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Ocean & Air Cargo Shipping From Germany to the US

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

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A quarter of all jobs in Germany depend on exports and the United States is one of Germany’s biggest markets. Bilateral trade totaled close to $250 billion in 2018 and grew by nearly 3% in the first ten months of 2019. Your business may well be contributing to that growth, or you could be looking to make your first export or import from Germany to the US. Either way, Shipa Freight offers you a quick and easy way to ship commercial goods between the two nations.

We are an internet-based freight forwarder with enviable international shipping experience and connections, thanks to our parent company Agility Logistics. Whatever the nature of the goods you wish to import or export from Germany to the US, we can help you ride the wave of increasing trade between two of the world’s manufacturing giants.

Let us arrange air freight or ocean freight shipments across the Atlantic to airports and seaports all over the United States. Our platform will generate a bespoke quote in seconds, and you can book and pay quickly too, then track every stage of your shipment.

Booking a Shipping Container From Germany to the US

Warehouse operative pushing a trolley filled with cartons from the flag of China to the flag of the United States

Trade lanes across the Atlantic Ocean are much traveled by container ships on their way from Germany to the US. Your commercial goods could form a future consignment when you book ocean shipping through Shipa Freight. We give you a big choice of ports at which to discharge your goods on the US’s Eastern seaboard, and on the South and West Coasts.

Sending goods as sea freight is a slower process than air shipping, but if you have a large consignment to ship or your goods aren’t suitable as air freight, transporting it in a shipping container from Germany to the US is your best option.

We’ll reach out to an ocean freight carrier steaming between your German departure port of choice and your destination port in the US, to arrange shipment either by FCL or LCL services. We explain these terms in more detail below.

Shipping a Less than Container Load (LCL) From Germany to the US

If you’re content for your goods to be shipped in a container with products from other companies, Shipa Freight can make the necessary arrangements for your LCL (less-than-container-load) shipment. It’s a financially prudent option for smaller consignments that aren’t urgently required in the US.

Shipa Freight offers a door-to-door pick-up and drop-off service from one side of the Atlantic to the other. Or you can choose port-to-port, door-to-port or port-to-door.

The quote we give you will be affected by the type of goods you want to ship, their size and weight, and the distance of the shipment. Please be aware that LCL shipping involves consolidation in port in Germany, and deconsolidation upon arrival in the US. These logistics processes add extra time to the shipment.

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

Sending a Full Container Load (FCL) From Germany to the US

FCL shipping is available for any type of freight you wish to send—as long as it can be containerized. If you want your goods to have a container to themselves for the journey between Germany and the US, a full container load is the way to go.

Of course, it makes financial sense to fill as much of the container as you can. For example, a 20ft container carries up to 11 standard and Euro pallets, while the 40ft version fits up to 21 standard pallets or 24 Euro pallets.

FCL shipping avoids costly and time-consuming consolidation and deconsolidation, and there will be fewer touches of your goods. Unless customs officers intervene, your container can remain sealed from your point of departure in Germany to your chosen destination in the United States of America.

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

Cargo Ports of Origin in Germany


Not quite as big as Hamburg, Bremerhaven is nevertheless still a massive port. Its four terminals help it rank as Europe’s fourth-busiest container port, making it a worthy export gateway for your consignment to the US.

Owned By: Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.

Annual Container Volume: >5.5 million TEUs.



This is Germany’s biggest port, Europe’s third-largest, and one of the world’s top 20 for container traffic. Four advanced container terminals are ready to process your freight and transfer it to vessels heading West to the United States.

Owned By: Hamburg Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >8.5 million TEUs.


Cargo Ports of Arrival in the US

New York

Officially called the Port of New York and New Jersey, this facility has four container terminals which together, make it the largest sea freight port on the East Coast of the US. It’s also the third-busiest in the country and 20th in the world rankings. ExpressRail will enable quick transportation of your goods from Germany to other destinations in the Northeastern regions of the US.

Owned By: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Annual Container Volume: >3.2 million TEUs.



Freight from Germany just needs to cross the North Sea, English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean to reach this port in Florida, the ninth-biggest in the US. Discharging your goods here enables easy access to the manufacturing centers and consumer markets in Southeastern US.

Owned By: Multiple owners.

Annual Container Volume: >1 million TEUs.


Los Angeles

Close to 20% of all ocean freight arriving in the US is discharged here, the largest seaport in the country. Los Angeles Port spans almost 70km of California coastline and boasts 80 cranes and eight container terminals. If the goods you’re importing from Germany to the US. are destined for the country’s Western regions, Los Angeles deserves consideration as your arrival port.

Owned By: City of Los Angeles.

Annual Container Volume: >9 million TEUs.


San Francisco

Traditionally a passenger port, San Francisco re-opened its quays to cargo traffic in 2016, reviving its Southern Waterfront cargo terminal. The port now has a dedicated foreign trade zone, plus cold storage and over 500,000 square meters of covered storage space. There are five deep water berths from where your LCL consignment from Germany can be discharged.

Owned By: San Francisco Port Commission.

Annual Container Volume: Unknown.



Located on the Patapsco River in Maryland, this is the US’s largest specialized cargo port. Since 2014, Baltimore has been the fastest-growing port in the country, setting a monthly record in July 2019 when 98,500 TEUs were processed.

Owned By: Maryland Port Administration.

Annual Container Volume: >700,000 TEUs.


Other Destination Ports in the United States

Shipa Freight can also process ocean freight from Germany to the US at these ports:

  • Atlanta
  • New Orleans
  • Savannah
  • Tacoma
  • Oakland
  • Norfolk
  • Boston
  • Charleston
  • Houston
  • Seattle
  • Mobile
  • Long Beach
  • Port Everglades

Air Freight From Germany to the US

When quick shipping from Germany to the US is required, choose air freight. Our platform makes it easy for you to fill in the details we require about your cargo, such as its size and weight, where it needs picking up from, and its destination in the United States.

We can arrange for cargo carriers to fly your goods across the Atlantic. This could be in the hold of a passenger plane or on pallets aboard a cargo-only flight traveling directly or indirectly to your chosen airport. You should consider air shipping if:

  • Your cargo is fragile and/or has a short shelf-life
  • You want the peace of mind associated with high levels of security
  • Airports are more convenient than seaports for your departure and arrival destinations
  • Your consignment can be shipped on just a few pallets

Airports of Origin in Germany


Enjoy quick access to Dusseldorf’s industrial, commercial and consumer centers from an airport that’s just 7km from the city. It’s Germany’s third-largest air freight hub with three terminals and room for wide-bodied passenger and commercial aircraft to take-off and land.

US Airports Served: Atlanta, Miami.

Dusseldorf to US Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Choose Frankfurt Airport, and your freight for the US will be processed in Europe’s biggest multimodal cargo handling facility. Two million tonnes of goods pass through the facilities here annually, and your shipment to the United States can be picked-up, loaded, flown and delivered to your chosen destination in five to eight days.

US Airports Served: Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Boston, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Philadelphia.

Frankfurt to US Cargo-Only Operators: AirBridge Cargo, Lufthansa Cargo.



Goods originating in Northern and Eastern Germany can be easily transported to this, the nation’s fourth-largest container airport. If your supply chain includes locations in Berlin or its surrounding areas, our door-to-door or door-to-port services will use the wealth of road and rail connections to get your goods to Berlin-Tegel and aboard a flight to the US.

US Airports Served: Philadelphia, New York.

Berlin to US Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Serving Southern Germany, Munich Airport’s 84,000 square meter cargo terminal could prove to be a more cost-effective departure point for your US-bound goods than Germany’s shipping ports way up on the North coast.

If your goods originate in the South, a long overland journey will be required to Hamburg or Bremerhaven. Therefore, if your products are suitable as air freight, you might wish to consider the possible time and cost savings of flying them from Munich.

US Airports Served: Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston.

Munich to US Cargo-Only Operators: None.



The second-busiest airport in Bavaria, Nuremberg enjoys a central European location. Highways and railroads across Germany converge here, making Nuremberg an easily accessible airport of origin for indirect flights to the US. Such is its popularity as a freight hub, a second Cargo Center was built here in 2003.

US Airports Served: None.

Nuremberg to US Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Other Airports in Germany

Are you looking for an alternative to the airports listed in detail above? If so, Shipa Freight can arrange to fly your cargo to the United States aboard a carrier from Hamburg, Leipzig, or Stuttgart.

Airports of Arrival in the United States of America

Chicago O’Hare

This airport has space for 15 wide-bodied cargo carriers to unload their freight at the same time. Once discharged, your consignment’s onward journey into Illinois and elsewhere in the Northern United States is made quicker and easier by O’Hare’s location and transport links. The airport is only 23km Northwest of the Loop Business District.

Connected Airports in Germany: Frankfurt, Munich.

Germany to Chicago Cargo-Only Operators: AirBridge Cargo, Air China Cargo.


New York JFK

Given its East Coast location, New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport offers one of the quickest ways to ship goods from Germany to the US. Air shipment times can be as quick as three days, ideal if you have an urgent consignment. Cargo teams here are used to handling valuable goods—it’s the US’s top airport for cargo value.

Connected Airports in Germany: Frankfurt, Berlin-Tegel, Munich.

Germany to New York Cargo-Only Operators: DHL Aviation, Lufthansa Cargo.



Situated 9km south of downtown Atlanta, this airport is an international gateway to the Southern United States. Land your goods from Germany here if your supplier or your customers are based in Georgia or neighboring states. You can make use of the extensive refrigeration and freezer units the airport has for safe storage of any perishables you might be shipping.

Connected Airports in Germany: Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich.

Germany to Atlanta Cargo-Only Operators: Aerologic, Lufthansa Cargo.



Logan International is based in East Boston and is the third-largest airport in New England for cargo handling. It boasts six runways and two cargo facilities. Major air cargo companies, including Germany’s Lufthansa Cargo, have offices on-site.

Connected Airports in Germany: Frankfurt, Munich.

Germany to Boston Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Only 7km from downtown Philadelphia, this airport is ideally located to make accessing the US’s Interstate road network easy. I-95 which runs from Maine to Florida is close by, so if the final destination for your goods is along the US East Coast, discharging your goods here is a good option. It’s also ideal for reaching many major US consumer markets, as over half of the nation’s population lives within a day’s drive of the airport.

Connected Airports in Germany: Berlin-Tegel, Frankfurt.

Germany to Philadelphia Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Other Arrival Airports in the United States

Shipa Freight can also arrange to fly your goods to the following US airports:

  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Charlotte
  • Denver
  • Houston
  • Seattle
  • Cleveland
  • Cincinnati
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Detroit
  • Sacramento
  • El Paso

Clearing Customs in Germany and the US

A huge amount of goods make the journey by air or sea from Germany to the US. Every shipment is required to be accompanied by the correct paperwork to ensure smooth passage through customs checks.

Shipa Freight supplies details of the documentation you require. You will need:

  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)

Should you want to view additional information about these documents, you will find all you need on this page.

Shipping Durations for Cargo From Germany to the US

Your destination in the United States will make a big difference to shipping times. Ocean carriers can reach ports on the Eastern seaboard in 16 days. For West Coast ports you’re looking at around 33 days. Air freight shipping to US destinations is much quicker – Frankfurt to New York can take as little as three days.

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Ocean From Germany to the US?

The table below shows the big contrast in shipping times between Germany and ports on the East and West Coast of the US:

  • Hamburg to New York – 16 days FCL, 17 days LCL
  • Hamburg to Miami – 18 days FCL, 20 days LCL
  • Hamburg to Los Angeles – 28 days FCL, 33 days LCL
  • Hamburg to San Francisco – 33 days FCL, 35 days LCL
  • Hamburg to Atlanta – 19 days LCL
  • Hamburg to Boston – 19 days FCL

How Long Does It Take to Ship Air Freight From Germany to the US?

Shipa Freight can arrange for your cargo to be shipped by air from Germany to the United States in three to eight days, as these sample shipping times show:

  • Frankfurt to Chicago – 5 days
  • Frankfurt to New York – 3 days
  • Hamburg to Chicago – 8 days
  • Frankfurt to Atlanta – 8 days
  • Hamburg to Boston – 5 days
  • Frankfurt to Philadelphia – 5 days

What’s the Cost of Ocean and Air Shipping From Germany to the US?

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

When you inform us of the nature of your shipment—including its size, weight, volume, and destination—we will generate a quote in seconds. The price will take into account all the above factors as well as your choice of air or ocean shipping. If you choose the latter, your decision to opt for LCL or FCL shipping will also impact your quote.

Remember also that Shipa Freight offers port to port, door to port, port to door and door to door deliveries for which the distances involved can vary greatly – a fact that will affect costs.

Still unsure whether air shipping or ocean freight is best for your budget? Generally if your goods weigh less than 100kg, shipping by air will usually be as economical as ocean freight. Consignments over that weight can usually be more economically shipped by ocean.

Air shipping starts to become a lot more expensive when cargo weights exceed 100 kilograms. The larger the shipment, the larger the cost difference between ocean and air freight.

Finally, please be aware that Shipa Freight does not provide freight-forwarding services for cargo weighing less than 35kg.

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