China Ocean Shipping Lead Times

Shipping lead times from China-2022

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: 27 days

Hong Kong – New York City, USA: 37 days

Hong Kong – Felixstowe, UK: 33 days

Hong Kong – Hamburg, Germany: 34 days

Hong Kong – Singapore: 8 days

Hong Kong – Sydney: 15 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.

Important COVID19/post Covid 19 pandemic update 

China manufacturers and port workers have been shutdown randomly in several Chinese cities contributing to supply chain backlog. Production of some items at some facilities in China has been delayed as well. Exporting out of Chinese ports is taking significantly longer than in prior years. Expect delays and add one more month lead time if possible to your supply chain ordering process.
The USA ports and trucking industry are also experiencing continued labor shortages leading to longer dwell times for inbound shipments to the USA. Plan accordingly for extended delays in ships offloading at port, processing of cargo to terminals and drayage, LCL, FCL, FTL, LTL pickup at port.