International Freight Forwarder and Customs Broker Based in China

Shipping from China to Italy: Air, Sea & Rail Freight | Rates and Transit times | 2022

China and Italy have a long and historic trading relationship dating back centuries and even millennia. Some of the most popular contemporary exports from China to Italy are furniture, iron, steel clothes and plastic goods.

The following guide will be useful for both businesses that are already importing from China as well as businesses who are looking for new ventures and have not yet embarked on importing from China.

We’ll provide information on both air and sea shipping from China to Italy, as well as profiles of the key airports and ports in China and in Italy, as well as details on documentation you need for exporting from China and importing to Italy.


What are the options for transporting cargo and goods from China to Italy?


The two ways to ship goods from China to Italy are either by air freight or ocean freight. Each one has its benefits and drawbacks and below, we’ll guide you through each one so you can be well informed on both methods before you make any decision.


DDP shipping from China to Italy

 Our professional freight forwarding service offers DDP shipping from China to Italy.

We use LCL consignment shipping by sea shipping, air freightrail freight and truck freight and we have competitive prices as well as offering an economic and timely service that ensures your goods are handled safely at each step.

We offer door to door delivery as well as a service that delivers to Amazon FBA warehouses and other business addresses.

Timescales are 10-15 days for air freight, 20-25 days for truck freight, 30-35 days for Sea shipping and 30-35 days via rail freight.


About DDP shipping from China to Italy

We have 4 mainroutes for DDP shipping from China to Italy: DDP air freight, DDP rail freight, DDP sea shipping and DDP truck freight.

We offer a service where we will pick up your goods from your designated warehouse or factory. Alternatively, you can send them to our warehouse in Shenzhen.


DDP air freight from China to Italy

  • First Leg: Air freight
  • Shipping Type: LCL shipping by default
  • Shipping Time: 10-15 days
  • Export Declaration: The declaring exporter could be your factory.
  • VAT & EORI: We use the VAT and EORI of our business partners as importers for import declarations.
  • Destination: Business and Private addresses, or Amazon FBA warehouse.

DDP rail freight from China to Italy

  • First Leg: Rail freight
  • Shipping Type: LCL shipping by default
  • Shipping Time: 30-35 days
  • Export Declaration: If the total weight is more than 100kg, your factory could declare themselves as the exporter.
  • VAT & EORI: We use the VAT and EORI of our business partners as importers for import declarations.
  • Destination: Business and Private addresses, or Amazon FBA warehouse.

DDP sea shipping from China to Italy

  • First Leg: Sea shipping
  • Shipping Type: LCL shipping by default
  • Shipping Time: 30-35 days
  • Export Declaration: Your factory could be the declaring  exporter.
  • VAT & EORI: We use the VAT and EORI of our business partners as importers for import declarations.
  • Destination: Business and Private addresses, or Amazon FBA warehouse.

DDP truck freight from China to Italy

  • First Leg: Truck freight
  • Shipping Type: LCL shipping by default
  • Shipping Time: 20-25 days
  • Export Declaration: Your factory could be the exporter to declare.
  • VAT & EORI: We use the VAT and EORI of our business partners as importers for import declarations.
  • Destination:Business and Private addresses, or Amazon FBA warehouse.

Item Rules

  • We don’t accept items that break IP rights.
  • We don’t accept illegal and controlled substances and items such as drugs, cigarettes, alcohol and arms.
  • Packaging and SCU labels must have “Made in China” marks and on the outer carton too.
  • Outer packaging/cartons must be sturdy and new and not have misleading labels or info.
  • Outer cartons should be sealed with clear tape, not coloured tapes.
    The maximum length should be 120cm at the longest side and 75cm at the second longest side. Maximum size in CM: (Width + Height)*2 + Length<300.

Weight Prices and Requirements

  • The minimum weight charge is 10KG for Air, 13kg for Rail, 12KG for Sea and 12KG for Truck freight.
  • Waybill minimum charges are 11KG for Air, 13 Kg for Rail, 21KG for Sea and 21 KG for Truck.
  • The maximum weight for one outer carton is 30kg.

Amazon FBA Items Requirements

  • Each item needs to have a unique FNSKU label.

Two Amazon shipment labels must be attached to each outer carton, one on the front and one on the back using clear tape or stickers.


Ocean Freight From China to Italy



You can transport your goods by both FCL and LCL shipping. There are many factors you need to consider when shipping from China to Italy.

A standard 40 foot container can accommodate 22 standard pallets, with a 20 foot container holding 10 pallets.

If you’re shipping large volumes and can fill a container, it makes sense to choose FCL (Full Container Load).

The other advantage of Full container load is that your items are kept separate from other importers.

On the other hand, LCL (Less than a Container Load) refers to shipping where your goods share space within a container with other goods.

If you’re ok with that, then LCL shipping (also known as groupage) offers a more economical way to ship smaller quantities that make up less than half of the volume of a full container.




LCL shipping means your goods will share space with goods from other companies.

This also means that your delivery might take a little bit longer, because of both the packing and unpacking process.

Before departure, your goods will be stored in a consolidation warehouse in China until departure, and then on arrival be held in a de-consolidation warehouse in Italy before they are delivered to your address.




FCL shipping means renting an entire container for your shipment.

If you have a large enough cargo to occupy a container, or even most of a container, FCL shipping may make the most economical sense.

It’s also quicker than LCL shipping as there is no need to consolidate or deconsolidate your items from others.

Your container will also remain sealed throughout the journey and unless customs officials select it for inspection it will be sealed until it arrives at your address or chosen destination.

Air Freight from China to Italy


Of all your transport options, air freight is without a doubt the quickest option. However, be aware that speed comes with a price and air freight can be costly too.

On the other hand, if you are shipping small goods or if quick shipping is a premium part of your business that adds value then air freight may still be a valid economical option.

If you have any queries or would like to discuss this further, then feel free to send us a message and our expert customer service team will get in contact to discuss your options and find a solution that works for you.


New rail freight service between Italy and China


Railway freight is becoming an interesting and innovative way to send goods, while traditionally sea freight has been the most popular way to ship goods from Asia, now we are seeing a rise in Railway shipping which many are seeing as a great alternative to historical modes of shipping Railway can be a good ‘middle ground’ between air and sea shipping in terms of price and time.

As far as shipping via rail from China to Italy, currently, this service is being commercialised by Contship Italia, the Italian subsidiary of FELB, owned by Russian Railways Logistics.

The aim for this service is to become a weekly service for customers in Italy to receive goods from China.


How long does Railway Shipping from China to Italy take?


FELB shipping will take around 16-18 days, with trains carrying containers in both directions.

Within this service there are also customs and warehousing operations along the line, in Melzo as well as Milan and other logistics hubs in central and southern Italy.

These services will be done in conjunction with logistics operations such as Rail Hub Milano and Hannibal.

Rail freight, at around 2-3 weeks can be a lot faster than sea freight to Italy which takes around a month.

Furthermore, when it comes to price, shipping via train can be a lot cheaper than air freight if you’re moving large quantities of goods.


What’s the cost of shipping from China to Italy?


The price of shipping from China to Italy depends greatly on the variables such as

The type of product: Different products may have different transportation needs. e.g. valuable or perishable goods may need to be given specialist packaging and/or security.

The size and weight of your parcel: This is perhaps the most important factor when it comes to price.

As you might expect, the larger the parcel, the greater the price. However be aware that for smaller items it may be more economical to ship by air.

Items under 100kg can work cheaper by weight if you’re shipping via air, and on top of that you’ll be able to add the additional value of a quick delivery.

Please also keep in mind that for extra small shipments, such as those under 35kg, SINO shipping does not carry these, but we can help you find alternative arrangements.

The means of transport: Air freight is always going to be much more expensive that shipping via ocean freight.

However, you may want to take into account the size, as it may make more economical sense to ship via air if your delivery is small or if quick delivery is a key facet of your business.

Your schedule: If you’re looking for a parcel quickly, then you’ll generally need to pay more. With air freight, express shipping will cost more than regular air freight shipping.

Take into account all these elements when you’re calculating you’re price and we’ll do our best to assist you to find the method of shipping that makes the most sense for you.


How long does shipping from China to Italy take?


The quickest way to ship from China to Italy is by air, which will take around a week, or even as little as three days depending the service you choose and the route. Sea freight, via ships can take a bit longer, anywhere from a month to 41 days,


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


We’ve listed some of the most popular ocean routes travelling between China and Italy. The times below are the time it takes to get from port to port.

If you are booking a full delivery service that goes from the factory or the Chinese port to your designated address in Italy, whether it’s a business or private address, then you will need to factor in extra days for the overland delivery.

  • Shanghai to Genoa—29 days FCL
  • Shanghai to Milan—37 days LCL
  • Shanghai to Ancona—41 days FCL
  • Shanghai to Genoa—41 days FCL


How Long Does It Take to Ship by Air Freight From China to Italy?


Air freight is the quickest way of getting goods from China to Italy.

While the flight itself is only a matter of hours, there are still customs and airport security and logistics to pass through, so overall, an air freight service might take anything from three to nine days to reach you, which is still much quicker than any other method of transport.

Also take into account the different routes and airports of departure and arrival as these can have an effect on your time.


Customs Clearance in China and Italy


All items leaving China and arriving in Italy will need to go through a process of exports and imports. This means that you’ll need o take into account the need for customs clearance.

While this process is complicated it can be simple once you know what you’re doing. Without adequate research you may find yourself the victim of unforeseen delays and hold ups at the border.

Many freight forwarding companies such as ourselves offer a service to help facilitate customs and get your goods passed through securely and without hassle. We’ll take care of the service for you, as long as you provide us with the necessary details. In this way you’ll save plenty of time and be able to focus on your core business functions.

The documents you’ll need to supply us are:

  • A Commercial Invoice
  • A Packing List
  • A Certificate of Origin
  • A Letter of Credit or other payment terms (depends on the contract between the parties involved)
  • An Airway Bill for air cargo or a Bill of Lading for ocean freight (this will be provided by the carrier or freight forwarder)

Also keep in mind that depending on your cargo, there may be additional requirements when it comes to paperwork. This could be because your goods are on a list of special goods that require additional permission or licences to import.

If you’re unsure about any of this, please feel free to contact SINO Shipping and get in contact with our expert team and we’ll guide you through the process so that you can be ready and prepared to import from China to Italy.

What should you choose? Ocean or Air Freight?


Ocean Freight


Ocean shipping can take a long time and it can be anywhere from 29 to 41 days to ship via sea freight from China to Italy. Shipping means that your goods will be transported by container.

Some containers are 20ft and others are 40ft. If you have special goods that require certain types of packaging, such as controlled temperatures, then there are certain refrigerated containers that can do this process for you.

If you have special requirements let us know and we’ll arrange special containers for you.

A freight forwarder will also help you to choose between LCL and FCL ocean shipping. Below, we outline some of the key advantages and disadvantages of both modes of shipping:

Less than Container Load (LCL):

This is suitable for small quantities of goods and when air freight is too expensive.

Because the quantity is less than a container, it will cost less than full container shipping.

However, there might be a small additional time to wait LCL delivery involves the consolidation (packing) and deconsolidation (unpack) of your goods from the rest of the container items prior to departure and after arrival.

If you’re ok with your goods sharing space with other goods from other companies, then LCL shipping (also known as groupage) offers a more economical way to ship smaller quantities that make up less than half of the volume of a full container.

Full Container Load (FCL):

As the name suggests, this method of shipping uses the full shipping container and is thus suitable for loads that are at least that quantity.

If your individual quantities are less than the container, you could LCL or employ a strategy of bundling multiple orders into one container. Flat-rate pricing makes FCL shipping a good deal.

When you’re choosing between LCL and FCL, some other points to consider are:

  • Are you ok with your goods sharing a container with other goods from a different company? If so, then LCL might be suitable for you.
  • How many pallets is your order? If it’s over 6 pallets, you should compare the prices of FCL and LCL, as getting a full container may be a better deal, even if you can’t fill it completely.
  • How important is time? FCL will be a bit quicker.
  • Can your business fill a container in a timeframe that makes sense to ship them together?
  • Do you wish to seal the container throughout the transportation process? FCL is your choice.


Air Freight Cargo


Air freight is much more expensive than sea freight. On the other hand there are plenty of benefits to shipping by air that you can weigh into your calculations as to whether it is suitable for you.

Air freight makes sense when you have urgent orders from clients and when ocean shipping is just to slow.

With air freight you can complete orders in a matter of days not weeks, meaning that you’ll be able to keep up with client demand if you need to. This speed also applies to certain goods that may be perishable such as food.

Shipping by air means there is less chance of these goods perishing in the journey. However do check airline and country requirements about what can be transported as there may be restrictions on certain perishable goods being shipped.

Sea shipping, while cheap, also runs the risk of delays at certain key times.

Air freight is less likely to experience this, meaning that the cost of insuring against delays could make up for the cost of shipping.

Air freight also makes sense for small shipments and even be more cost effective than LCL freight when it comes to this. Do your research and send us a message and we’ll best the calibration to suit your business.

Finally air freight may simply pose less risks, especially for high value goods. Less time in transit means less risk, so if you’re shipping high value items, air freight may be for you.

Ocean Cargo Port Guide


Cargo Ports of Origin in China



Port Facts: Located on the Pearl River and with over 4600 berths, Nansha is ranked the fifth largest port in the world for container volume. This is a historic port that dates back over a thousand years.

*Owned By: *Guangzhou Port Group Co. Ltd. *Annual Container Volume: *>20.3 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: CNGZG.


Port Facts: Shenzhen has links to over 130 shipping lanes and 18 container berths and is among the world’s busiest container hubs. Located on the South Coast, it’s ideal for importers and exporters working in the Guangdong region of China.

Owned By: Shenzhen Government. Annual Container Volume: >25.2 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: CNSHK.


Port Facts: Changsa is a small port but has some vital connections to inland China, including some of the fastest growing regions. The port is likely to expand its operations in the near future.

Owned By: Changsha Harbour Administration Bureau. Annual Container Volume: >100,000 TEUs. UN/LOCODE: CNCSX.


Port Facts: Wuhui is located in Anhui province which has traditionally been the hub of China’s rice trade and is now also a center for manufacturing.

Owned By: Wuhu Port Authority. Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs. UN/LOCODE: CNWHI.


Port Facts: This port is located in Jiangsu province and is one of the ten biggest ports in China and the 30th largest in the world.

Owned By: Lianyungang Port Group Co. Ltd. Annual Container Volume: >4.7 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: CNLYG.




As well as the above listed ports, there are many other ports in China that can ship your goods to Italy.

There are services available from the following ports: Zhuhai, TianjinNingbo, Shanghai, Dalian, Fuzhou, Chongqing, Shantou, Qinzhou, Qingdao, Zhongshan, Nanjing, Xiamen.


Cargo Ports of Arrival in Italy



Port Facts: With its origins going back to the 19th century, La Spezia is a major container port in the Mediterranean Sea and is built on a natural and deep breakwater.

Owned By: Port of La Spezia Port Authority. Annual Container Volume: >1.4 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: ITSPE.


Port Facts: Ancona in the Italian Adriatic coastline, this port has cutting edge container and freight handling abilities and covers 1.4 million square miles with container traffic growing each year.\

Owned By: Central Adriatic Ports Authority. Annual Container Volume: >150,000 TEUs. UN/LOCODE: ITAOI.


Port Facts: Venice is Italy’s eighth-busiest commercial port and has 23 freight terminals that can handle all types of goods. The port also connects to Italy’s rail network, making this a useful port for railway connections.

Owned By: Port Authority of Venice. Annual Container Volume: >1.4 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE:ITVCE.


Port Facts: Naples is located on Italy’s southern coast and is an important hub with 38 berths.

Owned By: Port Authority of Naples. Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs. UN/LOCODE: ITNAP.


Port Facts: Genoa is one of the biggest ports in the Mediterranean and its harbor is over a thousand years old. Nowadays it has modern logistics and freight handling capabilities that mean it’s a great place to send your consignments for speedy delivery.

Owned By: Genoa Port Authority. Annual Container Volume: >2 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: ITGOA.

Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide


Airports of Origin in China



Airport Facts: Guangzhou is located in Guangzhou province and is one of the busiest cargo airports in the world and the third largest airport in China.

Italy Airports Served: Rome-Fiumicino Guangzhou to Italy Cargo-Only Operators:None. IATA CODE: CAN.


Airport Facts: Chengdu is the gateway to Sichuan Province. This airport serves western China’s exporting business and is the fourth-busiest cargo airport in the country with connections to over 50 airports worldwide.

Italy Airports Served: Rome-Fiumicino. Chengdu to Italy Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA CODE:CTU.


Airport Facts: Shenzhen is located on the Pearl River and is a busy freight airport.

Italy Airports Served:Rome-Fiumicino Shenzhen to Italy Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA CODE: SZX.


Airport Facts:Shanghai is one of the busiest airports for freight in the world handling almost 4 million tonnes of cargo annually. It is the third-largest airport in the world in terms of freight. An important airport for connecting to the city of Shanghai.

Italy Airports Served: Milan-Malpensa, Rome-Fiumicino. Shanghai-Pudong to Italy Cargo-Only Operators: China Cargo Airlines, Fed-Ex Express. IATA CODE: PVG.


Airport Facts: Located in the capital, Beijing is the 13th busiest commercial airport in the world and has been operating since 1958.

Italy Airports Served: Milan-Malpensa, Rome Fiumicino. Beijing-Capital to Italy Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA CODE: PEK.


There are other airports in China from which you can export from, either directly or indirectly. These include Qingdao, Xiamen, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, and Shanghai Hongqiao.


Airports of Arrival in Italy



Airport Facts: 50 km north of Milan, this airport is nearby the Ticino river and has two runways and two terminals. It is Italy’s busiest airport for freight.

Connected Airports in China: Beijing-Capital, Shanghai-Pudong China to Milan-Malpensa Cargo-Only Operators: FedEx Express. IATA CODE: MXP.


Airport Facts: This is Rome’s busiest airport and the eighth busiest airport in Europe. The airport has five terminals, one which is dedicated to cargo.

Connected Airports in China: Beijing-Capital, Shanghai-Pudong, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Chengdu. China to Rome-Fiumicino Cargo-Only Operators : None. IATA CODE: FCO.


How do I organize shipping from China to Italy?


Organising shipping from China to Italy can be complicated at first, but we at SINO shipping endeavour to make it easy for you and we’ll take care of as many steps as possible.

If you want to send a parcel, we offer a pick up service that means you don’t need to send it or go yourself to the office.


How do I track a parcel from China to Italy?


It can help with your logistics and also your peace of mind to be able to track your package as it moves throughout the world on its journey from China to Italy.

It’ll will help you plan in case of any unforeseen delays.

If it’s your first time, you might want to keep track of your goods to get an idea of the details of the logistics process.

With our service you’ll be able to do just that, following your package from China to Italy, whether it’s by air, sea or land.

With SINO Shipping you’ll be able to track your package at each step of the journey through our website.

Just go the site, and post your tracking number into the search bar and you’ll be able to see round the clock tracking on your cargo.

Make sure you have entered the correct tracking number into the website.

This can often be an easy mistake to make! If you’re sure you have entered it correctly, refresh the browser or wait a little while for the system to update.

If you’re still having any problems with this, please contact us and we’ll do our best to assist you in tracking your consignment from China to Italy.

Send an email to us and our agents will do our best to help you locate your package and what stage of the journey it is on.

It is always reassuring to be able to know the location of your parcel during the shipping. With SINO shipping, you can track your parcel wherever and whenever you need to.

You’ll be able to see:

  • The order status
  • The location of the package
  • The name of the transporter
  • The next steps of the delivery
  • The final date of the delivery


What is the import tax in Italy?


Whether you need to pay import tax when importing to Italy from China will depend on whether the value of your parcel is over the threshold established by EU rules.

For Italy, this threshold is set at 22 Euros.

Please check this before you send, as any courier company won’t be held responsible for charges incurring if the tax changes.


Can I ship any kind of items from China to Italy?


Please be aware of the rules and guidance on the size and weight of your package. Packages should be 2 kilos maximum including packaging and labels.

They should have a maximum measurement of 60cm on the longest side and the total sum should not exceed 90cm.

Certain objects are prohibited from being shipped from China to Italy:

  • Batteries and electronic products with batteries (mobile phones, computers…)
  • Hazardous goods (compressed gas products, erosive, toxic gas, flammable,\)
  • Weapons (hand weapons, imitation and ammunition)
    goods (speakers, products with strong magnetic fields…)
  • Documents (currencies, publications, imitation cards…)
  • Some categories of products (adult products, drones, electronic cigarettes…)
  • Liquid, powder and paste (liquid cosmetics, toothpaste, capsule drugs,…)
  • Perishable products (food, plants, all live animals except properly packaged bees, silkworms and leeches)