Container Shipping to and from the USA
How much does it cost to ship a container to the United States? What is the estimated time to ship a container to the USA? Which are the largest ports in the USA? Here you’ll find all the answers to your questions about shipments to and from the USA.Get started
Relevant shipping information
- Is USA more of an import or export country?
The United States is the largest importer in the world. It has had a decades-long trade deficit, importing far more goods and services than exports.
The top 5 imports to the United States are cars, computers, packaged medical treatments, broadcast equipment, and crude petroleum.
The top 5 exports from the United States are refined petroleum, crude petroleum, cars, integrated circuits, and petroleum gas.
- What type of cargo shipping container do I need to ship my cargo?
There are endless types of freight containers and shipping equipment available for transporting your cargo. Essentially, the type of cargo and its needs will determine what kind of container you require.
The standard 20-foot container or “dry van” is one of the most commonly used containers for the shipment of goods. This is suitable for heavy cargo such as minerals, metal, machinery, sugar, paper, cement, and steel coils. You can use a cubic meter calculator for the dimension of 20ft container.
40-foot dry containers are designed to carry and store more voluminous cargo rather than heavy cargo, for example, furniture, steel pipes, paper scrap or cotton. To learn more about container shipping, click here.
With Twill, you can book dry cargo in 20-40-45 (HC) box containers. You can sign up to our platform now to check prices and schedule your next container shipment.
- What type of cargo can be sent in a container?
Container shipping is the most secure, safe and standardized method of transporting goods. If your freight does not include any commodities that should be treated in a particular manner, for example, hazardous, perishables etc., standard dry shipping containers will be the ideal option. The dry shipping container can be found in several dimensions and remains the most popular choice for shippers to transport dry cargo.
With Twill, you can book standard dry shipping. Sign up to our platform to explore routes and schedules from and to the USA today.
- What are the largest ports in the USA?
The USA holds the world's largest economy, and most of it is driven by its port’s operations. And the largest ports are identified based on the number of domestic TEUs they handle. TEUs are used to measure volume, which correlates to cargo-carrying capacity. The top 5 ports in the United States are:
The Port of Los Angeles
The Port of Long Beach
The Port of New York and New Jersey
The Port of Savannah
Northwest Seaport Alliance (a marine cargo operating partnership of the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma)
- What are the top 3 routes to get cargo into US?
The top 3 routes to get your goods to the USA are:
1. China to the USA: Shanghai (CNSHA) - Long Beach, California (USLGB)
2. The Netherlands to the USA: Rotterdam (NLROT) - Newark, New Jersey (USNWK)
3. UK to the USA: Felixstowe (GBFXT) - Miami, Florida (USMIA)
- What is the estimated transit time for shipping a container to the USA?
The transit times to the USA 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. However, that 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 USA.
As a rough guide, the estimated transit time for the longest route to the USA (Pasir Gudang, Malaysia – Miami, Florida) is usually around 60 days.
Here are some of the shortest routes to the USA:
Shanghai port, direct service to Long Beach, CA port is approximately 39 days (factoring in congestion/dwell time in Long Beach area).
Rotterdam port, direct service to Newark, NJ port is 15 days.
With Twill offering Intra-America logistics services, some of the transit times for exports from the USA to the Caribbean will be as short as 7 days.
- Which events or holidays are special in the USA and have an impact on shipments?
While there are many events that drive container volumes, the biggest event remains the holiday shopping season for USA 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.
- How long does Customs Clearance take in the USA?
Usually, it takes 24-48 hours to clear all customs formalities (excluding the time taken for paperwork). But, if your goods are held for inspection, it may stretch to several days or weeks.
- What documents do you need to process Customs Clearance in the USA?
Depending on your shipment and country of origin, document requirements differ. Some common documents you need include an import/export license, packing list, commercial invoice, Bill of Lading, certificate of origin, purchase order or letter of credit, and insurance certificate. Learn more about Customs documents to ship to or from the US.
- What does USA Customs check for?
USA customs checks for basics, including but not limited to, proper documentation, accurate HS classification of goods, country of origin, special permit requirements, and whether any contrabands are shipped.
- Want to know more about Customs Clearance in the USA?
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 Clearance Service departments in the USA. The first important step to know when importing goods to the USA is that you will have to complete and provide your customs broker with a Power of Attorney. In this way, your customs broker can act on your behalf with USA customs in clearing your goods a minimum of 72 hours before the shipment departure. The second important step is to own a customs bond with a bond surety company. That will provide the USA 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 utilise our Customs Clearance Services service will be guided through these steps through the entire process.
Ports and offices in USA
MPA World Trade Center
401 East Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
176 Concord Street
Charleston, SC 29401
Customer Resource Center,
9300 Arrowpoint Blvd
NC USA 28273
PO Box 610
Florham Park Office
180 Park Avenue,
PO Box 950, 07932
Florham Park, NJ, USA
111 East Loop North (77029)
P.O. Box 2562 (77252-2562)
Houston, TX 77252-2562
Maersk, Customer Resource Center, 8686 New Trails Drive
Woodlands, TX, Houston
2831 Talleyrand Avenue
925 Harbor Plaza
P.O. Box 570
Long Beach, CA 90801-0570
425 S. Palos Verdes St.
1015 N. America Way
Miami, FL 33132
P.O. Box 1588 Mobile,
1350 Port of New Orleans
Place New Orleans
1225 Park Avenue South
7737 Hampton Blvd.
530 Water Street
3460 N. Delaware Avenue
Port Everglades Business Office,
1850 Eller Drive
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
P.O. Box 2406
2711 Alaskan Way
1101 Channelside Drive
1 Hausel Road
Services to make shipping easier
Whether you're shipping from door-to-door or want to protect your cargo, we've got just the right service for you.
Inland transportation is a key partner to ocean freight and with Twill, you get access to a range of quality intermodal services – whether truck, rail or barge. Find the right continental and intercontinental transport mode for your cargo, and let us handle the rest.