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Container Shipping to Brazil

FCL and LCL freight forwarding: information and online quotes

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Updated on 29 Aug 20229 min read

Brazil is the fifth-largest country in the world with high engagement and interaction with trade activity. This is especially true for its most imported goods, comprising manufacturing products such as industrial machinery, agricultural machinery, vehicles, and electronics. These types of goods account for over 85% of Brazil’s imports.

If your business supplies these products or other commercial goods and you are thinking about expanding your reach to Brazil, read more about how to ship a container to Brazil in this article. We discuss your options, estimated cost and transit time, the type of goods you can send, customs clearance requirements, Incoterms, and more.

What are your options for container shipping to Brazil?

Containers are sent to Brazil via ocean freight. In this mode of shipment, you have two options: less than container load (LCL) or full container load (FCL).

Less than Container Load (LCL) to Brazil

Less than container load shipping is the more economical option. It’s best for small goods or low quantities of cargo because LCL ships goods belonging to different consignors in one container. In this mode of ocean freight, your goods will be consolidated with those belonging to other shippers. The shared container helps reduce shipping costs, but can also mean that it can take longer for your goods to arrive in Brazil.

Full Container Load (FCL) to Brazil

Full container load shipping, on the other hand, is a more exclusive mode of ocean freight. In FCL, you can settle the cost for an entire unit to accommodate only your consignments. This option is best for large, bulky, or overweight cargo, as well as delicate and fragile goods. However, FCL is more expensive than LCL because you don’t share the costs with other shippers. But without the consolidation process, your goods can arrive in Brazil much faster.

How much does it cost to ship a container to Brazil?

The cost of your container shipment to Brazil is highly dependent on various factors, including:

  • Type of goods you are shipping
  • Your choice of shipping service (LCL or FCL)
  • Weight of your cargo
  • Volume of your cargo
  • Distance between your port of origin and destination
  • Movement type (door-to-door, port-to-port, etc.)

Your freight forwarder can provide you with a more accurate quote.

What type of cargo can be sent in a container?

Because you are shipping via ocean freight, there are lesser restrictions when it comes to the type of cargo that you can send. Ocean freight accommodates almost every kind of goods. The only limitations are the restrictions and prohibitions in Brazil. Before shipping, make sure that you are aware of how your goods are categorized by Brazilian authorities. If it is regulated, you may need additional certifications, licenses, or documents to successfully import them.

How long does it take to ship a container to Brazil?

The duration of your shipment depends on the type of ocean freight shipping you choose (whether LCL or FCL), whether your ship is direct or has multiple stops, and the distance between your port of origin and the port of destination in Brazil.

On average, expect that your transit time will take 12 to 60 days. Below are the estimated transit times according to the country of origin.

Country of Origin LCL Transit Time FCL Transit Time
China 35 to 48 days 30 to 46 days
Germany 24 to 26 days 20 days
India 29 to 55 days 33 to 56 days
Indonesia 38 to 56 days 51 to 56 days
Italy 15 to 38 days
Mexico 24 days 32 days
Spain 12 to 36 days 14 to 28 days
Singapore 21 days
Thailand 27 days
United Arab Emirates 60 days 35 to 48 days
United States 28 to 42 days 24 to 36 days
Vietnam 51 days

What container capacity do I need for my cargo?

Ocean freight containers come in the following sizes:

  • 20 foot - 33.2 CBM
  • 40 foot regular - 63.5 CBM
  • 40 foot high cube - 76.4 CBM
  • 45 feet high cube - 86 CBM

The size that you choose would depend on the measurements of your cargo. But here’s a piece of advice. If you select LCL as your mode of shipment, we recommend that your goods do not occupy more than half of the entire container. If it does, the cost will be large and you may be able to save more by simply selecting FCL.

On the other hand, if FCL is your ocean freight shipment of choice, you don’t really need to worry about the size and volume of your cargo. Because you don’t share the container with other shippers, you can ship even small cargo or large and bulky cargo in a single container.

Which mode of ocean shipping should I choose, FCL, LCL, or Break Bulk?

Come time to decide the mode of ocean freight shipping for you, you need to consider the specifics of your cargo and your priorities. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision.

Less Than Container Load (LCL) Shipping to Brazil

LCL may be the best ocean freight shipping choice for you if:

  • Your cargo is small in size or quantity
  • Your cargo is not fragile or delicate
  • Your goods will be able to sustain frequent handling and movement
  • You’re okay with your cargo being consolidated with consignments from other sellers
  • Your goods are not needed in Brazil urgently.

Full Container Load (FCL) Shipping to Brazil

FCL, on the other hand, may be the better option if:

  • Your cargo is large, bulky, overweight
  • Your cargo is fragile, delicate, or perishable
  • Your cargo may not be able to sustain frequent handling and movement
  • Your want your cargo to be shipped in isolation
  • Your goods are expected in Brazil at a specified time.

Break Bulk

Your freight forwarder may recommend break bulk shipping if your goods cannot fit in a single ocean freight container. In this mode of shipment, your goods will be packed separately and shipped in different containers.

Customs Clearance in Brazil

When your goods arrive in Brazil, they will undergo the customs clearance process before they can be cleared for import. This would require you to present or submit documents in advance. Brazilian customs requires the following:

  • Commercial invoice
  • Letter of credit/ other payment terms
  • Packing list
  • Certificates of origin
  • Import licenses
  • Bill of lading or airway bill, provided by Shipa Freight

We have a full documents list that you can take a look at for examples of these documents.

Which Incoterms would be the right choice for my shipment?

Using the right Incoterms can help you ensure a seamless shipment and protect you and your buyer. Here are the best Incoterms that you can use for shipping a container to Brazil.

Best Incoterms for Exporters

  • CPT (Carriage Paid To): The seller must bring the goods to the agreed destination and carry out a contract of carriage. The seller is liable until the goods have been handed to the carrier.
  • CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid To): Similar responsibilities as CPT, but with the added requirement on the seller’s part to obtain insurance.
  • DAP (Delivered At Place): The seller should deliver the goods to the buyer’s selected location and is responsible for the majority of the shipping process.
  • DDP (Delivery Duty Paid): The seller is responsible from the beginning to the end of the shipping process. This leaves the buyer with minimal responsibilities.
  • FCA (Free Carrier): The seller must deliver the goods to the carrier and shoulder the costs of customs.

Best Incoterms for Importers

FCA (Free Carrier): The seller must deliver the goods to the carrier and shoulder the costs of customs. EXW (Ex Works): More responsibility is put on the buyer’s part, from picking up the goods at the seller’s premises or warehouse to arranging transport.

Processes to follow to ship a container to Brazil

If you want to ship a container to Brazil, we recommend that you engage the services of a reliable freight forwarder. Because they have the expertise and experience in importing and exporting goods, they can help you ensure that your shipment runs smoothly.

Once you have engaged your freight forwarder, you will need to decide the mode of ocean freight to avail of. If you select LCL, your goods will be consolidated with other consignments in a container freight station. FCL, on the other hand, does not go through this process.

All goods that are loaded in containers will undergo fumigation, which is a process necessary to exterminate pests, bugs, or other harmful organisms that may damage the goods.

After the ship completes its voyage and your goods have arrived in Brazil, they will undergo customs clearance. With the right documents, this process should be a breeze. After the goods have been cleared by Brazilian customs, they can be picked up or delivered, depending on the particular service that you avail of.

Main container ports of arrival in Brazil


The port of Paranagua is located in Panama, along the Southeastern part of Brazil. It’s hailed as the country’s third-largest port for container shipments.

Owned By: Administração dos Portos de Paranaguá e Antonina. Annual Container Volume: >752,000 TEUs. UN/LOCODE: BRPNG.


The seventh-biggest seaport in Brazil, the port of Salvador is located in All Saints Bay. Its location on the peninsula gives it access to air, rail, and road connections to inland Brazil.

Owned By: Companhia das Docas do Estado da Bahia. Annual Container Volume: >301,000 TEUs. UN/LOCODE: BRSSA.

Rio Grande Du Sol

The Rio Grande Du Sol is the second-busiest port in Brazil. It is located in the southern part of the country and is stationed on a river near Rio Grande. Its location brings it in close proximity to Uruguay and also provides access to the Atlantic Ocean.

Owned By: Superintendencia Porto de Rio Grande. Annual Container Volume: >760,000 TEUs. UN/LOCODE: BRRIG.

Why Ship a Container to Brazil With Shipa Freight?

Shipa Freight is a digital-first freight forwarder that aims to make the shipping process as easy for you as possible. With our digital platform, we provide a modern and high-tech approach to shipping, allowing you to:

  • Book your shipment
  • Get a quote
  • Manage your shipments
  • Track your cargo
  • Settle shipping costs
  • Access 24/7 customer support
  • And more.

Get started with an easier and hassle-free mode of shipping with Shipa Freight. Request a quote today.

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