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Ocean and Air Freight Shipping From the US to Sweden

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

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Updated on 04 Jul 202113 min read

In 2018, the United States’ bilateral trade with Sweden totaled close to $16 billion. Over $4.5 billion was generated by exports to Sweden. If your company is already shipping goods across the Atlantic to Scandinavia, or is about to, you’re on the right page.

Below, we cover a broad range of areas relating to exporting and importing from the US to Sweden. You’ll discover useful information about air and ocean shipping, airports and seaports, as well as customs clearance and shipping costs.

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

Flags of the US and Sweden for the tradelane with Shipa Freight There are only two logical options for transatlantic trading in commercial goods. You’ll need to choose between ocean and air shipping from the US to Sweden. Both have good points and drawbacks which you will find detailed later on this page.

Ocean Freight From the US to Sweden

Less than Container Load (LCL): For shippers with a smaller consignment looking for a cost-effective way to import from the US to Sweden, LCL could be the answer. Your goods will share a container with other shippers’ products and you’ll only pay for the space you use.

Full Container Load (FCL): The quickest way to export from the US to Sweden via the ocean is usually FCL. It involves paying for the use and transportation of a shipping container exclusively for your goods.

Air Freight from the US to Sweden

For the fastest way to ship freight from the US to Sweden, nothing beats air freight. Transatlantic air cargo shipments are completed in a matter of days, but it’s the most expensive form of international shipping.

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

To arrive at a price for your international shipment, a freight forwarder will need to consider the following:

  • The kind of freight that’s being shipped
  • How much the cargo weighs
  • Its size and volume
  • Whether it needs to be transported by air or via FCL or LCL ocean shipping
  • The distance from the point of origin in the US to the destination in Sweden
  • Whether a door-to-door, port-to-door, port-to-port or door-to-port delivery service is required

You’re unlikely to see much difference between the quotes you get for air or ocean freight shipping if your goods weigh under 100 kg. Goods over that weight are usually more cost-effective to ship as ocean freight, since shipping heavy goods by air is expensive. If your cargo weighs 35 kg or under, you should approach international couriers for a quote, as freight forwarders don’t handle such light loads.

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

Calendar to represent transit time for Shipa Freight shipments

Air freight is the quickest way to ship goods to Sweden. Forwarders will arrange for your products to be transported to Sweden aboard a passenger or cargo-only flight from the US. Most air shipments complete in five to eight days. Shipping a container from the US to Sweden is a slower process. Cargo vessels travel at an average of 35 kilometers per hour. So shipments making the 6,000 km voyage to Sweden from New York, or the 8,800 km journey from Los Angeles, will take several weeks.

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

To give you an idea of the time taken for a cargo vessel to transport a shipping container from the US to Sweden, an LCL shipment from Detroit to Gothenburg typically takes 32 days.

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

Whichever international airport in the United States you choose as your port of origin, you should allow five to eight days for your air shipping to reach Sweden.

Customs Clearance in the US and Sweden

Customs rules and regulations apply to all commercial imports from the US to Sweden. Getting clearance for consignments can be a complex process, which is why many businesses choose to hire a freight forwarder to handle the task. It’s a wise move that your business should consider if you want to avoid unnecessary delays to your shipment and ensure total compliance with Swedish import legislation.

Although a forwarder can help in so many areas, they will still need you to complete certain documents that must accompany your consignment. Customs officials in the United States and Sweden are likely to insist on:

  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. A Bill of Lading for ocean freight or Airway Bill for air freight (Shipa Freight will provide this for you)

You can see examples of the above on our documents list page. Additionally, you may need to provide other documents such as permits, certificates, or licenses.

Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?

###Ocean Freight

When you choose to ship your goods by sea, a carrier will transport them in a shipping container from the US to Sweden. Containers come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit all kinds of cargo.

Most consignments will fit into either a 20ft or 40ft standard container. You will need to decide between LCL or FCL ocean shipping. The volume and weight of your sea freight is likely to play a key role in the choice you make. Your freight forwarder will help you decide upon the most suitable port of loading in the United States, and port of discharge in Sweden.

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

Businesses tend to choose LCL shipping if:

  • Their shipment is relatively small—under six standard pallets
  • Their goods aren’t required urgently by the consignee
  • Their freight can be safely transported in a shared container
  • Air freight is not an option for safety or financial reasons

On the other hand, you might choose to avoid LCL services if:

  • Your consignment must reach Sweden by a certain date
  • Your goods risk being damaged if frequently moved (which is often the case with LCL shipping)
  • Your consignment consists of delicate or perishable goods that won’t survive a long voyage
  • Your freight is awkwardly-shaped, very large, or extremely heavy and not suited to sharing a container

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

The other option for ocean shippers is FCL, and it’s favored by many businesses with:

  • A consignee who needs the shipment by a specified date
  • A large volume of freight to ship—enough to fill at least half of a 20ft container
  • Fragile goods that aren’t suited to sharing a container with other products
  • A desire to seal their container at source, and for it to remain sealed until received in Sweden

Air Freight

For businesses that regard the speed of delivery as more important than anything else, air shipping is the ideal mode of transportation. It’s especially beneficial if:

  • Your cargo is perishable and needs to reach its destination quickly
  • Your delivery is required in Sweden as soon as possible
  • Your consignment is relatively small—between one and three pallets
  • You wish to pay a lower insurance premium for your cargo than you would with ocean shipping
  • Your goods are valuable, requiring the stringent security measures employed by airlines and airport operators

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Ports of Origin in the US


Port Facts:

  • A popular ocean freight hub, used by 13 of the world’s top-15 container carriers
  • With 37 crane movements every hour, this is the most productive seaport in the United States
  • Construction of a new container terminal in the North Charleston area of the port is in the planning stage

Owned By: South Carolina Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >2.4 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Situated on the Miami River in Biscayne Bay
  • Processes nearly 7.5 million tonnes of cargo every year
  • Ranks as the ninth-largest port in the US for containerized goods
  • Biggest port in Florida
  • Suppliers can easily transport their goods to the port via the Intercoastal Waterway

Owned By: Miami Dade County.

Annual Container Volume: >1.1 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Located in Boston Harbor on the Eastern Seaboard
  • Three Interstate highways and a truck-only haul road make it easy to transport goods to the port

Owned By: Government of Massachusetts.



Port Facts:

  • Alabama’s sole deepwater port
  • Two giant cranes were added to the infrastructure in 2017
  • A 12-hectare site at the port is being redeveloped to expand its container capacity

Owned By: Alabama State Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >285,000 TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Was the fastest growing port in the US between 2000 and 2005
  • Its Garden City container terminal is the biggest on the US’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts
  • Facilities include 120,000 square meters of storage space
  • 15 high-speed cranes are ready to lift containers onto cargo vessels for export to Sweden
  • Ideal port of origin if your supply chain moves goods from Pembroke, Ridgeland, and Hardeeville

Owned By: Georgia Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >4.3 million TEUs.


Other Ports in the US

Shipa Freight can also use the following gateways to dispatch your shipping container from the US to Sweden:

  • New York
  • Tacoma
  • Seattle
  • Long Beach
  • Oakland
  • Atlanta
  • San Francisco
  • Houston
  • New Orleans
  • Los Angeles
  • Port Everglades
  • Norfolk
  • Baltimore
  • Philadelphia

Cargo Ports of Arrival in Sweden


Port Facts:

  • Sweden’s second-largest seaport
  • Located on the Oresund Strait
  • Regarded as a vital logistics hub in the Nordic region
  • Good road and rail links for swift onward distribution of goods from the United States

Owned By: Helsingborg Hamn AB.

Annual Container Volume: >280,000 TEUs.


Port Facts: 

  • Located over 130 km south of Stockholm
  • Situated at the mouth of the River Motala Strom
  • Containers are handled at the Pampus terminal
  • Regular rail services and direct road routes make distributing goods quick and easy

Owned By: Norrkopings Hamn Och Stuveri AB.

Annual Container Volume: >132,000 TEUs.




Port Facts:

  • Serves both Sweden and neighboring Norway (just a 295-kilometer drive away)
  • Has the capacity to handle the world’s largest shipping vessels
  • Textiles and food are the main imports

Owned By: City of Gothenburg.

Annual Container Volume: >860,000 TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Sweden’s capital has several cargo-handling ports
  • Can accommodate cargo vessels over 500 ft long
  • A new container terminal is scheduled to open in May 2020
  • Main container gateway has an average container handling time of under eight minutes

Owned By: City of Stockholm.

Annual Container Volume: >57,400 TEUs.


Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airports of Origin in the US

Los Angeles

Airport Facts:

  • Widely known as LAX
  • Situated in the Westchester area of Los Angeles
  • Most air freight is exported aboard passenger aircraft
  • Over two million tonnes of cargo was processed here in 2018

Sweden Airports Served: None.

Los Angeles to Sweden Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Dallas Fort Worth

Airport Facts:

  • Extensive freight facilities across a 83,500 square meter site
  • A new Cargo City complex is in the planning stages
  • Easy to transport goods to the airport, thanks to two railroads and five state highways

Sweden Airports Served: None.

Dallas to Sweden Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Situated 11 km from central Philadelphia
  • Easy access to the airport which is adjacent to the Maine to Florida Interstate 95
  • Also located close to the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Turnpikes
  • More than 500 passenger and cargo services depart the airport daily

Sweden Airports Served: None.

Philadelphia to Sweden Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • The world’s second-biggest airport
  • Occupies a 135 square kilometer site
  • More than 235,000 tonnes of air freight is handled here every year
  • Easy access for any supplier or manufacturer based in Colorado Springs, Greeley, or Cheyenne

Sweden Airports Served: None

Denver to Sweden Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Officially called Hartsfield Jackson International Airport
  • Located 11 kilometers south of downtown Atlanta
  • Over 625,000 tonnes of freight is processed here annually
  • Infrastructure includes five parallel runways

Sweden Airports Served: None.

Atlanta to Sweden Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Other Airports in the US

Shipa Freight can also arrange for goods to be flown to Sweden from these other airports in the US:

  • Miami
  • Charlotte
  • San Francisco
  • El Paso
  • Cleveland
  • Houston
  • Chicago
  • Seattle
  • Detroit
  • New York
  • Sacramento
  • San Diego
  • Cincinnati
  • Boston

Airports of Arrival in Sweden


Airport Facts:

  • Located nearly 40 km to the north of Stockholm
  • The biggest of the Swedish capital’s two airports
  • Major hub for Scandinavian Airlines
  • The southern half of the airport hosts Cargo City

Connected Airports in the US: Chicago, Newark, Miami.

US to Stockholm-Arlanda Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Sweden’s second-biggest airport
  • Located 20 km from Gothenburg City
  • Officially called Gothenburg Landvetter International Airport
  • Vital freight hub in the Nordics
  • Infrastructure includes a single runway

Connected Airports in the US: None.

US to Gothenburg Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Sweden’s fourth-busiest airport
  • Located 28 km outside of Malmo
  • Only 55 km from Copenhagen in Denmark
  • Facilities include two cargo terminals

Connected Airports in the US: None.

US to Malmo-Sturup Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Only eight kilometers outside of Jonkoping
  • Good transport links to Malmo, Stockholm, and Copenhagen via the E4 highway
  • Accommodates large aircraft up to and including Boeing 757s
  • Quick distribution of goods to Gothenburg via the R40 road

Connected Airports in the US: None.

US to Jonkoping Cargo-Only Operators: None



Airport Facts:

  • Only three kilometers from Norrkoping
  • A cargo hub that offers occasional charter passenger flights
  • Shipments from the United States will arrive via indirect services

Connected Airports in the US: None.

US to Norrkoping Cargo-Only Operators: None.


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

Shipa Freight makes it easier to export from the US to Sweden. Whatever the size of your business, you can benefit from our easy to use online platform.

We take the hassle and complexity out of international shipping, so everyone enjoys access to quality ocean and air shipping. We’re helping simplify supply chains and giving shippers total visibility of their consignments, wherever they are in the world.

Other benefits of choosing Shipa Freight to coordinate the movement of freight from the US to Sweden include:

  • Easy registration for new shippers
  • Get quick quotes and compare them just as fast
  • Make rapid bookings and simple payments (you can use cards or a wire transfer)
  • Let us handle customs complexities so you can focus on growing your business
  • Enjoy 24/7 access to a friendly customer support team via online chat, email, or telephone
  • Rest assured that your consignment will comply with all rules and regulations

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