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Ocean and Air Freight Shipping from Denmark to the US

Information and quote from Denmark to the US for LCL, FCL and Air shipping

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Updated on 15 Mar 202213 min read

][The United States is Denmark’s biggest trade partner outside of Europe. In 2018, the value of bilateral goods trading between the two reached $8.6 billion. Whether you’ve experienced importing from Denmark to the US before, or are looking to understand the logistics involved, this page is for you.

The information and guidance here could help you import or export from Denmark to the US more successfully.

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

Flags of Denamrk and the US for the tradelane with Shipa Freight

There are advantages and disadvantages associated with the two different ways you can ship commercial goods from Denmark to the US. We outline them below.

Ocean Freight From Denmark to the US

Less than Container Load (LCL): For consignments that require no more than six pallets, LCL ocean shipping could be the best option. It involves goods sharing a container with products belonging to other businesses.

Full Container Load (FCL): With FCL shipping, you pay for exclusive use and carriage of a shipping container from Denmark to the US. The container can be partially or totally filled with their goods, then shipped aboard a cargo vessel across the Atlantic.

Air Freight from Denmark to the US

When you need a fast way to import from Denmark to the US, air shipping is the answer. However, it’s a more expensive option than ocean shipping.

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

Calculating a quote for a consignment calls for a freight forwarder to take into account several specifics about the goods to be shipped, namely:

  • Their weight, size, and volume.
  • The type of goods—are they perishable, delicate, large, small, light, or very heavy?
  • Is FCL ocean, LCL ocean, or air shipping required?
  • How far do the goods need to be shipped from their source in Denmark to the destination?
  • Is a door-to-port, port-to-port, port-to-door or door-to-door delivery service required?

The weight of your consignment has cost implications and can help you decide between air or ocean shipping.

If the total weight of your goods is 100 kilograms or over, air freight is expensive, so many businesses choose ocean freight, which is more economical. Consignments that weigh under 100 kilograms will cost roughly the same to ship using an airline operator or ocean carrier. In such cases, businesses tend to choose the quicker option.

As for consignments weighing 35 kilograms or less, freight forwarders will not quote for such shipments, but international couriers will.

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

Air shipping is the fastest way to transport freight from Denmark to the US. Five to eight days is the average time it takes to fly goods west from Northern Europe to North America.

Ocean carriers will take considerably longer to make the journey. The time taken to transport a shipping container from Denmark to the US is measured in weeks, not days. So if your goods are required urgently in the US, or they have a short shelf-life, air shipping will be the better option.

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

Below are example of shipping routes for sending a container from Denmark to the US. All of these routes involve transit times of 20 to 46 days, for both LCL and FCL shipments:

  • Copenhagen to Los Angeles
  • Aarhus to Philadelphia
  • Aarhus to Miami
  • Copenhagen to Atlanta
  • Aarhus to New York
  • Aarhus to Houston
  • Copenhagen to San Francisco
  • Copenhagen to Baltimore
  • Aarhus to Detroit
  • Aarhus to Seattle
  • Copenhagen to Philadelphia
  • Aarhus to Long Beach
  • Aarhus to Mobile
  • Aarhus to Los Angeles
  • Aarhus to Baltimore

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

You should allow five to eight days for your air freight to ship from Denmark to the US. Processing is required at Copenhagen Airport and in your airport of arrival in the US, and customs clearance procedures also take time. Below are some examples of routes you can choose from to get your air cargo from Denmark to the US in five to eight days:

  • Copenhagen to New York
  • Copenhagen to Miami
  • Copenhagen to Los Angeles
  • Copenhagen to Atlanta
  • Copenhagen to Chicago
  • Copenhagen to San Francisco
  • Copenhagen to Baltimore
  • Copenhagen to Philadelphia

Customs Clearance in Denmark and the US

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

The complexity of customs clearance means many businesses prefer to leave the process to freight forwarders. These experts know the ins and outs of the rules and regulations, enabling them to help shippers ensure their consignments are accompanied by the correct paperwork.

If you want to avoid unnecessary delays and ensure your import from Denmark to the US complies with all requirements, you should use a forwarder too. But they can’t do everything. You’ll still need to complete specific documents that will be required with your shipment.

To satisfy the demands of customs officials in Denmark and the US, it’s likely you will need to supply the following documents:

  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. A bill of lading for ocean freight or Airway Bill for air freight (Shipa Freight will provide this for you)

Additional documents could be needed with your shipment—certificates, licenses, and/or permits, for example. Your freight forwarder will advise which. If you wish to see examples of the five documents we’ve listed above, you can do so on this document list page.

Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?

Ocean Freight

Container-carrying cargo vessels will cross the North Sea, English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean to reach the US from Denmark’s port of Copenhagen. Moving at an average speed of 35 kilometers per hour, ocean shipping over the 6,200 km from Denmark to New York takes weeks. If your goods can survive that length of time in transit, sea freight could be your best option.

Your consignment is likely to be shipped inside a 20ft or 40ft container. Your goods can have exclusive use of a container (FCL shipping) or share a container with other products (LCL shipping). Ultimately, the choice is yours, but here’s some guidance to help you decide:

Learn more about Ocean Freight on our dedicated page by clicking here.

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

Choose less-than-container-load (LCL) shipping if:

  • Sending goods as air freight is out of the question
  • Your cargo can be safely shipped in a shared container
  • Your consignment is no bigger than six standard pallets
  • Your shipment is 14 CBM or less
  • There is no urgent need for your goods to be in the US

You might not want to opt for LCL if:

  • Your goods are heavy and/or large
  • Your cargo is high-value, delicate, or has a short shelf-life
  • Frequent handling of your goods could damage them or compromise their quality
  • Delays to your delivery aren’t something you can entertain

Learn more about Less than Container Load on our dedicated page on LCL shipping.

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

Full Container Load (FCL) shipping is likely to be your best option if:

  • You need your consignment to reach the US by a particular date
  • Your consignment is extremely heavy or very fragile
  • Your freight can’t be shipped alongside other products in the same container
  • Your cargo is over 14 CBM
  • You want your container sealed in Denmark, and for it to remain sealed until your consignee in the United States receives it.

Learn more about Full Container Load on our dedicated page on FCL shipping.

Air Freight

Air shipping from Denmark to the United States is a good option if:

  • Speed is more of a priority than cost
  • Your cargo won’t survive the weeks at sea required for ocean shipping
  • Your freight is valuable, requiring the protection offered by airline and airport security measures
  • Your air freight will fill a total of three standard pallets at most

Learn more about Air Freight on our dedicated page by clicking here.

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Ports of Origin in Denmark


Port Facts:

  • Denmark’s largest commercial port
  • The 360-hectare site features the country’s biggest container terminal
  • 8.4 million tonnes of cargo were shipped from here in 2017
  • Plans to increase the size of the port by 180 hectares are being considered
  • Ideal port of origin if your supply chain involves the movement of goods from Hojbjerg, Braband, Lisbjerg, or Risskov

Owned By: The people of Denmark. Annual Container Volume: >540,000 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: DKAAR.


Port Facts:

  • One of the largest ports in the Baltic Sea basin
  • Also known as Copenhagen Malmo port
  • Its newest container terminal opened in 2001
  • The port’s storage space covers 175,000 square meters
  • Serves around 5,200 vessels per year
  • It’s the closest international seaport for a supplier or manufacturer based in Copenhagen, Amagerbro, Norrebro, or Frederiksberg

Owned By: By & Havn. Annual Container Volume: >194,000 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: DKCPH.

Cargo Ports of Arrival in the US


Port Facts:

  • Located in San Francisco Bay
  • Fifth-busiest container port in the United States
  • Infrastructure includes three container terminals
  • Discharges more than 99% of goods moving through Northern California

Owned By: Oakland Port Commission. Annual Container Volume: >2.5 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: USOAK.

Port Everglades

Port Facts

  • Ranked among Florida’s premier ocean freight hubs
  • Thee 12th-busiest port in the United States for containerized goods
  • It has links with over 150 ports in 70 countries.
  • Easy access to the Atlantic shipping lane bringing goods from Denmark

Owned By: Broward County, Florida. Annual Container Volume: >1 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: USPEF.


Port Facts:

  • The facility merged with the nearby Port of Seattle in 2015
  • The site covers 972 hectares
  • Regarded as a key international trade hub in the Pacific Northwest
  • Seen by many as the Gateway to Alaska
  • Major imports include vehicles, toys, and electronics

Owned By: Port of Tacoma Commission. Annual Container Volume: >2.1 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: USTIW.


Port Facts:

  • The Garden City container terminal is the largest and fastest-growing in the US
  • Connected by fast rail links to Birmingham, Atlanta, Memphis, Orlando, and Charlotte
  • Under 30 kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean
  • Offers easy access to Interstate 16 and Interstate 95 for easy distribution of goods across the Midwest and Southwest

Owned By: Georgia Ports Authority. Annual Container Volume: >3.7 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: USSAV.


Port Facts:

  • A deepwater port in Alabama with 41 berths
  • Located on the Mobile River
  • Direct access to inland waterways serving the Great Lakes
  • Situated 85 km northeast of the Port of Biloxi
  • Many manufacturers are based near the port, including makers of apparel, paper products, and computer hardware

Owned By: Alabama State Port Authority. Annual Container Volume: >346,000 TEUs. UN/LOCODE: USMOB.

Other Ports in the US

Shipa Freight also uses the following ocean freight gateways to help clients ship goods for export from Denmark to the US:

  • New York
  • Seattle
  • Houston
  • San Francisco
  • Los Angeles
  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • New Orleans
  • Charleston
  • Long Beach
  • Norfolk
  • Miami
  • Baltimore

Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airport of Origin in Denmark


Airport Facts:

  • Located on the island of Amager
  • 8 kilometers south of Copenhagen city center
  • Only 24 kilometers from Malmo
  • Originally called Kastrup Airport

US Airports Served: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston. Denmark to the US Cargo-Only Operators: Emirates Sky Cargo. IATA CODE: CPH.

Airports of Arrival in the US


Airport Facts:

  • Full name is George Bush International Airport
  • Located 37 km north of downtown Houston
  • Direct access to the Hardy Toll Road for easy distribution of goods across Texas
  • Facilities include five terminals and five runways

Direct Flights from Copenhagen: Yes. Denmark to Houston Cargo-Only Operators: Emirates Sky Cargo. IATA Code: MIA.

New York JFK

Airport Facts:

This is the air freight facility that handles the biggest volume of goods entering the US
2018 saw the airport teams process more than 1.2 million tonnes of freight A state-of-the-art animal handling facility called The Ark is currently under construction.

Direct Flights from Copenhagen Airport: Yes. Denmark to New York JFK Cargo-Only Operators: Emirates Sky Cargo. IATA Code: JFK.

Los Angeles

Airport Facts:

LAX serves Southern California, the world’s 11th-largest economy The majority of cargo arriving here does so in the hold of passenger planes More than two million tonnes of freight was processed here in 2019

Direct Flights from Copenhagen Airport: Yes. Denmark to Los Angeles Cargo-Only Operators: Emirates Sky Cargo. IATA Code: LAX.

San Francisco

Airport Facts:

  • Situated 21 km south of downtown San Francisco
  • Regarded as a major air gateway to Asia and Europe
  • The airport has four terminals and four runways

Direct Flights from Copenhagen Airport: Yes. Denmark to San Francisco Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA Code: SFO.

Chicago O’Hare

Airport Facts:

  • The US third-biggest air freight hub
  • Over 25 global cargo carriers use the airport’s facilities
  • Teams on the ground process close to two million tonnes of cargo annually

Direct Flights from Copenhagen Airport: Yes. Denmark to Chicago O’Hare Cargo-Only Operators: Emirates Sky Cargo. IATA Code: ORD.

Other Airports in the US

In addition to the five airports above, you can also fly freight from Denmark into the following airports:

  • Charlotte
  • Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Atlanta
  • El Paso
  • San Diego
  • Seattle
  • Miami
  • Detroit
  • Cleveland
  • Denver
  • Sacramento
  • Cincinnati
  • Boston
  • Philadelphia

Why Ship From Denmark to the US With Shipa Freight?

One of the main aims of Shipa Freight is to make ocean and air shipping from Denmark to the US accessible to all kinds of businesses. Our online platform simplifies the processes involved in shipping freight from Denmark to the US, whether you choose air freight or ocean shipping.

You can trust us to get your consignment from Northern Europe to North America using ocean or air carriers. And you can track the progress of your shipment at every stage.

Other benefits of using Shipa Freight for your next import or export from Denmark to the US include:

  • Our quick and easy sign-up process for new shippers
  • Our fast quote service, and how easy we make it to compare quotes
  • Our online booking and payment facilities
  • Our customer support team that’s ready and willing to help 24/7
  • Our expert guidance to ensure your consignment is accompanied by the correct documentation
  • Our ability to cut through the complexity of international shipping to make things easier for you

Know Your Shipping Terminology

Whatever your native language, the commercial language of shipping can be confusing. To help build your understanding, Shipa Freight is cutting through the complexity and explaining industry jargon in plain English. Two potentially baffling shipping terms are explained below, and there are more definitions on each of our country-to-country pages.

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