Shipping across the China-USA route looks promising for entrepreneurs worldwide. By 2021, the United States had imported $541 billion in goods from China. This is according to information pertaining to international trade by the United Nations COMTRADE database.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the intricacies involved in logistics, and the shipping times from China to the USA. After reading this blog, you will be able to choose the right type of delivery method for your goods and destination.

How to Ship on the China-US Route?

Image of a vessel shipping cargo at sea.

China attracts importers from around the world thanks to its ability to manufacture large quantities of goods at a low cost compared to other countries. As a result, many businesses opt to order goods from China and sell them in the United States to save on costs. But how are these goods delivered? There are three main methods of shipping commercial goods: ocean freight, air freight, and ground freight. Since China is on another continent, delivery by air and sea are the options allowed due to geographical constraints.

To help you determine which delivery method is better for your shipment, the services of an experienced 3PL (third-party logistics) operator should absolutely be considered. They’ll take a look at the different parameters such as quantity, type of goods, and dimensions as well as what is shipped and how large the cargo is.

Then they’ll consider the destination, as well as the time constraints. These are all important factors because shipping times from China to the USA can be a crucial factor in deciding which transportation method to use.

Which Form of Transportation Is Better for Shipping Goods?

Image of plane on runway.

There are a few things you’ll have to consider when deciding which transportation method is right for you. For instance, some types of commercial cargo, such as aerosols or powerful magnets, are difficult to send by air due to the risks they create. If the goods you are trying to transport are restricted on an airplane, shipping them from China to the USA by sea is easier and safer.

Other items may be too heavy or too big to be imported by air from China to the US, so it would be more practical to transport them by sea. Before you choose how to ship your goods, ask yourself how quickly it needs to be delivered. If the shipment is on a tight schedule and it’s able to be safely transported by plane, go with that choice. However, if there is no strict timeline to adhere to, it will save you more money to have your goods delivered via ocean freight.

Benefits of Transporting via Ocean Freight

Shipping via ocean freight does have some advantages.

  • It’s a lot more affordable, especially if you’re shipping over long distances;
  • Ocean freight is a lot more environmentally friendly than air freight due to its lower carbon footprint.
  • It can carry larger loads such as vehicles, construction equipment, and more.
  • Ships are better designed to safely transport hazardous and dangerous cargo.

Benefits of Transporting via Air Freight

Now let’s take a look at the benefits of transporting commercial cargo by air.

  • Air freight is more reliable than other transportation methods because delays can be less common. Plus, if your goods miss a flight, it’s easier to book them onto another one quickly, as opposed to ocean freight, which can take days, weeks, or even months to reschedule. This can cause unnecessary delays when shipping goods from China to the US.
  • Transporting goods by air allows your items to arrive closer to their final destination quicker.

What Difficulties May Arise While Shipping from China?

Container shipping requires specialized equipment to transfer goods from the ship to the truck. However, some destinations might not have this equipment readily available. That is why we at PartnerTrade work closely with port agents in order to ensure all the necessary equipment is available to get your cargo transferred and shipped out on time.

Do Holiday Celebrations Affect Shipping Times From China to the USA?

Public holidays in various countries can affect shipping times. As such, Chinese holidays may cause a delay in shipping cargo from China to the US. Not all local carriers work during these special days.

Below are the main holidays in China in 2023, during which delivery delays are possible:

Qingming FestivalApril 3-5
New YearDecember 30 – January 1
Chinese New YearJanuary 22-28
Labor DayApril 29 – May 3
National Day of ChinaOctober 1-7
Dragon Boat FestivalJune 22-24
Mid-Autumn FestivalSeptember 29-30

It is also important to note that delays can be common around Christmas time as well.

Most Chinese factories start fulfilling New Year’s orders in June, and some suppliers aren’t able to serve customers by December.

How Long Does Shipping From China to the USA Take?

It all depends on the type of transportation you use. Cargo can be delivered by regular air freight in 2-10 days, or by express air freight in 1-2 days. Sea freight can take 30 days or more.

Shipping Terms China-US Route:

  • 1-3 days – Express Air-Delivery
  • 2-10 days – Regular Air Freight
  • 30+ days – “Fast Sea”
  • 45+ days – “Slow Sea”

How to Avoid Delivery Delays?

To remove the problem of delivery delays altogether, it is advisable to maintain a manageable stock of products in US-based warehouses. 3PLs provide warehousing services for your business to ensure that your products are always ready to move.

Does the Pandemic Affect Shipping Terms From China to the US?

Thankfully, this is no longer the case. While the pandemic definitely caused delivery delays worldwide, things have started opening up with lockdown restrictions easing. Ensure you take the time to follow the news in China or check the current situation with your logistics operator.

To make sure that your goods are getting shipped in the most efficient way possible, fill out the form and a representative from PartnerTrade will reach out to help. Our experienced logistics operators will help you get your goods shipped from China to the US in a timely, cost-effective manner.