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Ocean and Air Shipping from Italy to Mexico

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

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Updated on 15 Mar 202211 min read

][Italy and Mexico look back on over 100 years of diplomatic relations. The European nation is Mexico's ninth-biggest trading partner overall, while Mexico is the second-biggest trading partner for Italy in Latin-America. Two-way trade between the two G20 nations amounted to $8.3 billion (USD) in 2018.

This page is a useful resource for anyone looking to import from Italy to Mexico. If you have questions about the different shipping options, costs, transit times, customs clearance, and ports, you’ll find them answered here.

What Are Your Options for Shipping From Italy to Mexico?

Importing from Italy to Mexico is feasible via air and sea. Each mode of transport has its pros and cons, which we will explain in the following sections.

Ocean Freight From Italy to Mexico

Less than Container Load (LCL): Freight transported in a shipping container from Italy to Mexico together with the cargo of other shippers is called LCL freight. It’s one of the cheapest ways to move small amounts of cargo as you don’t have to pay for the use and shipping of an entire container.

Full Container Load (FCL): When you engage a freight forwarder to hire and transport an entire container from Italy to Mexico on your behalf, the process is called full-container-load, or FCL shipping. Most shippers use this mode of transport for larger, heavier freight shipments.

Air Freight From Italy to Mexico

If you need your products to reach Mexico as quickly as possible, air freight will get the job done. Remember, though, that it is also much costlier than ocean shipping in most cases.

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

The final cost of your export from Italy to Mexico will depend on several criteria. Freight forwarders take the following factors into consideration when issuing quotes for ocean and air shipping from Italy to Mexico:

  • Type of cargo
  • Chosen mode of transport (FCL, LCL, Air)
  • Weight of the cargo
  • Dimensions of the cargo
  • Distance between origin and destination
  • Type of service (such as Port-to-Port, Door-to-Door)

The weight of your goods is the one factor that will likely have the largest impact on your final cost. You will notice quickly that sea freight is, in many cases, the most cost-effective option for freight shipments exceeding 100 kg. On the flip side, air and ocean shipping might cost a similar amount when your goods weigh less than 100 kg.

If your business will ship consignments with a total weight of under 35 kg, you should look to an international courier service, rather than a forwarder, for assistance. Most freight forwarders, including Shipa Freight, won’t quote for shipments in this weight bracket.

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

Hourglass and a calendar to represent the transit time of shipments with Shipa Freight

It’s no surprise that your cargo will reach Mexico quicker on an aircraft than on a cargo ship. Air-cargo shipping will usually take less than eight days while your freight will be at sea for around four weeks.

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

Transit times for ocean freight shipping vary considerably depending on a range of factors. However, to give you an example, one LCL service in our database, an FCL shipment from La Spezia to Veracruz can be completed in 28 days.

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

An air freight service between Italy and Mexico will take between five and eight days. This includes loading and unloading of the cargo as well as customs and security checks.

Customs Clearance in Italy and Mexico

Your cargo can only leave Italy and enter Mexico once you have obtained the customs clearance in both countries. Such customs formalities are a vital part of shipping your freight from Italy to Mexico. If you don’t want to risk any delays and issues, then hiring a seasoned freight forwarder is the right thing to do. When you rely on experts, you can be sure that your cargo complies with Italian and Mexican customs regulations and international shipping laws.

As a first step, you will have to provide the necessary paperwork. The following documents are the absolute minimum required for the customs clearance process:

  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)

In some cases, other documents (e.g., licenses, permits, or certificates) are needed to ensure clearance. Typically, you can trust your freight forwarder to notify you about these requirements in due time.

Want to learn more about the different types of documents? Check out our handy documents list.

Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?

Ocean Freight

Standard 20ft or 40ft shipping containers are used to transport the majority of sea freight from Italy to Mexico. Specialized cargo vessels carry them across the Atlantic Ocean from port to port.

Some sea freight might have special requirements, though. Carriers can make different container types available and even transport freight that doesn’t fit into a container as break-bulk in a special area of the ship.

For the purpose of this page, we will focus on containerized ocean shipping. Here you have two options to choose from: LCL and FCL.

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

LCL shipping is best for cargo that:

  • Is not required urgently in Mexico.
  • Has a total volume of 14 CBM (approximately six standard pallets) or less.
  • Can share a container with other shippers’ goods without problems.
  • Can’t be transported via air.

You may wish to refrain from LCL shipping if your cargo:

  • Has to reach Mexico at a certain date, and you can’t accept any delays.
  • Is delicate, perishable, or of high-value.
  • Might be damaged by excessive movements and handling.
  • Is very large and/or heavy.

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

FCL shipping is best for cargo that:

  • Should stay sealed in a container until it reaches the final recipient.
  • Will take up more than half of the load capacity of a 20ft container.
  • Needs more certainty with regard to the delivery date.
  • Is delicate, fragile, or very heavy.

Air Freight

Air shipping is best suited for cargo that:

  • Is shipped in smaller consignments (two to three pallets at most).
  • Has to meet an urgent need in Mexico.
  • Requires tight security measures because of its high-value.
  • Is perishable and has a limited shelf-life.
  • Is destined for a buyer located close to an international airport.

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Ports of Origin in Italy

La Spezia

Port Facts:

  • Located between the cities of Genoa and Pisa in the northernmost part of the Gulf of La Spezia.
  • Leading container port in the country and largest commercial port in the Ligurian Sea.
  • Has more than five kilometers of quayside.

Owned By: Port of La Spezia Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >1.4 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Located in the region of Veneto in Italy’s northeast.
  • Eighth-busiest commercial seaport in Italy.
  • Known as a major hub for cruise ships.
  • Other regions of Italy and the surrounding countries can be easily reached via railway connections.

Owned By: Port Authority of Venice.

Annual Container Volume: >1.4 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Italy’s primary seaport and the busiest in the country.
  • Ranks continuously among the top-three commercial ports in the Mediterranean.
  • Covers an area of around 700 hectares stretching along 22 kilometers of coastline.

Owned By: Genoa Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >2 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Located in the middle of Italy’s Adriatic Coast.
  • Covers an area of over 1.4 million square meters.
  • Houses a 5,000 square-meter container terminal as well as general cargo facilities.

Owned By: Central Adriatic Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >150,000 TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • One of the largest seaports in Italy and the whole Mediterranean.
  • Located on Italy’s southwestern coast in the city center of Naples.
  • Handles around 25 million tons of cargo and 500,000 TEUs per year.

Owned By: Port Authority of Naples.

Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs.


Cargo Ports of Arrival in Mexico


Port Facts:

  • One of the busiest seaports in Mexico.
  • Situated in the state of Colima.
  • Facilities include 14 terminals that can handle general and containerized cargo.

Owned By: Hutchison Port Holdings.

Annual Container Volume: >1.2 million TEUs.


Lazaro Cardenas

Port Facts:

  • Largest seaport in Mexico, located on the Pacific Coast.
  • Ideal for freight destined for Central Mexico.
  • Plans for an additional container terminal are underway to increase the port's capacity to 3.4 million TEUs.

Owned By: Port Authority of Lazaro Cardenas.

Annual Container Volume: >2.2 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, just 400 kilometers from the U.S. border.
  • Primary container port of Mexico’s Gulf Coast region.
  • Offers connections to 125 ports worldwide.

Owned By: Administración Portuaria Integral Altamira.

Annual Container Volume: >680,000 TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Oldest and largest port in the country.
  • Situated on Mexico’s south-central Gulf Coast, 300 kilometers from Mexico City.
  • Ideal for importing businesses based in Southern and Central Mexico.

Owned By: Administración Portuaria Integral de Veracruz.

Annual Container Volume: >900,000 TEUs.


Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airports of Origin in Italy


Airport Facts:

  • Handles over 50% of Italian air cargo traffic.
  • Processes 558,000 tonnes of freight annually.
  • 120 cargo flights land and depart here on a weekly basis.
  • Ideal departure airport for any supplier based in the Lombardy, Piedmont, or Liguria regions.

Mexican Airports Served: None.

Milan to Mexico Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Main airport in Italy and eighth-busiest airport in Europe.
  • Home of Italy’s national carrier, Alitalia.
  • Situated 35 km from downtown Rome.
  • Facilities include a large cargo terminal known as Cargo City.

Mexican Airports Served: None.

Rome to Mexico Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Airports of Arrival in Mexico

Mexico City

Airport Facts:

  • Latin America’s busiest airport by aircraft movements.
  • Located five kilometers east of the city center.
  • Hosts 17 cargo carriers.
  • Serves 52 domestic and 50 international destinations.

Connected Airports in Italy: None.

Italy to Mexico City Cargo-Only Operators: None



Airport Facts:

  • Primary airport in Mexico’s second-largest city.
  • Second-busiest airport for cargo flights in the country.
  • Located 16 km south of downtown Guadalajara.
  • Its cargo terminal can store up to 350,000 tonnes of cargo on 27,000 square meters.

Connected Airports in Italy: None.

Italy to Guadalajara Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Among the 15 largest airports in Latin America.
  • Located in the city of Apodaca, in the state of Nueva Leon.
  • Has two runways and one cargo terminal.
  • Ideal for destinations in Northeastern Mexico.

Connected Airports in Italy: None.

Italy to Monterrey Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Why Ship From Italy to Mexico With Shipa Freight?

Shipping your freight from Italy to Mexico is easy with Shipa Freight. You can trust us to move your air and ocean freight to Mexico on time and in the most cost-efficient manner. Additionally, you can speed up your supply chain with our state-of-the-art online platform. It will surely simplify your import and export processes.

Benefit from the below advantages when you ship with us:

  • Quick and easy online quotes.
  • Fast online booking and payment process.
  • One reliable platform to manage your shipping and global logistics processes
  • All customs clearance complexity taken off your hands.
  • Transparent shipping documents.
  • Helpful customer service, available 24/7.
  • Full compliance with international shipping rules and regulations.

Know Your Shipping Terminology

Whatever your native language, the commercial language of shipping can be confusing. To help build your understanding, Shipa Freight is cutting through the complexity and explaining industry jargon in plain English. Two potentially baffling shipping terms are explained below, and there are more definitions on each of our country-to-country pages.

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