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Ocean & Air Shipping From China to Spain

FCL, LCL and Air freight forwarding: information and online quote

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As a highly developed nation with one of the largest economies in the European Union, Spain is a freight destination that’s seeing continued growth in imports from China. As trading relationships between China and Spain continue to strengthen, more businesses in both countries will acquire demand for their exports.

Perhaps your enterprise has already identified a market for Asian commodities in Western Europe, and is preparing to import from China to Spain, or has started the process and is looking for a better international shipping solution.

Shipa Freight is a digital online freight forwarder that can help you to import and export from China to Spain with the minimum of fuss. Our platform gives you the tools you need to get quotes, book, pay, and track your freight without faxes and phone calls.

As a true one-stop-shop for air and ocean freight shipping, we can save time, money, and effort for you and your business team. With Shipa Freight, the process of importing from China to Spain becomes a trouble-free, background activity for your business, so you can focus more on your customers and growing your enterprise.

How to Ship Ocean Freight From China to Spain

Freight forwarding expert leaning on a stack of cartons between the Chinese flag on the left and Spain’s flag on the right

Is rapid transit critical for your supply chain, or are your consignments small enough to ship as air freight? If not, your best option will be to send them in a shipping container from China to Spain by sea.

LCL and FCL ocean freight shipping services are not cheap, but cost considerably less than any other form of international logistics service. Moreover, the larger your shipments, the more economical ocean freight becomes.

At Shipa Freight, we’re able to ship your sea freight by container from China to Spain, either as full container loads (FCL) or less-than-container loads (LCL) from port to port or even door to door.

LCL Ocean Freight From China to Spain

Are your commercial-goods shipments typically small enough to fit on six pallets or fewer? If so, LCL ocean freight will, in most cases, be the most economical way to move them. This mode of shipping can be slightly slower than FCL, due to the need to consolidate your freight with other shipments to fill a container, and to separate it from them again on arrival in Spain.

Despite the slightly longer shipping duration, LCL is favored by many businesses importing smaller quantities of freight into Spain. That's because the price reflects the actual volume and weight of the goods being shipped.

Pricing for this shipping mode can be complicated, but with Shipa Freight, you will find your quotes are broken down in a way that makes all charges transparent. We also make it easy for you to get quotes for both FCL and LCL shipping, and to compare them to see which fits best for your business.

Shipping a Full Container From China to Spain

If your enterprise involves importing or exporting high volumes of freight, you might be more interested in FCL shipping. You could also use a combination of FCL for large shipments and LCL for those small import/export orders.

FCL shipping, as mentioned in the section above, is typically a little faster than LCL ocean freight. If you are sending more than six pallets between China and Spain, it might work out cheaper, too, because you will pay a flat rate per container.

Remember that, as a rough guide, you will need a 20-foot shipping container for six to ten standard pallets, or a 40-foot container if you’ll ship up to 20 pallets.

A key benefit of shipping with us from China to Spain is that we will help you decide on the best container size—or combination of sizes—to suit your situation. It’s all part of our commitment to simplifying the business of commercial freight shipping.

Cargo Ports of Origin in China


Xiamen Port is served by a wide range of ocean carriers, which collectively steam freight to around 50 countries, including, of course, Spain. We can provide you with port-to-port or door-to-door shipping services, for example, at competitive rates, from Xiamen to the famous Spanish import gateway of Barcelona.

Xiamen Port comprises 12 areas, situated in the Jiulongjiang River estuary, the coastline of mainland China opposite Xiamen Island, and on the island itself. There are nine container terminals in the port, which receive or dispatch goods traveling on any of the 65 or so shipping routes that begin or end in Xiamen.

Owned By: Xiamen Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >10 million TEUs.



Shantou is a natural river port opening into the South China Sea. It serves a vital role as a gateway to the manufacturing-centric Guangdong Province. Indeed, it is the only sizeable port in the Eastern part of Guangdong. Nevertheless, Shantou has seen growth in the volume of imports and exports passing through its facilities recently, and as a result, has been earmarked for expansion soon.

Owned By: Shantou Port Affairs Bureau.

Annual Container Volume: >1.25 million TEUs.



Boasting one of the most efficient container terminals anywhere in the world, Ningbo Port is known for fast vessel loading and unloading. That makes it a popular choice with shippers wishing to minimize transit times between China and Spain. The latest in port technology keeps vessel turnaround times short at Ningbo and helps to reduce the cost of freight shipping too.

Efficiency at Ningbo begins even before your shipping container is loaded onto a vessel, thanks to high-quality road and rail freight interchanges at the facility. If you export from China to Spain and are not committed to using the nearby port of Shanghai, Ningbo offers benefits to support a high-velocity supply chain.

Owned By: Ningbo Zhoushan Port Co., Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >26 million TEUs.



One of China's ten most important ports, and ranking among the top 30 globally, Lianyungang is situated in the north of Jiangsu Province, near the mouth of the Qianqwei River. The city from which it takes its name is one of the fourteen opened up to foreign trade and investment, spurring growth in the volume of import and exports channeled through the port.

Owned By: Lianyungang Port Group Co. Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >4.7 million TEUs.



Wuhu is a small port by Chinese standards, with an annual throughput of half a million TEUs. Nevertheless, it is a useful export gateway if your supplier is based in Anhui Province or its surrounds. Shipa Freight can transport your goods from the supplier’s door, via Wuhu, to any of the leading cargo ports in Spain, and finally, to the premises of the cargo’s recipient.

Of course, if you prefer to handle domestic transportation yourself, we’ll be pleased to ship port-to-port from Wuhu to Spain on your behalf.

Owned By: Wuhu Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs.


Other Ports in China

As well as the five ports described above, Shipa Freight can also dispatch your freight from China via the following container gateways:

  • Tianjin
  • Wuhan
  • Chongqing
  • Shanghai
  • Qinzhou
  • Zhuhai
  • Zhongshan
  • Guangzhou
  • Qingdao
  • Shenzhen
  • Dalian

Cargo Ports of Arrival in Spain


Scattered around the Bay of Gibraltar, Algeciras is Spain's second port, after Valencia, and has a list of accolades and rankings to rival other globally renowned ocean freight centers. For example, Algeciras is:

  • The third-busiest port in the Mediterranean sea
  • The seventh-busiest container port in Europe
  • The 28th busiest container port in the world
  • The third-largest transshipment port in Europe

Known for its high container-handling efficiency, Algeciras has received awards such as The Journal of Commerce Review's third-most-productive container port in Europe for 2015. In that year, it served 3,000 container vessels, 100 of which were mega-ships. As a discharge point for your container freight from China, there’s little doubt that Algeciras is a port that will meet your needs.

Owned By: Autoridad Portuaria de la Bahia de Algeciras.

Annual Container Volume: >4.5 million TEUs.



The Port of Bilbao is located on Spain's north coast. Although it is not a large port, it is ideal for containerized freight bound for cities such as Burgos, Leon, Zaragoza, and even the Spanish capital, Madrid. It is one of the five ports around the coast of Spain to which we can ship your imports from China.

Owned By: Port of Bilbao Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs.



If your Spanish markets lie in the northeast of the country, Barcelona should be the first port you consider as the destination for your exports from China. After all, Barcelona and its surrounds are a fruitful area for business and commerce, and its port offers connections to the region of Catalonia and further into Spain’s hinterland. Currently in the process of enlargement, Barcelona Port is already the ninth-largest container gateway in Europe, and the third-largest in Spain.

Owned By: Puertos Del Estado.

Annual Container Volume: >3 million TEUs.



Valencia is the 28th busiest container port in the world, number five in Europe, and the largest of all in Spain and the entire Mediterranean basin. It has a storage area of 1.2 square kilometers and a total quay length of 12 kilometers.

Owned By: Port Authority of Valencia.

Annual Container Volume: >5 million TEUs.



The 14,000 hectare port of Vigo lies on Spain’s short west coast, close to the border with Portugal. Best known as one of the world’s premier fishing ports, it also handles a steady throughput of cargo, much of it containerized. Vigo is the smallest of the five Spanish ports through which Shipa Freight can bring your goods from China. It might be the best option if your final destination is in the north or northwest of Spain.

Owned By: Autoridad Portuaria de Vigo.

Annual Container Volume: >200,000 TEUs.


Air Freight From China to Spain

The only drawback of ocean freight is the time it takes to ship products over the great distance from China to Spain. If your supply chain depends on shorter lead times than can be achieved by sea, though, other options are available to you. Today it is possible to ship your goods overland via train between the two countries, which will certainly take less time than maritime transportation.

However, air shipping will be the fastest method of all, bringing the transit time for small shipments down to days, rather than weeks. Of course, if your consignments are large, comprising many pallets, the costs will be very high, and in any case, you will pay more to ship cargo by air than by sea.

If shipping costs are not your first concern, and the need for speed, flexibility, and security take precedence, Shipa Freight has your needs all covered.

We can ship your exports from China, by air, to one of three major international airports in Spain, and on to their final destination. Alternatively, if you wish to handle the domestic logistics in China and Spain without the help of a freight forwarder, we offer airport to airport shipping services between the two countries.

Airports of Origin in China


Since a second runway opened at Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport, freight throughput at China’s fourth-busiest air-cargo hub has been on the rise. More than 1.2 million tonnes of freight passed through its terminals in 2018. Do your exports from China originate in the Pearl River Delta region, and do you prefer to ship them by air than by sea? If so, Shipa Freight can help you fly them directly from Shenzhen to Madrid, or indirectly to other air-freight terminals in Spain.

Spain Airports Served: Madrid.

Shenzhen to Brazil Cargo-Only Operators: None.



The third-busiest cargo airport in China, and ranked number 17 in the world for throughput, Guangzhou Baiyun handles more than 1.8 million tonnes of freight per year. Freight flown from here will take indirect routes to Spain, as no carriers currently offer direct flights to Spanish destinations.

Spain Airports Served: None.

Guangzhou to Spain Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Two million tonnes of freight pass through Beijing Capital Airport’s facilities every year. If you would like to add your shipments to that immense volume, we can bring your imports into the Spanish airports of Barcelona and Madrid via direct services from Beijing. We also forward freight from here to Bilbao using indirect routes. No cargo-only carriers fly directly from Beijing to Spain, so your imports will probably arrive in the belly of a passenger airliner operated by Air China.

Spain Airports Served: Barcelona, Madrid.

Beijing to Spain Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Chengdu Airport handles more than half a million tonnes of air freight annually. It is the fifth-busiest air cargo hub in China. Although there are no direct routes for your cargo from Chengdu to Spain, we use connecting services to help you import swiftly via Bilbao, Barcelona, and Madrid.

Spain Airports Served: None.

Chengdu to Spain Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Shanghai Pudong

With an annual cargo throughput of more than 3.5 million tonnes, Shanghai’s Pudong Airport is the third-busiest air-freight hub in the world. It’s known not only for volume, but also for high-quality management and efficiency. It received a Diamond award for excellence in 2019 from Air Cargo World, which named it the world’s top cargo airport.

At least two international air carriers operate direct flights from Shanghai to Spain. Shipa Freight can have your Spanish imports flown from Shanghai into Madrid, Barcelona, or Bilbao.

Spain Airports Served: Madrid, Barcelona.

Shanghai to Spain Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Other Airports in China

In addition to Shanghai Pudong, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Wuhan, and Shenzhen, Shipa Freight can route your air freight (via indirect flights) to Brazil from the following Chinese airports:

  • Qingdao
  • Wuhan
  • Xiamen
  • Beijing
  • Zhengzhou
  • Shanghai Hongqiao

Airports of Arrival in Spain


Barcelona El Prat Airport is the second-busiest in Spain, after Madrid, and a popular arrival point for cargo from China. We can bring your air freight into Barcelona on direct flights from Beijing Capital and Shanghai Pudong airports, or indirectly from other airports such as Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

Connected Airports in China: Beijing, Shanghai.

China to Barcelona Cargo-Only Operators: None.



If your Spanish import destination is in the north of the country, you have the option to ship your goods by air freight into Bilbao Airport. There are no direct flights to this airport from China. Still, by using connecting services, you can avoid the longer domestic transits required for arrivals into Madrid or Barcelona.

Connected Airports in China: None.

China to Bilbao Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Spain's capital city boasts the second-largest airport in Europe, with a total area of over 3,000 hectares. Madrid-Barajas Airport is the main air-freight center for Spain. It's also a hub for the country's national flag carrier, Iberia, with which we can forward freight directly from Shanghai. Other airlines provide Shanghai-to-Madrid direct services, too, as well as direct flights from Beijing Capital.

Connected Airports in China: Beijing, Shanghai.

China to Madrid Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Customs Clearance Procedures in China and Spain

If you ever wished your business didn't have to deal with export and import customs clearance, Shipa Freight can offer you some relief from the complexities.

Not only do we have a team of experts on hand to manage the customs clearance process, but we also guide you in the completion and submission of shipping documentation. Meanwhile, our integrated compliance engine helps you provide the information needed to make clearance a straightforward process.

Customs Documentation

Every country has specific requirements for customs documentation, including Spain and China. When you ship your freight with us, we’ll let you know which documents are needed for the train lane you’re using, and help you to complete and submit them correctly.

As a general guide, though, the following documents are necessary for your shipments to be cleared for export in China, and by Spanish customs authorities for entry into this EU member state.

  • Bill of lading (Shipa Freight will provide this for you)
  • Packing list
  • Tax invoice
  • Commercial invoice
  • Certificate of origin
  • Letter of credit

You can find examples of each of the above documents, and learn a little more about them, by visiting our shipping and customs documentation page.

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

Yellow toy delivery van, orange and black toy fork lift truck, and miniature boxes, on top of a laptop computer keyboard

It’s only natural to want to know how long your shipments will take to travel from ports or airports in China, to those in Spain. Along with cost, it’s probably the most critical information your business will require.

Transit times can vary depending on several factors, such as time in customs clearance and weather conditions en-route. In general, though, you should typically expect ocean freight to take around four to six weeks to ship from China to Spain. Air freight, as you might expect, is a lot faster, taking about eight days.

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

Allowing for customs clearance at ports of departure and arrival, the following transit times, while not precise, will give you a guide to ocean shipping durations from China to Spain:

  • Shanghai to Barcelona – 32 days
  • Shanghai to Valencia – 34 days FCL, 40 days LCL
  • Shanghai to Algeciras – 41 days
  • Shekou to Valencia – 28 days
  • Xiamen to Barcelona – 41 days FCL, 40 days LCL
  • Ningbo to Valencia – 27 days LCL
  • Guangzhou to Barcelona – 41 days FCL, 39 days LCL
  • Guangzhou to Bilbao – 41 days
  • Shenzhen to Barcelona – 26 days

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

Expect eight days as the approximate transit time for air freight flown between China and Spain. Of course, the actual flight time is only hours, but your delivery must spend time in customs clearance at both ends of the journey.

The eight-day transit time applies to direct flights, such as those between Shanghai and Barcelona or Madrid and between Shenzhen and Madrid. The same applies to indirect routes, for example, from Xiamen, Shenzhen, or Guangzhou to Barcelona.

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

Global freight shipping costs vary considerably from route to route, and depend on a range of conditions, such as speed, seasonality, demand for shipping capacity, and the mode of shipping.

Air freight, in most cases, will incur more expense than either LCL or FCL ocean freight. Still, the difference may be negligible for shipments of up to 100 kilograms in weight. As the weight and volume of your shipment increases, air freight becomes more expensive, making it very costly for large shipments.

On the other hand, ocean freight services cost less than forwarding by air but take a lot longer to get your goods from China to Spain. However, unless you are moving products of high value or quick shipping is imperative, the lower cost will make ocean freight the more favorable approach.

Ultimately, the mode of shipping you choose will be that which best suits your business needs and logistics budget. Shipa Freight can provide you with competitive quotes for air and ocean freight, and help you determine the most cost-effective way to ship. Please be aware, though, that we do not handle shipments of less than 35 kilograms.

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