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Ocean and Air Shipping From the US to Indonesia

Information and quote from the US to Indonesia for LCL, FCL and Air shipping

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Updated on 28 Nov 202113 min read

The USA and Indonesia have kept a close relationship in trade ever since Indonesia gained independence in 1949. As the world’s third-largest democracy and the largest economy in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is a crucial partner in the Indo-Pacific region for the USA. It was the United States' 34th largest goods export market in 2018, with exports totaling $10.8 billion.

Maybe your business already contributes to that figure, or you are looking to import from the US to Indonesia for the first time.

In either case, you will find vital information on this page that will help you to navigate the traditional complexities of ocean and air shipping from the US to Indonesia.

What Are Your Options for Shipping Freight From the US to Indonesia?

Warehouse operative pushing a trolley, stacked with boxes, from the Flag of the United States towards the flag of Indonesia

Air and ocean shipping offer the only viable ways for businesses to import from the US to Indonesia. This page looks at the advantages and disadvantages of both, giving you the information you need to choose the best option for your supply chain.

Ocean Freight From the US to Indonesia

Less than Container Load (LCL): LCL means that goods from various companies are shipped together in the same container on a cargo vessel. This requires the consolidation of the cargo in the port of origin in the United States and their deconsolidation at the port of arrival in Indonesia. Both are essential steps in the process and usually result in LCL shipping taking longer than sending a full container.

Full Container Load (FCL): With an FCL service, an ocean carrier transports your goods, alone, in a shipping container from the US to Indonesia. It is typically the fastest form of ocean shipping because no consolidation or de-consolidation is required, unlike LCL. FCL can also be less expensive than LCL, depending on how much cargo you are shipping.

Air Freight from the US to Indonesia

There are no direct flights between the US and Indonesia, unfortunately. However, even if your cargo needs to transit once or twice, it will still reach its destination much quicker with an air carrier than by sea. Air freight is often the most expensive way to export from the US to Indonesia.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Cargo From the US to Indonesia?

Freight forwarders will give you a quote based on several factors, such as the following:

  • The nature of your goods
  • Chosen mode of transport (FCL, LCL, Air)
  • Weight of the cargo
  • Dimensions of the cargo
  • Distance between the origin and destination
  • Delivery terms

Up to a certain weight, there is little difference between the cost of air freight and LCL ocean freight. If you are shipping 100 kilograms or less, you can simply opt for the quicker option. For consignments above 100 kilograms, though, ocean freight is typically less expensive than flying your goods.

If you have light cargo of 35 kilograms or less, we would advise you to engage an international courier service instead of a freight forwarder. Shipa Freight doesn’t ship cargo in this weight bracket.

How Long Does it Take to Ship Cargo From the US to Indonesia?

With the Pacific Ocean separating the United States and Indonesia, transit times for both air and ocean shipping are lengthy. It is over 10,500 kilometers from Los Angeles on the West Coast and over 14,000 kilometers from New York on the East Coast to Indonesia.

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

No direct flights are currently in operation, and most commercial flights require at least two stops between the two countries.

Five days is usually the quickest a freight forwarder could deliver a shipment via air from the USA to Indonesia. Although the total flight time is just a few hours, keep in mind that your cargo has to undergo customs and security checks, as well as loading and unloading. FCL and LCL ocean shipping are considerably slower. Transit times range from 31 to 56 days.

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Sea From the US to Indonesia?

Here are a few examples of transit times for routes that Shipa Freight operates between the US and Indonesia:

  • Atlanta to Jakarta – 31 days FCL
  • Charleston to Jakarta – 43 days FCL
  • Houston to Jakarta – 45 days FCL
  • Los Angeles to Jakarta – 33 days FCL
  • Long Beach to Jakarta – 35 days FCL
  • New York to Semarang – 44 days LCL
  • San Francisco to Surabaya – 56 days LCL
  • Oakland to Semarang - 29 days FCL

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Air From the US to Indonesia?

Here are a few examples of transit times for typical air-freight routes between the United States and Indonesia:

  • Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago, or Miami to Jakarta – 6 days
  • Boston, New York or Los Angeles to Jakarta – 7 days
  • Miami to Surabaya – 5 days
  • Los Angeles to Denpasar – 5 days
  • Cleveland or San Francisco to Jakarta - 5 days

Customs Clearance in the US and Indonesia

When you export from the US to Indonesia, customs clearance will always be part of the process. It is wise to engage an experienced freight forwarder or agent for this task because you want to be certain that everything is done as per existing laws and regulations. Mistakes can be costly!

First, you will need to submit the necessary documentation. Usually, customs authorities request the following documents:

  1. A Commercial Invoice
  2. A Packing List
  3. A Certificate of Origin
  4. A Letter of Credit or other payment terms (depends on the contract between the parties involved)
  5. An Airway Bill for air cargo or a Bill of Lading for ocean freight (you can leave this to Shipa Freight)

You can view samples of the above paperwork on this handy documents list page. Please note that customs authorities may require additional documents to be submitted with your shipment, such as a certificate, permit, or license. Much depends on the type of goods you are shipping.

Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?

Ocean Freight

Since Indonesia borders the South China Sea, which has the world’s busiest ocean trade lanes, sea freight is a great option to transport your cargo in a shipping container from the US to Indonesia. Indeed, if your consignment is too large to be sent as air freight, then door-to-door or port-to-port ocean shipping is your only option.

Most ocean freight will ship in a standard container from the US to Indonesia. These containers are usually 20 ft or 40 ft long and open at one end. 20ft containers can fit 10 or 11 standard pallets inside, with the bigger container having room for up to 21 pallets.

Other types of containers are available for consignments that require special conditions to be maintained during transit, such as refrigeration or ventilation. Half-height, open-top, and other specialist containers are available for awkwardly-shaped or extra-heavy cargo. Your forwarder will outline your options and help you decide which is best for you.

Forwarders will also use their expertise to help you decide between FCL or LCL ocean freight. We summarize both of these shipping modes below:

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

  • LCL is often the best option for consignments that are
  • Small—no more than six standard pallets
  • Not urgent
  • Able to safely share a container with other goods

When choosing LCL shipping, you must understand that the essential logistics of consolidation and deconsolidation can cause LCL shipments to take longer than FCL.

You might wish to avoid LCL shipping if:

  • Your cargo has a specific delivery date
  • Your goods are fragile or perishable
  • Your freight is large, awkwardly-shaped, or otherwise unsuitable for sharing a container
  • Frequent moving or handling of your goods (as is required with LCL shipping) could cause damage

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

Importing from the US to Indonesia using an FCL service could be your best option if your business wants to ship:

  • Freight that must be in Indonesia by a specific date
  • Goods that are not suited to sharing a shipping container
  • Cargo that can be loaded and sealed by the supplier in the US
  • A consignment that the recipient can unload in Indonesia
  • Enough products to fill at least half the capacity of a shipping container

Air Freight

Air shipping is almost certain to be the best way to export from the US to Indonesia if:

  • Your goods have a limited shelf-life, such as plants, flowers, or food
  • Your consignment is urgent
  • Your cargo will occupy no more than three pallets
  • Your products are high-value, requiring the tight security levels employed by airlines and airport operators

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Ports of Origin in the US

Los Angeles

Port Facts:

  • Largest port in the United States.
  • Covers nearly 70 km of California coastline.
  • Handles one-fifth of all cargo entering the US.
  • Facilities include eight container terminals and more than 80 cranes

Owned By: City of Los Angeles.

Annual Container Volume: >9 million TEUs.


Long Beach

Port Facts:

  • Situated right alongside the Port of Los Angeles
  • Second-busiest port in the US for containers
  • Covers nearly 40 kilometers of waterfront in the city of Long Beach

Owned By: City of Long Beach.

Annual Container Volume: >8 million TEUs.



Port Facts

  • Located in the state of Georgia, 30 kilometers from the ocean on the Savannah River
  • Has the largest container terminal in North America
  • Access to interstate highways makes it the best choice for importers in the East and Midwest

Owned By: Georgia Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >4 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Has one of the largest container terminals on the west coast
  • Will be redeveloped to increase capacity and provide berths for the world's largest cargo vessels
  • Best choice for suppliers and manufacturers in the Northwest

Owned By: Northwest Seaport Alliance.

Annual Container Volume: >3.5 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Located in Biscayne Bay on Dodge Island
  • Ninth-largest port in the USA for containers and the largest port in Florida
  • Largest passenger port in the world

Owned By: Multiple owners.

Annual Container Volume: >1 million TEUs.


Other Ports in the US

Aside from the five container gateways mentioned above, the following ports are suitable for exporting cargo to Indonesia:

  • New York
  • Houston
  • San Francisco
  • Oakland
  • New Orleans
  • Boston
  • Baltimore
  • Atlanta
  • Charleston
  • Norfolk
  • Tacoma
  • Port Everglades
  • Mobile

Cargo Ports of Arrival in Indonesia


Port Facts:

  • The premier port of East Java
  • Also called Tanjung Perak
  • Accessed via the narrow 40 kilometer-long Madura Strait
  • Hub for inter-island shipping within Indonesia

Owned By: PT Pelabuhan Indonesia II.

Annual Container Volume: >3.8 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Cabang Tanjung Priok is located close to Indonesia’s capital
  • Handles more than 50% of Indonesia’s ocean freight
  • Facilities include three container terminals and a 16,800-meter quayside
  • Vast storage facilities with 660,000 square meter warehouse areas

Owned By: PT Pelabuhan Indonesia II.

Annual Container Volume: >8 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • The third-largest port in Indonesia
  • Serves the northern coastal regions of Java
  • Best choice for importers in Demak, Salatiga, or Kendal

Owned By: PT Pelabuhan III Indonesia.

Annual Container Volume: >730,000 TEUs.


Belawan Sumatra

Port Facts:

  • Main seaport for Northwestern Sumatra
  • Indonesia’s biggest port outside of Java
  • Popular port for cruise ships as well as cargo vessels

Owned By: Pelni.

Annual Container Volume: >400,000 TEUs.


Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airports of Origin in the US

Los Angeles

Airport Facts:

  • 10th busiest airport in the world for cargo
  • Handled more than two million tons of cargo in 2018
  • Manages around 1,000 cargo flights per day

Indonesian Airports Served: None.

Los Angeles to Indonesia Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • 15th busiest cargo airport worldwide in 2018
  • Handles more than two million tons of freight per year
  • Largest international freight volume of all US airports

Indonesian Airports Served: None.

Miami to Indonesia Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Third-largest airport for cargo in the USA
  • Handled over 1.8 million tons of cargo in 2018
  • Has a 185,000 square meter freight terminal and two sets of parallel runways

Indonesian Airports Served: None.

Chicago to Indonesia Cargo-Only Operators: None.


New York

Airport Facts:

  • Number one international air freight gateway into the United States
  • John F. Kennedy airport is located in the district of Queens, New York
  • About 100 air cargo carriers operate out of JFK

Indonesian Airports Served: None.

New York to Indonesia Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Dallas/Fort Worth

Airport Facts:

  • Fourth-busiest airport in the world by aircraft movements
  • Handles close to 2,000 tonnes of freight every day
  • The main hub of American Airlines

Indonesian Airports Served: None.

Dallas/Fort Worth to Indonesia Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Other Airports in the US

In addition to the ports mentioned above, you can also fly your cargo to Indonesia from any of the following US airports:

  • Atlanta
  • Charlotte
  • Denver
  • El Paso
  • Houston
  • Philadelphia
  • Seattle
  • Seattle
  • Cleveland
  • Cincinnati
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Boston
  • Detroit
  • Sacramento

Airports of Arrival in Indonesia


Airport Facts:

  • Officially called Soekarno Hatta International Airport (SHIA for short)
  • Situated about 20 kilometers northwest of central Jakarta
  • A third runway was opened in 2019
  • Plans are in place to boost the cargo-handling capacity further

Connected Airports in the US: None.

US to Jakarta Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Denpasar Bali

Airport Facts:

  • Ngurah Rai International Airport is located 13 kilometers south of the city of Denpasar
  • Second-busiest airport in Indonesia
  • Can accommodate wide-body aircraft
  • Ideal for consignees near Jimbaran, Kuta, or a neighboring area

Connected Airports in the US: None.

US to Denpasar Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Juanda International Airport is located 12 kilometers from Surabaya in Eastern Java
  • Indonesia’s third-busiest airport
  • The airport’s two-story freight terminal processes around 120,000 tons of air cargo annually

Connected Airports in the US: None.

US to Surabaya Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Ocean and Air Shipping From the US to Indonesia: Why Shipa Freight?

Shipa Freight makes importing from the US to Indonesia easier than ever—whatever your preferred mode of transport. With our online platform, businesses of all sizes can now manage their entire shipment process and supply chain conveniently in one place. No one has to coordinate multiple agencies anymore to satisfy logistics needs.

The Shipa Freight benefits in a nutshell are:

  • Instant online quotes
  • Time-saving online booking
  • Transparent shipping documentation
  • One platform to manage all imports and exports
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Guaranteed compliance with shipping rules and regulations
  • Assistance with export and import customs clearance

Curious to try it out? Simply fill out the form at the top of this page to get started. It’s easy and fast!

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