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International shipping guide from the US

FCL, LCL and Air freight forwarding: information and online quote

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Updated on 04 Jul 20218 min read

When your customers’ orders need shipping from the US to any point overseas, Shipa Freight offers highly competitive door-to-door and port-to-port freight rates. We also give you the convenience of a single online platform to get quotes, book freight transportation, track shipments, and pay the various parties involved in the international and domestic US logistics processes.

We are pleased to offer advice and guidance if you are unfamiliar with exporting or international shipping from the US. The tips and information on this page should be helpful if you are just getting started.


Shipping from US: Export Standards and Requirements

Declaring Your Exports

It has always been necessary to make export declarations to the US Customs and Border Protection Agency. The process today, however, is a lot faster and a bit less complicated than it used to be, thanks to digital technology.

What used to be called a Shippers Export Declaration (SED) is now known as Electronic Export Information (EEI). As the name suggests, it is filed online, typically by a US freight forwarder acting on behalf of the shipper.

Note: When you ship your goods with Shipa Freight, we will file the EEI for you.

When Do You Need to File Electronic Export Information?

If you are planning to export a shipment of goods valued at $2,500 or more, or if your products are subject to export licensing, you will need to ensure that any US shipping company acting on your behalf knows an EEI must be filed.

While freight forwarding companies in the US or your chosen carrier (or Shipa Freight if you are our customer) will submit the EEI through the government’s Automated Export System (AES), there is certain information that you as the exporter will be responsible for supplying. This information includes an identifier for the type of commodities you are shipping. The identifier is known as a Schedule B number and can be obtained from the US Census Bureau.

US Export Restrictions and Limitations

Before you begin shipping from the US to overseas destinations, it’s advisable to research not only the products that you are exporting, but also your target market and potential end-customers. This is because any or all of these may be subject to export licensing and restrictions.


The factors that will determine whether a license is required, or a restriction applies, are as follows:

  • What you are exporting: in particular, you should find out if the products you are exporting have been assigned an Export Control Classification Number (ECCN);
  • What the items you are exporting will be used for: For example, if your products have potential military as well as commercial uses, they may be subject to licensing or restrictions;
  • The destination of your shipment: A number of countries are subject to US export embargoes and restrictions. In any case, you will need to include a destination control statement on your commercial invoices and bills of lading, to confirm that your shipment may not be diverted to any country other than the formally stated destination.

The good news is that the vast majority of materials and products do not require an export license. Even if your products do turn out to have an ECCN, you may find that circumstances exist under which you can get an exemption.

However, nothing should be taken for granted. Penalties for non-compliance with export laws and regulations are stiff.

Many freight shipping companies in the US are familiar with export regulations, so your US logistics provider can probably advise you about your products and tell you which government agency to approach with regard to licensing.

Ocean Freight Shipping from the US

The following information will help you to familiarize yourself with some of the main ocean freight routes for shipping from the United States. While the information here only covers port-to-port shipping legs, Shipa Freight also offers port-to-door and door-to-door transportation to locations in 100 countries worldwide.


Busiest Trade Lanes for US Shipping

With plenty of major ports on the East and West coasts of the United States, ocean shipping is possible to just about any overseas destination. However, some of the most frequented routes are those from East Coast ports to European countries, especially Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

The following five trade lanes for containerized goods are among the top ocean shipping routes from ports in the United States:

  • Seattle (Washington) to Shanghai (China)
  • Savannah (Georgia) to Antwerp (Belgium)
  • Oakland (California) to Tokyo (Japan)
  • Savannah (Georgia) to Felixstowe (United Kingdom)
  • Charleston (South Carolina) to Rotterdam (Netherlands)

Ocean Shipping from US Ports: Longest and Shortest Transit Times

Longest transit times for ocean shipments from the United States are on routes from the US Gulf Coast to ports in China and Southeast Asia. For example, the trade lane from Mobile, Alabama to Shanghai, China takes around 30 days for container ships to navigate.

Meanwhile, some of the fastest routes are those connecting the US East Coast to Northern or Southern Europe. A container vessel can sail from New York and arrive at Bremerhaven, Germany within 10 days. It takes a similar amount of time to navigate the trade lane from Miami to the Spanish port of Algeciras.

List of Ocean Routes for Shipping from the United States

To Europe

Port of Origin Destination Country Destination Port Approximate Duration
Miami Belgium Antwerp 25 Days
Port Everglades Belgium Antwerp 18 Days
Savannah Belgium Antwerp 15 Days
Houston Belgium Antwerp 15 Days
Savannah France Le Havre 19 Days
Houston France Le Havre 15 Days
New York Germany Bremerhaven 22 Days
Baltimore Germany Bremerhaven 17 Days
Savannah Germany Bremerhaven 15 Days
Houston Germany Bremerhaven 18 Days
Savannah Italy Naples 17 Days
Savannah Italy Genoa 20 Days
Miami Netherlands Rotterdam 26 Days
Port Everglades Netherlands Rotterdam 19 Days
Norfolk Netherlands Rotterdam 15 Days
New York Netherlands Rotterdam 18 Days
Houston Netherlands Rotterdam 16 Days
Savannah Netherlands Rotterdam 16 Days
Houston Spain Valencia 26 Days
New Orleans Spain Barcelona 16 Days
Miami Spain Algeciras 12 Days
New York Spain Algeciras 16 Days
Houston Spain Algeciras 17 Days
Savannah Spain Algeciras 16 Days
Savannah Spain Valencia 11 Days
Seattle United Kingdom London Gateway 23 Days
Seattle United Kingdom Felixstowe 23 Days
Seattle United Kingdom Southampton 23 Days
Savannah United Kingdom London Gateway 27 Days
Savannah United Kingdom Liverpool 22 Days
New York United Kingdom London Gateway 32 Days
Long Beach United Kingdom Felixstowe 28 Days
Long Beach United Kingdom London Gateway 28 Days
Long Beach United Kingdom Southampton 28 Days
Los Angeles United Kingdom London Gateway 28 Days
Los Angeles United Kingdom Felixstowe 28 Days
Los Angeles United Kingdom Southampton 28 Days
Norfolk United Kingdom Felixstowe 17 Days
Baltimore United Kingdom Felixstowe 19 Days
Savannah United Kingdom Felixstowe 15 Days
Savannah United Kingdom Southampton 13 Days
New Orleans United Kingdom Felixstowe 21 Days
New York United Kingdom Felixstowe 32 Days
Charleston United Kingdom Southampton 13 Days
New York United Kingdom Southampton 17 Days
Norfolk United Kingdom Southampton 15 Days
Miami United Kingdom Southampton 6 Days

To South/Central America

Port of Origin Destination Country Destination Port Approximate Duration
Norfolk Argentina Buenos Aires 21 Days
Norfolk Brazil Itapoa 26 Days
Houston Brazil Rio de Janeiro 26 Days
Norfolk Brazil Santos 18 Days
New Orleans Brazil Suape 12 Days
Houston Colombia Cartagena 8 Days
Long Beach Costa Rica Puerto Limon 14 Days
Houston Honduras Puerto Cortes 6 Days
Savannah Honduras Puerto Cortes 5 Days
Houston Mexico Altamira 1 Day
Long Beach Mexico Manzanillo 3 Days
New York Panama Colon 5 Days
Savannah Panama Colon 13 Days
Savannah Panama Manzanillo 9 Days
Houston Panama Balboa 10 Days
Houston Peru Callao 13 Days
Port Everglades Peru Callao 11 Days
Houston Venezuela Guanta 10 Days

To Asia and Oceania

Port of Origin Destination Country Destination Port Approximate Duration
Charleston Australia Sydney 27 Days
Charleston Australia Melbourne 30 Days
Long Beach Australia Brisbane 22 Days
Mobile China Shanghai 29 Days
Long Beach China Dalian 22 Days
Long Beach China Lianyungang 19 Days
Long Beach China Ningbo 18 Days
Long Beach China Shanghai 21 Days
Long Beach China Qingdao 23 Days
Los Angeles China Shanghai 24 Days
Los Angeles China Qingdao 22 Days
Los Angeles China Xiamen 21 Days
Oakland China Shanghai 20 Days
Oakland China Ningbo 20 Days
Oakland China Qingdao 20 Days
Norfolk China Shanghai 29 Days
Norfolk China Ningbo 29 Days
Seattle China Shanghai 16 Days
Seattle China Ningbo 17 Days
Seattle China Qingdao 22 Days
Tacoma China Shanghai 27 Days
Tacoma China Qingdao 17 Days
Tacoma China Ningbo 23 Days
New York China Xiamen 28 Days
Los Angeles Hong Kong Hong Kong 21 Days
Long Beach Hong Kong Hong Kong 21 Days
Tacoma Hong Kong Hong Kong 17 Days
Los Angeles Japan Tokyo 19 Days
Los Angeles Japan Kobe 18 Days
Los Angeles Japan Yokohama 12 Days
Long Beach Japan Yokohama 24 Days
Long Beach Japan Nagoya 17 Days
Long Beach Japan Kobe 15 Days
Tacoma Japan Tokyo 13 Days
Tacoma Japan Osaka 15 Days
Oakland Malaysia Port Klang 22 Days
Los Angeles Malaysia Port Klang 25 Days
Oakland Singapore Singapore 21 Days
Los Angeles Singapore Singapore 24 Days
Long Beach South Korea Busan 20 Days
Los Angeles South Korea Busan 16 Days
Seattle South Korea Busan 16 Days
Los Angeles Taiwan Taipei 20 Days
Long Beach Taiwan Kaohsiung 17 Days
Los Angeles Taiwan Kaohsiung 19 Days
Oakland Taiwan Kaohsiung 17 Days
Tacoma Taiwan Kaohsiung 19 Days
Oakland Thailand Laem Chabang 22 Days
Long Beach Thailand Laem Chabang 24 Days
Los Angeles Thailand Laem Chabang 25 Days
Long Beach Vietnam Vung Tau 27 Days

US Outbound Shipping by Air Cargo Carrier

The following information covers some of the main air freight routes for shipping from the United States. While the information here only covers airport-to-airport shipping legs, Shipa Freight also offers port-to-door and door-to-door transportation to locations in 100 countries around the world.


Top Routes for Air Freight from United States Airports

If your exports are time-critical or comprise low volumes of high-value products, you will probably wish to choose air, rather than ocean shipping from the United States to your chosen destination.

The five following air freight routes are currently among the most popular with shippers exporting from the US:

  • Dallas to Brussels (Belgium)
  • New York to London (United Kingdom)
  • Chicago to Frankfurt (Germany)
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo (Japan)
  • Los Angeles to Seoul (South Korea)

Longest and Shortest Transit Times for Shipping from US Airports

Longest transit times for air freight shipments out of the US are on routes to Asia. As an example, a cargo flight from Chicago to Zhengzhou, China takes around 14 hours.

Of course, the shortest flights from the United States are those heading into the bordering countries of Canada and Mexico, and to Central American and Caribbean destinations. Flights from Miami to Bogota in Colombia for instance, take four hours or less.

Air Freight: Routes for Shipping from United States Airports

To Europe

Airport of Origin Destination Country Destination Airport Approximate Duration
Cincinnati Belgium Brussels 8 Hours
Dallas Germany Frankfurt 9 Hours
New York Germany Frankfurt 7 Hours
Atlanta Netherlands Amsterdam 8 Hours
Chicago Netherlands Amsterdam 8 Hours
Chicago Russia Moscow 10 Hours

To South/Central America

Airport of Origin Destination Country Destination Airport Approximate Duration
Miami Colombia Bogota 4 Hours
Miami Dominican Republic Santo Domingo 2 Hours
Miami Ecuador Quito 4 Hours
Miami Guatemala Guatemala City 2 Hours
Miami Honduras San Pedro Sula 2 Hours
Miami Nicaragua Managua 3 Hours

To Asia

Airport of Origin Destination Country Destination Airport Approximate Duration
Chicago China Zhengzhou 14 Hours
Los Angeles China Shanghai 13 Hours
Cincinnati Japan Tokyo 13 Hours
Los Angeles Japan Tokyo 11 Hours
Los Angeles South Korea Seoul 12 Hours
Cincinnati South Korea Seoul 14 Hours
Cincinnati South Korea Seoul 14 Hours

Shipping Simplicity: United States Freight Exports with Shipa Freight

Instead of dealing with a US freight forwarder, US logistics companies, customs brokers and foreign logistics providers, why not ship your export orders with Shipa Freight?

Our platform keeps things simple, and our global presence means we can offer you competitive door-to-door or port-to-port rates for hundreds of worldwide destinations.

It’s so easy to try the Shipa Freight service for size. Just visit our homepage to get your first quote in moments and discover a simpler way to ship freight internationally.

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