Sea freight to the USA: everything you need to know

sea freight cargo to the USA shipping international transportation goods load loads la luna shipping DESTACADO

At La LUNA Shipping® we are experts in international and national transportation of air freight, courier, parcel and maritime transport. If in previous articles we have talked about transport by sea for individuals, this time we want to talk exclusively about sea freight to the USA.

What are sea freight services to the United States about? We speak about all the services that must be sent by sea on board a container ship. The sender often needs to ship a very large package or a group of packages that is not feasible to send to their destination on a transoceanic flight. In sea freight or cargo everything is about groupage and containers on board merchant ships. Groupage is important for loads that do not occupy a full container.

Sea freight to the USA: advantages and disadvantages

There are many advantages of hiring sea cargo services to the United States. First, it's a way of shipment ideal for very bulky or heavy transport, in very large quantities or in very heavy loads. When this happens, sea freight to the United States has the best quality/price ratio. As an example, between Europe and the United States, merchant ships move huge amounts of goods, both food and products, allowing the basic supply of many products. Without the ships, this would not be possible.

The downside to sea cargo to the United States is transit time. Via air freight, shipments of cargo to the United States can be made in less than 48 hours between its origin and its destination, by sea freight the delay time increases. Transit times between the port of Barcelona and the port of New York are approximately 12 days. And if the destination is on the west coast, the transit time to the port of Long Beach raises up to 30 days. This all means that planning of the entire operation is essential, as well as preparing all the documents and intermodal logistics before and after the shipment of the cargo.

How much does a shipment of sea freight to the USA costs?

As we have already said several times in our blog, the budget of any shipment depends on a lot of factors. Addresses of origin and destination, weight and volume of the load, means of transportation and even the content of the shipment affect the final budget. But, for large and heavy loads it is the most economical service. In case of not being able to fill a container there are options such as groupage that are still very economical. Each shipment is unique and different, therefore, for each shipment to be made we offer a particular quote.

Expenses at origin of maritime cargo to the United States

Expenses at origin are those generated by the loading of the merchandise from the point of origin, be it a factory, warehouse or home, until its delivery in the consolidation warehouse or container terminal in the port of origin until the load on the ship.

Freight or shipping fee

It is the cost of transport from the port of origin to the port of destination. If the shipment is in a single full container, the rate will be set according to the size of the container: 20, 40 or 45 feet (ca. 14 m). If it is a groupage, the rate is established based on the cubic meters of volume or the gross tons of weight. The one with a higher value will be the one to define the rate, always applying at least one cubic meter or one ton.

Arrival costs

From the arrival at the port until the merchandise is cleared from import customs there are arrival costs. These costs include the unloading of the ship, transfer to the terminal or the deconsolidation warehouse, as well as the import customs procedures.

Finally, there is a delivery transportation costs from the terminal or warehouse to the final destination of the merchandise.

If a company makes the shipment, the agreed incoterms define who pays the costs. In a FOB type shipment, it is the sending company that assumes the origin costs and the destination company that assumes the freight and arrival costs. In this way, the expenses are shared between them, achieving considerable savings. If you are a private individual, this is different, because you will be the one who assumes all the expenses generated by shipping maritime cargo to the United States. This implies that the price of a shipment of ocean freight for individuals is higher than that of shipments between companies.

When shipping to the United States, DAP / DDP or EXW incoterms are the most frequent, so one of the companies assumes the entire cost of the operation.

When is it worth shipping sea freight to the United States?

Sea freight to the United States of America is focused on companies or large volumes. It is a good service for business shipments of industrial machinery or cars, computers or any other consumer goods or food. But when speaking about individuals, there are very few cases where it is understandable.

For example, we get this very common query to send a 20-kilo package by ship to the United States. As we have explained in this article, rates are applied by tons or cubic meters, with the first ton or cubic meter being the minimum. Just the minimal fee for such a small package makes shipping not at all advantageous for you, not to mention paperwork or freight costs.

At La LUNA Shipping® we recommend other services such as Shipping Economy or Shipping Global for urgent cargo to the United States. In this way you have a competitive closed rate with a door-to-door service that includes paperwork and customs procedures in the United States.

And if you have any questions, always check with us, at La LUNA Shipping® we want to help you. Remember that you can contact us via email at or calling one of our phone numbers, where we will be happy to help you with your sea freight to the USA.

One response to “Sea freight to the USA: everything you need to know”

  1. rahul says:

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