a cargo ship on the ocean with shipping containers

A Shipping Container’s Journey from China to USA

Shipping Containers Around the World

The most common way of transporting goods from China to the US is by cargo ship. From China, these ships can take about two to four weeks to arrive on the US West Coast or about three to five weeks if they are going to the US East Coast. However, the duration also depends on the size and speed of the ship, ocean currents, and the route taken. Additionally, there is an extra week or two for clearance from customs and container unloading.

There are currently over 17 million shipping containers in the world. The shipping containers travel by sea on cargo ships, by land on trucks, and by rail on trains. Combined, they make roughly 200 million trips a year. During these trips, it’s estimated that there are about 10,000 shipping containers lost at sea every year.

A Shipping Container’s Route

A routine route for a cargo ship traveling from China to the United States will travel the Pacific route AKA Pacific Lane. The ships will go through the south of East China Sea, then they go northward through the Sea of Japan through the Okhotsk to enter the North Pacific Ocean. They can then reach the ports of west Latin America, the West coast of the United States, New Zealand, Australia and western Canada.

Different shipping carriers will take different routes. If you plan to use a carrier, you will want to take that into consideration when shipping a container. Before choosing a particular line, consider transit time, pricing, and reliability.

Geographically, North America dominates the global container shipping market. This is due to high demand and improved transportation services in this region. Within North America, the United States is the largest market for container shipping, followed by Canada.

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