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Ocean and Air Freight Shipping From France to China

FCL, LCL and Air shipping comprehensive guide and instant online quote

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France and China signed $15 billion worth of trade deals in November 2019. So the ocean and air freight routes between the two countries are likely to remain busy for the foreseeable future.

If your business is looking for an easy way to export from France to China, you’re on the right page. Because we’ve included the key information you need to make international shipping and logistics more straightforward.

What Are Your Options for Shipping Freight From France to China?

Flags of France and China to show Shipa Freight capacity to ship from France e to China There are just two ways for your business to transport French exports to Canadian markets. You can choose between ocean and air shipping from France to China. Both have their pros and cons.

Ocean Freight From France to China

Less than Container Load (LCL): With LCL ocean shipping, instead of hiring a full container, you rent space in a shared container. Your sea freight will be shipped on a cargo vessel from your port of origin in France to your port of arrival in China. Full Container Load (FCL): With FCL, you rent an entire container for your exclusive use. In some cases, FCL works out cheaper and faster than LCL.

Air Freight from France to China

Air shipping is the quickest way to export or import from France to China. However, it’s usually more expensive than shipping sea freight.

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

Several factors come into play when calculating the cost of shipping freight from France to China. Your freight forwarder will need to know the following to work out your quote:

  • The nature of your freight
  • Your chosen mode of transport (Air, FCL or LCL)
  • The weight of your cargo
  • The size of your cargo
  • The distance between the origin and destination of your goods
  • The type of service you require (such as Door-to-Door or Port-to-Port)

Usually, air freight and ocean freight costs are similar for shipments weighing less than 100kg, so many businesses will opt for the quicker option. For goods weighing over 100 kg, sea freight is generally more economical than air freight.

Please note that Shipa Freight—like most freight forwarders—doesn’t handle cargo weighing 35 kg or less.

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

Over 8,000km separates the capital cities of France and China. Whichever ports of origin and arrival you choose, the journey will be long. Air shipping is quickest. Transit time for air freight between the two countries can be as little as four days. That includes flight time, customs inspections, and security checks. The time taken to transport a shipping container from France to China varies by destination. But on average you’re looking at a shipping duration of 38-40 days.

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

Here are two sample transit times for shipping ocean freight from France to China:

  • Le Havre to Ningbo-Zhoushan – 40 days FCL
  • Le Havre to Shanghai – 38 days FCL

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

Here are a couple of examples of air freight transit times between France and China, just to give you some idea of the shipping durations you should expect:

  • Paris to Shanghai – 6 days
  • Paris to Shenzhen – 8 days

Customs Clearance in France and China

Customs stamp resting on a customs invoice document stamped with export customs clearance in red ink as Shipa Freight assist you with customs clearance Every export from France to China will be subject to customs rules and regulations. A freight forwarder will ensure your consignment complies with local shipping requirements, thereby reducing the risk of delay.

However, you will still need to provide essential paperwork. We’ve listed five key documents that customs authorities in France and China typically need to see:

  1. Commercial Invoice
  2. Packing List
  3. Certificate of Origin
  4. Letter of Credit or other payment terms (depends on the contract between the parties involved)
  5. Bill of Lading for ocean freight or Airway Bill for air freight (Shipa Freight will provide this for you)

Please be aware that you might be required to supply additional documents, such as licenses, certificates, or permits. Your freight forwarder will let you know if this is the case. For more information about the documents listed above and to see some samples, please check out our documents list.

Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?

Ocean Freight

Unsurprisingly, given the size difference between France and China, the latter has more seaports for you to choose from. Ocean shipping entails your goods being transported aboard a cargo vessel in a container from France to China. A standard container will usually suffice for port-to-port or door-to-door shipping. But should your sea freight require a specialist container, your freight forwarder or carrier will recommend the best option.

There are two ways to ship a container from France to China: LCL and FCL. What’s best for your consignment depends on the nature of your goods and their weight and volume.

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

LCL is a good choice for your business if:

  • You’re shipping smaller quantities of 14 CBM or under (about six standard pallets).
  • Your goods aren’t urgently required in China.
  • You don’t want the hassle of choosing a container for your consignment.
  • Your cargo can be transported in a shared container.
  • Air freight simply isn’t an option.

LCL might not be right for your business if:

  • Your cargo is fragile, perishable, or high-value.
  • Your consignment can’t withstand frequent handling.
  • You cannot afford delays to your shipment.
  • Your goods are large and/or heavy.

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

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

Usually, a Full Container Load (FCL) is right for you if:

  • Your freight has to be in China by a specific date.
  • You want your goods sealed in a container until they reach your customers in China.
  • You’re shipping over 14 CBM (about half the load capacity of a 20ft container).
  • Your cargo is fragile, delicate, or very heavy.
    Learn more about Full Container Load on our dedicated page on FCL Shipping.

Air Freight

In general, air shipping is a good option for businesses that:

  • Need to ship cargo with a short shelf-life.
  • Require their goods to be delivered to China quickly.
  • Value the speed of delivery above the cost.
  • Need elevated levels of security because their shipment is high-value.
  • Are shipping smaller or lighter consignments—no more than three or four pallets.
  • Have a supplier and recipient who are both based within easy reach of an international airport.
    Learn more about Full Container Load on our dedicated page on FCL Shipping.

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Ports of Origin in France

Le Havre

Port Facts:

  • France’s first-ever container port is the country’s second-largest.
  • The quayside extends for 6.5 kilometers.
  • Located at the western entrance to the English Channel.
  • Ideal for supply chains that need to move goods through Northern France, including Rouen and Caen.
  • A river shuttle service links the port with Gennevilliers and Bonneuil-sur-Mer.

Owned By: Grande Port Maritime du Havre.

Annual Container Volume: >2.8 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: FRLEH.

Fos-sur-Mer

Port Facts:

  • Situated on the shores of the Golfe de Fos.
  • Less than 40km from the city of Marseille.
  • Good port if your supplier or manufacturer is in Miramas, Marseille, Saint Remy de Provence, Port-de-Bouc, or Istres.
  • It’s 9,700 kilometers from here to the Port of Shenzhen in Southern China.

Owned By: Marseille Fos Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >1.25 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: FRFOS.

Lyon

Port Facts:

  • A river port covering a 184-hectare site.
  • Strategically located to assist Rhone-Saone trade.
  • 300km inland from the Port of Marseille.
  • Under 400km from Central Paris.

Owned By: Compagnie National du Rhone.

Annual Container Volume: >220,000 TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: FRLIO.

Cargo Ports of Arrival in China

Ningbo-Zhoushan

Port Facts:

  • Annual cargo throughput of over one million tonnes.
  • Located where the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road meet.
  • Facilities include seven container terminals and 112 cranes.
  • The opening of the Chuanshangang railway in December 2019 has improved the port’s multi-modal transit capacity.

Owned By: Ningbo-Zhoushan Port Company Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >26.3 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: CNNGB.

Shenzhen

Port Facts:

  • Served by 39 shipping companies operating over 130 international container routes.
  • Located in the Pearl River Delta Emission Control Area.
  • Regarded as the gateway to Hong Kong.
  • Situated close to thousands of electronics manufacturing firms.

Owned By: Multiple owners.

Annual Container Volume: >27.7 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: CNSZP.

Shanghai

Port Facts:

  • The port covers a 3,600 square kilometer site in the mouth of the Yangtze River.
  • Winner of the world’s best-connected port award in 2019.
  • The port serves 281 shipping routes.
  • Wusongkou, Waigoqiao, and Yangshan are the three main container port areas.
  • Yangshan is the largest automated container terminal in the world.

Owned By: Shanghai International Port Company Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >42 million TEUs.

UN/LOCODE: CNSHA.

Other Ports in China

In addition to the ports outlined above, you can use the following Chinese container gateways when you import from France to China:

  • Wuhan
  • Qinzhou
  • Zhuhai
  • Zhongshan
  • Shantou
  • Lianyungang
  • Wuhu
  • Dalian
  • Xiamen
  • Qingdao
  • Shekou
  • Tianjin
  • Guangzhou

Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airports of Origin in France

Lyon

Airport Facts:

  • Also called Lyon-Saint Exupery Airport.
  • Just 20km from Lyon, France’s third-largest city.
  • Linked to the Lyon-Part-Dieu Business District.

China Airports Served: None.

Lyon to China Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA CODE: LYS.

Marseille

Airport Facts:

  • France’s third-largest air freight hub.
  • Located 27km northwest of the city of Marseille.
  • Ideal if your supply chain requires movement of goods through Southern France, including Avignon, Toulon, Marseille, or Arles.

China Airports Served: None.

Marseille to China Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA CODE: MRS.

Strasbourg

Airport Facts:

  • A small airport 10km southwest of the city of Strasbourg.
  • It features one runway and one terminal.
  • Goods bound for China will be routed using indirect flights as there are no direct services.

China Airports Served: None.

Strasbourg to China Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA CODE: SXB.

Paris Charles de Gaulle

Airport Facts:

  • Second-busiest airport in Europe.
  • Located 23km northwest of Paris.
  • A new $10.8 million pharma center opened in 2019.
  • Shipments can reach China in as little as four days.

China Airports Served: Beijing-Capital, Chengdu, Shanghai-Pudong, Wuhan, Qingdao, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Shenzhen.

Paris to China Cargo-Only Operators: Air France Cargo, China Cargo Airlines, China Southern Cargo.

IATA CODE: CDG.

Airports of Arrival in China

Dalian

Airport Facts:

  • Located in Ganjingzi District, Liaoning Province, 10km northwest of Dalian city center.
  • Full name is Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport.
  • Ideal for consignments destined for Jinzhou, Chaoyang, or Tieling.
  • A new airport is due to open in Dalian in 2020.

Connected Airports in France: None.

France to Dalian Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: DLC.

Shanghai-Pudong

Airport Facts:

  • One of the world’s top-three biggest air freight hubs.
  • Handles 3.7 million tonnes of air freight annually.
  • Covers a 40 square kilometer site located 30 kilometers east of the city of Shanghai.
  • The airport has five runways.
  • Air freight can be ready for collection from Pudong just four days after dispatch from Paris.

Connected Airports in France: Paris.

France to Shanghai Cargo-Only Operators: China Cargo Airlines.

IATA Code: PVG.

Guangzhou

***Airport Facts:

  • Officially called Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport.
  • China’s third-busiest air freight hub.
  • Cargo capacity is due to increase from a million tonnes to 2.5 million tonnes by the end of 2020.
  • Freight forwarders can book goods aboard direct flights from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Connected Airports in France: Paris.

France to Guangzhou Cargo-Only Operators: China Southern Cargo, FedEx Express.

IATA Code: CAN.

Beijing-Capital

Airport Facts:

  • Handles two million tonnes of air cargo every year.
  • Three freight terminals are ready to process goods from France.
  • Aprons can handle wide-body freighters.
  • Its IATA code harks back to the days when Beijing was widely known as Peking.

Connected Airports in France: Paris.

France to Beijing Cargo-Only Operators: Air China Cargo.

IATA Code: PEK.

Shenzhen

Airport Facts:

  • One of three major air cargo hubs serving the Pearl River Delta.
  • Gives shippers easy access to Hong Kong—just 70km away by road.
  • This two-runway airport is just 30km from the city of Shenzhen.
  • Ship direct from Paris in about eight days.

Connected Airports in France: Paris.

France to Shenzhen Cargo-Only Operators: None.

IATA Code: SZX.

Other airports in China for air cargo from France are Qingdao, Wuhan, Xiamen, Chongqing, Chengdu, Zhengzhou, Tianjin, and Shanghai-Hongqiao:

Why Ship From France to China With Shipa Freight?

Shipa Freight makes importing from France to China easier than ever. We’re an online-only business operating at the forefront of digital freight forwarding, experienced in delivering air and sea freight to destinations all over the world.

Through our online platform, you can manage the entire shipping process in a way that dramatically simplifies your supply chain. Forget having to hire multiple agencies to ship cargo from France to China. Shipa Freight is the one-stop-shop for all your international freight needs.

The benefits of trusting your shipping to us include:

  • Get quick quotes online.
  • Book and pay for shipping online.
  • Get accurate information about the documents necessary for your shipments
  • Leave us to manage the customs side of shipping.
  • Contact our friendly customer service team 24/7.
  • Enjoy the peace of mind of knowing you’re complying with shipping rules and regulations.

“With Shipa Freight, I could do everything from quotation to booking with just a click”.

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