Transit & Shipping Time for China Freight

Transit time is the total time it takes for a shipment to move from one location to another, including loading, unloading, and any layovers or stops along the way, measured in days for freight from China.

Transit time applies to any mode of transport used to ship goods. A shipment can be delivered from point A to point B using cargo ship, plane, train, and truck. Sometimes even a combination.

  • Before the advent of steamships in the mid-19th century, a circumnavigation of the globe took about a year, a journey significantly delayed by the roundabouts of the Cape of Good Hope and the Straits of Magellan.
  • The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw a series of innovations that greatly improved circumnavigation, notably the construction of the Suez (1869) and Panama Canals (1914) and steam propulsion.
  • At the beginning of the 20th century, circumnavigation time was reduced to about 100 days.
  • By 1925, with the advent of fast liner services, circumnavigation time was reduced to 60 days.
  • In the second half of the 20th century, the advent of jet aircraft reduced circumnavigation time to about 48 hours, if three long-distance flights, direct and connecting, could be booked. For example, you can book flight sequences from Beijing to New York, New York to Dubai, and Dubai to Beijing to achieve a global voyage.

Made in China products are competitive when it comes to quality, cost and productivity. But international trading companies also have to take into account logistics and transportation issues. Among which, shipping cost and transit time are the most important two factors.

transit time head

We have a basic guide to the freight cost in another post. So this post will focus on the other one:

How long will your china freight arrive?

Freight shipping transit time is impacted by factors including distance, shipping mode, route, and season. In very rough estimates: express can take as little as 1-3 days, air freight is typically 3-10 days, and sea shipping can range anywhere from 12-35 days or more.

Factors such as the accuracy of documentation, and any unforeseen inspections or regulatory requirements can contribute to longer transit times. Delayed deliveries from Chinese suppliers or the carriers may lead to costly loss of sales and customers loyalty.

There’s nothing you can do at most cases when your shipment has been taken over by the carrier. So it’s necessary to find the estimated shipping time before you actually choose the carrier and hand over to it.

Generally, here are two steps to find the transit time.
1. Find the carrier.
2. Find the carrier’s route schedule.

Luckily, all these can be done online for free. And the information provided by the official website are most accurate based on their years practical experiences.

Let’s find out one by one.

* There are so many airlines for air cargo shipping from China. If you can leave 10 days for delivery, you’ll never miss it. So the list below will not include the schedule links from the airlines.

Carrier Type: Courier

Courier is the best international shipping method for small items. It’s fast, and more importantly, most of them are providing Door to Door delivery. By this, you can save a lot of time on Customs and other complicated export & import processes.

You can choose the expresses directly from China mainland or via Hong Kong. As you may know, the price is cheaper through Hong Kong, but customs there sometimes will check a greater percentage of shipments before allowing them to leave the country, especially for the goods that shipped via DHL, FEDEX, UPS.

Customs clearance delays at Hong Kong port may happen from time to time. While local express company (like Shenzhen FedEx, Guangzhou DHL…), they have directly flight schedule, and these customs will be not so strictly. Make sure take it into consideration when you have a very serious ETA deadline.

China Post

China Post is second to none when only considering the cost. That’s why most Chinese sellers at AliExpress or similar online stores choose this service, and some sellers even provide worldwide free shipping. But how long? There’s no answer from the authority.

The time cost can be vary from 1 weeks to 4 weeks, sometimes even 2 month. And it differs every time. You got your stuff after a month this time doesn’t mean a month is the average time. So prepare for the longest and you’ll be satisfied if i.e. 28 days actually.

EMS (China Post)

EMS, Worldwide Express Mail Service, is a brand owned by China Post. It’s faster than regular China Post. And it’s safe, because it has keep managing the delivery of all original University Admission Notice in China every year.

Normally it will take about 3~8 days. It’s slower than other international express couriers. After all, a little cheaper.

EUB (eBay & China Post & AUPost & Royal Mail & RUPost & USPS)

EUB is only available for eBay sellers in China. It’s a faster shipping than regular airmail. But the destination country is only four by now.

Below is the estimate time from eBay. Make sure to double check with the seller to get the delivery time.

  • Australia, 7~10 days
  • Russia, 7~12 days
  • UK, 7~9 days
  • USA, 7~10 days


Official WebsiteGet Rate and Time Quote
Tracking Number: pure-numeric 10-digit code,i.e 1234567890

DHL is the most average international courier. Normally 2~5 days, but sometimes unstable.

  • To Southeast Asia, 1~2 days
  • North America & Western Europe, 2~3 days
  • South America, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa, 4~5 days


Official WebsiteCalculate Time and Cost
Tracking Number: 18-digit code

UPS is specialized in America routes, especially North America. Normally 2~6 days.


Official Website
Rates and Transit Time
Tracking Number: 12-digit code

FedEx has the best service, while its price is higher accordingly. Normally 2~4 days (IP) and 4~6days (IE).

We have a post sharing our ideas about how to choose a cheaper express courier. You can click here to find more.

Carrier Type: Container Carrier

Below is a list of main carriers for ocean cargo containerized from China to worldwide. Almost all of them can provide a search from port to port.

For example. You are a Belgium importers, and your supplier located near Shanghai Port. So Shanghai Port to Antwerp Port. Let’s choose COSCO to give you a step by step guide.

1. Open the sailing schedule link from COSCO.


2. Fill the form as below.


3. After submit, you’ll get the result.


Attention: If you are looking for the landed time, which is the total time from your vendor to your facility in your country, make sure plus 7+7 days additionally.

After the production done, your supplier will pick up the empty container and load it at the manufacturer or warehouse. And the free container usage is 7 days. Within the 7 days, all the export process has to be done, including inland transport, loading, documentation, customs declaration, and any other handling work.

Add another 7 days at the destination. This 7+7 method applied to FCL. If LCL, you will need more days.

ProductionBefore ShippingShippingAfter ShippingTotal
30 days7 days37 days7 days81 days

Conclusion: If you are expected to receive your products in December, you’d better complete all the discussion and prepaid process with your supplier before September. It’s a long time – three month.

Leave yourself enough time is a good strategy for saving freight cost. You can do your own calculation after checking the schedule below.


Routing Finder and Container Tracking




Routing Finder


Global Router


Sailing Schedules


Port to Port Schedule






Schedule (search by point)

Hamburg Sud

Point to Point


Interactive Schedule



Maersk Line



Search Schedules




Schedule Search




Sailing Schedule


Port Schedules


Sailing Schedule


Sailing Schedules

Wan Hai

Shipping Schedule

Yang Ming

Sailing Schedule


Find your route

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