7 Major Factors Affecting Air Freight Costs From China to US

Jan 19,2024
Industry News
What factors will affect the cost of air freight from China to the United States? How to control costs and increase shipping speed when choosing a shipping method from China to the United States

From China to the United States, air freight is the fastest cargo transportation option. Relying on aircraft transportation, it ensures that your goods arrive at the U.S. destination quickly within 3 to 10 days. This speed is ideal for urgent or time-sensitive shipments and is critical for fast delivery, undoubtedly providing a huge competitive advantage for businesses that urgently need goods. Please note, however, that air freight is usually more expensive than other shipping methods, but this is entirely due to its efficiency and speed.

What factors will affect the cost of air freight from China to US?

When shipping items by air from China to the United States, shipping costs depend on the size and weight of the shipment. Beyond that, you may have to pay extra for super-fast service or specialized handling of special shipments. Air freight is generally more expensive than sea freight, but its speed makes it ideal when you need your goods urgently.

Product Features

The weight, volume and whether the goods are dangerous goods are all important factors that affect the cost. For bulky but lightweight cargo, air freight may be more expensive as airlines charge based on the volumetric weight of the cargo (calculated as length x width x height/6000).

Transportation time

Although express air freight service is more expensive, it only takes 1-4 days to deliver; while ordinary air freight takes about 7-10 days. If your time is at a premium, express air freight is undoubtedly the better option.

Destination airport and required services

Different airports and required delivery services will also affect the cost. Shipping costs vary with the distance between the loading point and the delivery point. For example, if door-to-door service is required, the cost will naturally be higher. Shipping a container from China to the U.S. East Coast costs about 13% more than shipping to the West Coast, primarily due to the increased distance.

air freight from China to US

Delivery service type

The main service types include port-to-port, door-to-door, door-to-port, and port-to-door. Expedited air freight offers a door-to-door service, while standard air freight is usually port-to-port, unless you opt for full service.

Flight requirements

Direct or alternate flights, service and price differences between flights, etc. will also affect the cost.

Type of bill of lading and required shipping services

The choice of main bill of lading and sub-bill of lading, customs declaration method, agency documents, customs clearance and delivery services will also affect the cost.

Shipping season

Shipping costs fluctuate greatly during Chinese holidays such as the Lunar New Year, Golden Week, and Mid-Autumn Festival. When planning freight shipments, it may be more cost-effective to take into account peak and off-peak seasons.

Advantages of international air cargo


The biggest advantage of air cargo is speed. Compared with sea transportation, air freight can greatly shorten the delivery time, which is of great significance for optimizing the supply chain and accelerating capital turnover.


Air freight is very flexible and can cover the whole world, delivering it quickly no matter the destination.


Air cargo protects cargo very well during transportation, greatly reducing the risk of cargo damage.

on time

Compared with sea freight, air freight is almost unaffected by weather and seasons and can ensure on-time delivery.


The entire process of air cargo is very efficient and customs clearance can be completed quickly.

International air transportation can greatly shorten delivery time and play a major role in optimizing the logistics supply chain and accelerating capital turnover.

For those companies that have high time requirements and urgently need goods, air freight is undoubtedly an excellent choice. For other businesses, they can choose the most suitable shipping method based on their needs and budget. But no matter what, planning your transportation in advance and understanding the impact of various factors on costs can help you make the wisest choice.

Main transportation methods from China to the United States

Shipping goods from China to the United States can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including air and sea freight. These options provide reliable, cost-effective product shipping options based on varying time and budget needs.

Air freight rate per kilogram from China to the United States

If you choose standard air freight, it costs about $3.20 per kilogram, which is an economical way to get your goods to your destination quickly.

Air express shipping cost per kilogram for more than 21 kilograms from China to the United States

For shipments over 21kg, rates will be adjusted accordingly. For goods weighing between 21 kilograms and 70 kilograms, the rate is US$7 to US$7.5; for goods over 70 kilograms, the rate is US$6.3 to US$7. The specific charges are related to the freight weight.

When choosing a shipping method from China to the United States, it is crucial to understand the advantages and considerations of each option. Whether you choose air freight for speed, ocean freight for cost-effectiveness, or express delivery to balance the two, the right methods and knowledge will ensure your international shipping experience is smooth and efficient, helping your business thrive in the global marketplace.