Ocean and Air Freight Shipping from Italy to the US [Updated: Mar 2022]
Information and quote from Spain to the US for LCL, FCL and Air shipping
Ocean Freight: Capacity for ocean freight from Italy to the United States is still constrained, despite the easing of the Italian national lockdown, which allowed some industries to restart from May 4.
|Current Capacity Status||Container Availability|
|Significantly constrained||Normal - no shortages|
For further details relating to the Coronavirus impacts on this and other global tradelanes, visit our COVID-19 ocean freight update page.
Air Freight: Capacity is subject to substantial constraints for air freight from Italy to the United States, as even though freighter flights are operating normally, labor shortages in Italy are impacting cargo handling.
|Current Capacity Status||% Tradelane capacity Impacted by Passenger Flight Cancellation||% Capacity Impacted by Freighter Cancellations||Charter situation|
|Constrained||70-80% cargo capacity reduction||More freighters than normal||More charter movements than normal|
For more information, please check out our COVID-19 air freight update page.
Italy has been a vital transatlantic partner for the United States for decades, and the two countries enjoy friendly trade relations. The EU member is currently the 12th largest trading partner of the US by total value. Imports from Italy to the US totaled $57.16 billion in 2019.
Maybe you are planning to add to this figure with your products or are already actively importing from Italy to the US. In either case, this page will help you maneuver the complexities of international ocean and air freight shipping. We provide a little of the guidance that you need to ship freight from Italy to the US successfully.
As a commercial importer or exporter, you really have just two options to transport your freight. You can choose between ocean and air shipping from Italy to the US. Both these modes of transportation come with distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Ocean Freight From Italy to the US
Less than Container Load (LCL): LCL stands for less than container load, which means that instead of hiring a full container, you are renting space in a shared container. This makes LCL the most economical way to import from Italy to the US in many instances.
Full Container Load (FCL): FCL stands for full container load. With this mode of transport, you are renting an entire container for your exclusive use at a flat fee. This can be less expensive than LCL in some cases.
Air Freight from Italy to the US
Air shipping is by far the fastest option for your cargo to reach the US. However, it is often much more expensive than sea freight.
The final cost of shipping your cargo from Italy to the United States depends on several factors. When freight forwarders provide you with a quote, they will take into consideration the following:
- Nature of goods
- Chosen mode of transport (FCL, LCL, Air)
- Weight of the cargo
- Dimension of the cargo
- Distance between origin and destination
- Type of service (such as Port-to-Port, Door-to-Door)
A general rule of thumb is that air freight and ocean freight costs won’t differ much when you are shipping consignments of less than 100 kg. You can simply opt for the quicker option. If your goods are weighing more than 100 kg, though, then sea freight is typically more economical than air freight.
Be aware that most freight forwarders, including Shipa Freight, won’t handle cargo of 35 kg or less. You will be better off engaging an international courier service in this case.
The transit times of ocean and air freight differ considerably. Air freight is the fastest option, with transit times as short as three days. Keep in mind that even though the flight time is just around nine hours, your consignment still needs to go through customs and security checks. This adds to the overall shipping duration.
The transit time for shipping a container from Italy to the US will largely vary by destination. If you want to ship to the East Coast of the US, then your cargo will arrive quicker than if you have to reach the West Coast. In general, you can expect durations anywhere between 14 and 37 days.
How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Sea From Italy to the US?
Here are a few examples of transit times for routes that Shipa Freight operates between Italy and the United States:
- Genoa to Charleston – 25 days FCL
- Genoa to Houston – 26 days FCL
- Genoa to Los Angeles – 37 days FCL
- Genoa to Newark – 14 days FCL
- Genoa to Savannah – 21 days FCL
- Naples to Houston – 36 days FCL
- La Spezia to New York – 23 days FCL
How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Air From Italy to the US?
Here are a few examples of transit times for typical air freight routes between Italy and the United States:
- Rome to New York JFK – 3 days
- Milan to Chicago O’Hare – 3 days
- Milan to Miami – 4 days
- Milan to New York JFK – 6 days
Customs formalities are mandatory when you export from Italy to the US. Most businesses don’t dare to manage customs processes internally. When you hire an experienced freight forwarder or agent for the task, you minimize the risk for any delays. Also, you can be assured that everything will be completed according to the existing laws and regulations.
Working with a freight forwarder doesn’t mean that you can abandon all responsibilities, though. You still have to provide the required documents. Typically, the customs authorities ask for the following documentation:
- Commercial Invoice
- Packing List
- Certificate of Origin
- Letter of Credit or other payment terms (depends on the contract between the parties involved)
- Bill of Lading for ocean freight or Airway Bill for air freight (Shipa Freight will provide this for you)
In some cases, you might need to provide other documents, such as licenses, permits, or certificates. Your freight forwarder will advise you if so. If you would like to learn more about these documents and see some examples, check out our handy documents list.
Sea freight is a great option to transport your freight across the Atlantic Ocean as both countries have an ample amount of ports. Typically, a cargo vessel will carry your goods in a shipping container from Italy to the US. In case you plan to ship break-bulk materials that won’t fit into a container, the carrier will recommend other options.
There are two types of containerized ocean shipping: LCL and FCL. The best option for you depends on the weight, volume, and nature of your goods. Both choices can certainly meet your port-to-port or door-to-door ocean shipping needs.
Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping
LCL is right for you if:
- You need to ship smaller quantities of 14 CBM or less (around six standard pallets).
- You don’t necessarily require your goods to reach the US urgently.
- You don’t want to concern yourself with choosing a container size.
- The nature of your cargo makes it possible to share a container.
- Air freight is not a viable option for you.
However, you also need to consider the downsides of LCL shipping. The cargo of all shippers needs to be consolidated in a container at the port of origin and then deconsolidation at the port of arrival. These extra steps in the process often result in a longer transit time compared to FCL shipping or air freight.
LCL might not be the right choice if:
- Your cargo is perishable, very delicate, or of high-value.
- Your consignment shouldn’t be moved and handled more than absolutely necessary.
- You can’t accept any delays when it comes to the delivery date.
- You are transporting large or very heavy cargo.
Learn more about Less than Container Load on our dedicated page on LCL shipping.
Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping
Usually, FCL is right for you if:
- You need your cargo in the United States by a certain date.
- You want your cargo fully sealed in a container until it reaches the final recipient.
- You plan to ship more than 14 CBM (around half the load capacity of a 20ft container).
- Your cargo is very heavy or delicate.
Learn more about Full Container Load on our dedicated page on FCL shipping.
In general, air shipping is right for you if:
- Your goods have a short shelf-life.
- You need your cargo in the US as soon as possible.
- Speed is more important than costs.
- You require the highest levels of security because you are shipping high-value goods.
- You have small, light consignments of a few pallets or less.
- The supplier and recipient are both based close to an international airport.
Learn more about Air Freight on our dedicated page by clicking here.
Cargo Ports of Origin in Italy
- Established as a shipping port in the late 1800s.
- Located in the north of Italy between the cities of Genoa and Pisa.
- One of the most important ports in the Mediterranean and Italy’s leading container port.
- Has more than five kilometers of quayside.
- Excellent rail connections within Italy and to other EU countries.
Owned By: Port of La Spezia Port Authority.
Annual Container Volume: >1.4 million TEUs.
- Italy’s busiest port by freight tonnage and second-busiest for container traffic.
- One of the top three ports in the Mediterranean and the second-largest in Italy.
- Stretches along 22 kilometers of coastline.
- Boasts some of Europe’s most modern logistics and forwarding services.
- Ranked 68th in the world for container throughput.
Owned By: Genoa Port Authority.
Annual Container Volume: >2 million TEUs.
- Ideal for suppliers on Italy’s Adriatic Coast.
- Container terminal covers a 5,000 square-meter area.
- Facilities include container repair/cleaning services and secure storage for dangerous goods.
- Current 333 meters quay to be extended to 600 meters.
Owned By: Central Adriatic Ports Authority.
Annual Container Volume: >150,000 TEUs.
- One of the most significant and busiest container ports of Italy.
- Located on Italy’s southern coast.
- Boasts a capacity of around 25 million tons of cargo and 500,000 TEU's.
- Offers 38 berths and 11 kilometers of docks.
Owned By: Port Authority of Naples.
Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs.
- Situated in Italy’s northeast.
- Eighth-busiest commercial port in Italy.
- Excellent connections via the rail-freight network.
Owned By: Port Authority of Venice.
Annual Container Volume: >1.4 million TEUs.
Cargo Ports of Arrival in the US
- Largest port in the US.
- Stretches over 70 km of California coastline.
- Handles 20% of all cargo entering the US.
- Has eight container terminals and more than 80 cranes.
Owned By: City of Los Angeles.
Annual Container Volume: >9 million TEUs.
- Sits right next to the Port of Los Angeles in California.
- Second-busiest container port in the US.
- Covers 40 km of waterfront in the city of Long Beach.
Owned By: City of Long Beach.
Annual Container Volume: >8 million TEUs.
- Located on the Savannah River, 30 km from the ocean in the state of Georgia.
- Largest container terminal in North America.
- Convenient access to interstate highways.
- Great choice for importers in the East and Midwest states of the US.
Owned By: Georgia Ports Authority.
Annual Container Volume: >4 million TEUs.
- One of the largest container terminals on the west coast.
- Best choice for importers in the Northwestern states.
- Plans to increase container capacity and provide berths for larger vessels are in motion.
Owned By: Northwest Seaport Alliance.
Annual Container Volume: >3.5 million TEUs.
- Situated in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
- Tenth-busiest container port in the United States.
- Serves more than 20 container shipping lines.
- Direct access to Florida’s interstate network.
- Currently undergoing expansion to increase capacity.
Owned By: Broward County, Florida.
Annual Container Volume: >1 million TEUs.
Other Ports in the US
In addition to the five ports mentioned above, the following container gateways are suited for importing cargo into the US from Italy:
- New York
- San Francisco
- New Orleans
Airports of Origin in Italy
- Located about 50 km north of Milan beside the Ticino River.
- Largest cargo airport in Italy.
- Features two runways and extensive cargo facilities.
- Has direct passenger and cargo flights to several airports in the US.
US Airports Served: New York JFK, Miami, Chicago.
Milan to the US Cargo-Only Operators: Emirates SkyCargo, Qatar Airways Cargo, Cargolux Italia.
IATA CODE: MXP.
- Eighth-busiest airport in Europe.
- Headquarters of Italy’s national carrier, Alitalia.
- Extensive freight terminal known as Cargo City.
US Airports Served: New York JFK, Miami, Atlanta.
Rome to the US Cargo-Only Operators: None.
IATA CODE: FCO.
Airports of Arrival in the US
- Tenth-busiest cargo airport in the world.
- More than two million tons of cargo passed through LAX in 2018.
- Arrival of 1,000 flights with cargo onboard daily.
Connected Airports in Italy: None.
Italy to Los Angeles Cargo-Only Operators: None.
IATA Code: LAX.
- Fifteenth-busiest cargo airport in the world.
- Largest international freight volume among all U.S. airports.
- Offers services to over 160 cities on four continents.
- Dedicated freighter services to 112 global destinations.
Connected Airports in Italy: Milan, Rome.
Italy to Miami Cargo-Only Operators: None.
IATA Code: MIA.
- Third major cargo airport in the United States.
- Shipped over 1.8 million tons of cargo in 2018.
- 185,000 square meter freight terminal.
- Ability to accommodate 15 wide-bodied cargo aircraft simultaneously.
Connected Airports in Italy: Milan.
Italy to Chicago O’Hare Cargo-Only Operators: Qatar Airways Cargo.
IATA Code: ORD.
New York JFK
- Airport with the highest cargo volume entering the US.
- Located in the district of Queens, New York.
- Almost 100 air cargo offer services out of JFK.
Connected Airports in Italy: Milan, Rome.
Italy to New York JFK Cargo-Only Operators: Emirates SkyCargo, Cargolux Italia.
IATA Code: JFK.
- Located 11 km south of downtown Atlanta.
- International gateway to the southern states.
- Boasts extensive refrigeration and freezer units.
- Five parallel runways.
Connected Airports in Italy: Rome.
Italy to Atlanta Cargo-Only Operators: None.
IATA Code: ATL.
Other Airports in the US
Besides the five airports mentioned above, you can also fly your cargo from Italy to the following airports in the US:
- Dallas/Fort Worth
- El Paso
- San Diego
- San Francisco
Shipping your goods safely and in time from Italy to the US is easier than you think with Shipa Freight. We are a digital-first, online-only enterprise at the forefront of freight forwarding. Equally at home handling sea freight and air freight, we can satisfy all of your logistics needs.
With our sophisticated online portal, you can now manage your entire shipment process conveniently in one place. This dramatically simplifies your supply chain. There is no need to coordinate multiple agencies anymore.
The benefits of shipping with us are:
- Obtain and compare quotes quickly online.
- Book directly online without losing time.
- Always know which shipping documents to prepare.
- We take care of managing customs complexities—so you don’t have to
- Manage all of your imports and exports on one convenient platform.
- Talk to one of our friendly customer service representatives 24/7.
- Assure compliance with shipping rules and regulations at all times.
To help you build your understanding of the language of shipping, we’ve explained the meaning of two potentially confusing terms used in the industry. You’ll find those explanations below:
- COVID-19 Tradelane Update: Italy to the US
- Ship Air and Ocean Freight From the Italy to the United States
- What Are Your Options for Shipping Freight From Italy to the US?
- How Much Does it Cost to Ship Cargo From Italy to the US?
- How Long Does it Take to Ship Cargo From Italy to the US?
- Customs Clearance in Italy and the US
- Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?
- Ocean Cargo Port Guide
- Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide
- Why Ship From Italy to the US With Shipa Freight?
- Know Your Shipping Terminology
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