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You are about to import products from China to the USA? Opportunities in China especially in manufacturing is still very competitive and is one of the country’s largest trading partners in terms of volume. As it is very difficult for you to find clear and precise information on the Internet, you will find here, through our guideline, all the useful and relevant information concerning the different modes of shipping and the regulations for importing your products in the US. Whether you are a large company, an SME, a start-up or a single person, we will help you understand the whole procedure. Our DocShipper consultants will analyze, determine and advise you on the most appropriate solution for your shipment. We will answer all your questions!  

What is the best method of transport between China and the US?


There are 2 different methods to ship your goods between China and the United States: by sea freight or airfreight. To give you the best advice on which shipping method to choose for your shipment from China, we have compared these 2 options for you!


Sea freight from China to USA

sea freight icon

DocShipper Recommendation: Ocean freight will be the best option if :

  • You are going to ship more than 2 CBM 
  • You are not in the rush to receive your goods
  • You are looking for the most affordable mode of shipping

DocShipper Note: Looking for prices or advice? Our team will study your case to provide you with more precise information concerning your shipment by sea from China to the United States. Click on our button to fill out our online form, a dedicated expert will contact you within 24 hours! 


Overview - Ocean shipping from China to the US

In 2019, the number of handled containers increased slightly in the 10 main American ports (+0.9 per cent), for 43.67 million TEUs handled, according to Alphaliner figures. But the trend is very uneven between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. According to the consultant, “this growth was the result of a 4.9% increase in empty container movements, while full box volumes were negatively affected by the China-America’s trade war”.

Import flows in the ten ports reached 20.48 million TEUs, down 0.9 per cent from 20.66 million TEUs in the previous year. However, a closer look reveals that the five major ports on the Pacific coast - Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Tacoma and Seattle - saw their container arrivals decline by 5% over the year to 10.82 million TEUs instead of 11.39 million TEUs over the twelve months of 2018.

On the contrary, the five major ports on the Atlantic coast - New York-New Jersey, Savannah, Norfolk, Houston and Charleston - experienced a 4.1 per cent increase in their cumulative container traffic, with 9.66 million TEUs.

The main shipping seaports in the US

The Port of Los Angeles

The Port of Los Angeles is located on the Pacific coast of the United States and it is the country’s busiest port with a traffic of 9.46 million TEU in 2019. For the third consecutive year, the port broke its record for general cargo, making it the most important port in the Western Hemisphere.

In early 2020, it announced that its traffic was holding up well despite the dangers of the trade war between the United States and China.

It is a major gateway for international trade and plays a key role in trade between the United States and China, as well as with other major Asian countries, including Japan and South Korea.

Website: Port of Los Angeles


The Port of Long Beach

The Port of Long Beach is the second largest port in the United States with a traffic of more than 8 million TEU every year. It is known as the most environmentally friendly port in the United States. Recent infrastructure and newly adopted measures have reduced diesel and gas emissions by 87%.

Located within a short distance of each other, the Port of Long Beach combined with the Port of Los Angeles are considered a gateway for trans-Pacific trade with Asia, it is essential for U.S. trade with some of the fastest-growing economies in the world. It is also one of the few ports in the country large enough to accommodate the world’s largest ships.

Website: Port of Long Beach


The Port of New York & New Jersey

The Port of New York and New Jersey is the third busiest port in the United States with a yearly traffic of 7.2 million TEU. It is also the largest port on the entire east coast of the country and a key gateway to the American economy and to one of the most concentrated markets in North America.

Following a sharp increase in TEU volumes in recent years, the port authority announced in 2019 a 30-year expansion and renovation plan aimed at increasing the port’s capacity to handle the world’s largest ships and equip its quays with the latest generation of equipment. The project also includes deepening the shipping lanes and the stated goal is to consolidate the region as the second largest trade hub in the United States.

Website: Port of New York & New Jersey

The Port of Savannah

The Port of Savannah is home to the largest single-terminal container facility in the Western Hemisphere and has two deepwater terminals. Located on the East coast of the United States, it handles a traffic of 4.35 million TEU each year.

A plan of $230 million to build a rail facility has been announced by the Georgia Ports Authority in partnership with the St Louis Regional Freightway to improve supply chain efficiency. This announcement is part of a larger $3 billion project by the port to increase its traffic to 8-9 million TEUs by 2030.

Website: Port of Savannah


The Port of Seattle-Tacoma NW Seaport Alliance

The Northwest Seaport Alliance, which includes the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, is the fifth busiest container port in the country and is located on the north west coast, with traffic of 3.47 million TEUs annually.

It is the fourth largest gateway to Asia and the main distribution points in the Midwest and the Ohio Valley. It provides easy trade links to some of the most important economies in the Pacific and is worth approximately $75 billion.

Tacoma installed four super-Panamax cranes in 2019 and Seattle launched a $500 million modernization program to improve cargo handling operations.

Website: Port of Seattle-Tacoma

*** We can also mention other American seaports which are less important but which can also handle cargo ships from China: Houston, Norfolk, Charleston, Oakland, Miami, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Port Everglades, New Orleans, Jacksonville, San Diego, Boston, San Juan (PR), Honolulu (HI)**

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Author: catramognu catramognu | Created at: 30.09.2021


catramognu catramognu over 1 year

China is one of the largest markets for cross-border commerce. While China enjoys a steady stream of demand, some US retailers are wary to jump on the bandwagon for fear of slow, order lead times. To help interested retailers procure Chinese wholesale, this article summarizes some commonly used shipping methods. Shipping from China to Us

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