Shipping to and from the United States

Do you want to know more about prices for shipments to the United States? Are you aware of specific shipment documents you might need to get your freight moving? Here you’ll find all the answers related to your questions around shipments to the United States.

  • Logistics
  • Pricing & payment
  • Local solutions

Relevant shipping information

The Transpacific eastbound route is the most heavily utilized trade lane going in or out of the United States. This route consists of import shipments from Asia Pacific into the US. The primary trade lane on this route is represented by imports from China but equally important are cargo coming from Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

The transit times to the US can vary considerably depending on the route and the number of transhipment moves (shipment legs). For instance, a direct service from China’s main base ports to los Angeles is about 2 weeks. That however can extend out to 3 weeks if the cargo origin is from a much smaller port location where feeder vessels carry containers to the larger ports to be transhipped onto a larger mother vessel for final sailing into the US.

While there are many events that drive container volumes, the biggest event remains the holiday shopping season for US retailers. From Black Friday through to Christmas and Hanukah, the lead up to this period provides for the biggest volume surge. With that, this also causes typically higher container rates and space constraints across the network. On a smaller scale, there is usually a rush leading into Easter and following that, the back to school sales event.

The customs clearance process can differ from country-to-country and from port-to-port. At Twill we realise the importance of getting your goods cleared with customs in a compliant manner.

That is why we have built one of the best in class Customs House Brokerage departments in the US. The first important step to know when importing goods to the US is that you will have to complete and provide your customs broker with a Power of Attorney. In this way, your customer broker can act on your behalf with US customs in clearing your goods minimum 72 hours prior to shipment departure. The second important step is to own a customs bond with a bond surety company. That will provide the US customs with a guarantee that they will be paid for all additional import duties and taxes should they arise.

But be assured, Twill customers that utilize our Customs House Brokerage service will be guided through these steps through the entire process.

Ports in the United States

Pricing and payment

Prices can vary considerably depending on several criteria, the main ones being shipping route, container size and type and seasonality factors. For instance, an import shipment from Asia to the United States during peak season can cost upwards of five times the cost of exporting the cargo on the same route. This is a product of simple supply and demand with volumes being much more heavily skewed towards import cargo.

For shipping costs to and from the US, you can find a selection of routes and estimated prices on this page.

The cheapest period or slack season is typically between March and June of each year. This is mainly driven by two factors, the first being increased volume from US retailers in preparation for the holiday season (July-October) followed by a pre-Chinese New Year rush in December and January as importers look to secure inventory prior to the manufacturing shutdown in China in observation of their New Year holiday celebrations.
Export rates out of the US are typically stable. Agriculture exports can have a small seasonal impact depending on the origin location in the US and the export route but as a whole, rates do not tend to fluctuate as much as its counter import trade.

Local solutions

The three key documents required as part of shipping is the Bill of Lading, which is produced by the Ocean carrier and used by the Seller and Buyer as a means of handing over ownership of the freight at a given point in shipment move based on agreed Incoterms. The other two documents are the container packing list and the commercial invoice for the goods, both required as part of the customs clearance process at the destination country.

Delivering cargo into an Amazon facility requires both knowledge and planning. It is important each facility receiving requirements are understood as they can differ from one to another, so that delivery appointment processes are followed. At Twill we have experts that can advise on the process and support in executing the same. For international shippers with no registered US office, there are also specific customs requirements that need to be adhered too as part of the container movement. Here once again, Twill is on standby to help you with all your customs needs.

If you get lost with all the mentioned requirements, do not worry – we at Twill have experts who advise you on doing business with Amazon. Our Twillers can help you out once you are booking with us.

Both Import Security Filing (ISF) for import shipments and Automated Export System (AES) filing for export shipments are unique to the US. Import Security Filing, also known as 10+2 is a pre-declaration to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of imported goods that must be completed at least 24 hours prior to vessel departure on the final US bound voyage. AES on the other hand is an export declaration to the CBP for census bureau recording purposes and must be completed 2 hours prior to shipment departure from a US port. However, there can also occur exceptions to this rule.

Insurance is not necessarily required to ship to the US, but you should review whether this is something you should consider based on the Incoterms® you have agreed with your supplier.

If you’re shipping your cargo across the sea, you want to know that you won’t lose money if your cargo is damaged or lost. Therefore, Twill offers Value Protect, giving you peace of mind that your cargo is protected during the transportation with us.

As an example, for incoterm Free on Board (FOB), here the seller retains ownership of the freight until the point when the container is loaded on the vessel. The seller is also responsible for all the origin charges up until this point. This includes trucking, origin customs clearance, origin carrier charges like terminal handling and documentation fees. Then, the buyer is responsible for all the charges once the container is loaded on the vessel. This includes the Ocean freight charges right through to the destination customs and delivery charges.

Discover our services

Value Protect

Even in the safest hands, accidents happen. If you’re shipping your cargo across the sea, you want to know that you won’t lose money if your cargo is damaged or lost. This is why Twill offers Value Protect, giving you peace of mind that your cargo is protected during transportation with us.

Monthly Fixed Rates

At Twill, we understand how important it is for you to have control over your freight shipping process. With our monthly fixed rates, we’re the first to give you quick and easy visibility of costs and the flexibility to plan your ocean freight in advance!

Inland Transportation

Your cargo’s journey never begins or ends at the port. When you’re shipping cargo, you want to get it transported from origin to destination. That’s why Twill offers Inland Transportation, enabling end-to-end shipping solutions to ensure your supply chain runs smoothly and without complications.

Customs House Brokerage

The customs clearance process can differ from country-to-country and from port-to-port. At Twill we realise the need to get your goods through customs and understand the challenges it may cause. That’s why we can handle Customs House Brokerage for you.

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