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Ocean and Air Shipping from Brazil to China

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For over a decade, China has been the largest trade partner and export market of Brazil. The bilateral trade between the Asian giant and the Latin American powerhouse hit a record of more than $110 billion in 2018. It is not surprising that both nations enjoy fruitful trade relations, given that they are part of the same economic organization called BRICS, also consisting of Russia, India, and South Africa. Their common goal is to increase trade among rising and developing markets.

This close commercial bond can only be good news if your business’ supply chain involves shipping freight from Brazil to China. However, the traditional complexities of global ocean and air freight shipping still prevail. We want to make it easier for you. If you would like to learn more about shipping from Brazil to China, then you will find the essential information right here on this page.

How to Ship Ocean Freight From Brazil to China

Freight forwarding professional leaning on a stack of cartons, adjacent to the flags of Brazil and China

Brazil’s 7,491 km coastline is home to many of the country’s economic hubs. International cargo ports provide easy access to ocean shipping, which is the most economical way to import from Brazil to China. Your carrier will probably take an Atlantic trade lane, its vessel passing Africa at the Cape of Good Hope before plying the Indian Ocean to port in China.

Unless you are sending break-bulk freight, your carrier’s ship will transport your cargo in a shipping container from Brazil to China. Containerized shipping offers two alternatives: A full container load (FCL) or a less than container load (LCL), which means renting space in a shared container. The best option for you will depend on the volume, weight, and nature of your consignment.

Let’s look at both alternatives in detail.

Less than Container Load (LCL) From Brazil to China

LCL is the preferred choice of shippers who plan to move smaller quantities of freight from Brazil to China by sea. If you are shipping six standard pallets, which is equivalent to 14 CBM, or less, then an LCL shipment will typically be cheaper than hiring a full container.

You have to keep in mind, though, that other shippers will load freight into the same container. That means the 20ft or 40ft container will be consolidated before export and de-consolidated upon import. These extra steps in the overall process usually increase the transit time by a few days.

Also, extra handling can have an impact on the state of your goods. Perishable or delicate products might be put at risk when they are moved around more often. This is not the case when you book an FCL.

Full Container Load (FCL) From Brazil to China

FCL is a great option if you want your cargo to reach China as soon as possible or by a guaranteed date. Renting a full container for your exclusive use at a flat rate also means that your freight won’t be handled more than necessary.

In addition, shipping a full container from Brazil to China is often a more economical option. When you are transporting more than 14 CBM, which means filling at least half of a 20ft container, then paying for an FCL is less expensive than an LCL shipment.

Even if you want to transport less than this amount, it might still be wiser to book an FCL. As the final cost of LCL is also based on the weight of the cargo, very heavy consignments might be better off in a separate container.

Cargo Ports of Origin in Brazil


Port Facts:

  • Closest port to commercial hub São Paulo.
  • Largest and most modern ocean port in Latin America.
  • Busiest port in the country for container traffic.
  • Projects underway to improve the port’s struggling infrastructure.

Owned By: Federal Government of Brazil. Annual Container Volume: >4 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: BRSSZ.


Port Facts:

  • Situated southwest of São Paulo, near the city of Curitiba in the state of Paraná.
  • Third-largest port in Brazil for container traffic.
  • In operation since 1872.

Owned By: Administração dos Portos de Paranaguá e Antonina. Annual Container Volume: >2 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: BRPNG.

Rio Grande Do Sul

Port Facts:

  • Fast-growing port near Porto Alegre, close to the border with Uruguay.
  • Has the leading container terminal in the country.
  • Ability to handle even the largest vessels.
  • High volume of Brazilian exports passing through.

Annual Container Volume: >700,000 TEUs. UN/LOCODE: BRRIG.

Port of Salvador

Port Facts:

  • Main port of the state of Bahia.
  • Located in a sheltered harbor and hence immune to tidal fluctuations.
  • Has a 700-meter wide anchoring area.
  • Multiple road and rail connections with Brazil’s interior.

Owned By: Companhia das Docas do Estado da Bahia (CODEBA). Annual Container Volume: >300,000 TEUs. UN/LOCODE: BRSSA.

Rio de Janeiro

Port Facts:

  • Third-busiest port in Brazil overall.
  • Largely frequented by cruise ships.
  • Situated on the west coast of the Guanabara Bay.
  • Has almost 7,000 meters of continuous wharf and an 883-meter pier.
  • The port was upgraded substantially for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Owned By: **Companhia Docas do Rio de Janeiro. **Annual Container Volume: >170,000 TEUs. UN/LOCODE: BRRIO.

Other Ports in Brazil

In addition to those mentioned above, the following gateways are available in Brazil to export containers to China:

  • Itajai
  • Itapoa
  • Navegantes
  • Itaguai

Cargo Ports of Arrival in China


Port Facts:

  • Busiest container port in the world.
  • China’s most important gateway for foreign trade.
  • Features the largest automated container terminal worldwide.
  • Faces the East China Sea.
  • Has a deep-sea port and a river port.
  • Most convenient for buyers in the Zhejiang or Jiangsu provinces.

Owned By: Shanghai International Port Company Ltd. Annual Container Volume: >40 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: CNSHA.


Port Facts:

  • Aggregation of multiple ports along Shenzhen city’s 260 km coastline.
  • Located close to Macau and Hong Kong.
  • In the top five of the world’s largest container ports.
  • Serves over 220 international routes.
  • Features around 140 berths.

Owned By: Shenzhen government. Annual Container Volume: >25.2 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: CNSHK.

Guangzhou (Nansha)

Port Facts:

  • One of the country’s major commercial trading ports.
  • Access to the South China Sea via the Pearl River.
  • Offers direct routes to countries on all continents.
  • Ideal for buyers in the Guangdong province.

Owned By: Guangzhou Port Group Co. Annual Container Volume: >15 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: CNNSA.


Port Facts:

  • Situated on the Minjiang River on the southeastern coast of Fujian.
  • Faces the Taiwan Strait, making it the closest Chinese port to Taiwan.
  • One of the ten busiest container ports in the country.
  • Offers direct express rail connections to the inland.

Owned By: Fuzhou Port Group Corporation Ltd. Annual Container Volume: > 3 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: CNFOC.


Port Facts:

  • Situated on the delta of the Yangtze river in the Jiangsu province.
  • Already a major seaport since 229 AD.
  • Largest inland port in the world.

Owned By: Nanjing Port (Group) Co Ltd. Annual Container Volume: >3 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: CNNJG.

Other Ports in China

In addition to the five ports mentioned above, you can send your cargo to any of the following Chinese container gateways:

  • Tianjin
  • Wuhan
  • Chongqing
  • Lianyungang
  • Qinzhou
  • Shantou
  • Zhuhai
  • Zhongshan
  • Xiamen
  • Qingdao

Air Freight From Brazil to China

While shipping your cargo via sea is relatively inexpensive and reliable, nothing beats the quick transit times of air freight. If reaching your destination in China is the most critical factor for you, then flying your goods might be the best option for your business. However, be warned that you will have to pay the price for the increased speed and flexibility that air freight offers.

Most shippers opt for air shipping only when they are sending small consignments of a few pallets or high-value, perishable, or very delicate products. Pricing and time aside, there might be other occasions when it makes sense to ship your goods as air freight.

If the supplier and the buyer are both located conveniently close to an international airport in their respective countries, then air freight might be as viable as shipping by sea.

Airports of Origin in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro

Airport Facts:

  • Second-busiest airport in Brazil.
  • Situated 20 km north of downtown Rio de Janeiro.
  • Commonly known under the name Galeão International Airport.
  • The airport was upgraded for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Chinese Airports Served: None. Rio De Janeiro to China Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA Code: GIG.

São Paulo - Guarulhos

Airport Facts:

  • Busiest cargo airport in Brazil and the second busiest in Latin America.
  • Features two parallel runways that were extended and widened to receive the Airbus A380.
  • Boasts a cargo terminal of 97,000 square meters.
  • Capable of handling refrigerated and hazardous shipments, as well as general goods.

Chinese Airports Served: None. São Paulo Guarulhos to China Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA CODE: GRU.

Sao Paulo - Viracopos

Airport Facts:

  • Situated 82 km northwest of Sao Paulo.
  • Second-busiest airport in Brazil for cargo.
  • Major import and export hub.
  • Has 77,000 square meters of cargo terminals.

Chinese Airports Served: None. Sao Paulo Viracopos to China Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA CODE: VCP.


Airport Facts:

  • Located in the south of Brazil, close to the capital of the state of Paraná.
  • Cargo terminal and runway was upgraded in 2008.

Chinese Airports Served: None. Curitiba to China Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA Code: CWB.

Airports of Arrival in China

Shanghai Pudong

Airport Facts:

  • Third-busiest cargo airport in the world.
  • Awarded the title “World’s Top Cargo Airport” by Air Cargo World in 2019.
  • Asia-Pacific hub for cargo carriers FedEx, UPS, and DHL.
  • Planned expansion will raise its capacity to six million tons of freight per year.

Connected Airports in Brazil: None. Brazil to Shanghai Pudong Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA Code: PVG.


Airport Facts:

  • Located 32 km northwest of the city of Shenzhen in the Pearl River Delta.
  • Imported and exported more than 1.2 million tons of cargo in 2018.
  • 24th busiest airport in the world for cargo.
  • Hub for cargo airlines UPS and SF Airlines.

Connected Airports in Brazil: None. Brazil to Shenzhen Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA CODE: SZX.


Airport Facts:

  • Main airport for the Guangdong province.
  • Third-busiest airport in China and the 19th busiest airport worldwide for cargo.
  • Asia-Pacific hub for cargo carrier FedEx.
  • Has two terminals and three runways.

Connected Airports in Brazil: None. Brazil to Guangzhou Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA Code: CAN.


Airport Facts:

  • Located 16 km southwest of Chengdu in the Sichuan province.
  • Western China’s most important cargo hub.
  • Fourth-busiest cargo airport in China.
  • Offers more than 50 international and 170 domestic destinations.

Connected Airports in Brazil: None. Brazil to Chengdu Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA CODE: CTU.


Airport Facts:

  • Located 26 km from the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province.
  • Busiest airport in central China.
  • Has two runways and one terminal with a second being under construction.

Connected Airports in Brazil: None. Brazil to Wuhan Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA CODE: WUH.

Other Airports in China

In addition to the five airports mentioned above, you can ship your cargo via air freight to the following Chinese airports:

  • Nanjing
  • Qingdao
  • Xiamen
  • Tianjin
  • Beijing
  • Chongqing
  • Ningbo
  • Zhengzhou
  • Dalian

Customs Clearance Procedures in Brazil and China

Customs clearance is mandatory when you export from Brazil to China. Typically, shippers don’t manage this process themselves, but engage an experienced freight forwarder or agent for the task. That way, you can be sure that everything is completed according to the existing laws and regulations.

The customs clearance process begins with gathering the required documents. Typically, the authorities request the following:

  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Letter of Credit or other payment terms (depends on the contract between the parties involved)
  • Bill of Lading for ocean freight or Airway Bill for air freight (provided by a freight forwarder, like Shipa Freight)

Ultimately, your freight forwarder will advise which documentation you will need. Most documents will be provided by the exporter (shipper) and the importer of the goods. You will receive the Bill of Lading or Airway Bill from your freight forwarder.

If you are looking for more information and examples of documents, check out our handy documents list.

How Long Does it Take to Ship Cargo From Brazil to China?

By now, you must be wondering how long it will take to ship your cargo from Brazil to China. As the transit times of ocean and air freight can vary considerably, they are often a deciding factor when shippers contemplate modes of transport.

Air freight is undoubtedly the fastest option. Even though the total flight time is just a couple of hours, it will still take a few days for your cargo to reach its final destination. Remember that your consignment has to undergo customs and security checks, as well as loading and unloading. The total air cargo transit time between Brazil and China is usually seven days.

Ocean freight takes considerably longer with transit times ranging from six to seven weeks for shipping containers from Brazil to China. If you want to book an LCL, you will have to account for even longer durations due to the extra handling involved.

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Sea From Brazil to China?

Here are a few examples of transit times for routes that Shipa Freight operates between Brazil and China:

Santos to Huangpu – 39 days FCL Santos to Ningbo – 40 days FCL Santos to Tianjin – 46 days FCL Itajai to Shanghai – 46 days FCL

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Air From Brazil to China?

To give you an example of a transit time for a typical air freight route, a freight forwarder would take around 7 days to deliver your cargo from Sao Paulo to Shanghai.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Cargo From Brazil to China?

Pair of hands on a desk, with the left hand operating a desktop calculator and the right hand writing on a notepad with a pen

Your final shipping costs depend on several factors. Freight forwarders will take into consideration the following when providing you with a quote:

  • Nature of goods
  • Chosen mode of transport (FCL, LCL, Air)
  • Weight of the cargo
  • Dimension of the cargo
  • Distance between origin and destination
  • Delivery terms

For consignments weighing up to 100 kg you might find little difference between the cost of air freight and LCL ocean freight. In this case, you can simply choose the quicker, more convenient option. If you plan to ship more than 100 kg, though, sea freight is usually more economical than air freight. Shipping less than 35 kg? Then you will be better off with an international courier service instead of a freight forwarder. We don’t ship cargo in this weight bracket.

Why Ship From Brazil to China With Shipa Freight?

No matter which mode of transport you choose, Shipa Freight makes importing from Brazil to China easier than ever. You can now manage your entire shipment process conveniently in one place, thanks to our online portal. Satisfying your logistics needs won’t require you to manage multiple agencies anymore.

In short, these are the key Shipa Freight benefits:

  • Instant quotes: Receive and compare them online.
  • Online booking: Place your order immediately without losing time.
  • Transparent shipping documentation: Know exactly what to prepare.
  • One platform: Manage all of your imports and exports in one place.
  • 24/7 Customer service: Talk to a human whenever you need assistance.
  • Active assistance with export and import customs clearance
  • Guaranteed compliance: Always abide by shipping rules and regulations thanks to our integrated compliance engine.

Want to give it a try? It’s really easy! Simply fill out the form at the top of this page to get started.

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

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