What is the best way to ship goods from/to United States ?
Are you about to import (or export) products between the United States and China? You still have a doubt regarding the regulation or transport method? This is because it is very difficult to find decent information among the ton of online advice that SINO Shipping has done is “country guide”.
Our article will focus on international logistics between China and the United States: shipping methods (sea or air freight), regulations (customs clearance, prohibited products, licenses required …). Our experience on the Chinese market allows us to give the most reliable and technical answers to your logistics needs. If you still have a doubt after reading this page, feel free to contact our SINO Experts, they are here to follow up on all your needs.
No matter if you are an accomplished exporter/importer, or a novice in the domain, if you’re planning a one-shot import/export in/to United States, or regular business, our team will be dedicated to give you the best!
Bill of Lading
This is the most important shipping document, as it is used to specify the shipping company, the seller, the buyer, the type of cargo, the volume, the incoterm which applies to the shipment, etc.
1 = Shipper
2 = Consignee
3 = Notify party
4 = Vessel No.
5 = Port of loading / discharge
6 = Place of receipt / delivery
7 = Containers No.
8 = Goods description
9 = Net weight
10 = Dimensions / volume
According to the terms of payment agreed between the supplier and the buyer, the bill of lading can serve as a document:
- Confirm the release of a letter of credit (L / C)
- Or, serves as proof of shipping, which requires the buyer to transfer payment of the balance.
*The second option is common when paying by telegraphic transfer (T / T).
This invoice is used to proceed to customs clearance and calculations of customs duties and other fees like GST.
Certificate of Origin / Form A
A document mentioning the origin of the goods. This document can also help to determine customs duties (as some countries benefit from exemptions or preferential duties), but also for statistics and enforcement of embargoes.
In most cases, there is no need to provide any Import license when importing into the United States.
However, here are some exceptions:
- Specific types of chemicals
- Animals and plants
- Foodstuff products
United States is aligned with the Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) for imported and exported goods coming from China. Here are some useful tools to calculate the tariff barriers of your products between the two countries.
Here is the composition of an HS Code, you can now see what an HS code is and what does it mean :
*Importer might have to pay customs duties when importing into the USA, based on the value of the goods.
In the blank box (just below “HTS search”), just type the HS code of your product to get further information about customs regulation. If we continue based on the example of the pineapple, you should see this kind of board:
HTS in USA – Harmonized Tariff Schedule
When entering the US territory, the goods are not officially considered as entered as long as they haven’t been permitted by CBP (Customs & Border Protection), and duties haven’t been paid. The products have to be declared within 15 days prior to arrival within the country of before leaving the bonded warehouse. As an importer, you’ll have to declare the transaction value of your products, as well as the country of origin (and other documents: please see below). CBP will then be able to calculate duties.
Some products are subject to tax exemptions. Even though your product is not subject to customs duties, you still have to declare it as mentioned above. Let’s have a closer look at the specific rules that apply for some types of products.
GST on Imports
As you know, the USA is a federal country. This has a strong impact on the import process, as every single state has a total autonomy on sales of goods. Anyway, the levy of Sales Tax is broadly on retailing and supplying the end consumer; all intermediaries are generally not subject to this tax.
Why choose us ?
SINO Shipping is all about trust, efficiency and transparency. Our main mission is to provide tailored-made logistic solutions for every single shipment, ensuring full satisfaction of our customers.
Customs contact in China
Customs contact in USA
Remark SINO : If you have one of the following item, you should check directly with our SINO Experts. Some of those items are restricted or even totally prohibited, it is important to anticipate such shipment to avoid any problem.
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Ocean freight will be the best deal for you if :
- Your suppliers are located near a major Chinese port
- Your goods are bigger than 2 CBM
- You’re not in a hurry to receive them
*Over the past few years, the United States of America have become one of the key destination we are used to ship to.
We are proud to offer the whole range of ocean freight-related services for your shipments to the USA. In fact, SINO Shipping offer services for FCL (full container load), LCL (less than container load), to any city in the country from one coast to another. We can also use our strong expertise to set up more challenging shipments such as project cargoes, bulk, etc.
Our main strength is our capacity to adapt our flexible offer to any kind of budget and requirement. In fact, whether your just need port-to-port services, door-to-port, or door-to-door, we have a solution for you. You can also store your goods in our warehouses if needed, prior to departure.
The Port of Los Angeles, also known as America’s Port is located around 32kms from Downtown LA. This port accounts for 20% of all cargo entering the country. The port’s largest trading partners are China and Hong Kong.
At SINO Shipping, we know how crucial this port is to get your products delivered to the USA, and this is why we can arrange frequent departures from anywhere in China to the Port of Los Angeles.
Long Beach is the second largest port in the country, just after the adjoining Port of Los Angeles. These two ports put together represent a very important gateway for cargo from all over the world arriving in the country. The main trading partners of this port are also Asia countries.
Ocean freight is by far the slowest option you can choose: you should consider around 30-40 days for a shipment from both countries by sea. This transit times is not only due to the upfront preparation, but also to the fact that shipping lines are now moving way slower in order to be able to save money on fuel. Additionally, keep in mind that many unexpected events can occur: bad weather, port congestions, etc. Anyway, SINO Shipping works only with the best and most reliable shipping lines to ensure a hassle-free process to our customers.
The port to port transit time will vary according on the distance. Below are some examples:
- Hong Kong – Los Angeles : 20 days
- Hong Kong – New York: 32 days
- Shanghai – Seattle: 29 days
- Shanghai – Savannah: 30 days
When shipping from China to the USA by sea, various fees have to be considered. Make sure you understand every step of the logistic process in order to understand your sea freight quotations.
Here are some of the main costs that come with your shipment:
- Delivery to POL (port of loading) at origin
- Customs clearance (export)
- Freight rate
- Import customs clearance
- Customs duties (if any)
- Delivery to the agreed final location
As mentioned earlier, SINO Shipping is truly committed to provide tailored-made solutions. As the final cost of your shipment depends also on the type of service that you require, we’ll make sure to adapt our offer accordingly.
Once you have contacted us, we’ll get back to you within 24 hours to gather all the information related to your shipping needs. After that, we will provide you with a detailed quotation, whether it is for door-to-door, door-to-port, or port-to-port from China to the USA.
Air freight will be the most efficient solution if :
- Your goods are smaller than 2 CBM and 200 kg
- You’re in a hurry to receive/send the goods
Express Air Freight, Regular Air Freight, Door-to-door, Door-to-Airport, … Sticking to your budget and responding to your needs as much as possible are our main concerns.
We are used to arrange air freight shipment from China to the USA for our time-sensitive customers. We can set up an urgent shipment at any time to any destination within the country. This is made possible by the strong long-lasting network we have been able to build up over the years.
When working with SINO Shipping for your air freight shipments, you will benefit from the support of a dedicated team, expert in its domain. We also handle the whole pre-carriage step of the logistic chain mainly by ensuring an amazingly qualitative packing service, to ensure safety to your products. At SINO Shipping, we are updated with the latest logistics logistic technologies. This is why we will provide you with a tracking number, so that you can keep track of your air shipment at every time.
Express Shipping Options
When using an international courier for your air shipment from China to the USA, you should consider a transit time of three days approximately. This delay comes with the pick-up of the goods, and delivery to the airport of departure. If your shipment is really urgent, we can even set up a priority express shipment, that can be delivered even faster.
Standard Air Freight
Regular air freight between both countries usually takes 8-10 days. Why is there such an important difference between both options?
*When it comes to regular air freight, processes are much more complex as compared to express shipments.
The whole shipping process comes with several mandatory steps:
- Close a deal with the airline company
- Book space for you
- Pick-up of your goods
- Pre-carriage storage
- Customs clearance
Memphis International Airport is the largest hub in the country. Daily traffic from China is ensured. This airport was the largest cargo airport in the world for many years. Now it is the second largest after Hong Kong. This is why SINO Shipping is used to ship from Hong Kong to Memphis.
Anchorage is another key air freight hub, located in Alaska. This is the fourth busiest airport in the world for cargo, after Hong Kong, Memphis and Shanghai. Thus, the four largest cargo airports in the world are whether Chinese or American, proof of how key it is for SINO Shipping to set up a regular traffic between both countries.
Additionally, SINO Shipping ensures regula`r departures to any other part of the country, such as Louisville, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Atlanta, etc.
Once your parcel is arrived in the US, our job is still not done in case you need door-to-door services. At this point, we can rely on our strong American network to ensure a prompt and hassle-free delivery to the agreed location (your warehouse, your customer’s facilities, etc.).
Actual Weight vs. Volumetric Weight
We have two options when it comes to determine the chargeable weight:
- Actual weight is the real weight of your parcel, simple enough!
- Volumetric weight is calculated by multiplying the volume (L*W*H) by 167. If the result is higher than the actual weight of your parcel, then we will use the volumetric to quote your air freight service.
What additional charges should I consider ?
Air freight cargo can also come with unexpected additional fees. This is why it is recommended to be prepared and well-aware that additional costs may arise.
Here are three examples:
- Fuel Surcharge: due to the high volatility of the oil market. This surcharge is made ad hoc to protect carriers, as it is the main part of the expenses for every carrier in the business. This fee will be calculated based on a percentage of the chargeable weight.
- Airline Terminal Handling Fee: All costs implied when handling the cargo at origin, and destination. This cost will whether be included directly into your quotation, or listed separately, depending on the airline.
- Container Freight Station: This fee applies in case of storage of your parcel when entering the country. When the customs clearance is done, the cargo can leave the airport CFS warehouse.
Road freight will be the most convenient option if :
- You need a Door to Door service
- You live far from the airport/port of arrival
- You’re not in a hurry to receive your goods
Door-to-door quotes include the above, as well as:
- Customs clearance fees. If customs require a further inspection of your cargo, additional fees may be charged.
- Trucking fees
- Cargo insurance(this is a must have. Don’t ship your products without getting them covered!).
Because SINO Shipping cares about the goods you need to ship, we also provide freight insurance services. In fact, the insurance rate is calculated as follow: 1% of the declared value of the goods.
In this way, you get the value of your cargo covered in case of any damage. You should not risk shipping your products without insurance, as it can come with important additional costs for you or your business in case of unexpected event.
SINO Shipping can become your long-term partner for your shipments to the USA. If you need to set up a regular traffic from China to Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, or wherever else in the country, we’ll make sure to offer the best rates. In fact, when settling a frequent traffic, it’s way easier for us to negotiate better rates with the largest shipping lines.
Shipping high technology products from China to USA
Prepare your Commercial Invoice correctly
A Commercial Invoice Form determines the true value of the imported goods, for assessment of duties and taxes. It must include the buyer and seller, the date and terms of sale, quantity, weight and/or volume, type of packaging, description of goods, unit value and total value, besides insurance, shipping and other charges.
Make sure invoices and packing slip match up
This is a good safeguard against shipping incorrect cargo. Make sure to inform transportation companies about what they are shipping and to enable the importer and others involved to check what has been shipped against the invoice.
Use the Harmonized System to assign codes for each part
Use the Harmonized System to assign codes for each part Each part has a 6 to 10 digit harmonized code which classifies your goods for global trade. The HS can be obtained from the manufacturer or at Here.
Mark your goods with country of origin
Make sure you do this unless the goods being imported are exempt. To confirm if they are, refer to the “Marking of Country of Origin on U.S. Imports” on the Customs and Border Protection's website Here.
Permits may be required by customs for specific technology parts, and vary by commodity and country you are exporting or importing to. Permits can take 7 to 10 days to acquire, depending on the country where the part was manufactured. Your logistics provider should be able to assist you with this process.
File an EEI (formerly Shipper’s Export Declaration) when required
Work with a one-stop-shop logistics provider The former SED is now called the EEI (Electronic Export Information) form and is filed electronically with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for shipments that exceed $2,500 in value or require an export license. File Here.
Work with a one-stop-shop logistics provider
Knowledgeable logistics companies help with customs clearance by taking on power of attorney, coordinating with the importer of record and handling duties and taxes.
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