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International shipping guide from Germany

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Are you getting ready to talk to some freight forwarding companies in Germany, with a view to getting quotes and information about international shipping? Before you do that, a few minutes on this page will be time well spent.

Here you will find some information about German and EU export formalities, and insights into some of the core trade lanes used for international shipping from Germany.

The information covers both ocean and air freight routes, as does the Shipa Freight online freight forwarding platform—a comprehensive, yet simple solution for commercial goods shipping from Germany to the USA and other international destinations.

In fact, after scanning through this page and perhaps some of other trade lane pages, and stopping by at our homepage to learn more about our services, you might decide not to spend any more time looking for a freight forwarder in Germany. But whether that’s the case or not, we’re happy to share some of our extensive freight shipping knowledge with anyone who might benefit from it.

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Formalities and Standards for Shipping Freight from Germany

If you’re accustomed to domestic freight shipping, you’ll know that there’s not too much to it. However, there’s quite a big difference between dispatching goods using a delivery service in Germany, and moving shipments out of the country and across international borders.

Fortunately, Germany, along with the other EU member states, has a relatively straightforward set of procedures for exporting goods and materials, although there are some differences between shipping from one EU state to another, and shipping from Germany to a country outside of the union.

On this page, we focus mainly on shipping from Germany to USA and other third country destinations (third country means any country that is not an EU member).

Customs Requirements when Shipping from Germany

If you will be regularly exporting goods from Germany, there are a couple of important requirements to take into account.

Firstly, in common with all EU countries, you will need to obtain an EORI number, which you can get from the General Directorate of Customs’ Master Data Management office in Dresden, Germany. You can find instructions for applying for an EORI number on the German Customs website. The application is free of charge.

Once you have your EORI number, you will be able to ship goods from Germany on a commercial basis, but you will need to submit an export declaration for every shipment that you send out of the country if the value is greater than 1,000 Euros or the weight more than 1,000 kilograms.

Germany phased out paper declarations some years ago, so your freight forwarder or shipping company will need to make your declarations online. Freight forwarding companies in Germany and overseas normally take responsibility for submitting declarations on behalf of their customers.

At Shipa Freight, for example, we simply ask you to provide us with the necessary information to complete the declaration and any other documents that may be necessary, and then we take care of the rest.

German Export Restrictions

The German government imposes no particular export restrictions or prohibitions aside from those specified by the EU, which are largely in line with the policies of most countries. This means that unless you are exporting goods for military use, weapons, chemicals that might be used in warfare, or instruments of torture, you should not need to apply for any special export permits or licenses.

A Note on Trade Embargoes and Sanctions

Aside from making certain that your exports do not require a license, you should also ascertain whether your destination country is subject to any trade embargoes imposed by the German government or the European Parliament.

If you are shipping from Germany to the USA for instance, there is unlikely to be any problem, but if your goods are bound for any countries known for terrorist activity or other forms of political or cultural unrest, you should double check if your exports are permissible.

For example, The EU currently prohibits the export of certain goods to the regions of Crimea and Sevastopol in Russia, due to the Russian State’s illegal annexation of those regions.

If you are in any doubt at all as to whether your goods can be exported without special permits or licenses, your first contact should probably be with the [German Customs Administration]https://www.zoll.de/EN/Home/home_node.html), although you can also speak to any good freight forwarder in Germany, as they generally keep up to date with current customs and export regulations.

Ocean Freight from Germany: Routes and Transit Times

The following information will help you get familiar with some of the main ocean freight routes for shipping from Germany. While the information here only covers port-to-port shipping legs, Shipa Freight also provides port-to-door and door-to-door shipment services to locations in 100 countries around the world.

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For businesses shipping from Germany to USA ports, there is plenty of choice in routes. Some of the busiest ocean trade lanes anywhere are those linking the two countries. Routes from Germany to the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa also see high volumes of ocean freight, as is evident from our “top five” list of busiest routes shown below.

5 Top Routes for International Shipping from Germany

  • Bremerhaven to Miami (United States)
  • Bremerhaven to Norfolk (United States)
  • Bremerhaven to Savannah (United States)
  • Hamburg to Alexandria (Egypt)
  • Bremerhaven to Limassol (Cyprus)

International Shipping from Germany: The longest and Shortest Ocean Routes

The longest routes from Germany for ocean freight shipping are those linking the major ports of Bremerhaven and Hamburg with the Far East. You should expect anything up to 52 days for an LCL or FCL shipment to travel from either Hamburg or Bremerhaven to Qingdao in China, for example.

On the other hand, despite the fact that shipping from Germany to the USA involves an intercontinental voyage across the Atlantic, it also involves some of the shortest transit times, at least to ports on the East Coast of the United States. The route from Bremerhaven to New York takes around 10 days for shipping lines using fast container vessels.

Key Routes for Ocean Freight from Germany

The list below contains some of the most important routes used by international shipping companies in Germany for moving freight around the globe.

Please note that all transit times shown in the list below are for your interest and general guidance only. They are not guaranteed to be precise, and your freight may be in transit for more or less time than the charts indicate.

To America

Port of Origin Destination Country Destination Port Approximate Duration
Hamburg Argentina Buenos Aires 25 Days
Hamburg Brazil Santos 19 Days
Hamburg Brazil Paranagua 21 Days
Bremerhaven Canada Montreal 14 Days
Hamburg Colombia Cartagena 16 Days
Bremerhaven Colombia Cartagena 15 Days
Bremerhaven Mexico Altamira 15 Days
Hamburg Panama Manzanillo 18 Days
Bremerhaven Panama Balboa 18 Days
Bremerhaven United States Baltimore 16 Days
Hamburg United States Baltimore 21 Days
Bremerhaven United States Houston 15 Days
Hamburg United States Houston 20 Days
Bremerhaven United States Charleston 14 Days
Bremerhaven United States Miami 11 Days
Bremerhaven United States New York 10 Days
Bremerhaven United States Seattle 19 Days
Hamburg United States Seattle 21 Days
Bremerhaven United States Mobile 21 Days
Bremerhaven United States New Orleans 20 Days
Bremerhaven United States Norfolk 12 Days
Bremerhaven United States Port Everglades 18 Day
Bremerhaven United States Savannah 20 Days
Hamburg Uruguay Montevideo 24 Days

To Africa and the Middle East

Port of Origin Destination Country Destination Port Approximate Duration
Hamburg Cyprus Limassol 15 Days
Bremerhaven Cyprus Limassol 12 Days
Hamburg Dubai Jebel Ali 41 Days
Bremerhaven Egypt Alexandria 15 Days
Hamburg Egypt Port Said 18 Days
Hamburg Lebanon Beirut 13 Days
Bremerhaven Nigeria Apapa 24 Days
Bremerhaven Morocco Casablanca 10 Days
Hamburg Saudi Arabia Jeddah 17 Days
Bremerhaven South Africa Cape Town 19 Days
Bremerhaven South Africa Port Elizabeth 23 Days
Bremerhaven South Africa Durban 29 Days
Hamburg UAE Jebel Ali 31 Days

To Asia

Port of Origin Destination Country Destination Port Approximate Duration
Hamburg Bangladesh Chittagong 33 Days
Bremerhaven Bangladesh Chittagong 33 Days
Bremerhaven China Ningbo 36 Days
Hamburg China Ningbo 38 Days
Hamburg China Shanghai 39 Days
Bremerhaven China Shanghai 39 Days
Bremerhaven China Dalian 32 Days
Hamburg China Shenzhen 37 Days
Bremerhaven China Shenzhen 37 Days
Hamburg China Guangzhou 39 Days
Bremerhaven China Guangzhou 39 Days
Bremerhaven China Qingdao 52 Days
Hamburg China Qingdao 52 Days
Bremerhaven China Tianjin 45 Days
Hamburg China Tianjin 44 Days
Hamburg China Xiamen 37 Days
Bremerhaven China Xiamen 37 Days
Hamburg China Nanjing 46 Days
Bremerhaven China Nanjing 46 Days
Hamburg China Lianyungang 45 Days
Bremerhaven China Lianyungang 45 Days
Bremerhaven Hong Kong Hong Kong 42 Days
Hamburg Hong Kong Hong Kong 41 Days
Bremerhaven Indonesia Jakarta 47 Days
Hamburg Indonesia Jakarta 47 Days
Bremerhaven Indonesia Surabaya 46 Days
Hamburg Indonesia Surabaya 46 Days
Hamburg Japan Yokohama 47 Days
Bremerhaven Japan Yokohama 47 Days
Bremerhaven Japan Kobe 38 Days
Hamburg Japan Kobe 38 Days
Bremerhaven Malaysia Port Klang 42 Days
Hamburg Malaysia Port Klang 42 Days
Bremerhaven Malaysia Tanjung Pelepas 39 Days
Hamburg Malaysia Tanjung Pelepas 39 Days
Bremerhaven Philippines Manila 44 Days
Hamburg Philippines Manila 44 Days
Bremerhaven South Korea Busan 36 Days
Hamburg South Korea Busan 51 Days
Bremerhaven Singapore Singapore 34 Days
Bremerhaven Sri Lanka Colombo 24 Days
Bremerhaven Taiwan Kaohsiung 40 Days
Hamburg Taiwan Kaohsiung 41 Days
Bremerhaven Thailand Laem Chabang 48 Days
Hamburg Thailand Laem Chabang 48 Days
Bremerhaven Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City 48 Days
Hamburg Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City 48 Days
Bremerhaven Vietnam Hai Phong 47 Days
Hamburg Vietnam Hai Phong 47 Days

Air Freight from Germany

The following information relates to some of the main air freight routes connecting Germany with other countries around the world. While this guide only covers airport to airport shipping legs, Shipa Freight offers a complete range of services, including port-to-door and door-to-door transportation from Germany to destinations in 100 countries.

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Busiest Routes from German Air Freight Hubs

Many businesses like to use air freight when shipping goods from Germany to other European countries, simply because it is relatively inexpensive (when compared to intercontinental flights) and is much faster than using truck or rail freight, which are otherwise the most common way to move goods within continental Europe.

In fact, air freight is especially popular for shipping from Germany to the United Kingdom, as highlighted by the prevalence of cargo services to London Heathrow airport. Five of the busiest air freight routes from Germany (in no particular order) are as follows:

  • Frankfurt to London Heathrow (United Kingdom)
  • Munich to London Heathrow (United Kingdom)
  • Stuttgart to Vienna
  • Hamburg to London Heathrow
  • Frankfurt to Milan

Air Freight from Germany: Shortest and Longest Transit Times

The longest transit time for air freight from Germany is around 12 hours, with the following routes all taking around this length of time to complete:

  • Frankfurt to Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil
  • Frankfurt to Los Angeles and San Francisco in the United States
  • Frankfurt to Cape Town in South Africa
  • Frankfurt to Tokyo in Japan
  • Frankfurt to Hong Kong and Singapore

Air carriers also operate routes to the above destinations from Munich and one or two other German airports. Transit times are similar to the ex Frankfurt routes.

The shortest transit times are associated with routes connecting Germany with its neighboring countries in Europe. Many of these routes, such as Frankfurt to Paris and Munich to Milan, involve less than one hour of flight time.

List of Routes from Germany: Air Freight

Please note that all transit times shown in the list below are for your interest and general guidance. They show flight durations for direct routes only, and your freight may be in transit for more or less time than the charts indicate.

To the Americas

Airport of Origin Destination Country Destination Airport Approximate Duration
Frankfurt Brazil Rio De Janeiro 12 Hours
Frankfurt Brazil Sao Paulo 12 Hours
Frankfurt Canada Toronto 8 Hours
Munich Canada Montreal 8 Hours
Munich Canada Vancouver 11 Hours
Frankfurt Mexico Mexico City 11 Hours
Frankfurt Panama Panama City 12 Hours
Dusseldorf United States New York 9 Hours
Dusseldorf United States Miami 9 Hours
Dusseldorf United States Miami 10 Hours
Frankfurt United States Atlanta 10 Hours
Frankfurt United States New York 8 Hours
Munich United States New York 9 Hours
Frankfurt United States Boston 8 Hours
Frankfurt United States Philadelphia 9 Hours
Munich United States Charlotte 10 Hours
Frankfurt United States Chicago 9 Hours
Munich United States Chicago 9 Hours
Frankfurt United States Dallas 11 Hours
Frankfurt United States Houston 11 Hours
Frankfurt United States Detroit 9 Hours
Frankfurt United States Atlanta 10 Hours
Frankfurt United States Denver 10 Hours
Frankfurt United States Los Angeles 11 Hours
Munich United States Los Angeles 12 Hours
Frankfurt United States San Francisco 11 Hours
Munich United States San Francisco 12 Hours
Frankfurt United States Miami 10 Hours
Munich United States Denver 10 Hours
Frankfurt United States Seattle 10 Hours

To Europe

Airport of Origin Destination Country Destination Airport Approximate Duration
Stuttgart Austria Vienna 1 Hour
Hamburg Austria Vienna 1 Hour
Dusseldorf Belgium Brussels 1 Hour
Frankfurt France Paris 1 Hour
Munich Italy Rome 1 Hour
Frankfurt Italy Milan 1 Hour
Frankfurt Italy Rome 2 Hours
Munich Italy Milan 1 Hour
Dusseldorf Italy Milan 1 Hour
Dusseldorf Netherlands Amsterdam 1 Hour
Frankfurt Norway Oslo 2 Hours
Munich Spain Madrid 2 Hours
Frankfurt United Kingdom Glasgow 2 Hours
Frankfurt United Kingdom Birmingham 1 Hour
Frankfurt United Kingdom London Heathrow 1 Hour
Frankfurt United Kingdom Manchester 1 Hour
Hamburg United Kingdom London Heathrow 1 Hour
Munich United Kingdom Glasgow 2 Hours
Munich United Kingdom Manchester 2 Hours
Munich United Kingdom London Heathrow 2 Hours
Stuttgart United Kingdom London Heathrow 1 Hour
Munich United Kingdom Birmingham 2 Hours

To Africa and the Middle East

Airport of Origin Destination Country Destination Airport Approximate Duration
Munich Cyprus Larnaca 4 Hours
Munich Egypt Cairo 4 Hours
Frankfurt Egypt Cairo 4 Hours
Frankfurt Morocco Casablanca 3 Hours
Munich Qatar Doha 6 Hours
Frankfurt Saudi Arabia Jeddah 6 Hours
Frankfurt South Africa Cape Town 12 Hours
Frankfurt South Africa Johannesburg 10 Hours
Frankfurt Tunisia Tunis 2 Hours
Berlin Turkey Izmir 3 Hours
Dusseldorf UAE Dubai 7 Hours
Hamburg UAE Dubai 7 Hours
Munich UAE Dubai 6 Hours

To Asia and Oceania

Airport of Origin Destination Country Destination Airport Approximate Duration
Berlin China Beijing 10 Hours
Dusseldorf China Beijing 10 Hours
Frankfurt China Shanghai 11 Hours
Frankfurt China Beijing 10 Hours
Munich China Shanghai 11 Hours
Frankfurt China Chengdu 9 Hours
Frankfurt China Nanjing 10 Hours
Frankfurt China Qingdao 10 Hours
Munich China Beijing 9 Hours
Munich Hong Kong Hong Kong 12 Hours
Frankfurt Hong Kong Hong Kong 11 Hours
Dusseldorf Japan Tokyo 12 Hours
Munich Japan Tokyo 11 Hours
Frankfurt Japan Tokyo 11 Hours
Dusseldorf Singapore Singapore 12 Hours
Munich Singapore Singapore 12 Hours
Munich South Korea Seoul 10 Hours
Frankfurt South Korea Seoul 10 Hours
Cologne Thailand Bangkok 11 Hours
Frankfurt Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City 11 Hours

We Simplify Shipping from Germany

Before you begin searching for international shipping companies in Germany, try Shipa Freight. It’s an online freight-forwarding platform, with all the facilities and functions you need to simplify the shipping process.

You can get a fast and competitive freight quote and when you’re ready to ship, you can book, pay, and track your goods all via one, easy-to-use online portal. We even simplify the completion of your documents, saving you time that you can put to more productive use in your business.

In fact, we’re confident that after using our platform, you’ll be glad you didn’t spend time and resources looking for the right freight forwarder in Germany. There really is no need—because the right freight forwarder is right here.

It’s so easy to ship freight from Germany with Shipa Freight. Get your first quote now or sign up to enjoy all the features of our service.

“With Shipa Freight, I could do everything from quotation to booking with just a click”.

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