The seller who imports from China to Amazon should have the same headache, that is, the freight from China to Amazon FBA accounts for a large proportion of the total cost. Saving this part of the cost is to increase the profit margin, which should be of interest to every Amazon seller. Today we will share it with you


Shipping from China to Amazon FBA: 3 shipping way comparison

Here are 3 common ways that shipping from China to Amazon FBA. Air Freight & Ocean Freight & Express Freight.

Each with its own characteristics. To give you a better understanding, I will make a comparison of 4 aspects. There are three levels of contrast:

: So-so

✰✰: good

✰✰✰: perfect



Typically, you will hear that shipping by the ocean is cheaper than shipping by air. And typically, this is true; And shipping by air is totally cheaper than shipping by the ocean. However, some situation also needs to be considered.

The airline charges you by what they call chargeable weight. The chargeable weight is calculated according to the combination of the weight and size of the goods. Shipping companies charge freight per container for shipping in standard containers (the most common sizes are 20 ‘and 40 ‘). Although weight allows for shipping companies’ prices, their charges often depend more on the size of the cargo. If you ship less than one container, your price is usually determined by cubic meters.


When it comes to speed, there is no doubt that express freight is usually much faster than air freight and sea freight. That’s why it’s also the most expensive, right.

Many sea cargoes take about a month to arrive, air transport takes 3-7 days and express delivery takes 1-2 days. For most commercial shipments, the sooner the better.


Reliability is something we all look for in people, businesses, products, and services. How do sea, air, and express compare with each other in this category?

Flights are delayed by weather and other factors, but airline schedules often top the list. Shipping companies are notoriously bad at this. It is common for ships to be late, even wet goods and lost goods in the typhoon. However, compared with the express company, it is not much better. There are often cases that the couriers throw the packages and damage the goods.


Compared with air freight and sea freight, express freight is the most flexible.

Because it can provide door-to-door service, and customers do not have to go through customs clearance. Especially for many Amazon sellers who without the ability of customs clearance, express freight is very convenient.

5.Environmental Impact

Air freight produces much higher carbon dioxide emissions than sea freight. This allows air freight to have a larger carbon fingerprint than sea freight.

And many express routes proceed every day, much air pollution is not to be underestimated.


Shipping from China to Amazon FBA: express freight

Choose express freight from China to Amazon FBA, you will get a fast speed, higher flexibility also cost much more money.

Concerning Amazon sellers, we recommend two delivery methods: FedEx and UPS

1.Recommended express:  FedEx and UPS

Express is suitable for small volume, it could be used for sending product from 5 – 500 kilograms. FedEx and UPS are good for you to shiping from China to Amazon FBA, they will handle everything including import-export process and customs process. You need not to do anything.

You can track the location of your package on their website. Apart from FedEx and UPS, there are still a lot of express companies that offer better prices, but, usually, they are not as professional in the customs clearance in the United States.

2.The price accounting

Here’s the formula to calculate dimensional weight:

The result gives you the Dimensional Weight used by the Express Company.

Therefore, as a reminder; Dimensional Weight = L * W *H/ 5,000

Usually, FedEx price is $6-$7 per kg, and people can use this number for roughly calculating the express fee for sending FBA inventory to Amazon from China. 


3.Tips for cost-effective shipping method:

1.if your products with small volumes, the higher unit price that shipped from China to Amazon FBA, you can choose express freight. Time is money, you can get more sales can use your Chinese factory FedEx account to pay the freight because paying in China is much lower than what you pay in the United States.

3. So many boxes you can separate some small box to shipped from China to Amazon FBA, it will help you save the cost.


Shipping from China to Amazon FBA: air freight

Air cargo is used by global importers and exporters when they need to get goods somewhere rapidly and reliably.

While 90% of everything is shipped by ocean freight, air freight connects the world faster, cutting China-US freight shipping time from 20-30 days by the ocean to only three days by air cargo.


1.The price accounting

The air freight price will also likely include:

  • Fuel surcharges
  • Security surcharges
  • Container freight station/terminal handling charges
  • Airport transfers

2.Some goods shipped by air freight from China to Amazon FBA.

Electronics. Electrical goods need to go through special channels

Apparel. Seasonal trends in clothing can shift fast. As a result, companies generally need to get clothing from factories to stores as quickly as possible. Again, clothing’s small size and high value make it a great tradeoff.

Pharmaceuticals. Given their small size and value, medical goods are frequently shipped by air.

Seasonal shipments. Whatever the product is, if there’s high international demand for a product that requires bolstering down a supply chain, it will generally be shipped by air.

3.Tips for cost-effective shipping method:

1. If your products quantities are larger than not suitable for shipping by express freight, and also need to consider the delivery time, please choose air freight, shipping the goods from China to FBA.

2. Please consolidate all the package and ship together, that will help you save the cost.

Shipping from China to Amazon FBA: sea freight

If the quantity of your goods is large and the time requirement is not high, you can choose sea freight. You will save the shipping cost too much.


1.Container Type – 20’GP/40’GP/40’HQ

20’GP is designed to carry more weight than voluminous cargo.

Example – minerals, metals, machinery, etc. all of which are heavy goods.

40’GP is designed to carry voluminous cargo rather than heavy cargo.

Example – furniture, tires, toys, etc. all of which are voluminous goods.

Though the volume of 40ft is twice than the 20ft, the max load of both is the same, no more than 27~28 ton in China, most cases under 20 ton. While you can load more than double the 20ft cargo volume into a 40ft, you cannot load double the 20ft cargo weight into a 40ft.

The ocean rates from China for a 40′ container is less than double of a 20′ container – you may take it as rough 1.5 times for easy reference. And the 40’HQ cost the same as the 40’GP, sometimes higher US$100~200.

In addition to the above three common containers, there are special types if your cargo is not so regular, such as Reefer Container, Open Top Container, Flat-Rack Container, Tank Container, etc.

No matter which type of the container is, you can find many useful data printed on the door, such as CNTR NO., MAX. GROSS, TARE, NET, CU.CAP…


2.Tips for cost-effective shipping method:

If you are brand new, let the supplier handle the delivery as far as possible. Then you can focus on booming your business. Simple but costly.

If you have gained some experiences, then you can try to control your goods delivery through a forwarder by yourself. Simple and cheap.

It’s your choice. We suggest contacting a good forwarding agent as early as possible, especially a local one with international shipping options, hopefully, CFC. They can be helpful in many ways, not only the logistics process but also supply chain management. RunSourcing, the China biggest sourcing agent can help you process everyhting of importing from China.   What is a sourcing agent?



To sum up, there is no the most cost-effective and best mode of the shipping method, but the most suitable mode of shipping methods according to the needs of the Amazon seller. According to the specific request to choose the most appropriate, it must be the most cost-effective.

For example, In the peak season, in order to catch up with the sales volume and meet the needs of customers, although express freight and air freight are more expensive than sea freight, they still have to be chosen. Because the increase in sales volume drives the change of the whole flow, which undoubtedly increases the cost and saves the expense.

If it is in the off-season, although the time of sea freight is relatively long, it will not cause a great impact on the whole, which will save the shipping cost.

What we need to know is when to choose what kind of shipping methods.


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