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Ocean & Air Shipping From Germany to Mexico

Information and quote from Germany to Mexico for LCL, FCL and Air shipping

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Of all European countries, Germany enjoys the healthiest trading relationship with Mexico, and on a global basis, lags behind only the USA and China in Mexico’s lineup of trade partners. As a result of this strong commercial bond, there’s no shortage of logistics companies and carriers supporting businesses importing from Germany to Mexico.

How to Ship Ocean Freight From Germany to Mexico

Shipping professional leaning on a stack of cartons, adjacent to flags of Germany and Mexico

Whatever commodities you might have to import from Germany to Mexico, sea freight is the one sure way to get them there in all but the smallest quantities. Indeed, from a cost-efficiency perspective, FCL ocean shipping performs best when you have a large volume of freight to move.

Of course, it's not always possible to fill a shipping container, and you might not have the luxury of waiting until you accumulate enough export orders to do so. That’s when groupage, or LCL shipping, comes into its own.

Shipping Containers: Type, Size, and Capacity

The one thing that both FCL and LCL shipping have in common, is that your carrier will transport your goods in a shipping container from Germany to Mexico. Therefore, one of the decisions you will need to make relates to the type and size of the container chosen.

While there are several specialized container types, most commodities shipped in a container from Germany to Mexico travel in a dry-goods or refrigerated unit. The most common container sizes are:

  • 20-foot – with a capacity of 33.2 cubic meters, ten standard pallets, or 11 Euro pallets
  • 40-foot – with a capacity of 67.7 cubic meters, 21 standard pallets, or 24 Euro pallets

Choose the Right Shipping Service

In addition to choosing the right container for ocean shipping from Germany to Mexico, you will need to decide which type of shipping service you want.

For example, you might choose to ship using a port-to-port service. In that case, you and your trade partner will need to arrange transportation for your products from their source to the German port, and from the Mexican port to their final destination.

On the other hand, door-to-door shipping will put your freight into the hands of a single carrier or freight forwarder. The carrier or forwarder will take responsibility for all domestic transportation as well as the international shipping by sea. To some extent, your decision to use door-to-door or port-to-port shipping will depend upon the Incoterms agreed between supplier (seller) and buyer.

If your business is just starting up, or new to the ins and outs of freight transportation, you can find out more about LCL and FCL and how to ship your goods below.

Less than Container Load (LCL) From Germany to Mexico

If you don't have enough freight to justify sending a full container from Germany to Mexico, LCL shipping will help you keep your carrier costs down. As with most either-or decisions though, there is a tradeoff to be made. LCL shipping requires your goods to form part of a mixed load of freight, which collectively fills a 20-foot or 40-foot container.

If you’re concerned about your freight sharing container space with other shippers’ cargo, LCL might not be for you. It will also undergo a fair amount of handling during the consolidation and deconsolidation processes, so it may not be ideal for fragile or delicate products or materials.

That said, though, many shippers happily export from Germany to Mexico using LCL freight services, and in reality, problems are rare. Of course, it helps if you choose a forwarder that values the opportunity to serve smaller businesses and goes out of its way to manage the handling and care of your cargo proactively.

Full Container Load (FCL) From Germany to Mexico

FCL shipping is the most straightforward way to transport ocean freight from Germany to Mexico, and the simplest to understand from a pricing perspective. Essentially, you pay a fixed price per container for the shipping route you elect to use. However, you need to have enough freight to at least occupy half the available container space. Otherwise, it's typically more cost-effective to choose LCL shipping.

What makes FCL more straightforward? It’s the fact that your goods do not share space with other shippers’ consignments.

Your container can be loaded by the supplier of your goods, sealed, and sent off to the port of departure. From there, it will travel to a port in Mexico, and then on to your final import destination. At no point will your goods undergo handling en-route, so the risk of contamination or damage is significantly reduced.

Cargo Ports of Origin in Germany

As Germany does not have vast stretches of coastline, it is a country without the number of container ports that benefit many nations. However, its two primary ports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven are both major ocean freight gateways, not just for Germany, but also for goods from across the European Union.

Shipa Freight gives you access to ocean freight services to Mexico from both of these large and well-equipped German container facilities.


Hamburg is a sprawling commercial seaport housing the third-busiest container shipping facility in Europe. It’s among the 20 busiest ports in the world. Four container terminals, some 80 or more cranes, and 22 berths for visiting vessels, help to qualify Hamburg Port for its unofficial title as Germany’s Gateway to the World.

When dispatching your freight for shipment from Germany to Mexico via Hamburg, you'll be assured that delays and departure issues will be minimized. That's thanks to the port's reputation for efficiency in container management and cargo handling.

Owned By: Hamburg Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >8.5 million TEUs.



Bremerhaven is one of the most well-known and busiest ports in Europe. It boasts four container terminals, one of which, Terminal 4, can process more than seven million TEUs of freight. A five-kilometer quayside provides berths for up to 14 of the largest container vessels currently in operation.

When Terminal 4 and all the other Bremerhaven container terminals are combined, they comprise the largest closed container-management area in the world. It should come as no surprise then, that Bremerhaven is among Europe’s top ports, and an ideal gateway through which to ship your exports to Mexico.

Owned By: Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.

Annual Container Volume: >5 million TEUs.


Cargo Ports of Arrival in Mexico

Lazaro Cardenas

Port Facts

  • 110 kilometers from Mexico’s border with the US
  • Ideal for destinations in Northwest Mexico

Owned By: Port Authority of Lazaro Cardenas.

Annual Container Volume: >190,000 TEUs.



Port Facts

  • Located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico
  • Mexico’s largest port
  • Ideal for destinations in Central Mexico
  • Third largest port in Latin America
  • Due for significant expansion, to include a new container-terminal

Owned By: Hutchison Port Holdings.

Annual Container Volume: >3 million TEUs.



Port Facts

  • Located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico
  • 400 kilometers for Mexico’s border with the United States
  • Principal container port for the Gulf Coast region

Owned By: Administración Portuaria Integral Altamira.

Annual Container Volume: >680,000 TEUs.



Port Facts

  • Situated on Mexico’s east coast
  • 300 kilometers from Mexico City
  • Ideal for destinations in Southern and Central Mexico

Owned By: Administración Portuaria Integral de Veracruz.

Annual Container Volume: >900,000 TEUs.


Air Freight From Germany to Mexico

When you need to ship goods globally, and quickly, air shipping is often a superior solution to ocean freight, but adds more supply chain costs. Sending your German exports to Mexico as air cargo might be your preferred option in any of the following scenarios:

  • When you have fewer than five pallets to ship
  • When you need to fulfill an export or import order urgently
  • When you need to meet an inflexible deadline
  • When your goods are valuable or generate a significant profit margin
  • When you wish to ensure maximum security for your shipment
  • When the origin and destination of your products are closer to an airport than a seaport

Airports of Origin in Germany


Airport Facts

  • Busiest cargo airport in Europe
  • Expected freight throughput for 2019 – 2 million tonnes
  • Has more direct flights than any other airport in the world
  • Offers direct flights to Mexico

Mexico Airports Served: Mexico City.

Frankfurt to Mexico Cargo-Only Operators: Emirates SkyCargo, Lufthansa Cargo.


Berlin Tegel

Airport Facts

  • Fourth-busiest German airport
  • Excellent road connections to Northern and Eastern Germany
  • No direct flights to Mexico
  • Indirect routings available to Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara

Mexico Airports Served: None.

Berlin to Mexico Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts

  • Boasts an ultra-modern freight-handling facility – the HACC
  • HACC annual capacity – 150,000 tonnes of cargo
  • No direct flights to Mexico
  • Indirect routings available to Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara

Mexico Airports Served: None.

Hamburg to Mexico Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts

  • Ideal export gateway for Southern Germany
  • Using this airport can save many miles of overland transportation to German ocean ports
  • Offers direct flights to Mexico

Mexico Airports Served: Mexico City.

Munich to Mexico Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts

  • Third-largest airport in Germany
  • Cargo throughput – 75,000 tonnes (2018)
  • Ideal export gateway for Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan areas
  • No direct flights to Mexico
  • Indirect routings available to Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara

Mexico Airports Served: None.

Dusseldorf to Mexico Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Other Airports in Germany

As well as the airports above, Stuttgart, Leipzig/Halle, and Nuremberg are all possible airports of loading for your imports to Mexico. Note, though, that at the time of publishing this page, routes from these airports will all be indirect.

Airports of Arrival in Mexico


Airport Facts

  • Mexico’s second-busiest airport for international cargo
  • Has an air-freight terminal area of 27,000 square meters
  • Cargo apron can accommodate up to six aircraft at a time
  • No direct flights from Germany

Connected Airports in Germany: None.

Germany to Guadalajara Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts

  • One of Mexico’s fastest-growing airports
  • Monterrey is among the fifteen largest airports in Latin America
  • Located in Apodaca, in the state of Nueva Leon
  • The airport has two runways and a single cargo terminal
  • Covers an area of six hectares
  • Ideal airport for destinations in Northeastern Mexico
  • No direct flights from German airports

Connected Airports in Germany: None.

Germany to Monterrey Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Mexico City

  • Located five kilometers from downtown Mexico City
  • The airport plays host to 21 cargo airlines
  • Offers direct flights from Frankfurt and Munich in Germany

Connected Airports in Germany: Frankfurt, Munich.

Germany to Mexico City Cargo-Only Operators: Lufthansa Cargo.


Customs Clearance Documentation for Germany and Mexico

As in most countries, the customs authorities of Germany and Mexico require a range of documents to accompany goods transported as air or ocean freight. Some are dependent on the type of products or materials you are shipping. At the same time, several specific documents are necessary in almost every case.

For example, the following set of documents will be essential, both for export clearance from Germany, and to satisfy import documentation requirements in Mexico:

  • Packing list – to be provided by the seller/exporter
  • Certificate(s) of origin – to be provided by the seller/exporter
  • Tax invoice – to be provided by the seller/exporter
  • Bill of lading - your freight forwarder will provide this for you
  • Letter of credit – to be provided by the buyer/importer
  • Commercial invoice – to be provided by the seller/exporter

To help you familiarize yourself with the documents listed above, we have created a Document List page for you to visit, containing details and examples of each of them.

How Long Does it Take to Ship Cargo From Germany to Mexico?

Sand timer with blue sand, next to and slightly in front of a desk calendar on a desktop

There’s a world of difference in the transit times associated with air versus ocean freight. However, although air freight is fast, you should not expect cargo flown from Germany to Mexico to complete its journey in mere hours.

Air freight transit times must take into account the time it takes to:

  • Complete export customs clearance in Germany
  • Prepare the cargo for loading at the departure airport
  • Load the freight onto an aircraft
  • Unload the goods at the airport of arrival in Mexico
  • Clear customs in Mexico

With all these activities taken into account, typical transit time for air freight between Germany and Mexico is eight days. Ocean shipping takes place at a much slower pace than air freight. You should allow three to four weeks for your cargo to steam from Bremerhaven or Hamburg to its port of discharge in Mexico.

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Sea From Germany to Mexico?

The journey by ocean from Germany to Mexico is a transatlantic marathon. At the speed of a container ship, the following transit times are typical:

  • Hamburg to Altamira - 24 days FCL, 21 days LCL
  • Hamburg to Veracruz - 22 days FCL, 23 days LCL
  • Hamburg to Manzanillo – 25 days
  • Bremerhaven to Veracruz – 18 days

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Air From Germany to Mexico?

At Shipa Freight, we provide our customers with a wide range of air freight options for shipping imports into Mexico from Germany. The following routes are just a few examples from our schedule. They all involve total transit times of around eight days:

  • Frankfurt to Mexico City
  • Hamburg to Mexico City
  • Berlin Tegel to Mexico City
  • Dusseldorf to Mexico City
  • Stuttgart to Mexico City

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Cargo From Germany to Mexico?

If you desire the speed and flexibility of air freight, your enterprise will need the kind of logistics budget that can support a high-cost shipping mode. For shipments of up to 100 kilograms in weight, the cost may not differ much from that of ocean freight—but the cost-differential increases as shipments get larger.

As a rough example, a shipment costing $200 to ship by sea can cost as much as $1,000 to send as air freight.

Because of this cost difference, air freight is best reserved for importing high-value commodities from Germany to Mexico, or for small shipments that need to be moved quickly.

Note, though, that for loads of 35 kilograms or less in weight, it’s seldom cost-effective to ship with a freight forwarder. An international courier company can better handle shipments of such low volumes.

Why Ship From Germany to Mexico With Shipa Freight?

The information on this page should be of use to you if you are the supplier, buyer, importer, or exporter in an international sales and shipping trade. It is valid regardless of whether you choose to make your freight arrangements directly with carriers or use the services of a freight forwarder.

However, the international shipping landscape can be complicated to navigate. At Shipa Freight, we make it easier for your business to ship products and materials from Germany to Mexico. If you’d like to find out for yourself how simple we make it, you can take the first step right now by requesting a quote.

Shipa Freight Benefits at a Glance

Shipa Freight is changing freight-forwarding paradigms and challenging the traditional methods that are often fraught with complexity. But how does that make things easier for your business? Here’s a quick overview of some of the benefits you can access as a Shipa Freight customer:

  • Fast and understandable quotes in moments
  • Simple, fast booking
  • The ability to get quotes, book, pay, and track your freight, all via a single online portal
  • 24/7 customer service, accessible by phone, email, and live chat
  • An intelligent compliance engine to help you meet legal and regulatory obligations
  • In-house customs clearance expertise
  • Self-service shipment management, with no need to exchange emails or faxes with multiple parties

Why not get an obligation-free quote for your next air or ocean freight shipment from Germany to Mexico? It’s fast and easy—just use the form at the top of this page.

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

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