Sea freight from China to USA-Moving overseas

Are you about to import products from China to the United States?  Looking for a cost effective way for your freight forwarding? Is sea freight appropriate for your business?  Yes, you choose right. Sea freight from China to USA is the best option for you.

If you are an accomplished exporter/importer or a novice in the domain, if you’re planning a one-shot import/export in/to the United States, our team will be dedicated to giving you the best! Topshiping is a great opportunity for many people like you who want to experience hassle-free shipping. As a top-rated China freight agent, we’d like to share our knowledge and experiences in this page.

What are the benefits of China-US Maritime Services?

How does the ocean trade terms work?

How does Top Shipping value your product and business?

What are the sea freight costs?

How long does China to USA take?


Sea freight from China to USA services-Use the benefits

If your goods are over 500 kg, sea freight is the best way because it’s a cheapest and most cost effective way for heavy goods. It’s also suitable for raw material, fuels, pipe and machinery and emits less co2 than aircrafts. But, ocean shipping to the United States takes 30-40 days due to the slow movement of vessels. It has a complex process and lots of paperwork. Above all, bad weather, port congestion, and customs delays affect the sea shipping more.

There are different services for any kind of sea freight goods. You can carry your cargo with freight LCL and FCL (Choosing your container based on the size and the volume of cargo). Also it offers FOB and EXW terms services and different packaging services. Even this method has a flexible delivery services such as door to door, port to door, etc.

Full container load (FCL)

Here, you own the whole container space and pay for a complete one. If your product is large and heavy and also has high-value and you don’t want it to be next to other goods, this container is very suitable. Remember! If your good are small, half the volume of the container is wasted because you cannot share it with anyone.

Less than container load (LCL)

In this case, you own the part of the container and should share the remaining space with others. It’s suitable for small goods. Naturally, it has a low cargo security than FCL because it is not clear what cargo will be placed next to your product.

These containers have different sizes that three types are the most common ones:

20GP=20DV=2oFT=20’=20 feet general purpose

40GP=40DV=40FT=40’=40 feet general purpose

40HC=40HQ=40 feet high cube

The price of the containers varies according to the size and volume of the goods. Consult your freight forwarder if you are not able to choose exactly the right one.

Ocean cargo trade terms

Once you chose your product and agree with your supplier, you need to use one of the types of Incoterms to set the costs and responsibilities between buyer and seller. The World Trade Organization declare and recognize the Incoterms for determine your good’s owner and responsible during the ocean freight from China to US.

By choosing one of these terms, you determine who will bear the cost and responsibility for the damage, packing , etc of your goods. Because this way of shipping from China to USA is a long journey and you need to anticipate everything and avoid problems as much as possible.

FOB and EXW are the most common incoterms that only use for import.


It is abbreviation for Free on Board. When you trade on FOB terms, your Chinese supplier is responsible for local costs and owns the product. But once the good leaves the port, you (buyer) will be responsible for everything and the ownership will change to you. In other words, seller prepares the product, pack it, pay for origin customs clearance and load it on the vessel. From then on, you are the owner of the product and all costs are borne by you, including expenses, customs clearance of the destination country, delivery cost.

Since in this case, the producer is responsible for costs and damages, they act carefully and cost effectively.

If you are a beginner in exporting and importing, FOB is better option.


It stands for Ex Worker. If you work with these terms, you are fully responsible for the freight. The seller only has the duty to provide the goods for you. Pick up at your supplier’s door, paper works, customs clearance of origin and destination and damages are all the responsibility of the buyer.


It takes your goods a long way from factory in China to your door in the United States. Therefore, proper and professional packaging is one of the most important factors in shipping through the oceans.

The formula for a safe package is: Outer cartons: 5 layers, Freight remark: Yes (Printed on outer carton), plastic wrapping: Yes (on outer carton), Inner cartons: 5 layers.

Ports-The doors of progress and trade

China, located in Asia, can transfer cargoes to the US through three paths; Pacific Lane, Atlantic Lane and Indian Lane. They are delivered in a special part of the US by taking each path such as the west of Latin America, the East Coast of the US and North America.

Many of world’s top 10 ports are located in china such as Xiamen, Ningbo and Shenzhen. This shows that China has the ability to attract a lot of international customers and provides a good platform for buying and transporting your goods.

There are more than 100 ports in the United States like Chicago, Boston and Dallas that play a very influential role in the global trade market.

Sea freight from China to USA companies-Taste the comfort

Finding a good business partner is for your better choice. If you want this complicated sea freight process to be done smoothly, get help from a transport company.

In the process of ocean freight from China to the United States, if you don’t know the details, you may have to pay expensive and unexpected fines and duties. As a result, negligence can make your transportation very expensive.

TopShipping is a great opportunity for a cost effective marine freight. Not only we can find the best supplier for you but also assemble and complete the necessary documents for customs clearance and select the most appropriate freight services for you. Our experts also estimate the cost and time for you based on import and export details.

Note that some goods require a license to be distributed in the USA. Identify the required permits by visiting the US Customs and Border Patrol website. Apply for a license before placing an import order through the appropriate US government channels.

It is much better if your company is Chinese. Because our China freight agents are familiar with Chinese business culture, Geography and language, China Customs Law and Chinese suppliers. Also, your freight forwarder takes over both cargo ownership and arranges your freight well. Now you see why is it important to cooperate with a sea freight company?

Sea freight from China to USA costs

Shipping rates vary greatly depending on the size of the container used, the volume and size of the goods, the incoterms and also the distance from the factory to the port.

Note that the lower the volume in marine shipping, the higher the rate.

Under EXW terms, importer must pay for:

China and America customs clearance fees+ freight forwarding company charges+ insurance+ transportation costs from factory to China’s port and America’s port to the door + sea freight

Under FOB terms, importer is responsible of pay:

Sea freight+ insurance+freight forwarding company charges+ terminal fee at the American port+ US customs clearance fee+ transportation cost from US port to the door

US Customs duty and taxes

Some customs fees are the same in all countries such as import duty. But some of them are different in each country. For example, costs that only apply to US Customs include:

  • ISF. The cost of services that are only for ocean imports.
  • MPF. Cost of routine mandatory services to cover shipping processing.
  • HMF. Cost of using US ports services.
  • Customs Bonds. It is a compulsory CBP insurance. It is useful for failure to pay tolls and penalties in full.

Attention! The cost from China to different American port varies a lot. So be careful to choose the right port for your cargo.

Attention! ISF is a maritime cargo file that includes the identity of the buyer and seller, the recipient number, and the manufacturer’s information. It must be send to US Customs 24 hours before transportation. Otherwise there is a $ 5,000 fine.

Sea freight from China to USA time

Shipping from China to USA time usually depends on the type of ocean freight you choose and the speed of the ship. According to this it takes 30-40 days because ships move slowly. Paper works and customs clearance of origin and destination countries, congestion of the port cause the low speed of sea transportation. Also, imported Chinese goods usually take six days to release from USA customs.