Importing From China: Shipping Lead Times

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Shipping and other lead times

The port to port lead time depends on the distance between the two ports. Here is an example of how those distances may impact the lead time:

Hong Kong – LA, USA: 20 days

Hong Kong – New York City, USA: 32 days

Hong Kong – Felixstowe, UK: 29 days

Hong Kong – Hamburg, Germany: 30 days

Hong Kong – Singapore: 5 days

Hong Kong – Sydney: 12 days

Bear in mind that it may be as long as a week before your cargo is loaded at the port in China. Administrative delays apply at the port of destination also, which, in many cases, can be even longer. In more rare extreme cases, you may face delays as long as two to three weeks at the port of destination.

Shipping by sea, in terms of lead times, is both slower and more unpredictable than air freight. With this in mind, companies importing from China by sea must do some significant planning, and have generous margins for delays.

If you need your goods in time for the Christmas season, you may want place your order in July rather than in September. As a rule of thumb, you should place your order 4 months in advance of your hard deadline.