When you import goods from China to Germany, you can transport your goods by sea, air, train, and express. And these shipping methods have different shipping costs and times. In this post, I’ll explain them in detail so that you can better choose your shipping.
How long does sea freight take?
Sea shipping time relates to the distance between the departure port and the destination port. If transporting your goods from Guangzhou to Hamburg, it takes around 30 days. And it takes 31-35 days from Shanghai to Hamburg. Meanwhile, there are two options to Germany by sea: fast shipping and slow shipping. If you choose slow shipping, the above transportation time will need another 1 week.
This shipping time is under normal conditions. If you meet peak season or Chinese major holidays, such as the Chinese New Year Festival and National day, the total shipping time will become longer. Because the goods need to wait at the port. You can contact your freight forwarder to arrange shipping in advance to avoid delays.
How much does sea freight cost?
There are 2 types of sea shipping: FCL and LCL. They are charged by different standards.
FCL is charged by container types and numbers. In FCL shipping, your freight forwarder books entire containers to only fill your goods. For example, from Ningbo to Hamburg, the price of a 40HQ container is $1,250. If you have 3 containers of goods:
FCL sea freight fee = $1,250 x 3 = $3,750
LCL is charged per CBM. Because your cargo is too small to fill an entire container, you must share the container space with others. For example, if you have a general cargo of 5CBM, also shipped from port to port, your freight forwarder quotes you $15/CBM:
LCL sea freight fee = $15/CBM x 5CBM = $75
The above price is from port to port. If you want to deliver the goods to your designated place, forwarders can also arrange them for you. Because they need to help you deal with customs clearance and pay clearance fees, they will quote you an all-included price for the whole shipping process. For example, the all-included price to your door of LCL is $1.3/kg, and you ship goods of 750kg:
All included Shipping Cost = $1.3/kg x 750kg = $975
In addition, the sea shipping rate is often changing. You need to contact your freight forwarder to get a real-time shipping rate. And you may find different shipping agents quote you different prices. This is because forwarders get agency prices from different shipping companies.
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How long does air freight take?
It takes around 1-2 days with a direct flight from a China airport to a German airport and 5 days for transit. If you need to deliver goods to your door, it takes another 2 days, including time of customs clearance and local logistics.
Whether you choose a direct flight or transit, the total shipping time, even to your door, is within around 8 days, much shorter than sea shipping time. Please note that some airlines have flights every day, and some only have 3-4 flights a week. You can ask your freight forwarder to get the specific time.
How much does air freight cost?
Air freight fee is charged by the larger one of the actual weight and DIM weight.
Actual weight is the total weight of goods and packaging on the scale. The DIM Weight = Total Shipment Volume （cm³) / 6000 = Total Shipment Volume (CBM) * 167kg
Suppose transport 750kg (5CBM) of general cargo from Shanghai to Hamburg by air, and the price is $3/kg. Then the calculation is:
DIM weight = 5CBM x 167kg = 835kg
DIM weight > the actual weight (750kg), so forwarders charge you by DIM weight.
Then the shipping fee = $3/kg x 835kg = $2,505
Please note that this is only the price of shipping from a China airport to a German airport. If you want to deliver to your place, you also need to pay import customs clearance fees and local delivery costs. Don’t worry. Freight forwarders also can help you deal with such issues.
Here is an all-included price for your reference. Still, you want to send the cargo mentioned above (actual weight 750kg, volumetric weight 835kg). The all-included price your forwarder quotes you is $4.5/kg:
All-included air freight cost = $4.5/kg x 835kg = $3,757.5
In addition, air freight rates also change in real-time. It is recommended to confirm the price with your freight forwarder.
Jingsourcing can provide the latest air freight rates and the best shipping solution.
What is the transit time of railway freight?
Your cargo could also be shipped by railway freight from China to Germany. The delivery time is between air shipping and sea shipping. It mainly depends on the departure station. For example, it takes 11 days from Xi’an to Hamburg and 18 days from Yiwu to Duisburg.
Besides Xi’an and Yiwu, there are many rail ports in China to Germany, such as Zhengzhou, Changsha, Chengdu, Xiamen, etc. You can choose the port with the shortest distance to ship your cargo according to your current situation.
But the railway shipping time is easily affected by port congestion. Because China State Railway Group will adjust the train shift according to the congestion situation and special material needs. And then the ordinary trains will be postponed, ranging from 2-3 days at least, to 7-10 days at most.
Meanwhile, after the China Railway Express crosses the border, the railway plate needs to be replaced with that of the other countries before departure. And it would be slowed down by weather, epidemics, staff, etc. And the whole transportation time will be longer.
What is the railway freight cost?
Railway shipping has two modes of transportation: FTL and LTL. Your goods are usually delivered directly to your place by train, and there are few direct arrivals at the station. The railway shipping cost is between sea freight cost and air freight cost. Similar to FCL shipping, FTL is also charged by container type and number. Because FCL cost to door is much lower than FTL cost, few people choose FTL. For specific prices, you can consult your forwarder.
LTL is charged per kg. It means your cargo is too small to fill the whole truck and should share the space with other people’s cargo. Now let’s see an example of LTL calculation. Suppose you have 150kg of general cargo, and the shipping price is $1.3/kg.
the LTL shipping fee = $1.3/kg x 150kg = $195
From the above, we can know the railway freight cost is almost half of the air shipping cost, and the transportation time is about 2 weeks shorter than the sea shipping time. If you are urgent to receive goods and don’t want to pay the high shipping fees, railway freight is an ideal option.
Please note the railway shipping price is also changing. You should contact your forwarder to get the real-time shipping price.
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What is the shipping time and cost of express?
Besides the above three shipping methods, express delivery is also common to ship goods from China to Germany. You can use DHL, UPS, and FedEx to ship your goods. They usually take around 1 week to get to your place. And if you send your goods from Yiwu, it may need 6-9 days to places that are not very close to city centers in Germany. The specific transportation time relates to the delivery distance.
The calculation of express cost is similar to that of air freight. It also charges the heavier one by comparing the actual weight and DIM weight. But the formula in express delivery is slightly different. In express, you need to know
DIM weight = Total Shipment Volume (cm³) / 5000 = Total Shipment Volume (CBM) * 200kg
For goods < 20kg, the minimum charging unit is 0.5kg, like 12.5kg charged for 12.3kg. And it has the first weight and additional weight. The first weight is 0.5kg and the excess part is the additional weight. They have different charging standards. At this time, your forwarder quotes you the price per 0.5kg. For example, the price of the first weight is $21.6/0.5kg and the additional weight is $5.8/0.5kg.
For goods ≥ 20kg, the minimum charging unit is 1kg, like 22kg charged for 21.2kg. And your forwarder quotes you the price per kg.
Now let’s see an example. Suppose you have a batch of general cargo–10 cartons of 70*30*40 (cm) and each weighs 13kg. You will send it from China to Germany by FedEx. Your forwarder quotes you $6.3/kg. Then the express shipping fee is calculated as:
DIM weight = 70*30*40 (cm³) x 10/5000 = 168kg
Actual weight = 13kg x 10 = 130kg
DIM weight > actual weight, so the chargeable weight is charged by 168kg
Then the total express fee = $6.3/kg x 168kg = $1,058.4
The above price is quoted by freight forwarders. It may be more expensive if you directly contact express companies. Now many freight forwarders cooperate with major international express companies. They can get a better price, which will be about 20%-50% cheaper than the official price, and the shipping time is the same as the official one.
In addition, some forwarders can offer you other services like free packaging, warehousing, product inspection, etc., saving you a lot of time and the cost of shipping.
To sum up, sea shipping is the cheapest among all shipping methods. It is suitable for a large volume of goods that is not urgent to be received. Railway freight is ideal for both shipping time and cost. It is also a popular shipping way from China to Germany now. The other two shipping methods take a shorter time, but the price is also higher. So you need to choose the most suitable transportation method according to your current situation and budget.
As a leading sourcing company, Jingsourcing can help you source premium quality goods and solve any problems that occur. We also have long-time cooperative freight forwarders, so we can offer you competitive prices to ship your goods to your door.
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