If you’re shipping from China, read this blog to learn about the costs involved as well as the main routes you can ship along. Also, learn how you can lease containers from 1,500+ vetted suppliers at the best rates on Container xChange.

China is a global manufacturing hub and shipments from here are exported all across the world. Although shipping from China is immensely popular, it’s not without its challenges. During peak seasons in China, particularly before major holidays like the Golden Week (GW) and the Chinese New Year (CNY), there’s a surge in demand for containers, creating shortages and significantly driving up shipping costs.This means you’ll need to be organized and plan in advance if you want to transport cargo from China during these holidays. On top of this, finding containers from reliable suppliers, at leasing rates that suit you can be tricky.

Luckily, Container xChange is here to help. We’re an online container marketplace for leasing and trading shipping containers in over 2,500 locations worldwide. We’ve got 50,000+ containers available from 1,500 vetted members. 

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Shipping from China: An overview of China’s shipments

The Chinese market exports a diverse range of products, comprising telephones, computers, integrated circuits, cars, and electric batteries. , in October 2023, the country exported $275 billion worth of goods, maintaining a trade balance of $56.5 billion.

Among China’s primary trade partners, the United States held a significant share, importing goods worth $43.2 billion, followed by Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam. This highlights the extensive reach and demand for Chinese exports across different countries. As a result, companies employ various shipping methods to transport their cargo from China. 

What are the different shipping methods from China? 

There are different ways you can ship cargo from China. Let’s take a look at them below so you can choose your preferred shipping method.

-Air freight: Air freight from China is a swift and efficient shipping method. It’s ideal for high-value or time-sensitive goods as it ensures express shipping to countries across the globe. It’s suitable for urgent shipments. However, the air freight costs are higher than any other method.

-Road freight: Road freight is a fast and reliable way of shipping from China. It forms a fundamental part of China’s transportation network. The China-Europe Railway Express, a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, has revolutionized road freight, offering an efficient overland route connecting China to Europe. This extensive network enhances trade connectivity, enabling faster deliveries and express shipping from China.

-Sea freight: Sea freight or ocean freight stands out as the most cost-effective and widely used method for shipping goods from China. It’s highly efficient for transporting large volumes of cargo in international shipping, making it a top choice for sea freight companies due to its lower shipping cost and capacity for handling large quantities of cargo.

Connect with the top freight forwarders in China here to ensure a seamless delivery process for your cargo. Or, you can lease containers for one-way easily from the Container xChange platform. All you’ve to do is fill in your leasing requirements and you’ll get offers from vetted container suppliers. 

We offer comparable and competitive shipping rates with no hidden fees, thanks to our complete market price transparency. The shipping rates you see are all stated upfront and are negotiable too so you can be sure you’re paying the right price. Check out leasing offers from China to your desired location by clicking the banner below and save money on your next shipment by paying low prices!

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Main shipping routes from China

In general, there are three main shipping routes from China via the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Indian Ocean.

Pacific Ocean Routes

  • Ships navigating the Pacific route from China pass southward through the East China Sea before moving northward through the Sea of Japan and the Okhotsk Sea, eventually entering the North Pacific Ocean. This route facilitates access to the western regions of Latin America and west coast ports in the United States. The route also provides access to countries such as New Zealand, Australia, and parts of western Canada.

Atlantic Ocean Routes

  • Ships also opt for the Atlantic route, sailing southward from China through the Indian Ocean and around the Cape of Good Hope. This path allows access to Western Europe, the East Coast of the US, the Suez Canal, the Gulf, the Mediterranean region, and the Red Sea.

Indian Ocean Routes

  • Another frequently utilized route is via the Indian Ocean, often reserved for oil transportation. This route connects China’s products to destinations such as the Persian Gulf, East Africa, Western Europe, and North America by charting a course toward the Cape of Good Hope, enabling a crucial link in international sea freight trade.

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How long does shipping from China take? 

If you’re shipping cargo from China, it’s important to know how long the shipping process takes as shipping duration from China vary across different routes. The Pacific route typically takes about 20-30 days to reach the west coast of the US, Latin America, Australia, and New Zealand. Meanwhile, the Atlantic route generally spans 30-40 days to reach the destination port in Western Europe, the US East Coast, and the Mediterranean region.

Seasonal holidays like the CNY or GW can cause potential delays due to factory closures and heightened demand. Additionally, Full Container Load (FCL) shipments usually adhere to more predictable schedules compared to Less than Container Load (LCL) shipments. This is because in FCL shipping you fill an entire container. Whereas in LCL shipping you share container space and it involves consolidating goods from multiple suppliers. It can potentially elongate the overall shipping time. Port delays and port congestion can also increase the shipping time. 

China shipment tracking: How to track your containers with ease on xChange

As you can see, the shipping time depends on a variety of factors. It’s important to keep track of your shipments if you’re in the business of shipping cargo regularly. This way, you can inform your customers of any shipping delays and plan ahead to make sure your shipment arrives at its final destination on time.

One easy way to do this is through the xChange tracking tool. Through this tool, we help you track your containers and give you automated near-real-time updates. Regardless of whether you’ve secured your containers through xChange. This means you can track all containers in your inventory, including the units you’re using on the xChange platform and outside of it.

We give you automated updates on:

  • Pick-up reminders
  • Container ETAs
  • Return schedules
  • Delay warnings
  • Route changes
  • Container close to final destination update
  • Auto-alert system in the event of blank sailings

Simply visit the xChange tracking tool and type your container number or bill of lading number to track your containers in near-real-time.

3 main shipping ports in China

China has a long coastline that is dotted with various harbors and small and large ports. Here are the top three ports in China according to the container volume they handle. 

Port of Shanghai 

Port of Shanghai maintained the title as the world’s busiest container port in 2023 with a 3.6% increase in container volumes. The volume at Shanghai port exceeded, 1.7 million TEU higher than the throughput in 2022–making it the busiest port in the world. The container routes of the Port of Shanghai cover over 700 ports in more than 200 countries and regions worldwide, with over 320 weekly deliveries.

Port of Shenzhen 

Shenzhen is ranked second nationally and third globally in cargo thoroughfare. The Port of Shenzhen is located in China’s Guangdong Province, south of the Pearl River Delta. It’s one of China’s most significant harbors in terms of foreign trade and handling a high volume of cargo. Several ports along Shenzhen’s coastline are referred to as the Port of Shenzhen and they cover 260 kilometers of coastline. The Port of Shenzhen also works as a feeder port, serves over 50 global shipping lines and ocean carriers, has over 130 international routes, and services nearly 10,000 vessels annually.

Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan

Comprised of the ports of Ningbo and Zhoushan, this port lies on the east coast across Shanghai on Hangzhou Bay. The port is connected to 90 countries and 560 ports. It’s a multi-purpose port with nearly 200 berths, of which about 40 can process ships over 10,000 DWT. that the port handled a high volume of 35.05 million standard containers in 2023, a year-on-year growth of 5.5 percent.  It has become the third port in the world, after the ports of Shanghai and Singapore, to achieve an annual container throughput above 35 million standard containers.

If you’re looking for containers in any of these ports to ship your cargo, we’ve got you covered. On the Container xChange platform, you can find multiple leasing offers from popular ports in China to your desired destination. Negotiate the offers and reduce the shipping costs of your next shipment by leasing containers at the best prices. Simply click the banner below to check out leasing offers from 1,500+ vetted container suppliers.

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Shipping from China to different countries

China maintains a trading relationship with many countries across the globe. Let’s look at some of China’s most popular shipping destinations. 

Shipping from China to the USA 

Shipping from China to the USA is a popular trade route for importing goods from Asia. China is one of the largest trading partners of the US. ,  in November 2023 the top cargo shipped from China to the US were telephones ($5.41B), computers ($4.11B), light fixtures ($1.1B), seats ($1.1B), and motor vehicles. 

Pick-up charges: The average pick-up charge of 40ft containers from China to the US is $439.

Check out container leasing offers from 1,500+ vetted suppliers from China to the US here.

Shipping from China to Australia 

The majority of Australia’s imports come from China. As an important trading partner, China exported $6.38B and imported $12.8B from Australia in November 2023

The main route that companies take for shipping from China to Australia is from popular Chinese ports like Shenzhen, Ningbo, and Shanghai. The average pickup charge on this route for 20ft containers is $100. It takes about 30-40 days in port-to-port delivery for goods to reach Australia. 

Check out container leasing offers from 1,500+ vetted suppliers from China to Australia here. 

Shipping from China to India 

China and India also share a close trading relationship. Some of the main products that China exports to India are computers, telephones, lithium-ion batteries, and semiconductor devices. 

The key ports in China from where cargo is exported are Shenzhen, Nansha, Ningbo, and Shanghai. In India, the cargo is delivered to ports in Chennai, Kolkatta, Mundra, and Nhava Sheva. It takes around 22 days for cargo to reach India from China via sea freight. 

According to our latest Where Are All the Containers report, many shipping companies are ramping up their services in Asia, unveiling new routes and expanding existing ones in recent months. CMA CGM has introduced a fresh direct loop between western India and China, labeled the Asia Subcontinent Express 2 (AS2). The AS2 route, set to run weekly, will span Shanghai, Ningbo, Shekou, Singapore, Colombo, Mundra, Nhava Sheva, Singapore, and back to Shanghai. 

Download the free report and find out how this can impact your business and freight rates on this route. 

Shipping from China to UAE

In November 2023, China exported $5B and imported $3.04B from the United Arab Emirates. Between November 2022 and November 2023, the exports of China to UAE have increased by $141M (2.91%). The top exports of China to UAE were computers, telephones, and synthetic filament yarn woven fabric. The top imports of China from the UAE were crude petroleum, petroleum gas, ethylene polymers, and refined petroleum. 

The transit time from China to the UAE can take anywhere from 30 to 45 days via sea freight. With the advancement of the Belt and Road Initiative, rail freight has emerged as one of the expanding shipping options for transporting goods between these regions. Based on the route and the availability of trains, it can take approximately 10 to 20 days for goods to reach their destination via rail. 

If you’re looking to ship goods between these countries, you can take the help of various vetted freight forwarders on the Container xChange platform. Connect with freight forwarders in UAE to move your cargo efficiently.

Or, Check out container leasing offers from 1,500+ vetted suppliers from China to UAE here. 

Shipping from China to Germany 

The exports of China to Germany have decreased by $-1.55B (-16.7%) from $9.28B to $7.73B between November 2022 and November 2023. Yet, the two countries share a close trading relationship.

Shipping from China to Germany via sea takes up to 60 days. Many Chinese suppliers also opt for rail freight which takes about 13-14 days. The top 3 shipping lanes for shipping sea freight from China to Germany are: 

  • Shipping from Shenzhen to Hamburg
  • Shipping from Shanghai to Frankfurt
  • Shipping from Shanghai to Hamburg

Now that you know all about shipping from China, read on to find out the most cost-effective option to source containers from here.

Get containers for shipping one-way from China at the best rates on Container xChange

With the Container xChange leasing platform, you can lease containers from China to anywhere in the world within a few minutes. Simply fill in your desired container type and your destination on our platform. You’ll then find multiple leasing offers from 1,500+ vetted suppliers. We have 50,000+ containers available in 2,500+ locations globally. 

You can choose any container type you need at competitive rates and keep your transaction safe with our easy payment handling feature – the xChange wallet. And with one-way container journey from China, you’ll help curb empty container repositioning too!

You can find verified container suppliers on our site who are trying to ship their boxes from China to different countries. Contact them directly (via chats and calls)  to source your box and negotiate rates, terms, and conditions. 

You get all this on a single platform. Make your move today and grab a great deal on your container right now by clicking the banner below.

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Shipping from China: Common FAQs

What is the cheapest way to ship from China?

The cheapest option to ship from China is through sea freight. Shipping via sea may take longer than other methods, but it’s the most affordable way to move cargo from China.

What is the best shipping method from China?

The best shipping method from China depends on your budget and time. If you’re looking for an express freight option, then using air freight is the best option. However, it is also the most expensive method of shipping. If you’re looking for the most affordable option, then it’s shipping via sea freight which might take longer.

What is the difference between FCL and LCL shipping from China?

Full container load (FCL) means that your goods fill an entire 20ft shipping container or 40ft standard dry container. If you’ve got large cargo volumes, FCL will save you money because FCL is priced at a flat rate. Less than container load (LCL) shipment, on the other hand, is ideal for smaller shipments that don’t fill up the entire container. In this case, your goods are packed alongside other shippers’ cargo.