The Shipping Process from International Supplier to the U.S.
The shipping process from China to the U.S. includes several stops and third-party handlers. Once the inventory has been purchased from a supplier, the shipping process begins. First, transport the FBA shipment to the nearest port. The two terms of sale most often selected between you and your supplier are Freight on Board (FOB) and Ex Works (EXW). FOB means that the supplier has included transportation in the contract and will organize shipment delivery to the port. If not, a third-party transportation company needs to be hired to pick up the products from the supplier and deliver the goods to port of departure (EXW).
At the port, a freight forwarder is required to transport the inventory to the destination country (in this case, the U.S). There are three different freight forwarding methods: Air Freight, Air Express, and Ocean (or Sea) Freight.
Ocean, or sea, freight is the most affordable option and has a transit time of about 2 to 4 weeks on the water. Freight forwarders base their cost of transport on the shipment volume, so it is recommended that shipments with large and/or heavy goods use sea freight. With a longer transit time than air freight and air express we suggest planning ahead to make sure your shipment arrive by need. Ocean freight does not include customs and domestic transportation, see here for customs process for sea freight shipments.
* Most affordable
* 2 to 4 week transit time
* Does not include customs and domestic transport
Air freight is the second most affordable freight forwarder option. Air freight transit time is about 4 to 14 days and the price is based on the volumetric weight or actual weight of the cargo, whatever costs more. Air freight will transport the cargo from airport to airport and does not include customs and domestic transportation at destination, see here for customs process for Air Freight.
* Second most affordable rate
* 4 to 14 Days transit time
* Does not include customs and domestic transportation
Air express is the the fastest method of shipping but is also most expensive. The transit time ranges from 2 to 7 days. The price is based on the volumetric weight or actual weight of the cargo, whatever costs more. Air express includes the transportation of the cargo from door to door, including pickup at supplier, air freight, domestic transportation and customs clearance.
* Typically highest rate
* 2 to 7 days transit
* Does include customs and domestic transportation.