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Ocean and Air Shipping From China to Vietnam

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China and Vietnam share not only a 1,281 km border but also a turbulent history. In recent years, however, economic and trade relations have developed in a positive direction. The trade turnover between the two countries is increasing, and Vietnam is developing into an attractive investment destination for Chinese businesses.

If you are looking to import from China to Vietnam, then you are in good company. The Asian giant is currently Vietnam’s biggest trade partner and its largest source of imports. As one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, Vietnam is also China’s fifth-largest export market.

In addition to land transport, shipping your freight via sea or air from China to Vietnam can be appealing options to serve your logistics needs. Both countries have long coastlines with several international ports, as well as many international airports. The vicinity of the two countries makes for short transit times, which benefits businesses with a time-strapped supply chain. If you would like to learn more about ocean and air shipping from China to Vietnam, you’ll find lots of essential guidance right here on this page.

How to Ship Ocean Freight From China to Vietnam

Warehouse operative pushing a trolley, stacked with boxes, from the Flag of China towards the flag of Vietnam

Sea freight is a great option when a supplier is located near a major Chinese port. In this case, your cargo will be transported by a carrier in a shipping container from China to Vietnam, unless you are planning to ship break-bulk materials.

Depending on the volume and nature of your goods, you have two alternatives when it comes to containerized shipping: using a full container (FCL) or renting space in a shared container (LCL). At Shipa Freight, we can supply you with a fast quote for ocean shipping with either method. Let’s look at both options in detail.

Less than Container Load (LCL) From China to Vietnam

If you plan to ship smaller quantities of freight from China to Vietnam by sea, then LCL is typically the most cost-effective method. As a general guideline, sending cargo of six standard pallets, which is equivalent to 14 CBM or less, will usually be less expensive as an LCL shipment than sending a full container from China to Vietnam.

Keep in mind that your freight will be combined with the cargo of other shippers and packed into a 20ft or 40ft container. This does have important implications for you and your business. Your transit time will be a little longer because the container needs to be consolidated before export and de-consolidated upon import. This extra handling might also put delicate or perishable goods at risk.

Full Container Load (FCL) From China to Vietnam

If time is of the essence and you are worried about the state of your cargo, then FCL might be the better option for you. An FCL is a full container booked for your exclusive use at a flat rate. This has many advantages.

Your goods will travel fully sealed in their container from origin to destination. Once arrived, the container will be unloaded and directly transported to its final destination on land. Only then, you or your buyer will open it for the first time, unless customs officials demanded an inspection beforehand.

An FCL can not only be quicker than LCL but also less expensive. Consignments of 14 CBM or more, which amount to half of the load capacity of a 20ft container, are best sent as FCL. Even if you are shipping less than this amount, it might still be wise to book a full container. When your cargo is very heavy or delicate, it is usually better off in a separate container.

Cargo Ports of Origin in China


Port Facts:

  • The world’s busiest container port and China’s most important foreign trade gateway.
  • Home to the largest automated container terminal.
  • Located close to the city of Shanghai facing the East China Sea.
  • Most convenient for shippers situated in the Zhejiang or Jiangsu provinces.
  • Features a deep-sea port and a river port.

Owned By: Shanghai International Port Company Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >40 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Collective of several ports spread along Shenzhen city’s 260 km coastline.
  • Close proximity to Macau and Hong Kong.
  • Serves over 220 international routes.
  • With around 140 berths, continuously in the top five of the world’s largest container ports.

Owned By: Shenzhen government.

Annual Container Volume: >25.2 million TEUs.


Guangzhou (Nansha)

Port Facts:

  • Located in the heart of the Pearl River Delta with access to the South China Sea.
  • One of China’s major commercial and trading ports.
  • Direct routes to Europe, South East Asia, Australia, as well as North and South America.
  • Ideal for shippers importing or exporting out of the Guangdong province.

Owned By: Guangzhou Port Group Co.

Annual Container Volume: >15 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Located on the Minjiang River on the southeastern coast of Fujian.
  • Faces the Taiwan Strait and is the closest Chinese port to Taiwan.
  • One of the ten busiest container ports in China.
  • Direct express rail connection to inland China, for example, to Chengdu.
  • Direct weekly services to Vietnam.

Owned By: Fuzhou Port Group Corporation Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: > 3 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Located in the Yangtze Delta in China’s Jiangsu province.
  • Has been a major seaport since 229 AD.
  • Largest inland port in the world.
  • Direct rail services to Russia and central Europe.

Owned By: Nanjing Port (Group) Co Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >3 million TEUs.


Other Ports in China

In addition to the five ports mentioned above, Shipa Freight can also transport your freight from China via the following gateways:

  • Tianjin
  • Wuhan
  • Chongqing
  • Lianyungang
  • Qinzhou
  • Shantou
  • Zhuhai
  • Zhongshan
  • Xiamen
  • Qingdao
  • Ningbo-Zhoushan
  • Dalian

Cargo Ports of Arrival in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City

Port Facts:

  • A network of ports located on the Saigon river, also known as Saigon port.
  • Largest in Vietnam and the 25th busiest container port in the world.
  • Buzzing hub for import and export in Vietnam’s most important economic center.

Owned By: Saigon Newport Company.

Annual Container Volume: >6 million TEUs.


Vung Tau

Port Facts:

  • Located in the Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu Province in southeast Vietnam.
  • Includes the ports of Cai Mep, Phu My, Dinh river, and Ben Dam.
  • Around 50 km from Vietnam’s commercial hub Ho Chi Minh City.

Owned By: Vung Tau Commercial Port J.S Co.

Annual Container Volume: >3 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Established in 1876 and located near Haiphong City.
  • Main port for northern Vietnam.
  • Recently opened a deep-water port to accommodate larger vessels.

Owned By: Hai Phong Port Joint Stock Company.

Annual Container Volume: >1.15 million TEUs.


Da Nang

Port Facts:

  • Located in central Vietnam on the Han River, facing the South China Sea.
  • Marks the end of the East-West economic corridor, linking Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam.
  • Made up of two terminals and a freight warehouse.

Owned By: Danang Port.

Annual Container Volume: >600,000 TEUs.


Qui Nhon

Port Facts:

  • Major port of Vietnam’s Bình Định Province.
  • Most accessible port for Vietnam’s central highlands as well as parts of Cambodia and Laos.
  • Over ten direct routes to international ports.

Owned By: Quy Nhon Port Joint Stock Company.

Annual Container Volume: >130,000 TEUs.


Air Freight From China to Vietnam

If you need your cargo to reach Vietnam quickly, then air shipping might be the best option for you. It is considerably faster and more flexible than ocean freight, especially given the daily flights from China to just about any main airport in Vietnam.

However, flying your goods can be much more expensive than sending them via sea. That’s why most shippers opt for air freight only for small consignments of a few pallets that include high-value, perishable, or very delicate products.

Shipa Freight can provide you with an online quote for your air freight needs. Our online portal will automatically select the best route to minimize your transit time. Simply complete the form on top of this page.

Airports of Origin in China

Shanghai Pudong

Airport Facts:

  • Third busiest cargo airport globally.
  • Named world’s top cargo airport in 2019 by Air Cargo World.
  • An Asia-Pacific cargo hub for FedEx, UPS, and DHL.
  • Planned expansion will increase capacity to six million tons of freight per year.

Vietnam Airports Served: Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Shanghai to Vietnam Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

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

Vietnam Airports Served: Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Shenzhen to Vietnam Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

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

Vietnam Airports Served: Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Guangzhou to Vietnam Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Located in the Sichuan province, 16 km southwest of Chengdu.
  • Important cargo hub for western China.
  • Fourth busiest cargo airport in China.
  • Operates flights to more than 50 international and 170 domestic destinations.

Vietnam Airports Served: Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Chengdu to Vietnam Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

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

Vietnam Airports Served: Ho Chi Minh City

Wuhan to Vietnam Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Other Airports in China

In addition to the five airports mentioned above, Shipa Freight can send your air freight to Vietnam from the following Chinese airports:

  • Qingdao
  • Xiamen
  • Beijing
  • Zhengzhou
  • Shanghai Hongqiao

Airports of Arrival in Vietnam


Airport Facts:

  • Noi Bai International Airport is the largest airport in Vietnam in terms of total capacity.
  • Located 45 km northeast of Vietnam’s capital Hanoi.
  • Handled more than 700,000 tons of cargo in 2017.

Connected Airports in China: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai.

China to Hanoi Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Ho Chi Minh City

Airport Facts:

  • Tan Son Nhat International Airport is the busiest airport in Vietnam.
  • Located 6 km north of Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Over 550,000 tons of cargo handled in 2017.
  • Plans for a new airport are underway, which will feature a designated cargo terminal.

Connected Airports in China: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Xiamen.

China to Ho Chi Minh City Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Customs Clearance Procedures in China and Vietnam

Customs clearance can seem like an intimidating process, especially if it is your first time to export from China to Vietnam. A reputable freight forwarder like Shipa Freight can take the weight off your shoulders by providing the necessary guidance and expertise.

We will tell you exactly which documents you need to provide and send with your goods from China to Vietnam. Typically the customs authorities will ask for the following:

  • Bill of Lading / Airway Bill (Shipa Freight will provide this for you)
  • Letter of credit or other payment terms
  • Certificate of origin
  • Packing list
  • Commercial invoice

Except for the Bill of Lading, the exporter (shipper) and the importer of the goods will provide the mentioned documents. Make sure to review our handy documents list for more information and examples.

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

Now, you might wonder how long your cargo will be at sea or in the air when traveling from China to Vietnam. The transit time, together with the price, is often a significant factor when deciding on a mode of transportation.

Naturally, air freight is the quickest option, with transit times between China and Vietnam ranging from four to eight days. Ocean freight transit times, on the other hand, can vary significantly depending on the distance between the origin and destination ports. You can expect shipping durations anywhere between seven and 31 days.

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

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

  • Shanghai to Ho Chi Minh City – 14 days FCL, 16 days LCL
  • Guangzhou to Ho Chi Minh City – 14 days FCL
  • Shenzhen to Ho Chi Minh City – 24 days FCL
  • Huangpu to Ho Chi Minh City – 24 days FCL, 16 days LCL
  • Lianyungang to Haiphong – 31 days FCL
  • Jiangmen to Haiphong – 7 days FCL, 5 days LCL
  • Shanghai to Haiphong – 13 days FCL, 7 days LCL

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

Although flights from China to Vietnam take just a few hours, the full shipment process does consume a couple of days. The transit time for air cargo includes customs and security checks, as well as loading and unloading of the cargo.

Here are a few examples of transit times for typical air freight routes between China and Vietnam:

  • Shanghai to Ho Chi Minh – 4 days
  • Guangzhou to Ho Chi Minh – 6 days
  • Shenzhen Ho Chi Minh – 8 days
  • Shanghai to Hanoi – 5 days
  • Beijing to Hanoi – 8 days

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

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

The ultimate cost of shipping your goods from China to Vietnam will depend on several factors, such as:

  • 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

If your consignment weighs less than 100 kg, you might discover that there is little difference between the cost of air freight and LCL ocean freight. In this case, you may opt for the quicker option. For cargo above 100 kg, the slower sea freight typically becomes more economical.

Should your shipment weigh less than 35 kilograms, you might want to opt for an international courier service, rather than engaging a freight forwarder. Shipa Freight does not provide services for cargo in this weight bracket.

Why Ship From China to Vietnam With Shipa Freight?

No matter which mode of transport you choose, Shipa Freight can remove the complexity involved in importing from China to Vietnam. With our easy-to-use online portal, you can now handle your entire shipment process online.

Here are the key Shipa Freight benefits:

  • Receive and compare quotes quickly online.
  • Place your booking directly online without losing time.
  • Enjoy a simpler approach to shipping documentation with our integrated compliance engine
  • Manage all your imports and exports on one platform.
  • Talk to a Shipa Freight representative whenever you need help - we’re available 24/7
  • Ensure compliance with shipping rules and regulations.

The best thing is that you don’t need to coordinate multiple agencies to manage your shipping process. Why not give Shipa Freight a try? 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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