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Ocean and Air Shipping from Brazil to China [Updated: Aug 2021]

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For over a decade, China has been the largest trade partner and export market for 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. And there’s more good news, as the information on this page can help you ship more easily and successfully. The page features details about key ports and airports in Brazil and China, the pros and cons of shipping by air or ocean, and handy guidance on how to navigate the complexities of customs clearance.


What Are Your Options for Shipping Freight From Brazil to China?

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

The only feasible ways of importing from Brazil to China are to use air and ocean freight services. There are positives and negatives to each of these modes of shipping and this page will highlight both. Our aim is to equip you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision about which is best for your business.


Ocean Freight From Brazil to China

Less than Container Load (LCL): Your goods will share a container with products belonging to other shippers when you choose LCL. It’s the preferred choice of businesses who plan to move smaller quantities of freight from Brazil to China by sea. Your goods will be consolidated before export and de-consolidated upon import.

Full Container Load (FCL): FCL ocean shipping entails renting and transporting an entire container for your exclusive use at a flat rate. You can load as much or as little cargo into it as you desire. FCL often works out quicker and, for larger shipments, less expensive than LCL.


Air Freight from Brazil to China

While choosing to import from Brazil to China via sea is relatively inexpensive and reliable, nothing beats the quick transit times of air freight. If the speed at which your goods can be delivered is the most critical factor for you, flying them might be the best option for your business. However, be warned that you will have to pay a higher price for the increased speed and flexibility that air freight offers.


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

Your final shipping costs depend on several factors. A freight forwarder will take into consideration the following when quoting a price to ship your goods for export from Brazil to China:

  • The nature of the goods
  • The chosen mode of transport (FCL, LCL, Air)
  • The weight of the cargo
  • The dimensions of the cargo
  • The distance between origin and destination
  • The delivery terms

For consignments weighing up to 100 kilograms you might find little difference between the cost of air freight and LCL ocean freight. If you plan to ship more than 100 kg, sea freight is usually more economical than air freight.

Shipping less than 35 kg? You will be better off with an international courier service instead of a freight forwarder. Shipa Freight and many other freight forwarders do not ship cargo in this weight bracket.


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

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 eight 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 shipment, 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 – 45 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 eight days to deliver your cargo from Sao Paulo to Shanghai, including the time required for consolidation and export/import customs clearance.


Customs Clearance in Brazil and China

Customs stamp resting on a customs invoice document stamped with export customs clearance in red ink as Shipa Freight assist you with customs clearance

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 no unnecessary delays will occur and 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:

  1. A Commercial Invoice
  2. A Packing List
  3. A Certificate of Origin
  4. A Letter of Credit or other payment terms (depends on the contract between the parties involved)
  5. An Airway Bill for air cargo or a Bill of Lading for ocean freight (you can leave this to Shipa Freight)

Ultimately, your freight forwarder will advise which documentation you will need. You may need to provide other documents in addition to those listed above, such as a license, permit, or certificate, for example.

We’ve compiled a handy documents list page on which you can see examples and descriptions of the forms and papers you are most likely to need for international freight shipping.


Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?


Ocean Freight

Brazil’s 7,491 kilometer 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 sea freight, your carrier’s ship will transport your cargo in a shipping container from Brazil to China. Standard containers are usually either 20 ft or 40 ft long. If your commodities must be shipped in a non-standard container from Brazil to China, your forwarder will outline your options.

Whichever type of container turns out to best meet your needs, you will still be required to decide between FCL and LCL ocean shipping. Again, your forwarder will help. As will the information about the two modes of shipping we’ve included below.


Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

LCL shipping is usually a good option if:

  • You’re sending a small consignment—no more than six standard pallets
  • Your recipient in China doesn’t need the goods urgently
  • You’re happy for your products to share a container with goods belonging to other shippers
  • You understand that LCL ocean shipments can take longer than FCL shipping, due to the essential logistics of consolidation and deconsolidation

Avoiding LCL shipping is likely to be a good decision if:

  • Your delivery deadline isn’t flexible
  • Your products could be damaged if moved or handled several too much
  • Your cargo is large, heavy, or awkwardly-shaped
  • Your consignment contains fragile or perishable goods that are unlikely to survive a long ocean journey

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

Importing from Brazil to China using an FCL service is likely to be your best option if:

  • Your freight must be in China by a specific date
  • Your cargo cannot safely share a container with other goods
  • You have enough goods to fill at least half the capacity of a 20ft container
  • The recipient in China has the facilities to unload the container
  • You want your container to remain sealed until it reaches the consignee in China (unless customs officials intervene)

Air Freight

Ocean freight does not meet the needs of every supply chain. Air shipping is likely to be your best option if:

  • You have an urgent delivery deadline
  • Your goods have a short shelf-life and need to be shipped quickly
  • Your cargo is high-value, requiring the typically high levels of airport and airline security
  • Your consignment is small—no more than three pallets
  • You’d like to pay a lower insurance premium for your export from Brazil to China than you would for ocean shipping

Cargo Ports of Origin in Brazil


Santos

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.


Paranagua

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


Shanghai

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.


Shenzhen

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 consignees in the Guangdong province.

Owned By: Guangzhou Port Group Co.

Annual Container Volume: >15 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: CNNSA.


Fuzhou

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.


Nanjing

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

Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide


Airports of Origin in Brazil


Rio de Janeiro

Airport Facts:

  • Second-busiest airport in Brazil.
  • Situated 20 kilometers 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 kilometers 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.


Curitiba

Airport Facts:

  • Located in the south of Brazil
  • Ideal for any supplier or manufacturer based 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.


Shenzhen

Airport Facts:

  • Located 32 kilometers 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.


Guangzhou

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.
  • Infrastructure includes two terminals and three runways.

Connected Airports in Brazil: None.

Brazil to Guangzhou Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: CAN.


Chengdu

Airport Facts:

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

Connected Airports in Brazil: None.

Brazil to Chengdu Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA CODE: CTU.


Wuhan

Airport Facts:

  • Located 26 kilometers 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

Ocean and Air Shipping From Brazil to China: Why 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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