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Ocean & Air Freight Shipping From Finland to the US

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

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Updated on 15 Mar 202213 min read

Bilateral trade between Finland and the United States totaled $9 billion in 2018. That included over $7 billion worth of exports from Finland to the US. Computer equipment and forestry products were among the goods most often exported.

Whatever commodities you are seeking to export from Finland to the US, you’ve landed in the right place. This page is written to help both experienced and novice international shippers get the information they need about importing from Finland to the US.

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

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

The only logical approach for your business is to choose between ocean and air shipping from Finland to the US. Both modes of shipping have upsides and downsides which we’ll explore on this page.

Ocean Freight From Finland to the US

Less than Container Load (LCL): If your consignment requires no more than six pallets, LCL ocean shipping could be your best option. You will only pay for the space your goods take-up in a container filled with cargo from multiple shippers.

Full Container Load (FCL): FCL shipping entails paying for exclusive use and carriage of a shipping container from Finland to the US. The container you hire can be wholly or partially filled with your freight, then shipped aboard a cargo vessel to North America.

Air Freight from Finland to the US

Air shipping is the fastest way to import from Finland to the US. However, it’s considerably more expensive than ocean shipping.

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

Calculator to represent the cost of Shipa Freight's quotes

Freight forwarders will analyze the following information before calculating a quote for your shipment:

  • The volume, size, and weight of the consignment
  • The nature of the goods to be shipped—are they fragile, large, small, light, or extremely heavy?
  • Is LCL ocean, FCL ocean, or air shipping required?
  • What is the total distance over which your cargo must be transported?
  • What kind of delivery is required—door-to-port, port-to-door, port-to-port, or door-to-door?

Should you need assistance deciding between ocean and air freight, sometimes the weight of your goods can decide for you.

For a consignment weighing 100 kilograms or over, air freight is expensive, so many businesses choose ocean freight because it’s more economical. If the total weight of your goods is under 100 kilograms, the cost of shipping will be roughly the same whether you choose to ship using an ocean carrier or airline operator.

Got a consignment weighing 35 kilograms or less? Freight forwarders (including Shipa Freight) will not quote for such small shipments, but international couriers will.

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

It’s over 6,500 kilometers from Helsinki to New York. Los Angeles is over 9,000 kilometers from the Finnish capital city. Air freight is the quickest way to ship your commodities over the vast distance between the two countries.

Five to eight days is the typical air shipment time. Transporting a shipping container from Finland to the US by ocean is a long process that takes several weeks.

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

Shipping routes for sending a container from Finland to the US aboard a cargo vessel involve transit times of between 20 and 46 days for both FCL and LCL shipments. Most of them originate in Helsinki, and top destination ports in the US include Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Francisco, Long Beach, and Miami.

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

Typically, air freight shipping from Finland to the US along most routes takes five to eight days. Although flight time is only a matter of hours, there are various logistics processes and customs procedures to be adhered to.

Such formalities take time, and will occur both at Helsinki Airport, and the chosen destination-airport in the United States. Routes typically used to ship air cargo from Finland to the US originate in Helsinki, and popular destinations include Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago, and Miami.

Customs Clearance in Finland and the US

Customs clearance rules and regulations leave many businesses baffled. So much so, that many shippers hire a freight forwarder to handle the process. It’s a good move as it will ensure all consignments adhere to legal requirements, thereby avoiding unnecessary delays.

But a forwarder still needs you to complete specific documents that must accompany your shipment from Finland to the US. These documents include:

  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)

Other documents may be required—certificates, licenses, and/or permits, for example. Your freight forwarder will help you to identify the necessary documentation. To see samples of the five documents listed above, please visit this documents list page.

Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?

Ocean Freight

Cargo vessels cross the ocean at an average speed of 35 km per hour. With 6,500 miles to travel between Finland and New York and substantially more via shipping lanes to Los Angeles, ocean shipping takes weeks. But if your goods can survive the long time in transit from port to port, sea freight could be the logical way to ship them.

Most goods can be safely shipped inside a 20ft or 40ft container aboard a cargo vessel. You can choose whether your goods have exclusive use of a container (FCL shipping) or if they share a container with other freight (LCL shipping).

Ultimately, the choice is yours, but here’s some further information to help you decide:

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

Less-than-container-load (LCL) shipping might be the right choice for your business if:

  • Air freight is not an option
  • Your consignment can safely share a container with other shippers’ freight
  • The total size of your shipment is no more than six standard pallets
  • The volume of your shipment is 14 cubic meters or less
  • Your goods aren’t urgently required in the US

LCL might not be best for your business if:

  • Your consignment is heavy and/or large
  • Your freight is of a high value, fragile, or perishable
  • Frequent handling of your cargo could damage it
  • Delays to your delivery date aren’t acceptable

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

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

Choose Full Container Load (FCL) shipping if:

  • Your goods must reach the US by a particular date
  • The volume of your cargo is over 14 cubic meters
  • You are transporting extremely heavy or very fragile goods
  • Your consignment can’t be shipped in a shared container
  • You want to seal your container in Finland, and have it remain sealed until it reaches your consignee in the United States

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

Air Freight

Many businesses choose air shipping from Finland to the United States when:

  • Speed of delivery is more of a priority than cost
  • Their shipment is relatively small—no more than three pallets worth
  • Their goods won’t survive the long ocean shipping process
  • Their cargo is valuable and requires the protection offered by airport and airline security measures

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Ports of Origin in Finland


Port Facts:

  • Located in the Gulf of Finland just 50 km from the border with Russia
  • Created when the ports of Kotka and Hamina merged
  • The Mussalo Terminal makes this the biggest container terminal in Finland
  • Almost half of Finland’s containerized goods traffic is processed here

Owned By: Hamina-Kotka Satama Oy.

Annual Container Volume: >55,000 TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Also known as Helsingfors
  • Over 14.5 million tonnes of cargo were processed here in 2018
  • Total freight throughput accounts for about 33% of all Finnish trade
  • Main exports from the port are forestry products and electronics equipment

Owned By: City of Helsinki.

Annual Container Volume: >491,000 TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • The largest container port on Finland’s west coast
  • Its container terminal covers 18 hectares
  • Port infrastructure includes three quays and three gantry cranes
  • Handled a record 278,000 TEUs in 2017
  • Ideal port of origin if your supply chain moves goods from Kolla, Unaja, or Nurmes

Owned By: Euroports Rauma Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >278,000 TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Situated at the mouth of the Oulujoki River
  • Annual cargo throughput exceeds 3.6 million tonnes
  • The focal point for container freight processing is the Oritkari docks
  • Easily accessible port of origin for any supplier or manufacturer based in Kempele, Kiiminki, or Tyrnava

Owned By: City of Oulu.

Annual Container Volume: >52,000 TEUs.


Cargo Ports of Arrival in the US


Port Facts:

  • Located less than 30 kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean
  • Its Garden City container terminal is rated the largest and fastest-growing in the United States
  • Easy access to major interstates for rapid transit of goods across the US Midwest and Southwest
  • Fast rail links connect the port to Birmingham, Charlotte, Atlanta, Memphis, and Orlando, for easy onward distribution

Owned By: Georgia Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >3.7 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Situated in San Francisco Bay
  • Ranks as the fifth-busiest port for containerized goods in the US
  • Facilities include three container terminals
  • Set a new record for loaded imports in 2019

Owned By: Oakland Port Commission.

Annual Container Volume: >2.5 million TEUs.



Port Facts

  • Situated in Biscayne Bay at the mouth of the Miami River
  • Dubbed ‘The Container Gateway to the Americas’
  • Located at the crossroads of east-west and north-south international shipping lanes
  • The closest container port in the US to the Panama Canal (1,850 km away)

Owned By: Miami Dade County.

Annual Container Volume: >1 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Merged with the Port of Seattle in 2015 to form the Northwest Seaport Alliance
  • The 972-hectare site is the fourth-largest container gateway in the United States
  • Also regarded as the Gateway to Alaska
  • Major imports include electronics, motor vehicles, and toys

Owned By: Port of Tacoma Commission.

Annual Container Volume: >2.1 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • A deepwater port situated on the Mobile River
  • Enjoys direct access to inland waterways that serve the Great Lakes
  • The APM Terminals container facility expansion project was completed in March 2020

Owned By: Alabama State Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >346,000 TEUs.


Other Ports in the US

Shipa Freight also uses the following sea freight gateways to receive consignments from Finland:

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

Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airport of Origin in Finland


Airport Facts:

  • Officially called Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport
  • Located 17 km north of central Helsinki
  • This, the biggest airport in Finland, was originally built for the 1952 Olympics
  • The airport has three runways and capacity to process 450,000 tonnes of freight annually

US Airports Served: Los Angeles International, San Francisco, New York JFK, Chicago-O’Hare, Miami

Finland to the US Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Airports of Arrival in the US


Airport Facts:

  • Formerly known as Wilcox Field
  • Situated 13 km northwest of downtown Miami
  • A hub for cargo flights to and from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas

Direct Flights from Helsinki: Yes.

Finland to Miami Cargo-Only Operators: None.


New York JFK

Airport Facts:

  • Handles the largest volume of commodities entering the US
  • In 2018, over 1.2 million tonnes of freight was processed here
  • Infrastructure includes a state-of-the-art animal handling facility known as The Ark.

Direct Flights from Helsinki Airport: Yes.

Finland to New York JFK Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Los Angeles

Airport Facts:

  • More commonly known as LAX
  • The air cargo facility serves the powerhouse economy of Southern California
  • Most freight arrives aboard passenger planes
  • Over two million tonnes of cargo was processed here during 2019
  • Easy onward distribution of goods to Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Long Beach

Direct Flights from Helsinki Airport: Yes.

Finland to Los Angeles Cargo-Only Operators: None.


San Francisco

Airport Facts:

  • Located 21 km to the south of San Francisco
  • Over 575,000 tonnes of air cargo is handled here annually
  • Facilities include four terminals and four runways
  • Ideal airport of arrival for goods required in San Jose, Modesto, and Salinas

Direct Flights from Helsinki Airport: Yes.

Finland to San Francisco Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Chicago O’Hare

Airport Facts:

  • Number one in the Americas for total value of cargo handled—over $200 billion annually
  • More than 25 global cargo carriers use the airport’s facilities
  • Nearly two million tonnes of cargo pass through this airport every year

Direct Flights from Helsinki Airport: Yes.

Finland to Chicago O’Hare Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Other Airports in the US

Shipa Freight also uses the following airports in the US as gateways for air cargo from Finland:

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

Why Ship From Finland to the US With Shipa Freight?

Shipa Freight aims to make ocean and air shipping from Finland to the US more accessible to all sorts of businesses. We’ve designed an online platform that simplifies shipping freight from Finland to the US, whether you opt for air freight or ocean shipping.

Trust us to coordinate the delivery of your commercial goods from Northern Europe to North America using leading ocean or air carriers. And enjoy being able to track your shipment from your smart devices using our website’s industry-leading technology.

There are more benefits to using Shipa Freight for your next import from Finland to the US, such as:

  • Quick and easy sign-up procedure for new customers
  • Fast and accurate quotes using real-time shipping rates
  • Online booking and payment facilities that let you pay by card or wire transfer
  • Access to a customer support team, on-hand to help 24/7
  • Expert guidance ensures the right paperwork accompanies your goods from Finland to the US
  • We handle the complexities of customs clearance so you can get on with running your business

Know Your Shipping Terminology

Even if you’re new to shipping, you’ve likely already encountered some words or phrases that have left you confused. Understanding what they mean will help you communicate your needs to experts more easily. That’s why we’re featuring definitions of some potentially confusing terms at the end of each of our country-to-country pages. This page’s terms are defined below:

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