Everything You Need to Know About Shipping from Hong Kong to the USA

Sep 13, 2021 Lilia Khovrak Lilia Khovrak

Shipping from Hong Kong to the USA is a popular choice for many businesses, thanks to its great coastal positioning and booming economy.

In 2020, Hong Kong was the fifteenth largest trading partner in the US, with total exports valued at $24.7 billion.

If you are looking to tap into the Pearl of the Orient market, this blog breaks down everything you need to know about shipping from Hong Kong to the USA. From FCL shipping, LCL shipping, cargo insurance to custom clearance, and of course the cheapest shipping from Hong Kong to the USA – when you reach the end of this blog, you will be well versed with the ins and outs of this popular trade route.

What factors should I consider when shipping from Hong Kong to the USA?

Shipping from Hong Kong to the USA is dependent on the service you choose. To deliver your cargo to the USA, you can choose sea freight shipping such as FCL shipping or LCL shipping, or have your goods transported via air freight. The method you chose is dependent on the quantity of your shipment.

SeaRates offers sea freight shipping for both small and large quantities of cargo. This includes:

LCL shipping – Less Container Load is considered the most economical way to deliver small quantities of goods, as it is combined with other shipments.

FCL shipping – Full Container Load is more appropriate as an entire container is intended for one supplier which is great if you are shipping in bulk. However, your cargo must also be large enough to fill an entire container. This can be filled directly at the supplier’s warehouse and then sent to the container yard. Once it arrives at the destination, the container can either be unloaded or the carrier can deliver it to a warehouse. Since the container belongs to you, the shipment is faster compared to LCL shipping.

The cheapest shipping from Hong to the USA on average is LCL shipping which comes in at $909. This is followed by air freight shipping which in on average $1,418. FCL shipping comes in at $2,602. The cost of shipping from Hong Kong to the USA also depends on what port you chose as your destination.

Shipping from Hong Kong to the USA cost is also dependent on the port and the type of shipment method. For example, FCL shipping to New York can cost on average $3,163, while Los Angeles comes in at $1,713. Again, this is dependent on the season you are shipping your cargo at and the method you choose.

Other factors that can affect the cost of your shipment include:

The size of your consignment – the bigger the consignment, the more expensive the cost.

The quantity of your shipment – this will affect the shipping method you use, FCL shipping is better for bulk shipping, while LCL shipping is more appropriate for smaller packages.

Fuel costs – Plane fuel costs considerably more than ship fuel.

Weather conditions – Incidents such as storms and hurricanes could alter your shipping route and potentially delay your cargo.

How long does it take to ship from Hong Kong to the USA?

Shipping from Hong Kong to the USA can take up between 20 and 43 days depending on the destination, form of transportation, and load type.

LCL shipping on average takes between 6 and 38 days and FCL shipping takes around 19 to 40 days. On average, LCL shipping will take longer since your freight forwarder will have to wait for other deliveries to fill the shipping container.

As we mentioned earlier, the USA has a variety of ports to select from, and some take longer than others. The table below shows you the average time it takes to ship to various parts in the USA.

Hong Kong to Long Beach
17 days
Hong Kong to Los Angeles
18 – 21 days
Hong Kong to San Francisco
24 days
Hong Kong to Boston
43 days
Hong Kong to New York
35 days, 37 days
Hong Kong to Seattle
25 days

Shipping rates from Hong Kong to the USA

Here are the shipping rates for routes between Hong Kong and USA. You can contact one of our account managers or visit SeaRates.com for the latest rates.

*Actual rates as of September 2021.

Hong Kong - Houston
Hong Kong - Miami
Hong Kong - New York

When is the best time to ship from Hong Kong to the USA?

The fall months are considered an ideal time for shipping from Hong Kong to the USA. However, is also important to be aware of the peak seasons too, so you can prepare in advance. In the USA, the holiday season occurs between September and January, as businesses prepare for popular holidays such as Halloween, Black Friday, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas.

While the cheapest shipping from Hong Kong to the USA is dependent on several factors, preparation is still key, particularly during peak season. Ensure your cargo is prepared in advance and booked in advance as it will drive down costs considerably. This is especially important if you are using LCL shipping. Cargo insurance is also worth considering, particularly as ports get busier.

Outside of the peak season, it is best to ship towards the end of the month and this is applicable to both off-season and peak periods. At the beginning of the month, general rates are higher, however, when it reaches the middle or end, you will receive lower rates as ships begin to fill spaces. The cheapest shipping from Hong Kong to the USA is typically at the end of the month.

What are the rates for shipping from Hong Kong to the USA?

Connecting with a freight forwarder can you simplify the shipping process. SeaRates easy to use online freight marketplace can help you connect with freight forwarders. All you need to do is enter your shipping details and the calculator will provide you with the best market rates, alongside a breakdown of costs and time. Freight forwarding can save you time and money, particularly if you book in advance.

If this is not a good fit and you are looking for a tailored quote, you can request a quote for your cargo.

This form will include details about what you are shipping, the amount of containers, boxes, pallets, and bulk, and your primary transport mode. The quote can also include additional services such as cargo pick up, cargo delivery, port fees, and forwarding fees, customs clearance, and cargo insurance. As a result, the quote you will receive will be far more detailed which is great for first-time shippers.

What do you need to think about when packing your container?

When you are shipping from Hong Kong to the USA, there are several methods to ensure your goods are efficiently placed inside. Instead of practicing this physically, SeaRates load calculator, a virtual web-based application creates the optimal stuffing of goods.

There are six steps in the load calculator which includes a selection of:

1. Transport mode

2. Package type

3. Parameter details

4. Palletizing option

5. Transport unit

6. Orientation

And voila, you get a step-by-step loading plan in just a few clicks.

What are the essential documents that need to be completed when shipping from Hong Kong to the USA?

Transporting goods from Hong Kong to the USA requires several essential documents which are evaluated by customs officials. With these essential documents, your shipment will pass through customs clearance with ease.

Essential documents include:

Commercial invoice

Bill of lading

Shipping quote

Certification of origin

Material safety data sheet

Shipper’s letter of instruction

Booking confirmation

Bill of lading/air waybill

Packing list

Letter of credit.

How can I insure my container?

SeaRates recommends an insurance service for your cargo as it can compensate for the financial loss which is possible during the transportation process or the stage of transfer or acceptance of cargo.

Cargo insurance can help protect your goods against:

Intentional or unintentional damage by third parties


Fire, natural disaster, catastrophe

Theft, due to robbery

The acceptance of all or part of the consignment


The cost of your insurance is dependent on the amount of risk it will cover. This can include responsibility for a private incident, insurance against all risks, or without liability apart from a crash (this is applicable to sea transport).

What are the major shipping ports in Hong Kong?

The port you chose for your cargo is dependent on your supplier or freight forwarding firm. Some ports may be more beneficial as their location is convenient, or the customs clearance process is more straightforward.

Major shipping ports in Hong Kong include:

Hong Kong (HK HKG)

This is the main sea port for cargo that shipping from Hong Kong to the United States

What are the major shipping ports in the USA?

In the United States, there are several ports you can direct your shipment to, but it is best to use a port that is closest to your final destination.

Major shipping ports in the USA include:

Los Angeles port (US LAX)

New York port (US NYC)

Port of Houston (US HOU)

Lilia Khovrak is a professional content manager from Odessa, Ukraine. Loves life by the sea. Dreams to see Paris and eat a croissant on the thresholds of Notre Dame de Paris. Hates to read meaningless articles.