
However the more experienced your shipping company is the better they are at dealing with these situations when they happen, some even have the ability to foresee the possibility of these events occurring based on their experience in the industry.


  •  Historical client satisfaction

The best way to find out how good a freight forwarder is to hear what their current and past client have to say about them. Online reviews and peer reviews are the best way to find out this information and all you need to do is have a few conversations with these clients and you will get the “low-down” on their service and ability to ship your products or goods.

Once you have evaluated all these factors you will quite likely be looking at the number or name of the freight forwarding company that will be your shipping partner for the foreseeable future. Of course, there is one little caveat that we have not shared with you yet…

How do you get to evaluate 100’s of shipping companies in time to get your goods to their destination?

The shipping industry is vast and there are but a few good quality freight handlers for importers that can do the business the right way. Most often they are not the ones that make the most “noise” on the internet and they are sometimes not even advertised as their businesses are doing well enough to not have large advertising budgets, a cost that eventually will come out of your pocket anyway.

So how do you find the best shipping agent and the fastest routes for your good from China to the USA?

How to find a reliable freight forwarder for shipping from China to the USA? Well based on the information above you are looking for a company that has a long-standing record in the shipping business with multiple routes for your goods that has the best cost per kg when it comes to shipping.
Simple hey?Yes, it is actually. China Freight is one such company. They have been in the shipping industry for more than 10 years and have built up a reputation for being one of the best and fastest (if you need it) shipping agents in the world. Especially in the high traffic shipping routes from China to the USA.

China Freight is one of the freight forwarding industry best-kept secrets. They have some of the best people in the worldwide industry in their team and you will understand that from the first minute you spend with them on the phone. From the get-go, you are dealt with in a manner that inspires confidence and peace of mind and that feeling only gets better as your business relationship grows over time.

The China Freight team is well versed in all types of cargo and all shipping methods. This comes from having the most comprehensive range of shipping routes and methods at their disposal for you to take advantage of.
Let’s get back to the first question – how long does it take to get your goods from China to the USA

Yes, that was the first question, and here is the answer in order of priority.
The first part is the size and shape of your goods vs the cost factor. As explained this is the most important aspect of your goods and without the right freight partner you will not get the best price for the shipping that you need and your goods will be outpriced for the consumer.


The second part is the choice of a shipping agent or freight forwarder.

This where we answer the first question in full. The choice of shipping partner will determine how long it takes your goods to get to your end destination. Below are the average times it takes for your goods to be shipped from China to the USA:


  • Express/Courier

As little as 3 days and longer depending on the size of your goods and budget for shipping


  • Airfreight

This method which air frieght from China to USA  is often used for electronic goods and you can get your goods to their destination within 7 to 15 working days depending on the routes and urgency of your order.


  • Sea Freight

For large volume goods, this is the most cost-effective manner of shipping from China to the continental USA. From a timing perspective, this could take up to 50 days and as little as 21 days. The shipping time depends largely on the timing of when your goods get loaded and the routes the vessel takes to the final destination.
Deciding Factors
The major deciding factors in how long it would take to get your goods shipped from China to the USA are as follows:
• Customs Relationships
• Understanding shipping routes and timing

To understand how to get the best out of your shipping, and especially to get your goods from China to the USA in the fastest possible time, you need a freight forwarding partner like China Freight. With more than a decade of experience in shipping from China to the USA, in all manner of goods and products, by air and sea, they have built a network of competent partners that will fast track your goods to their destinations as fast as possible.
Another, and most important benefit of working with China Freight, is that they have experienced every type of delay that there could be, like weather delays and of course, customs delays. The extent of their shipping network provides China Freight with alternative routes for your goods when the weather might be a factor in shipping times.

And they are well informed and widely experienced in house customs agents understand the intricacies of the Chinese and USA custom agencies and when you ship with China Freight you can rest assured that your goods will reach their destination in less than average times as with fully completed and registered paperwork and fast routes, you have peace of mind when you ship your goods with China Freight.

So to answer the question posed at the start, whether by sea or air or even express freight method, the fastest way to ship your goods from China to the USA, is by making sure you have the best shipping partner by your side looking after your shipment. It is then and only then that you can rely on the minimum shipping times for your goods.
Trust China Freight to get your goods to the continental USA in the fastest time in one piece at the most cost-effective rate.



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

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