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Shipping from China to USA experienced huge disruptions in 2021

In this blog you'll learn everything you need to know about how to ship from China to the USA and hire freight forwarders.

Shipping from China to USA has been challenging in 2021. It has seen a dramatic rate increase and slow inbound time. More FBA businesses are looking for ways to reduce supply chain cost and lead time.

Finding the right freight forwarder partner is the key to making sure your business operates smoothly. A reliable supplier and manufacturer can reduce your operating complexity when shipping goods to United States.

International shipping requires expertise in laws in different jurisdictions. It is important to find someone who can provide professional logistics service.

FBA – Fulfillment by Amazon, from China to USA

Fulfillment by Amazon (aka FBA) and Fulfillment by merchant (aka FBM) are two primary fulfillment methods used by Amazon marketplaces sellers. FBA requires you or your suppliers to ship products to Amazon warehouse. When a sale happens, Amazon will fulfill the order and send the product to the customer. Amazon is responsible for packaging, local shipping, customer support and returned order.

FBA sellers has advantages over FBM sellers to get Prime selling privilege. It is much easier to meet the performance metrics. FBA sellers also have the advantage to win Buy Box and improve sales velocity. Buy Box is an Amazon feature that Amazon assigns the sales to a particular seller when the buyers click on the “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” button.

Product Selection

Product selection is crucial for you to run a successful FBA business. The very first steps is to decide what kind of product you want to sell. This will generally determine the gross profit. The product you are going to sell should not be patented by others. If they do, the supplier should have got written authorization from the patent holder and sell the product. In terms of logistics cost, always get the size and weight of each individual product and each carton. Then you should be able to get a good estimate of the shipping cost of your product. Here is the link for you to get an instant quote for product shipping.

https://www.forwarderone.com/cost-calculator.html. In order to get an accurate shipping estimate, you need a few more pieces of information.

Shall I use a Amazon FBA freight forwarder or use direct shipping?

After your product is manufactured, you need to ship your product to Amazon fulfillment centers in the United States or other parts of the world. You may find a freight forwarder yourself or ask your product manufacturer to send the cargo over (direct shipping).

There are pros and cons to use both:

Find a freight forwarder


  • have broader route access.
  • lower the total shipping cost by consolidating freights of different sellers.
  • Provide value-add services such as inspection service, cargo preparation service, warehouse storage services


  • Extra relationship to manage
  • Hard to find a reliable service provider

Use direct shipping from China


  • Reduced transit time; no delay in handling product between suppliers
  • Only 1 supplier relationship to manage


  • Lack of quality inspection
  • No quality assurance
  • Manufacturer does not understand Amazon FBA requirements

How to find the right freight forwarder in China for FBA sellers?

If you decide to find a freight forwarder on a platform such as Alibaba.com, it is important to verify the authenticity before placing an order. You need to pick one with the knowledge and expertise that matches your requirements. There are a few basic criteria:

  • Knows how to import to your destination country. Trade requirements and regulations varies from country to country. Each seller imports unique products. You should try to find a freight forwarder who specializes in the country you are importing to.
  • Knows Amazon’s requirements for inbound shipments – Amazon has specific requirements for inbound shipments. Most traditional freight forwarders do not know how to prepare cargos for Amazon warehouse, which leads to delay in shipments and loss in sales.
  • Has a well-connected network to handle different types of air freight, ocean freight. FBA sellers need different modes of transportation. When you want to save cost, ocean shipping is the way to go. If it is time sensitive, you might go for air shipping.
  • Has a very transparent service and price.

A lot of freight forwarders in the market do not show their customers a clear quotation. They only give out a spreadsheet that lists out prices per kilogram/cbm. It leads to confusion of the total prices. The customers might end up getting a bill that’s surprisingly high. To be sure that you are getting the right deal for your needs, we recommend picking a freight forwarder who is transparent about the service level and pricing.

  • Can provide detailed tracking service

Important Chinese holiday to watch out for when shipping from China to USA in 2022

Here are the list of Chinese holidays you should be aware of. They can affect your lead time and shipping cost dramatically.

New Year’s Day (Jan 1)

Chinese celebrate New Year’s Day on the same day as in the West. Most company will take that day or even 3 days off.

Chinese New Year (Jan. 31 – Feb. 6)

This is the most important public holiday through out the year. This holiday lasts between 10 days to a month. Most worker in China will take at least 2 weeks off to return to their hometown during that time. So you need to make sure your inventory would last at least to late march before Chinese New Year starts.

Qingming Festival (Apr. 5)

One day holiday for people to visit their tombs of  ancestors and commemorate their lives.

Labor Day (May 1)

Dragon Boat Festival (Jun. 3)

Mid-Autumn Festival ( Sept. 10 )

National Day (Oct 1-7)