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Facts About Commercial Freight Shipping to Germany

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If you’re seeking instant online quotes for competitive shipping rates to Germany, you’re almost at the right place. One more mouse click or screen tap and you will be at the Shipa Freight homepage, where it takes just a moment to get a rate for shipping to Germany.

While you’re here though, you might find the facts and guidelines on this page helpful, especially if you will be shipping commercial cargo to Germany for the first time.

If you have some idea of the trade-lane you will be using, you can check the lists below to get an approximate transit time for your shipment, and there’s also some information about customs and border formalities to consider when importing freight to Germany.

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Customs Standards and Procedures for Importing Freight to Germany

Germany is a European Union (EU) member state and therefore, uses the standard EU procedures and documentation for controlling the importation of goods and materials.

The Customs Declaration

When shipping to Germany from outside of the EU, you will need to make a customs declaration, either electronically or using a paper declaration document. The carrier transporting your shipment to the German border will typically lodge the declaration, but of course, you will be responsible for supplying the correct information for the declaration.

If you will be sending ocean freight to Germany, your carrier should lodge the entry declaration at least 24 hours before your goods are loaded at the port of departure. For air freight, the declaration must be lodged before the aircraft departs the airport of departure for short-haul flights or for long-haul, at least four hours before the aircraft will arrive at the German airport.

Along with the customs declaration, you must provide two copies of the commercial invoice for the goods or materials you are shipping. Depending on what type of items you are shipping to Germany, you may also be required to supply a certificate of origin. If you’d like to find further information about customs formalities, the German Customs website is well worth a visit.

Is Your Delivery to Germany Permitted Under EU Law?

Before you ship any goods or materials to Germany, it will pay to check if they are subject to any restrictions or if they are prohibited from entry into the EU. In most cases there will be no problem, but if you will be transporting any of the following goods for delivery to Germany, you should certainly check for restrictions or prohibitions first:

Medicinal Products: These products are strictly controlled, so you will typically require some form of permit and certification to import them into Germany.

Chemicals: Some types of chemicals are prohibited from entry into Germany, while others require appropriate authorizations and permissions to be granted.

Steel and Iron Products: If you are shipping iron and steel products for delivery to Germany, you should check if they are of a type that requires you to present a surveillance document along with the customs declaration.

Clothing and Textiles: Some textile and clothing products require special authorizations to import into EU member states, including Germany.

Vegetables and Fruits: If you wish to import fruits or vegetables from a country outside the EU, you will need to provide certificates of origin and conformity.

These are just some examples of restrictions which might affect your plans for shipping to Germany. You can access further details of prohibitions and restrictions on the TARIC database. The database is very comprehensive, but not especially user-friendly. If you wish to use it to check for import restrictions, look for the presence of CITES, PROHI, or RSTR codes against the HS numbers or description of your products in the database.

Trade Lanes and Routes for Ocean Freight to Germany

The information we provide here relates to some of the main ocean freight routes for shipping to Germany. You may notice that we only cover port-to-port shipping legs here, but Shipa Freight also offers port-to-door and door-to-door services to any destination in Germany.

If your shipments are too large to send by courier service to Germany, you will need to send them either by air or ocean freight. Ocean freight services for shipping to Germany cost less a lot less than air freight, and for larger shipments, may be the only practicable solution.

5 Most Frequented Routes for Ocean Freight to Germany

Among the busiest ocean routes for shipping to Germany, are those originating on the American continent, but shipping routes from Asia are also responsible for high volumes of inbound freight.

Five of the routes most frequented by container shipping traffic are…

  • Norfolk (United States) to Bremerhaven
  • Savannah (United States) to Bremerhaven
  • Baltimore (United States) to Bremerhaven
  • Santos (Brazil) to Hamburg
  • Singapore (Singapore) to Hamburg

With many thousands of routes in our database, Shipa Freight can offer competitive shipping rates to Germany, whether you wish to send goods to the most important ports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven, or to any other German port with berths and equipment to handle containerized cargo.

Longest and Shortest Transit Times for Shipping to Germany

The longest transit times for delivery to Germany by ocean freight are to be endured by businesses shipping from China. For instance, it can take up to 48 days for cargo from Shanghai to arrive in Hamburg. At the other end of the scale, the shortest trade lane that’s not entirely within Europe is the one that connects Germany with North Africa. The route from Tanger Med in Morocco, to Germany’s Bremerhaven Port, involves a mere eight to nine days of transit time.

Ocean Freight to Germany: Key Shipping Routes

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.

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From America

Country of Origin Port of Origin Destination Port Duration
Argentina Buenos Aires Hamburg 28 Days
Brazil Santos Hamburg 20 Days
Brazil Paranagua Hamburg 22 Days
Brazil Itapoa Hamburg 25 Days
Canada Montreal Bremerhaven 12 Days
Chile Valparaiso Hamburg 28 Days
Colombia Cartagena Hamburg 16 Days
Ecuador Guayaquil Hamburg 20 Days
Ecuador Guayaquil Bremerhaven 21 days
Mexico Altamira Bremerhaven 25 Days
Mexico Veracruz Bremerhaven 25 Days
Panama Manzanillo Bremerhaven 15 Days
Panama Balboa Hamburg 16 Days
Peru Callao Hamburg 25 Days
United States Los Angeles Bremerhaven 28 Days
United States Long Beach Bremerhaven 28 Days
United States Los Angeles Hamburg 28 Days
United States Long Beach Hamburg 28 Days
United States New York Hamburg 26 Days
United States New York Hamburg 26 Days
United States Seattle Hamburg 27 Days
United States Seattle Bremerhaven 30 Days
United States Philadelphia Hamburg 19 Days
United States Baltimore Bremerhaven 17 Days
United States Baltimore Hamburg 20 Days
United States Houston Bremerhaven 16 Days
United States Houston Hamburg 21 days
United States Charleston Bremerhaven 13 Days
United States Miami Bremerhaven 12 Days
United States Mobile Bremerhaven 21 Days
United States New Orleans Bremerhaven 22 Days
United States Norfolk Bremerhaven 12 Days
United States Port Everglades Bremerhaven 19 Day
United States Savannah Bremerhaven 20 Days

From Africa and the Middle East

Country of Origin Port of Origin Destination Port Duration
Dubai Jebel Ali Hamburg 32 Days
Dubai Jebel Ali Bremerhaven 38 Days
Egypt Alexandria Bremerhaven 15 Days
Egypt Alexandria Hamburg 17 Days
Egypt Port Said Hamburg 19 Days
Morocco Casablanca Bremerhaven 11 Days
Morocco Tanger Med Bremerhaven 8 Days
South Africa Cape town Bremerhaven 20 Days
South Africa Port Elizabeth Bremerhaven 10 Days
South Africa Durban Bremerhaven 29 Days

From Asia

Country of Origin Port of Origin Destination Port Duration
Country of Origin Port of Origin Destination Port Approximate Duration
Bangladesh Chittagong Hamburg 34 Days
Bangladesh Chittagong Bremerhaven 34 Days
China Shanghai Hamburg 35 Days
China Shanghai Bremerhaven 37 Days
China Ningbo Bremerhaven 36 Days
China Ningbo Hamburg 38 Days
China Guangzhou Hamburg 34 Days
China Guangzhou Bremerhaven 34 Days
China Qingdao Bremerhaven 45 Days
China Qingdao Hamburg 46 Days
China Shenzhen Bremerhaven 35 Days
China Shenzhen Hamburg 35 Days
China Lianyungang Hamburg 45 Days
China Dalian Bremerhaven 32 Days
China Dalian Hamburg 45 Days
China Xiamen Hamburg 42 Days
China Xiamen Bremerhaven 42 Days
China Nanjing Bremerhaven 43 Days
China Nanjing Hamburg 43 Days
Hong Kong Hong Kong Bremerhaven 42 Days
Hong Kong Hong Kong Hamburg 38 Days
Indonesia Jakarta Bremerhaven 37 Days
Indonesia Jakarta Hamburg 34 Days
Indonesia Surabaya Hamburg 36 Days
Indonesia Surabaya Bremerhaven 36 Days
Japan Yokohama Hamburg 42 Days
Japan Yokohama Bremerhaven 42 Days
Japan Kobe Hamburg 38 Days
Japan Kobe Bremerhaven 38 Days
Malaysia Tanjung Pelepas Bremerhaven 23 Days
Malaysia Tanjung Pelepas Hamburg 22 Days
Malaysia Port Klang Hamburg 23 Days
Malaysia Port Klang Bremerhaven 32 Days
Philippines Manila Hamburg 36 Days
Philippines Manila Bremerhaven 36 Days
South Korea Busan Hamburg 42 Days
South Korea Busan Bremerhaven 36 Days
Singapore Singapore Bremerhaven 34 Days
Singapore Singapore Hamburg 24 Days
Sri Lanka Colombo Bremerhaven 24 Days
Taiwan Kaohsiung Hamburg 37 Days
Taiwan Kaohsiung Bremerhaven 37 Days
Thailand Laem Chabang Bremerhaven 37 Days
Thailand Laem Chabang Hamburg 37 Days
Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City Bremerhaven 37 Days
Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City Hamburg 37 Days
Vietnam Hai Phong Hamburg 35 Days
Vietnam Hai Phong Bremerhaven 35 Days

Air Freight Shipping to Germany

The information we present here relates to some of the main air freight routes serving Germany. You may notice that we only cover airport-to-airport shipping legs on this page, but Shipa Freight also provides port-to-door and door-to-door services to any location in Germany.

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This section contains some useful information about air freight shipping to Germany. Air freight is ideal if you have goods of a high value to send to Germany, if your shipment is time-critical, and/or your shipments will not be very large. However, if you intend to send very small consignments on a regular basis, this type of freight service will probably not be suitable. Courier services tend to be more straightforward than air freight if you just wish to ship packages to Germany on an occasional, or even a regular basis.

Highest Volume Routes for Air Freight to Germany

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the highest-volume air freight routes to Germany are intra-European. Here are five of the routes that see some of the highest numbers of dedicated cargo flights:

  • London Heathrow (UK) to Frankfurt
  • Paris (France) to Frankfurt
  • Manchester (UK) to Frankfurt
  • Vienna (Austria) to Frankfurt
  • Brussels (Belgium) to Frankfurt

Air freight routes from the United States are also busy, especially those that connect New York and Chicago with Frankfurt. Trade lanes from Asia are not quite so well covered, with the exception of the route from Shanghai to Frankfurt, frequented by almost as many cargo flights as some intra-European routes.

By Air to Germany: Longest and Shortest Transit Times

Many of the routes connecting Germany to its European neighbors could qualify for the shortest transit time. Airport-to-airport times for these routes are typically less than one hour. Therefore, it’s difficult to pick out any one route as being the shortest.

Identifying the longest air-freight transit time to Germany is not quite so tricky. Lufthansa (Germany’s national airline) regularly flies cargo from Buenos Aires in Argentina, to Frankfurt, on a direct route that takes around 13 hours end-to-end.

Air Freight to Germany: List of Routes

Despite the fact that air freight services for shipping to Germany cost a lot more than ocean freight, many importers and exporters prefer this mode of transportation. That’s a fact evidenced by the sheer number of freight-only flights in operation.

The list below is just a sample of the thousands of routes present in our platform’s database. However, it should give you an idea of the locations from which shippers can transport air freight to Germany, and the average transit times involved.

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.

From America

Country of Origin Airport of Origin Destination Airport Duration(Approx.)
Argentina Buenos Aires Frankfurt 13 Hours
Brazil Rio De Janeiro Frankfurt 11 Hours
Brazil Sao Paulo Frankfurt 11 Hours
Canada Toronto Frankfurt 7 Hours
Mexico Mexico City Frankfurt 10 Hours
Panama Panama City Frankfurt 11 Hours
United States Dallas Frankfurt 9 Hours
United States Boston Frankfurt 7 Hours
United States New York Frankfurt 7 Hours
United States Chicago Frankfurt 7 Hours
United States Seattle Frankfurt 9 Hours
United States Philadelphia Frankfurt 7 Hours
United States Los Angeles Frankfurt 10 Hours
United States San Francisco Frankfurt 10 Hours

From Africa and the Middle East

Country of Origin Airport of Origin Destination Airport Duration(Approx.)
Angola Luanda Frankfurt 8 Hours
Morocco Casablanca Frankfurt 4 Hours
Saudi Arabia Riyadh Frankfurt 6 Hours
United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi Frankfurt 7 Hours

From Europe

Country of Origin Airport of Origin Destination Airport Duration(Approx.)
Bulgaria Sofia Frankfurt 2 Hours
Finland Helsinki Frankfurt 2 Hours
France Paris Frankfurt 1 Hour
Italy Milan Frankfurt 1 Hour
Italy Rome Frankfurt 2 Hours
United Kingdom Birmingham Frankfurt 1 Hour
United Kingdom Edinburgh Frankfurt 2 Hours
United Kingdom London Heathrow Frankfurt 1 Hour
United Kingdom Manchester Frankfurt 1 Hour

From Asia

Country of Origin Airport of Origin Destination Airport Duration(Approx.)
China Beijing Berlin 10 Hours
China Beijing Frankfurt 10 Hours
China Beijing Dusseldorf 11 Hours
China Shanghai Frankfurt 11 Hours
China Nanjing Frankfurt 11 Hours
China Guangzhou Frankfurt 11 Hours
Japan Tokyo Frankfurt 11 Hours
Thailand Bangkok Frankfurt 12 Hours
Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City Frankfurt 12 Hours

Get a Rate for Freight to Germany

At Shipa Freight, we want to help our customers make informed decisions about how and where to focus on international business expansion. But more than that, we believe it’s important to make shipping a much simpler process. That’s why we developed our online freight-forwarding platform, so you can enjoy a hassle-free way to ship your freight to Germany or anywhere around the world.

It takes just a moment to sign up with Shipa Freight and take advantage of all our platform’s features, but you don’t even have to sign up in order to get a quick quote for shipping. Just visit our home page and see how easy it is to get started.

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