How to Save Time and Money While Shipping from China to USA


主图1.jpgNo one has ever claimed that shipping internationally is simple. In reality, figuring out the most cost-effective way of moving imports from China to the United States may be quite difficult. Small businesses can often enhance their shipping processes to save both time and money while considering shipping from China to USA.

Importing goods from China necessitates the completion of a checklist of a few items that, if not completed correctly, could result in shipment delays and fines. Then why not engage with a registered customs broker to make the process of shipping from China go as smoothly as possible?

The truth about the present business scenario

The Trump administration had imposed a series of hefty tariffs on Chinese goods entering the United States before the start of the epidemic.

The Section 301 tariffs were enacted to lower the trade deficit between these two countries, boost domestic manufacturing, and encourage the Chinese government to protect the intellectual property of the American companies.

However, one unfavourable effect of that decision was the developing trade war between China and the United States. Finally, these tariffs had a significant influence on the tax for importing Chinese items into the United States in 2020.

The US has produced four lists of commodities that will be subject to increased taxes until further notice, covering practically every item that is imported. In response to China implementing its own tariffs on China to USA shipping, the tariff rates on those goods grew over time.

List 4 was supposed to be split into two halves, but the second half was scrapped due to favourable progress in trade talks between the two countries.

Present shipping methods

Regular mail services can be utilised while shipping from China to USA for tiny individual products. However, if you need to transfer a large number of items, then there are 3 main shipping options to consider:

  • Airfreight

  • Ocean freight

  • Express freight.

The most significant component in saving time and money for shipping from China is choosing the correct shipping methods.

1. Airfreight

The quickest way of shipping from China to USA is by air freight. Importers who are managing time-sensitive foreign shipments usually use it.

Ocean freight shipments from China to the United States often take 20 to 30 days to cross continents. Airfreight is secure, dependable, and takes several hours to get to its destination.

The most significant disadvantage of air travel is its high cost. It is typically five times the cost of transportation and sixteen times the cost of ocean freight.

The cost of air freight is determined by the weight and volume of the shipment. Depending on which figure is going to be more expensive, carriers charge by either dimensional weight or the actual weight.

Shipping costs from China to USA have increased due to additional charges in addition to freight rates.

2. Ocean freight

The most popular means of international shipping is by far ocean freight. Ocean transport accounts for approximately 90% of all shipping. This should be your first choice if you're hauling a large number of items.

Ocean shipping vessels are quite capable of delivering massive amounts of weight and cargo. It is possibly the most cost-effective route of transportation while shipping from China to USA, with relatively low CO₂ emissions, compared to other possibilities.

When compared to air freight, there are often fewer limitations for ocean freight. Although there aren't many disadvantages to shipping goods by sea, the ones that do exist are significant.

To begin with, it takes a little longer. Airplanes travel at a speed of about 30 times that of ships. Congestion in the port, customs issues, and bad weather can all slow down the process. Ocean freight is more likely to harm your goods than other modes of transportation due to its heavy-duty nature.

There are frequently a variety of additional expenses in addition to the shipping costs from China to USA for ocean freight shipping prices.

3. Express freight

Express freight is commonly used to convey items that must be delivered quickly. It is cost-effective only for shipping small commodities, and hence for larger items, the air or sea freight must be employed.

The fact that it is a simplified service provided exclusively by one company is the key reason for its speed. Express freight carriers include companies like UPS, FedEx, and DHL.

Major steps to be followed while sourcing from China

Here's a step-by-step guide from the perspective of a local freight forwarder who has been serving Chinese exporters and international importers for years. Let's take a look at how to source from China and the things that you can do to help the process go more smoothly.

1. Identify your import rights

You become the importer when you buy things from other countries. If your package is tiny and intended for personal use or the cost is not too high, then a courier such as DHL, UPS, or the FedEx is going to handle everything and deliver it to your door. If that's the case, then you'll save a lot of your time and money.

However, before importing commercial items into your country, whether as a corporation or an individual, you must first determine whether you have import rights.

2. Identify the items you want to import

Selling things is how a trading company makes money. You'll waste time and money if you choose the wrong products. If you want to succeed as an importer, then the first step is to select the appropriate goods to resale.

3. Make sure that the items that you import from China are permitted

Importation of certain products is prohibited. Products that are outlawed in different countries are different. Check to see if the items you want to import are not subjected to any government permits, prohibitions, or rules.

It is the job of the importer (You) to ensure that the items comply with many specific laws and regulations.

4. Classify your items and determine the landed cost

For each item you're importing, look for the 10-digit tariff categorization number. These figures, coupled with also the Certificate of Origin, will be used to calculate the duty rate you'll have to pay when importing something. Then calculate the landed cost.

5. Identify your supplier in China to place an order

You must place an order with the vendor, carrier, or exporter, and specify the shipping terms.

Request a proforma invoice/quote sheet for your upcoming purchases, which should include the harmonised system number, description, and value per item. The weight and packaged dimensions, as well as the purchase term, must be shown on your P/I.

6. Arrange your cargo transport

Container fees, terminal handling, packaging, and broker fees are just a few of the costs connected with the shipment of the products from China to the USA. Each of these aspects should be considered to gain a clear picture of shipping costs.

7. Track your cargo

It takes time to ship items internationally. For example, it takes 14 days on average for items delivered from China to arrive at the West Coast of the United States, and 30 days to arrive at the East Coast.

8. Obtain your shipment

Make arrangements for the customs broker to clear the goods through customs when they arrive (and quarantine if applicable). You have the right to collect your shipment, if all goes properly.

插图2.jpgAdvantages of sourcing from China

Over the last few years, many small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as some of the world's most well-known brands, have realised the value of sourcing items from China.

For example, China produced approximately 28 percent of global automobile output in 2019. Other industries have looked to China for dependable original equipment manufacturers as well.

Let's look at some of the advantages of getting products from China to see if they may persuade you otherwise.

1. Expansive supplier base

One of the most compelling reasons for importing from China is the country's vast supplier base. China, in reality, has one of the world's most diverse supply bases.

From textiles and garments to electronics and various consumer goods, there is a wide choice of sourcing firms to choose from for practically any product.

Different industrial clusters exist in China, each including a high number of organisations and companies in a very well-defined geographical area.

The Yiwu region of Zhejiang province, for example, is home to the world's largest small commodities market. As a result, you may discover a reputable sourcing firm to create any form of present item.

2. Lower labour cost

Because China is the world's most populated country, it is easier to locate both skilled and unskilled labour. Because of the abundance of local labour, sourcing companies in China can set lower manufacturing costs.

Moreover, different government rules enable manufacturers to maintain excellent work standards without increasing labour prices.

In addition, the majority of workers have years of training/experience in their particular fields. As a result, you don't need to spend time or money on training as a buyer, especially if you're acquiring generic products.

3. Excellent product quality

A prevalent misperception is that Chinese goods aren't long-lasting. They're often referred to as "use-and-throw" products. This, however, is not the case. Several small and medium-sized firms have already discovered suppliers that can provide high-quality Chinese items.

Most suppliers have got many years of hands-on production experience and hence understand the manufacturing process completely. They also know where to get the best and cheapest raw materials, and they may already have the necessary equipment needed to maintain a high-quality level.

4. Better scaling capabilities

China's infrastructure is well-established and reliable. Most Chinese manufacturers possess extensive knowledge of management of the global supply chain and years of experience. Both of these qualities enable them to scale up production as needed.

5. Direct sourcing

While outsourcing, buyers are frequently forced to work with various parties, referred to as middlemen, which results in delays and higher sourcing expenses. When sourcing things from China, however, you can interact directly with the producer.

Few tips to save time for shipping your products from China

Because most small firms are unable to visit their suppliers regularly, delays on the ocean might be difficult to avoid. However, there are a few simple things you can do to speed up while shipping from China to USA.

1. Know about Chinese holidays

As the Chinese holidays approach, it will likely be tough to find companies that can suit your needs. Many factories will be closed, and industrial workers such as those who make items and those who carry them will be at home.

As a result, you must plan ahead with your provider and place your order well in advance of the holidays.

2. Choose certain experienced companies

Every container is given a deadline by that time it must be put onto a ship and ready to sail and this means that the products must be completely finished, packed, and loaded by a specified date and arrive at the origin port by that date.

Working with a certain reputable supplier or freight forwarder ensures that your items arrive on time.

3. Complete clearance paperwork correctly

A time delay can eat up your money like nothing else. And the most common reason for time delays is a shipment being halted during the clearance process. It's critical to fill out the documentation correctly to ensure your package gets through customs without any hitch.

4. Have your documents ready

Any ocean cargo getting shipped to the United States must have an ISF on file. Most of the shippers file the ISF much before the commodities are put aboard the ship in the nation of origin, and they will often file the ISF even if they don't have all of the necessary information.

插图3.jpgTips to save money

There's no denying that transportation expenses can eat into your profit margins. Running a small business is figuring out how to keep things at a price that customers will pay while still allowing the company to make a profit.

Before you send items from China to the United States, keep the following points in mind:

1. Time your shipment well

When it comes to moving items out of China, timing is essential. Due to a shortage of labour in factories and also on the road, shipping costs will slowly rise as certain holidays approach.

Factories will be closed during the official holidays. Shipping expenses typically rise during the following periods: from mid-September through early October.

2. Consider your packaging

While many businesses rely on their suppliers to handle all of their packaging, becoming engaged in the process can save money. Inquire about how the items are going to be packed and if there are any methods to make the process a little more efficient.

When shipping by sea, the weight of the cargo doesn't matter, only the quantity of space it takes up.

3. Ship full container loads

Ship a full container load whenever possible. A full container load (FCL) is a less expensive technique to convey ocean cargo. Less than full load (LCL) shipments will wind up costing extra per item.

Other advantages of shipping a full container load include no necessity of dealing with the possibilities of the container damage, and also no necessity of sharing your container with any other vendor, whose wares may/may not cause any delay on your shipment.

4. Ship 40’ instead of 20’

In general, shipping in a larger quantity lowers your cost per item. However, if you are unable to complete the 40' load on time, then it may be more cost-effective to use any smaller option than wait to fill any larger container.

5. Find a certain hybrid shipping solution

Work with a freight forwarder that can offer an intermodal solution. This will offer the opportunity to combine air and ocean freight with another mode of land transportation, if the air freight is too expensive, and the ocean freight may not deliver your shipment on time.

Experienced freight forwarders will often find a certain way to manage this by working with their contacts. This hybrid solution will ensure that your shipment is delivered on time and under budget.

Benefits of having a sourcing agent

Often due to language and cultural barriers, it becomes too difficult to communicate with Chinese companies. Therefore, it will always benefit you if you hire a certain local agent who is knowledgeable about Chinese industries and also can communicate well in English.

You can also look for an agent who is quite knowledgeable about the product that you are trying to import from China and is also able to check the quality of them before they are shipped to the USA.

There are many such agents available and there is a bit of competition among them too. Hence you are more likely to get an agent at a very affordable price who can help you to reduce your many headaches of importing from China.


There is no doubt that by sourcing from China, you can save a lot of money and can get all kinds of industrial as well as consumer products of reasonably good quality. Over the years China has tremendously improved its product quality.

Following the tips that were explained can surely save your time and cost for China to USA shipping and you will never regret your decision by sourcing from China.

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