Shipping By Boat From China: How Long Does It Take? | LakeWizard

Shipping from China to the United States usually takes a few days to a month or more via airplane. But, how long does it take for shipping by boat?

China’s exports constitute a major bulk of supplies all over the world, including in the US. Due to the exponential growth of imports from China, these land and air routes are becoming saturated day by day. There's a need to find some ways of sea freight for shipping from China. But first, we must analyze the time required for shipping by sea.

Shipments from China to the United States by boat can take 15 to 30 days or more. The exact time required will depend upon the size of the shipment, the departure port, the average speed of the boat, and the area where supplies are to be shipped.

Wholesale dealers often import products made in China for sale in the US. They've got a variety of shipping choices, including air freight, express shipping, and sea freight. For small size and dimensions of the shipment, there are some other choices as well, for example, Regular Post and ePacket.

We have analyzed the time required for shipping by boat and compared it with other shipping methods. Our analysis will allow you to pick up the most efficient way to transport goods from China to the United States.

Table of contents


How long does it take for shipping from China?

A shipment may take about 1 to 40 days to arrive at its final destination from China to the US. However, the exact figure will be determined by the mode of freight you are using and the place where it needs to be arrived at.

Here is the rough estimate for different durations of shipping for different modes of transportation:

  • Express shipping: 1-5 days
  • Air freight: 2-15 days
  • Sea freight: 15-40 days.

Why do the numbers vary significantly for sea freight?

Well! We can't give you a certain number calculated in exact days, hours, and minutes to predict how long it will take for your shipment to arrive by sea. Because it depends on the conveyance you are using, whether it's a large cargo ship, a private boat, or a coaster.

How long does it take to ship from China by boat?

It takes about 15 days or more to ship from China to the West Coast of the United States by boat. For the East Coast of the United States, the duration is 25 days or more. The shipping time is further regulated by different factors discussed in the next section.

Variables to be considered

The following variables should be carefully considered before estimating the time of shipping from China to the US:

Nature of products

What's being shipped is an important thing to be considered. Small items like garments, shoes, or jewelry imported by a retailer would be easier to carry by boat. On the contrary, an average-sized boat would not be able to carry large containers like what a cargo ship would do.

Size of the shipment

How many supplies are being carried is another factor. The greater the size of the shipment, the more difficult it is to be carried by boat. Since a boat is less stable as compared to a large cargo ship, one has to maintain its speed while carrying a heavy load. If a large load is to be transported, one may expect a delay in arrival due to the compromised speed of the boat.

The average speed of the boat

The freight boats and even the cargo ships may vary in their speeds due to the varied mechanical performances. The quality and efficiency of propellors, the capacity of its motor, and the load on the boat will affect its speed. Moreover, the expertise of the crew and the condition of the weather may also affect the speed of the boat. The greater the average speed is, the lesser the time will be required for shipping.

Port of arrival

The location of the port of arrival also matters. As discussed earlier, 15 or more days are required to ship from China to the West Coast of the United States by boat. For the East Coast of the United States, 25 days or more are required to ship using the same boat.

Final destination

What is the final destination of your shipment? Does the shipment need to be delivered to an office or a warehouse? If it is so, how far is that warehouse or office located from the port of arrival? The time required for the last-mile transport must also be added up in your calculation.

Chinese holidays

Not only does the port of arrival matter, but the port of departure also matters in affecting the time of shipping. This is especially important to remember during the Chinese holidays. During holidays like Chinese New Year, there's almost a two-week off for the public. The holidays also extend from 1 to 7 days during Chinese Labor Day, the Dragon Boat Festival, and the National Day of the POC. Since there's no labor on these holidays and the services are also closed to mark the events, you must expect a delay in shipping.

How can you reduce the time of shipping?

If you want no other option than a boat, you can reduce your shipping time from China to the US by following these measures:

Keep Track of the holidays

Keep track of both the Chinese and American holidays to avoid possible delays due to lack of services. The right thing to do in such a case is to plan your boat shipment as far ahead before the holidays as possible. If you don't, you must expect a delay. You'll have to wait a long time for your shipment to arrive.

Take a shorter route

If you want to cut down on your shipping time, you must take a shorter route from China to the US. For example, The shipping will take much lesser time to reach a port located on the West Coast of the United States as compared to the East Coast.

Last-mile transportation service

If the shipment is needed to be transported from the port to the warehouse or an office, you must select the transportation facility carefully. The transportation service you use must be able to ship your goods in a shorter time.

Is a freight boat the best conveyance for shipping from China?

Shipping by boat has its pros and cons. There is no one-size-fits-all method for shipping from China. One must compromise between the duration of shipment and the cost of shipment. No doubt, shipping by boat is the slowest method of shipping from China, but it is the most effective one in terms of cost.

Comparison of air freight and sea freight

Sea Freight

Air Freight

Sea Freight is frequently used to ship products with larger dimensions.

Air freight is more suitable for products smaller than 1 cubic meter in volume.

Fragile items are not suitable to be shipped by boats and cargo ships.

Shipping fragile and high-value items by air is safer than shipping by sea.

Sea freight is time-consuming and is more susceptible to delays.

Air freight is highly efficient in terms of the time required for shipping.

Shipping by sea costs you less than shipping by air.

Shipping by air costs you more than shipping by sea.


Brian Samson

Brian Samson

I have a deep love of houseboating and the life-changing experiences houseboating has brought into my life. I’ve been going to Lake Powell on our family’s houseboat for over 30 years and have made many great memories, first as a child and now as a parent. My family has a passion for helping others have similar fun, safe experiences on their houseboat.

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