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International shipping guide to China

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If you are shipping commercial goods by ocean or air freight to China, Shipa Freight’s extensive network of logistics partners ensures we can offer extremely competitive freight quotes to any destination inside Chinese borders. Our online platform is fast and simple to use, and our team will be pleased to help you determine the best way to ship to China, based on the specific needs of your business.

We can also arrange domestic transportation within China to get your cargo from its port of arrival to its final destination.

On this page, you’ll find some useful facts about shipping to China for commercial purposes, including transit times for the most commonly used air and ocean freight routes. Also shared here are some basic information about Chinese import standards and restrictions.

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Standards and Requirements for Chinese Imports

Entry Requirements for Freight Arriving in China

When shipping to China from the US or any point worldwide, you should be aware that customs clearance into the country can be quite a complex process. However, having the right documentation requirements in place will go a long way toward avoiding issues and delays. Some of the most important requirements to meet are as follows:

China Compulsory Certificate (CCC): Many products require a CCC before they will be allowed into China. You should check if the products you want to ship are subject to certification. If so, allow at least five months to complete the CCC procedure before you think about dispatching any shipments.

If your products are subject to certification, you may qualify for an exemption under certain circumstances, but again, this is a lengthy process. Either way, you will need to present Chinese customs authorities with the appropriate documents so they can review them when your shipment arrives in the country.

The correct HS codes for your goods: It is quite common for Chinese authorities to have trouble determining which HS codes should be attached to a shipper’s products. This can result in transit delays, especially as in China, HS codes are used to determine what Guobiao (GB) standards your products must meet. To save yourself from difficulties with Chinese customs, it makes sense to identify the HS codes applicable to your products and to make sure the border agency is given this information.

When you engage Shipa Freight to transport your products to China, we will be pleased to help you identify the right HS codes for your products.

GB standards test reports: You will need to identify which GB standards (if any) apply to your products and have the products tested for compliance. You or your freight forwarder must provide the test reports to the Chinese customs service.

Other documents required by Chinese customs include:

  • A bill of lading
  • A commercial invoice
  • A packing list
  • A customs invoice
  • A sales/trading contract
  • An import quota certificate
  • An H2000 Customs declaration

The documents described above comprise the main essentials, which as a Shipa Freight customer, you do not need to be too concerned with, as we will complete them and submit them to customs on your behalf.

However, even more documentation may be necessary, perhaps including inspection certificates or licenses, quality certificates, or health and safety paperwork, depending on the nature of the products or materials you intend to ship to China. We are pleased to help our customers identify and comply with these documentation requirements wherever possible.

Shipments arriving in China will only be released to importers registered with the customs service. Registration is evidenced by a Customs Registration (CR) code. Whether you are the importer or the exporter, you will need the correct CR code, as your freight forwarder must have it to enter in the customs declaration.

List of Restricted Chinese Imports

The Chinese government prohibits or restricts the entry of certain types of goods and materials into the country. If you are considering shipping any products appearing on the list below, you should be aware of the relevant permissions, quotas, and requirements as applied by Chinese government agencies.

Of course, if your products are prohibited, you should not even consider them for shipping to China, as the consequences may include seizure and even destruction of your shipment by the customs service.

Items currently listed as being restricted or prohibited from entering China include:

  • Animal Skins, pelts and furs
  • Antiques
  • Asbestos
  • Certain biological substances
  • Dangerous goods
  • Firearms or their components
  • Gambling paraphernalia
  • Ivory
  • Jewelry
  • Military equipment
  • Perishables
  • Personal mail
  • Pornography
  • Precious stones and metals
  • Radar transmitters and receivers

This list is by no means exhaustive, and the best way to ship to China without running into difficulties is to first check the admissibility of your planned cargo and the regulations controlling it with the Chinese customs service.

Ocean Freight Shipping to China

The following information will help you to familiarize yourself with some of the main ocean freight routes for shipping to China. While the information here only covers port-to-port shipping legs, Shipa Freight also offers port-to-door and door-to-door transportation to destinations anywhere inside Chinese borders.

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Busiest Trade Lanes for Chinese Cargo Shipping

Five of the busiest freight shipping routes to China (in no particular order) are:

  • Busan (South Korea) to Shanghai
  • Singapore to Shanghai
  • New York (United States) to Shanghai
  • Miami (United States) to Shanghai
  • Port Kelang (Malaysia) to Shanghai

Ocean Shipping to China: Longest and Shortest Transit Times

If your business is located in the Eastern United States, then you’ll find that shipping from the US to China can involve some long periods in transit for your freight. In fact, container vessels sailing from Savannah, Georgia to Shanghai can take up to 47 days to complete the voyage, which is about the longest of all ocean-freight transit times to China.

At the other end of the spectrum, shippers in Southeast Asia benefit from some of the shortest transit times for their freight. The fastest transit time for international shipping to China is achieved on the route from Manila in the Philippines, to the Chinese port of Ningbo, which can be completed in just 5 days.

List of Ocean Routes for Freight Shipping to China

The list below highlights a few examples of freight shipping trade lanes to China and approximate transit times from port to port.

From Europe

Country of Origin Port of Origin Destination Port Duration
Belgium Antwerp Shanghai 30 Days
Belgium Antwerp Ningbo 37 Days
France Le Havre Nansha 29 Days
France Le Havre Ningbo 27 Days
France Le Havre Shanghai 30 Days
Germany Bremerhaven Shanghai 29 Days
Germany Bremerhaven Dalian 32 Days
Netherlands Rotterdam Qingdao 31 Days
Netherlands Rotterdam Ningbo 38 Days
Russia Vostochny Shanghai 6 Days
Slovenia Koper Shanghai 35 Days
Spain Algeciras Qingdao 27 Days
Spain Algeciras Ningbo 34 Days
Sweden Gothenburg Shanghai 35 Days
Sweden Gothenburg Dalian 38 Days
United Kingdom London Gateway Shenzhen 37 Days
United Kingdom London Gateway Ningbo 37 Days
United Kingdom London Gateway Guangzhou 33 Days
United Kingdom London Gateway Shanghai 41 Days
United Kingdom London Gateway Qingdao 50 Days
United Kingdom London Gateway Tianjin 53 Days
United Kingdom London Gateway Dalian 42 Days
United Kingdom London Gateway Xiamen 45 Days
United Kingdom London Gateway Lianyungang 50 Days
United Kingdom London Gateway Nanjing 50 Days
United Kingdom Felixstowe Ningbo 37 Days
United Kingdom Felixstowe Shanghai 34 Days
United Kingdom Southampton Shanghai 43 Days
United Kingdom Southampton Ningbo 37 Days
United Kingdom Southampton Shenzhen 37 Days
United Kingdom Southampton Guangzhou 33 Days
United Kingdom Southampton Qingdao 47 Days
United Kingdom Southampton Tianjin 53 Days
United Kingdom Southampton Dalian 42 Days
United Kingdom Southampton Xiamen 45 Days
United Kingdom Southampton Lianyungang 50 Days
United Kingdom Southampton Nanjing 50 Days
United Kingdom Felixstowe Nanjing 50 Days
United Kingdom Felixstowe Lianyungang 50 Days
United Kingdom Felixstowe Xiamen 45 Days
United Kingdom Felixstowe Dalian 42 Days
United Kingdom Felixstowe Tianjin 53 Days
United Kingdom Felixstowe Guangzhou 33 Days
United Kingdom Felixstowe Shenzhen 37 Days
United Kingdom Felixstowe Qingdao 37 Days

From America

Country of Origin Port of Origin Destination Port Duration
Canada Vancouver Ningbo 21 Days
Canada Vancouver Shanghai 22 Days
Canada Vancouver Qingdao 21 Days
Chile San Antonio Shanghai 30 Days
Mexico Manzanillo Shanghai 25 Days
Mexico Manzanillo Ningbo 22 Days
Mexico Manzanillo Qingdao 30 Days
Panama Colon Ningbo 26 Days
Panama Colon Qingdao 23 Days
United States Oakland Shanghai 20 Days
United States Oakland Ningbo 20 Days
United States Oakland Qingdao 20 Days
United States Norfolk Shanghai 29 Days
United States Seattle Qingdao 22 Days
United States Seattle Shanghai 16 Days
United States Seattle Ningbo 17 Days
United States Mobile Xiamen 30 Days
United States Mobile Shanghai 27 Days
United States Los Angeles Shanghai 24 Days
United States Long Beach Shanghai 21 Days
United States Long Beach Ningbo 18 Days
United States Long Beach Qingdao 23 Days
United States Los Angeles Shanghai 22 Days
United States Los Angeles Xiamen 23 Days
United States Los Angeles Qingdao 22 Days
United States Tacoma Qingdau 18 Days
United States Tacoma Shanghai 27 Days
United States Tacoma Ningbo 23 Days
United States Tacoma Qingdao 17 Days
United States Savannah Ningbo 46 Days
United States Savannah Shanghai 47 Days
United States Charleston Qingdao 41 Days
United States Charleston Ningbo 44 Days

From Asia and Oceania

Country of Origin Port of Origin Destination Port Duration
Australia Brisbane Shanghai 18 Days
Australia Brisbane Ningbo 18 Days
Australia Brisbane Qingdao 16 Days
Australia Melbourne Shanghai 22 Days
Australia Melbourne Ningbo 22 Days
Australia Melbourne Qingdao 22 Days
Australia Sydney Qingdao 19 Days
Australia Sydney Shanghai 23 Days
Australia Sydney Ningbo 22 Days
Bangladesh Chittagong Shanghai 15 Days
Indonesia Surabaya Shanghai 12 Days
Indonesia Surabaya Ningbo 15 Days
Indonesia Jakarta Shanghai 12 Days
Indonesia Jakarta Ningbo 13 Days
Indonesia Surabaya Qingdao 25 Days
Indonesia Jakarta Qingdao 21 Days
Japan Yokohama Shanghai 9 Days
Japan Kobe Shanghai 7 Days
Japan Kobe Kobe 5 Days
Japan Yokohama Ningbo 10 Days
Japan Yokohama Qingdao 5 Days
Japan Kobe Qingdao 3 Days
Malaysia Port Klang Qingdao 10 Days
Malaysia Port Klang Shanghai 14 Days
Malaysia Port Klang Ningbo 11 Days
Malaysia Port Klang Qingdao 12 Days
Malaysia Tanjung Pelepas Shanghai 8 Days
Malaysia Tanjung Pelepas Ningbo 11 Days
Malaysia Tanjung Pelepas Qingdao 10 Days
New Zealand Tauranga Shanghai 16 Days
New Zealand Tauranga Qingdao 19 Days
Philippines Manila Shanghai 6 Days
Philippines Manila Ningbo 5 Days
Philippines Manila Qingdao 13 Days
Singapore Singapore Ningbo 10 Days
Singapore Singapore Shanghai 11 Days
Singapore Singapore Qingdao 15 Days
South Korea Busan Ningbo 6 Days
South Korea Busan Shanghai 6 Days
South Korea Busan Qingdao 4 Days
Taiwan Kaohsiung Shanghai 5 Days
Taiwan Kaohsiung Ningbo 4 Days
Taiwan Kaohsiung Qingdao 4 Days
Thailand Laem Chabang Ningbo 8 Days
Thailand Laem Chabang Shanghai 8 Days
Thailand Laem Chabang Qingdao 20 Days
Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City Ningbo 13 Days
Vietnam Haiphong Qingdao 10 Days
Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City Shanghai 7 Days

International Shipping to China: Air Freight

The following information covers some of the main air freight routes for shipping to China. While the information here only covers airport-to-airport shipping legs, Shipa Freight also offers port-to-door and door-to-door transportation to destinations anywhere inside Chinese borders.

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Busiest Air Freight Routes for China-Bound Shipments

Five of the most heavily utilized air freight routes to China are:

  • Frankfurt (Germany) to Shanghai
  • Moscow (Russia) to Beijing
  • Los Angeles (USA) to Beijing
  • London (UK) to Shanghai
  • Chicago (USA) to Shanghai

Longest and Shortest Transit Times for Air Freight Shipping to China

The beauty of air freight is in its speed and flexibility. For example, if you want to send a package to China that weighs just a few kilograms, you can do so.

At the same time, air freight is also suitable for much larger shipments, even those comprising several tonnes of freight. The time spent in transit is the same, regardless of the shipment size.

Longest Transit Time

If your business plans include shipping to China from the USA , the maximum airport-to-airport transit time will be around 14 hours from freight terminals at Dallas/Fort Worth or Chicago or perhaps a little less from airports on the West coast. Flights from the United States are the longest of all air freight routes to China, but the duration can still be counted in hours rather than days and weeks as with ocean freight.

Shortest Transit Time

The shortest transit times for goods traveling by air to China, of course, are enjoyed by businesses operating in neighboring Asian countries. You can ship a package to China from Seoul in South Korea, or Tokyo or Osaka in Japan, for example, in little more than 2 hours. This is why, despite the fact that air freight services for shipping to China cost more than ocean freight, many companies in Asia are happy to shoulder the expense in return for expediency.

List of Air Freight Routes for Shipping to China

The list below comprises just a few examples of the routes used by air freight carriers serving Chinese destinations. There are many more routes in operation, and our network enables us to fly cargo to China’s airports from 100 countries around the world.

From Europe

Country of Origin Airport of Origin Destination Airport Duration(Approx.)
Austria Vienna Beijing 9 Hours
Austria Vienna Shanghai 10 Hours
Denmark Copenhagen Beijing 9 Hours
Germany Frankfurt Beijing 9 Hours
Germany Frankfurt Shanghai 10 Hours
Germany Frankfurt Chengdu 9 Hours
Germany Frankfurt Nanjing 10 Hours
Germany Frankfurt Qingdao 10 Hours
Germany Munich Beijing 9 Hours
Germany Munich Shanghai 10 Hours
Italy Milan Beijing 10 Hours
Netherlands Amsterdam Shanghai 10 Hours
Russia Moscow Beijing 7 Hours
Russia Moscow Chengdu 8Hours
Russia Moscow Shanghai 8 Hours
Ukraine Kiev Beijing 9 Hours
United Kingdom London Shanghai 11 Hours

From Asia

Country of Origin Airport of Origin Destination Airport Duration(Approx.)
Japan Osaka Shanghai 2 Hours
Japan Osaka Beijing 3 Hours
Japan Tokyo Shanghai 2Hours
Japan Tokyo Beijing 3 Hours
Japan Tokyo Dalian 3 Hours
Japan Tokyo Guangzhou 4 Hours
Japan Tokyo Tianjin 3 Hours
Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Beijing 6 Hours
Singapore Singapore Beijing 6 Hours
Singapore Singapore Chengdu 5 Hours
South Korea Seoul Shanghai 2Hours
Thailand Bangkok Shanghai 4 Hours

From The Americas

Country of Origin Airport of Origin Destination Airport Duration(Approx.)
Canada Vancouver Beijing 10 Hours
Canada Toronto Beijing 13 Hours
Canada Toronto Shanghai 13 Hours
USA Chicago Beijing 14 Hours
USA Chicago Shanghai 14 hours
USA Chicago Zhengzhou 14 Hours
USA Dallas Beijing 14 Hours
USA Dallas Shanghai 14 Hours
USA Los Angeles Beijing 12 Hours
USA Los Angeles Shanghai 13 Hours
USA San Francisco Beijing 12 Hours

Grow Your Business in China with Shipa Freight

The Chinese economy is booming and can offer amazing opportunities for business growth. Of course, you need to put some effort into understanding the nuances of international shipping to China if you want to cash in on the country’s huge potential.

Shipa Freight can support your business through the learning curve and help you decide on the best way to ship to China. With our sophisticated online freight-forwarding platform, we make it easy to get an ocean or air freight quote, book your shipment, pay for it, and track your goods all the way to their destination.

In fact, if you want to ship a package to China, whether it’s a pallet or an entire container, Shipa Freight makes the process so simple that you can get started right away.

Visit our homepage now to get your first quote for international shipping to China.

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

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