Like many websites, Shipa Freight uses cookies to personalize your browsing experience.

Shipa freight

Ocean and Air Shipping from Brazil to the US

Get information and quote for FCL, LCL and Air shipping

Effortless ShippingEffortless Shipping
Real-Time TrackingReal-Time Tracking
24X7 Customer Support24X7 Customer Support
Updated on 16 Sep 202116 min read

As two of the biggest economies in the Americas, the United States and Brazil enjoy a fruitful commercial relationship. Two-way trade in goods and services reached $103.9 billion in 2018. The United States is Brazil’s second-largest trading partner and export market, while Brazil is also a growing market for US exports.

In 2011, the two nations signed the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation to deepen their collaboration on trade and investments. Recently, however, voices demanding a free trade agreement grew louder. Such an accord could significantly improve bilateral relations and benefit both economies.

This development is promising for businesses looking to import from Brazil to the US. Nonetheless, companies still need to maneuver the traditional complexities of ocean and air freight shipping when managing their supply chain. Luckily, both countries have a large number of international ports and airports with excellent connections.

If you would like to learn more about ocean and air shipping from Brazil to the US, you’ll find a lot of essential information right here on this page.

What Are the Options for Shipping Freight From Brazil to the US?

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

Although it’s possible to transport commodities by land from Brazil to the US, many companies opt for either ocean or air shipping. Both have their advantages and drawbacks which we’ll discuss on this page.

Ocean Freight From Brazil to the US

Less than Container Load (LCL): LCL means your cargo will share a container with freight from other shippers. It’s typically less expensive than FCL and air freight when you want to ship smaller consignments from Brazil to the US, especially if you are sending six standard pallets, equivalent to 14 CBM, or fewer.

Full Container Load (FCL): Your cargo travels, sealed in a container by your supplier, from Brazil to the US where it will be unloaded and transported directly to its final destination on land. FCL is usually less expensive than LCL if you are shipping more than 14 CBM, which amounts to half of the load capacity of a 20ft container.

Air Freight from Brazil to the US

Ideal for time-sensitive shipments or high-value cargo, air shipping can cut your transit time considerably. With daily flights from Brazil to the US, shipping via air is fast and flexible. Keep in mind that it might be much more expensive than importing from Brazil to the US via sea. That’s why most shippers choose air freight only for small consignments of a few pallets, or for high-value, perishable, or delicate products.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Cargo From Brazil to the US?

Bag of money and graph to represent the cost of Shipa Freight’s quotes

Several factors are at play when it comes to determining the final cost of importing from Brazil to the US. Freight forwarders will take into consideration when quoting prices for shipping:

  • 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

Shipping cargo of less than 100 kg? Then you might find little difference between the cost of air freight and LCL ocean freight. For consignments above 100 kg, sea freight is typically less expensive than air freight.

If your shipment weighs less than 35 kg, then we would advise you to engage an international courier service instead of a freight forwarder. Shipa Freight doesn’t ship cargo in this weight bracket.

How Long Does it Take to Ship Cargo From Brazil to the US?

The transit times of ocean and air freight can vary considerably. Air freight is the fastest option. However, keep in mind that it will still take several days, considering that your cargo has to undergo customs and security checks, as well as loading and unloading. The air-cargo transit time between Brazil and the US is usually around ten days.

The transit times for ocean freight will vary depending on your destination. If you are planning to ship to the south or east coast of the USA, then your transit time will be relatively short. Reaching the west coast of the country will take considerably longer. In general, you can expect shipping durations of anywhere between 21 and 53 days.

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

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

  • Santos to Miami – 21 days FCL, 45 days LCL
  • Santos to New York – 21 days FCL, 29 days LCL
  • Santos to Philadelphia – 21 days FCL, 35 days LCL
  • Santos to Houston – 31 days FCL, 42 days LCL
  • Santos to Los Angeles – 29 days FCL
  • Rio de Janeiro to Miami – 53 days LCL
  • Itajai to Houston – 52 days LCL
  • Curitiba to Houston - 48 days LCL
  • Itajai to Atlanta - 48 days LCL
  • Porto Alegre to Los Angeles - 54 days LCL
  • Rio de Janeiro to Houston - 50 days LCL
  • Rio de Janeiro to New York - 37 days LCL
  • Santos to Boston - 35 days LCL
  • Santos to Norfolk - 23 days FCL
  • Santos to Port Everglades - 21 days FCL
  • Santos to San Francisco - 51 days LCL

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

Here are a few examples of transit times for typical air freight routes between Brazil and the US:

  • Rio de Janeiro to Miami – 7 days
  • Rio de Janeiro to Houston - 6 days
  • Sao Paulo to Charlotte - 6 days
  • Sao Paulo to San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, or Atlanta - 10 days

Customs Clearance in Brazil and the US

Customs clearance is something you can’t get around when you export from Brazil to the US. For many businesses, the process can seem intimidating, and many choose to hire an experienced freight forwarder to take charge. A good forwarder can provide the necessary guidance and expertise to ensure the avoidance of unnecessary delays and compliance with rules and regulations.

Your forwarder will also advise which documents you will need to provide. Usually, customs authorities in Brazil and the US request the following:

  • A commercial invoice
  • A packing list
  • A certificate of origin
  • A letter of credit or other payment terms (depends on the contract between the parties involved)
  • A bill of lading for ocean freight or Airway Bill for air freight (Shipa Freight will provide this for you)

Depending on the nature of your goods, you may be required to provide licenses, permits, or certificates to enable your shipment to clear customs in the countries of origin and destination. Your forwarder will advise you of the relevant requirements. To see examples of the documents we’ve listed above, please visit our documents list page.

Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?

Ocean Freight

Sea freight is the most common and economical way to transport cargo from Brazil to the US. Most of Brazil’s economic hubs are located somewhere along its 7,491 kilometer coastline, providing easy access to ocean shipping. Unless you need to ship break-bulk materials, your cargo will be transported in a shipping container from Brazil to the US by a carrier of your choice.

Whichever port of origin and destination you choose, your goods will likely ship in a standard container. These are usually 20 ft or 40ft in length and open at one end. The shorter version can hold up to 11 standard pallets, while the larger container can fit up to 21.

Some types of cargo require a specialist container such as one with refrigeration or ventilation. Your forwarder will help you decide which best meets the needs of your goods for export from Brazil to the US, and to choose between FCL and LCL ocean shipping.

Below, we take a look at the pros and cons of FCL and LCL freight services in a little more detail:

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

Choose a less-than-container-load (LCL) service if:

  • Your goods have a total volume of 14 CBM or less
  • Air freight is not an option
  • Your buyer in the US does not require the goods urgently
  • You’re happy for your goods to transported in a shared container from Brazil to the US

LCL shipping does have its downsides. The essential consolidation and deconsolidation processes are additional logistics that often add time to LCL shipments. So your recipient in the US could have a longer wait for your goods than if they’re transported as FCL ocean freight.

Avoiding LCL shipping is likely to make sense if:

  • You are transporting perishable, delicate, or high-value goods
  • Your cargo risks damage if it’s moved or handled several times (as will happen with LCL)
  • Your goods are of an awkward shape, or your shipment is large

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

Full-container-load (FCL) could be the best ocean shipping option for your supply chain if:

  • You have a strict delivery deadline to meet
  • Your freight cannot be shipped in a shared container for size or safety reasons
  • Your consignment has a total volume of more than 14 CBM
  • You have the facilities to load and seal your container in Brazil
  • Your recipient in the US can unload the container
  • You want your container to remain sealed throughout shipping

Air Freight

Although it can be a costly mode of transportation, many businesses choose air shipping for their imports from Brazil to the US, especially when:

  • They need the quickest way to move their products or materials
  • Their goods have a short shelf-life—such as plants, food, or flowers
  • Their freight is urgently required in the US
  • Their consignment is small and occupies just three or four pallets
  • Their supplier and consignee are both based closer to an international airport than a seaport
  • Their cargo is valuable and needs the high levels of security provided by airlines and airport operators

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Ports of Origin in Brazil


Port Facts:

  • Closest port to Brazil’s commercial hub, São Paulo.
  • Largest ocean port in Latin America.
  • Busiest container port in Brazil.
  • Has a wide variety of terminals handling solid and liquid bulk, containers, and general loads

Owned By: Federal Government of Brazil.

Annual Container Volume: >4 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Located southwest of São Paulo, close to the city of Curitiba in the state of Paraná.
  • Third-largest container port in Brazil.
  • Established in 1872.

Owned By: Administração dos Portos de Paranaguá e Antonina.

Annual Container Volume: >2 million TEUs.


Rio Grande Do Sul

Port Facts:

  • Fast-growing port in the south of Brazil.
  • Home of the leading container terminal in the country.
  • Capable of handling the largest vessels.
  • Manages a high volume of Brazilian exports.

Annual Container Volume: >700,000 TEUs.


Port of Salvador

Port Facts:

  • Main port for Brazil’s state of Bahia.
  • Immune to tidal fluctuations as its located in a sheltered harbor.
  • Features a 700-meter wide anchoring area.
  • Benefits from 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.


Rio de Janeiro

Port Facts:

  • The third-busiest port in Brazil.
  • Located on the west coast of the Guanabara Bay.
  • Facilities include almost 7,000 meters of continuous wharf and an 883-meter pier
  • Underwent substantial development for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Owned By: Companhia Docas do Rio de Janeiro.

Annual Container Volume: >170,000 TEUs.


Other Ports in Brazil

In addition to the five ports mentioned above, the following container export gateways are available in Brazil, from which you can ship goods to the US:

  • Itajai
  • Itapoa
  • Navegantes
  • Itaguai

Cargo Ports of Arrival in the US

Los Angeles

Port Facts:

  • Largest port in the USA, covering nearly 70 kilometers of California coastline.
  • One-fifth of all cargo entering the United States arrives at this port.
  • Facilities include eight container terminals and more than 80 cranes.

Owned By: City of Los Angeles.

Annual Container Volume: >9 million TEUs.


Long Beach

Port Facts:

  • Located right alongside the Port of Los Angeles.
  • Second-busiest container port in the USA.
  • Occupies 40 kilometers of waterfront in the city of Long Beach.

Owned By: City of Long Beach.

Annual Container Volume: >8 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Located 30 kilometers from the ocean on the Savannah river in the state of Georgia.
  • Home to the largest container terminal in North America.
  • Best choice for importers in the east and midwest given the access to interstate highways.

Owned By: Georgia Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >4 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Ideal for businesses in the northwestern states.
  • One of the largest container terminals on the west coast.
  • Planned redevelopment will increase container capacity and provide berths for the world's largest container vessels.

Owned By: Northwest Seaport Alliance.

Annual Container Volume: >3.5 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Located on Dodge Island in the Biscayne Bay.
  • Closest US port to Brazil and known as the Cargo Gateway of the Americas.
  • Ninth-largest container port in the USA and the largest in Florida.
  • Largest passenger port in the world.

Owned By: Multiple owners.

Annual Container Volume: >1 million TEUs.


Other Ports in the US

Aside from the five container ports mentioned above, the following ports are suitable for importing cargo into the US from Brazil:

  • New York
  • Houston
  • San Francisco
  • Oakland
  • New Orleans
  • Boston
  • Baltimore
  • Atlanta
  • Charleston
  • Norfolk
  • Tacoma
  • Port Everglades
  • Mobile

Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airports of Origin in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro

Airport Facts:

  • Second-busiest airport in Brazil.
  • Located 20 kilometers north of downtown Rio de Janeiro.
  • Known as Galeão International Airport.
  • Underwent major upgrades for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

US Airports Served: Atlanta, Miami, Houston.

Rio De Janeiro to US Cargo-Only Operators: United Airlines Cargo.


São Paulo - Guarulhos

Airport Facts:

  • Busiest airport for international cargo in Brazil and the second busiest in Latin America.
  • Has two parallel runways that have been extended and widened to receive the Airbus A380.
  • Features a 97,000 square meter cargo terminal
  • The terminal can handle refrigerated and hazardous shipments, as well as general goods.

US Airports Served: Miami, Atlanta, Orlando, New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington, Houston.

Sao Paulo Guarulhos to US Cargo-Only Operators: United Airlines Cargo.


Sao Paulo - Viracopos

Airport Facts:

  • Located 82 kilometers northwest of Sao Paulo.
  • Second busiest cargo airport in Brazil.
  • Major import and export hub.
  • Infrastructure includes 77,000 square meters of cargo terminals

US Airports Served: Fort Lauderdale, Orlando.

Sao Paulo Viracopos to US Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Located in the capital of the state of Paraná in the south of Brazil
  • Has undergone a major upgrade to the cargo terminal and runway in 2008.
  • No direct flights to the USA available.

US Airports Served: None.

Curitiba to US Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Airports of Arrival in the US

Los Angeles

Airport Facts:

  • Tenth-busiest cargo airport in the world
  • More than two million tons of cargo passed through LAX in 2018.
  • Approximately 1,000 flights per day arrive at LAX with cargo onboard.

Connected Airports in Brazil: São Paulo Guarulhos.

Brazil to Los Angeles Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • 15th busiest cargo airport in the world in 2018.
  • Handles more than two million tons of freight per year.
  • Trumps LAX, and all other US airports, for international freight volume.

Connected Airports in Brazil: Brasilia, Belem, Manaus, Recife, Fortaleza, São Paulo, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil to Miami Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Third major cargo airport in the US.
  • Shipped over 1.8 million tons of cargo in 2018.
  • Boasts a 185,000 square meter freight terminal.
  • Has two sets of parallel runways.

Connected Airports in Brazil: São Paulo Guarulhos.

Brazil to Chicago Cargo-Only Operators: United Airlines Cargo.


New York

Airport Facts:

  • John F. Kennedy Airport is the number one international air freight gateway into the USA.
  • Located in the district of Queens, New York.
  • Almost 100 air cargo carriers operate out of JFK.

Connected Airports in Brazil: São Paulo Guarulhos.

Brazil to New York Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Dallas/Fort Worth

Airport Facts:

  • Fourth busiest airport in the world by aircraft movements.
  • Close to 2,000 tons of freight are moved every day.
  • Largest hub of American Airlines.

Connected Airports in Brazil: São Paulo Guarulhos.

Brazil to Dallas Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Other Airports in the US

Besides the five airports mentioned above, you can also route your cargo from Brazil to the following destinations in the United States:

  • Atlanta
  • Charlotte
  • Denver
  • El Paso
  • Houston
  • Philadelphia
  • Seattle
  • Cleveland
  • Cincinnati
  • San Diego
  • Boston
  • Detroit
  • Sacramento

Why Ship From Brazil to the US With Shipa Freight?

Shipa Freight makes importing from Brazil to the US easier than ever – no matter which mode of transport you choose. Use our online portal to manage your entire shipment process conveniently in one place. There’s no need to coordinate with multiple agencies to satisfy your logistics requirements anymore.

What are the Shipa Freight benefits?

You can receive and compare quotes online instantaneously You can place your booking directly online without losing time You will know which shipping documentation to prepare thanks to our compliance engine You can manage all of your imports and exports on one platform You can talk to a human whenever you need help – we’re available 24/7 You can always guarantee compliance with shipping rules and regulations

Want to give Shipa Freight a try? To get started, simply fill out the form at the top of this page.

You may also like