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Ocean and Air Shipping from Italy to Canada

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

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Updated on 03 Mar 202213 min read

Italy is Canada’s eighth-largest trade partner. Imports from Italy were valued at close to $9 billion in 2018. Your business could have a track record of importing from Italy to Canada, or you could be new to the process of shipping commodities from Southern Europe to North America.

Either way, this page is for you. It contains guidance and information designed to help you export from Italy to Canada more easily and successfully.

What Are Your Options for Shipping Freight From Italy to Canada?

You can choose between ocean and air shipping from Italy to Canada. Whichever you choose, there will be advantages and drawbacks associated with that mode of transport. We’ll explore some of them on this page.

Ocean Freight From Italy to Canada

Less than Container Load (LCL): Your goods will share a container with products from other businesses with LCL shipping. If your consignment is relatively small, this could be the most economical way to get your goods to Canada.

Full Container Load (FCL): With this form of shipping, you pay for the use and transportation of a container exclusively for your goods. You can decide to fully or partially fill the container. Transporting a shipping container from Italy to Canada by FCL is usually the fastest way to move goods by ocean.

Air Freight from Italy to Canada

Air freight is the fastest way to ship cargo from Italy to Canada. If you choose this option, you should be ready to pay significantly more than you would for ocean shipping.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Cargo From Italy to Canada?

Freight forwarders consider several factors when calculating quotes for shipments. They include:

  • The distance your consignment needs to be transported
  • Your preference either for an air freight or ocean freight carrier
  • Your chosen mode of delivery (port-to-port, port-to-door, door-to-port, or door-to-door)
  • The nature of the cargo you will ship
  • The volume, weight, and size of your cargo

The weight of your consignment can also affect your decision to choose ocean or air freight shipping. If the weight of your goods is over 100 kilograms, ocean shipping usually works out more cost-effective than air shipping.At under 100 kilograms, there’s unlikely to be a great difference between the price of ocean or air shipping.

Like many freight forwarders, Shipa Freight does not quote for consignments weighing 35 kilograms or under. However, international couriers will be able to help you if your cargo falls within this weight bracket.

How Long Does it Take to Ship Cargo From Italy to Canada?

It’s over 7,000 km from Rome to Toronto in Eastern Canada—as the crow flies. Western Canada is even further away. It makes for a long haul when shipping freight from Italy to Canada.

Air freight is by far the fastest mode of transportation. Consignments from Milan to Montreal have been known to complete in just one day. However, three to four days is a more typical duration for most air shipping from Italy to Canada.

For ocean carriers, the journey to Western Canada is a long one. It’s nearly 9,000 kilometers to Vancouver, so transporting a shipping container from Italy can take 57 days. Shipments to ports on the east coast of Canada can be completed in 14 to 28 days.

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Sea From Italy to Canada?

One of the fastest ocean shipping services from Italy to Canada will see your cargo arrive in the port of Montreal around 14 days after leaving Genoa. At the other end of the spectrum, ocean freight can take around 57 days to ship from Venice to Vancouver.

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Air From Italy to Canada?

Below are a few examples of air freight transit times from Italy to Canada:

  • Rome to Toronto – 3 days
  • Milan to Montreal – 1 day
  • Milan to Toronto – 4 days

Customs Clearance Procedures in Italy and Canada

Every import from Italy to Canada must comply with customs rules and regulations. To do so, shipments need to be accompanied by specific documents for inspection by customs officials in Italy and Canada. The required paperwork will almost certainly include the following:

  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)

We’ve collected samples of the above on a documents list page, so you have a chance to take a closer look at each if you wish.

The above list is by no means exhaustive. You may be required to provide additional paperwork, such as a certificate, permit, or license.

Knowing with certainty which documents should accompany your consignment can be a source of confusion for many companies. That’s one reason why many businesses prefer to leave the task of customs compliance to freight forwarders. Their shipping expertise will reduce the risk of unnecessary delays. A forwarder will also let you rest easy in the knowledge that your consignment adheres to international rules and regulations.

Should You Choose Ocean or Air Shipping From Italy to Canada?

Ocean Freight

If you’re shipping a large or heavy consignment and have a limited budget, ocean shipping could be your best option. Your sea freight will travel on a specialized cargo vessel in a standard container from Italy to Canada. Shipping containers come in 20ft or 40ft lengths.

Various types of containers are available to carry certain types of freight that require specific conditions to be maintained during transit. Your freight forwarder will help you decide on the right container for your shipment.

Your freight forwarder can also assist you in selecting which port of loading and port of discharge to use, and which type of ocean shipping is best for your consignment. You can choose between LCL and FCL services.

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

LCL, which stands for less-than-container-load shipping, requires goods to share container space with freight belonging to other shippers. LCL could be the best way for you to ship from Italy to Canada if:

  • Your consignment fills no more than six pallets
  • Your delivery deadline isn’t urgent
  • You’re happy with your goods sharing a container with other freight
  • Air freight is not something you can consider

It’s usually best to avoid LCL shipping if:

  • Your consignment contains high-value, perishable, or fragile freight
  • Frequent handling of your cargo could damage it
  • You don’t like the idea of your goods sharing a container with other cargo

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

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

If you choose full-container-load shipping you’ll have a shipping container for your exclusive use. Many companies choose this mode of shipping if:

  • Their freight must arrive in Canada by a certain date
  • Their goods are heavy or fragile
  • They want their containers sealed in Italy and to remain sealed from origin to destination
  • Their consignment is large enough to occupy at least half of a standard 20 ft-container’s capacity

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

Air Freight

You should seriously consider air shipping your cargo if:

  • It is perishable
  • It’s urgently required in Canada
  • It occupies three standard pallets at most
  • It’s high-value and needs the extra security offered by airports and airlines
  • The supplier and consignee are both nearer an international airport than a seaport

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

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Ports of Origin in Italy


Port Facts:

  • Situated on Italy’s east coast
  • The facility’s infrastructure comprises ferry, passenger, and container terminals
  • A new mobile crane was introduced to the port in 2019
  • Suppliers and manufacturers in San Marino, Rimini, and other locations on Italy’s Adriatic coast can easily access the port

Owned By: Central Adriatic Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >150,000 TEUs.


La Spezia

Port Facts:

  • Situated on the northernmost shores of the Gulf of La Spezia
  • Features a five kilometer-long quayside
  • The quayside is equipped with 11 quay cranes and seven harbor mobile cranes
  • Ideal port of origin if your supply chain involves the movement of goods from Florence, Livorno, or Bologna

Owned By: Port of La Spezia Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >1.4 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Italy’s second-busiest cargo port and a top-three Mediterranean ocean freight facility
  • The harbor extends for more than 700 hectares
  • It is located less than 200 kilometers from Nice in Southern France
  • The port’s Voltri Terminal Europa is its biggest container terminal
  • A good port of origin for any supplier or manufacturer based in Savona, Asti, Pavia, or Turin

Owned By: Genoa Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >2 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Located on the west coast of Italy between Phlegraean Fields and Mount Vesuvius
  • Serves the capital of the Campania region
  • This hub for exporting Neapolitan coffee to the world includes three container terminals
  • Within easy reach of the city of Naples, as well as Nola, Pozzuoli, and other locations in Southwestern Italy

Owned By: Port Authority of Naples.

Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • A port in Northeastern Italy with over 1,400 meters of quayside and 163 berths
  • It’s the leading container-handling port in the Adriatic
  • The site covers 90 hectares and houses seven container terminals
  • Excellent port of origin for suppliers in Padua, Chioggia, Treviso, and Rovigo

Owned By: Port Authority of Venice.

Annual Container Volume: >1.4 million TEUs.


Cargo Ports of Arrival in Canada


Port Facts:

  • Located about nine kilometers from downtown Toronto
  • Excellent links to expressways and railroads
  • Easily accessed from the Atlantic Ocean
  • Ideal port of arrival for goods requiring distribution across the northeast of Canada and the United States

Owned By: Ports Toronto.

Annual Container Volume: >Unknown.



Port Facts:

  • The third-largest port in North America and the biggest in Canada
  • Features four container terminals—Centerm, Deltaport, DP World Fraser Surrey, and Vanterm
  • The world’s leading shipping lines provide regular services to and from Europe
  • The port is connected to the hinterland by three Class-One railroads

Owned By: Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >3.3 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Located on the St. Lawrence River in Quebec
  • Situated 1,600km inland from the Atlantic Ocean
  • Affords shippers the shortest direct route by ocean from the Mediterranean to North America
  • Over 2,000 cargo ships visited the port in 2019

Owned By: Montreal Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >1.6 million TEUs.


Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airports of Origin in Italy


Airport Facts:

  • The largest air freight airport in Italy
  • Handles 53% of the nation’s air cargo
  • Around 120 cargo flights take-off and land every week
  • Achieved a cargo throughput growth rate of at least 5% every year from 2014 to 2018
  • Shipments to Montreal can complete in one day and to Toronto in three to four days

Canada Airports Served: Toronto.

Milan to Canada Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Italy’s busiest air facility and Europe’s eighth-busiest
  • Cargo City is its huge air cargo terminal
  • Shipments to Toronto can be completed in three days
  • Achieved the IATA CEIV Pharma certification in 2019 in recognition of maintaining high standards when transporting pharmaceutical products

Canada Airports Served: Montreal, Toronto, Calgary.

Rome to Canada Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Airports of Arrival in Canada

Montreal Pierre Trudeau

Airport Facts:

  • Canada’s third-busiest airport
  • Serves the province of Quebec
  • Located 20 kilometers from downtown Montreal
  • Some shipments from Milan can be completed in one day

Connected Airports in Italy: Rome Fiumicino.

Italy to Montreal Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Toronto Pearson

Airport Facts:

  • Canada’s biggest and busiest airport
  • Located 22 kilometers northeast of downtown Toronto
  • Handles over half of Canada’s air cargo
  • A hub for FedEx Express
  • Shipments from Rome typically take three days to arrive here and receive import clearance

Connected Airports in Italy: Rome-Fiumicino, Milan-Malpensa.

Italy to Toronto Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Edmonton International

Airport Facts:

  • Located 26 kilometers to the south of downtown Edmonton
  • Easy to distribute goods across Northern and Central Alberta from here
  • Air cargo throughput increased by almost 5% in 2018

Connected Airports in Italy: None.

Italy to Edmonton Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Also called James Armstrong Richardson International Airport
  • A major hub for the freight airline Cargojet
  • Easy onward distribution into Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Nunavut

Connected Airports in Italy: None.

Italy to Winnipeg Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Gateway to Northwestern Canada for air cargo from Asia and Europe.
  • The airport has four runways
  • Situated close to three trade parks: Deerfoot South, McCall North, and McCall South
  • Canada’s fourth-busiest airport
  • Infrastructure includes a cargo area with 280,000 square meters of warehouse capacity

Connected Airports in Italy: Rome Fiumicino.

France to Calgary Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Located on Sea Island, about 12 kilometers from Central Vancouver
  • Home to a strong logistics community and leading global freight forwarders
  • Easy access to North American highways
  • Won the Skytrak ‘Best North American Airport’ award for a record ten years on the spin

Connected Airports in Italy: None.

Italy to Vancouver Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Why Ship From Italy to Canada With Shipa Freight?

Using Shipa Freight to coordinate your shipping from Italy to Canada is a chance to leave complexity behind. We make international shipping easier for all kinds of businesses. Our online platform will help simplify your supply chain and give you visibility of all of your shipping in one place.

We’re equally at home quoting for air cargo shipments as for ocean carrier deliveries. Whichever mode of shipping you choose, tracking its progress via your laptop, smartphone or tablet is easy using our platform.

Other benefits of using Shipa Freight include:

  • Fast registration and easy shipping quote comparisons
  • Book online and pay by credit card, debit card, or wire transfer
  • Always have access to friendly customer service agents who are here to help you
  • Receive expert information regarding the documents your shipping needs
  • Leave complex customs rules and regulations to us and avoid unnecessary delays

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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