Shipping From China to Germany:
Air, Sea & Container Freight

How much does shipping cost from China to Germany?

Many factors go into the cost of shipping from China to Germany, including location, size, and shipping mode: sea FCL, sea LCL, air, or express. This guide will give you pricing estimates for each shipping mode from popular ports in China to popular ports in Germany.

Sea Freight from China to Germany

Ocean/Sea Freight FCL

Container shipping rates from China to Germany: 40’ container

Shipping from Shanghai (CNSHA Port)Shipping from Ningbo (CNNGB Port)
Shipping to Hamburg (DEHAM Port)$1,450$1,450

The quotes on this table are port-to-port peak season FCL shipping average rates.

Average Price per Month: FCL from China to Germany

Price data from 2018

 

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Ocean/Sea Freight LCL

Shipping Rates from China to Germany: LCL

Shipping from ShanghaiShipping from NingboShipping from Shenzhen
Shipping to Hamburg$616$575$609
Shipping to Bremerhaven$631$589$624
Shipping to Bremen$630$589$624

These rates are door-to-door shipping averages for a load of 200 kg/1 cbm

Air Freight from China to Germany

Air Freight

Shipping rates from China to Germany: Air Freight

Shipping from ShanghaiShipping from NingboShipping from Shenzhen
Shipping to Hamburg$1,043$1,022$1,076
Shipping to Bremerhaven$1,011$993$1,063
Shipping to Bremen$1,007$985$1,058
Shipping to Berlin$982
Shipping to Paderborn$1,401
Shipping to Frankfurt$1,246
Shipping to Lüdenscheid$1,250

These rates are door-to-door shipping averages for a load of 200 kg/1 cbm

Air Freight Costs per KG

When you’re shipping air, the price per kg decreases the larger your shipment’s weight:

Chargeable weight10 kg100 kg300 kg
Price per kg$49.34$8.07$4.75

Want to learn more about how chargeable weight affects the price of your shipment? Check out our free universal chargeable and volumetric weight calculator.

Express Shipping

Shipping Rates from China to Germany: Express

Avg price for door-to-door shipping for a load of 50 kg/0.2 cbm: $964

Shipping freight under 100 kg from China to Germany is cheaper– and faster– by express. Around the 100 kg mark, air freight becomes the cheaper option:

China to Germany Shipping Time

How long will it take to ship from China to Germany? Your shipment’s transit time will be impacted by location, shipment size, and season. Use the following table for timing estimates for each shipping mode from China to Germany.

Ocean/Sea freight time from China to Germany

Port to PortDoor to Door
Sea Freight (FCL)25-38 days41-45 days
Sea Freight (LCL)28-41 days42-47 days
Air Freight5-8 days6-13 days
Express*––1-4 days

* Express freight is always door to door

How to Ship from China to Germany

If you have questions about shipping from China to Germany, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will cover:


  1. Freight from China to Germany: How to choose the fastest and cheapest way to ship

  2. When are the cheapest times to ship from China to Germany?

  3. What are incoterms and how do they affect freight prices from China to Germany?

  4. What customs duties and taxes will I owe when shipping from China to Germany?

  5. Do I need insurance to ship from China to Germany?

  6. What paperwork do I need to ship from China to Germany?

  7. How do I ship from China to an Amazon FBA Warehouse in Germany?

  8. Busiest Shipping Ports in China

  9. Busiest Germany Shipping Ports


Freight from China to Germany: How to choose the fastest and cheapest way to ship

When you’re shipping from China to Germany, you can choose from one of four modes: FCL sea freight, LCL sea freight, air freight, or express. Here are key factors for each mode:

FCL Sea Freight from China to Germany

FCL, or full container load, means your goods fill an entire container, either 20’ or 40’ long. If you are shipping at a high volume, you’ll save time and money by shipping FCL. Pricing for FCL is done as a flat rate, regardless of whether or not your container is completely full. Learn more about FCL here.

LCL Sea Freight from China to Germany

LCL, or less than a container load, means your goods do not fill an entire container, and will be shipped along with other boxes or pallets. Note that when you ship LCL, your goods will need to be consolidated at the origin port and deconsolidated at the destination port. That’s why LCL shipping takes a few days longer than FCL.

Air Freight from China to Germany

Shipping by air is generally faster but more expensive than shipping by sea. For help choosing which mode is right for your shipment, use our air vs. ocean comparison calculator.

Express from China to Germany

When you have a small shipment and need it delivered as quickly as possible, you might consider express.

 

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When are the cheapest times to ship from China to Germany?

Freight rates, especially FCL sea freight and air freight rates, are affected by seasonal factors. When shipping from China to Germany, remember to take into account peak seasons in both China and Germany.

Peak seasons for shipping from China to Germany

EventEffects on ShippingWhen
Chinese New YearFactories and facilities shut down for several weeks of celebrations, causing price spikes and delaysLate January/early February (exact dates follow the lunar calendar)
Golden WeekThis week-long festival exacerbates holiday season price spikes and delaysOctober 1st and the week following
Dragon Boat FestivalBusinesses typically close for three days, causing potential delaysJune (exact dates follow the lunar calendar)
Holiday Shopping SeasonPrices rise steadily over a period of months as businesses prepare for holiday shoppingOctober-December(air), July-October (sea)

Use these tips to stay on track when shipping during peak season.

To see in-depth research on how pricing fluctuates throughout the year, check out the Freightos Baltic Index.

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What are incoterms and how do they affect freight prices from China to Germany?

When you’re comparing freight quotes, note the level of service the freight forwarder is offering.

For example, if you’re shipping from Shanghai, China to Hamburg, Germany, you’re going to want to ask your supplier about the cost difference between shipping from the supplier’s warehouse in Shanghai– which means using the EXW incoterm– and shipping from the port of Shanghai(CNSHA) – which means using the FOB incoterm.

Prices for FOB are typically lower, but shipping FOB doesn’t mean your total costs will necessarily be lower. You might make up the cost by paying your supplier to bring your goods to port. When comparing prices, take all your costs into account.

Note that some incoterms, including FOB, are used for sea shipping only.

Learn all about incoterms here.

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What customs duties and taxes will I owe when shipping from China to Germany?

When importing from China to Germany, you will need to pay Customs Duty and VAT before your goods are released into the country. Customs and VAT can be significant. Researching your costs early can keep you from getting caught by surprise.

How the Customs Process Works

When goods arrive at port, customs officials will first check to make sure all your paperwork is in order, and then calculate the amount of duties owed and collect payment. After payment, goods will be released.

To handle customs clearance, you can hire your own broker, or use the brokerage provided by your freight forwarder. If you book on Freightos, you can use our brokerage services as well.

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Do I need insurance to ship from China to Germany?

When calculating your shipping costs, don’t forget to protect yourself in case your goods are damaged or lost. You can do this through your freight forwarder or a third party insurance agent. Insurance costs are typically around 0.3% – 0.5% of your Commercial Invoice Value, which is the amount you paid for the goods.

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What paperwork do I need to ship from China to Germany?

When shipping freight from China to Germany, make sure to get all your paperwork, such as the Commercial Invoice and Bill of Lading, in order.

Use our paperwork checklist here to make sure all your paperwork is in order before you ship.

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How do I ship from China to an Amazon FBA Warehouse in Germany?

As an Amazon shipper from China to Germany, you’ll need to consider issues of timing and storage, as well as choosing the right forwarder. Check out this guide to learn more.

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Shipping ports in China

Your factory, supplier, or freight forwarder will likely advise you which port is best for your export from China, based on location, ease of customs clearance, transit time, port volume, and any relationships or agreements between the factory and the port.

If you’re choosing a port on your own, important factors to consider include location, cost, and transit time. Here are the top ports for exporting from China:

Port Name: Shanghai

Port code: CNSHA

Port Name: Ningbo

Port code: CNNGB

Port Name: Shenzhen

Port code: CNSZX

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Shipping ports in Germany

These are the top ports for importing into Germany:

Port Name: Hamburg

Port code: DEHAM

Port Name: Bremerhaven

Port code: DEBRV

Port Name: Bremen

Port code: DEBRE

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Key Information for Freight Shipping from China to Germany

Average price for an FCL container from China-Germany(peak season): $1,450

Average price for sea LCL (load of 200 kg/1 cbm): $610

Average price for air freight (load of 200 kg/1 cbm): $1,088

Average price for express (load of 50 kg/0.2 cbm): $964

Tips for Keeping Down Costs and Shipping Time from China-Germany

  • Book in Advance. Shipping by sea is the cheapest, but also takes the longest. Booking in advance when you can saves you money– and cuts out the stress if delays arise.
  • Ship off-peak. When carriers get busy, both shipping prices and transit times go up. Ship during off-peak seasons whenever you can.
  • Get your documentation in order. Having your documentation in order can make all the difference when it comes to clearing customs quickly.
  • Know your HS Codes. A lot of shippers are surprised by how much customs fees can affect business costs. Do your research so you can budget effectively.
  • Compare quotes from different providers. Quotes can vary, so check out offers from different providers before making a decision.
  • Understand what’s included in your quote. Is your quote port to port or door to door? What service does it include? Know what you’re paying for to avoid getting hit with surprise fees.

FAQ for Shipping from China to Germany

How long does it take to ship a container from China to Germany?

It depends on which shipping mode you use. Shipping express can take as few as 1-4 days – but express is the most expensive mode, and is not suitable for large shipments. Air freight shipping will take about 6-13 days. Sea freight shipping takes 41-45 days, but is the most affordable if you can wait.

How much to ship a container from China to Germany?

On average, it costs $1,450 to ship one 40’ container from China to Germany during peak season.

What’s the cheapest time of month to book from China to Germany?

Carriers can introduce increases to shipping charges, called General Rate Increases (GRIs) at the start of each month. But, toward the middle of the month as they try to fill supply on vessels, they often lower these prices. That means booking during the latter two weeks of the month can often save you money.

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