Shipping Container to Canada: Your Complete Guide

Picture this: You’re a business owner in Canada, and you’ve found the perfect supplier in China for your products. There’s just one thing standing between you and a seamless supply chain – shipping those containers from China to Canada. With various shipping options, regulations, and potential pitfalls, the process might seem overwhelming. Fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll help you navigate the ins and outs of shipping container to Canada, ensuring a smooth and cost-effective experience.

Whether you’re new to international trade or a seasoned importer, understanding the nuances of shipping containers to Canada is crucial for the success of your business. From choosing between Less than Container Load (LCL) and Full Container Load (FCL) to understanding customs clearance, we’ve got you covered. Ready to dive in and master the art of shipping containers to Canada? Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Choose an appropriate container option between LCL and FCL for secure, timely, and cost-effective shipping from China to Canada.

  • Understand customs clearance process in Canada, factors affecting rates & transit times/routes for different shipping methods.

  • Ensure successful delivery by selecting a reliable freight forwarder with quality services, preparing your shipment correctly & tracking progress via real time tools.


Costs of import from china to canada

shipping from china to canada

we arrange sea freight from China to canada. We also provide you with customs clearance service and arrange all necessary documentation on your behalf.

air freight from china to canada

We ship your goods via air freight shipping from China to canada. We provide air freight services at an affordable shipping cost from any city of China to canada

ddp shipping from china to canada

One of our advantage of shipping way from China to canada is door to door shipping for your deliveries. We provide door to door shipping at a low freight cost from China to canada

Shipping Container Options: LCL vs. FCL

The selection of an appropriate container option plays a significant role when shipping your goods from China to Canada. Your choice can significantly impact the cost, security, and timing of your shipment. But how do you decide between Less than Container Load (LCL) and Full Container Load (FCL) shipping? Grasping the nuances between these two choices marks the initial move towards a well-informed decision, fostering a seamless shipping process tailored to your particular requirements.

LCL and FCL each have their advantages and disadvantages, depending on factors such as shipment volume, urgency, and budget. Let’s explore these two shipping options in more detail, so you can make the best choice for your business.


FCL Shipping

FCL shipping, on the other hand, is ideal for larger shipments, typically 13m3 and above. With FCL, you’ll have exclusive access to the entire container, providing increased security for your cargo. This option is more expeditious than LCL shipping, as there’s no need to consolidate or disaggregate your items from others, and your container will remain unopened throughout the journey, unless selected for inspection by customs officials.

While FCL shipping offers several advantages, it may not be the most cost-effective option for smaller shipments. However, for larger LCL shipments, upgrading to a 20-foot container and opting for FCL may be more advantageous, especially when the shipment reaches around 15 cubic meters. Ultimately, the choice between LCL and FCL shipping depends on your shipment size, budget, and specific needs.

LCL Shipping

LCL (less than container load) means you cannot fill all containers and are delivered in addition to other containers or pallets.

LCL shipping is the go-to option for low-volume shipments, typically ranging from 1-13m3. In this scenario, your cargo shares container space with other shipments, making it a cost-effective and flexible solution for smaller loads. This option is particularly attractive when you don’t have enough goods to fill an entire container, allowing you to pay only for the space your cargo occupies.

Despite its cost advantages, LCL shipping may not be the best option for all shipments. Your delivery may experience slight delays due to the packing and unpacking procedures involved in consolidating multiple shipments into a single container. However, by ensuring that your commercial invoice and other required documents are accurate and complete, you can minimize these potential delays.

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Additional services for shipping from China to Ghana

pick up

Pick up and delivery

We will pick up your goods in any city in China.


Honourocean provides free warehousing services for any of your goods

cargo insurance

The cargo insurance protects your goods all the way to any city of canada

freight forwarders

We are proud to be one of the leading freight forwarders in the canada offering specialized logistics services for Amazon’s FBA to freight forwarders, brokers, Amazon sellers, and suppliers. canada bonded warehouse & storage facility with distributions as well as packing services.

as top 5 logistics companies in china to canada, Our service includes:

1. air freight from china to canada;

2. shipping from china to canada prices;

3. Ddp shipping from china

4.we can support buying from china to canada, then arrange door to door canada delivery for customers.

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Choosing a Reliable Freight Forwarder

Engaging a reputable freight forwarder is pivotal for a seamless and triumphant shipping experience from China to Canada. A reliable freight forwarder can handle the logistics of your shipment, including:

  • Trucking services

  • Drayage

  • Warehousing

  • Customs declaration

  • Inspection

  • Insurance

  • Door-to-door service for certain destinations

By managing the complexities of the ocean freight shipping process, a freight forwarder can optimize shipping costs, minimize cargo delays, and ensure compliance with the relevant regulations in both China and Canada.

The experience, reputation, and breadth of services a freight forwarder offers should be key considerations when making your selection. A freight forwarder with a proven track record in shipping from China to Canada will be familiar with the intricacies of the trade route, customs clearance requirements, and the most cost-effective shipping options.

Assessing their communication and customer service skills is equally valuable because a responsive and attentive freight forwarder can significantly mitigate any potential hiccups or delays during the shipping journey.

In addition to expertise and customer service, a reliable freight forwarder should offer real-time shipment tracking services. This enables you to stay informed about the progress of your shipment and any potential delays, ensuring you’re always in control and can make informed decisions about your supply chain.

Customs Clearance Process in Canada

Successfully maneuvering through the customs clearance process is a key component of shipping containers from China to Canada. Understanding the required documentation and potential duties and taxes involved will help you avoid surprises and ensure a smooth delivery of your goods.

The customs clearance process in Canada consists of several stages:

  1. Declaration

  2. Obtaining permits

  3. Warehousing (if applicable)

  4. Exiting the goods

To successfully clear customs, you’ll need to provide a set of documents, including:

  • Invoices

  • Packing list

  • Bill of lading

  • Insurance policy

  • Certificate of origin

  • Shipper’s export declaration (SED)

  • Customs bond

It’s crucial to ensure that all documents are accurate and complete to avoid delays or complications during customs clearance.

In addition to documentation, it’s essential to be aware of the customs duties and taxes applicable to your shipment, as you may need to pay customs duty. The Government of Canada imposes duties and taxes on items imported into the country, with the current average rate being 4.8%. By familiarizing yourself with the customs clearance process and requirements, you can effectively manage your shipment’s entry into Canada, minimizing potential delays and ensuring a seamless delivery.


Shipping Costs and Factors Affecting Rates

Shipping costs significantly contribute to the total profitability of your enterprise. Comprehending the elements that sway shipping costs, including container size, shipping method, and seasonal shifts, is vital to streamline your supply chain and curb your expenses.

Container size is a crucial factor affecting shipping costs in container shipping. Generally, the larger the container, the higher the cost. However, choosing the right container size for your shipment can help you save money in the long run. For instance, if you have a large LCL shipment, it might be more cost-effective to upgrade to a 20-foot container and opt for FCL shipping.

Shipping method also impacts shipping prices. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Sea freight is generally the most affordable option for large shipments.

  • Air freight and express shipping may be more cost-effective for smaller packages, depending on the distance and urgency of your shipment.

  • Seasonal fluctuations can affect freight shipping costs, as demand for cargo space increases during peak seasons, leading to higher rates.

It’s essential to consider all these factors when planning your shipment from China to Canada. By choosing the right container size, shipping method, and booking during off-peak seasons, you can optimize your shipping costs and maximize your business’s profitability.

Transit Time and Shipping Routes

Transit time is an additional critical consideration when shipping containers from China to Canada. Depending on your specific needs and deadlines, different canada shipping methods and routes may be more suitable for your shipment, taking into account the destination port.

For example:

  • Express shipping from China to Canada offers a door-to-door service with a transit time of 1-4 days, making it the fastest option for small packages.

  • Air freight takes 3-5 days.

  • Sea freight is the most affordable option, albeit with a longer transit time of 29-33 days.

  • door to door delivery by sea is about 45days

There are two main shipping routes connecting China with Canada: the Pacific route and the Atlantic route. The Pacific route starts from seaports located in the east of China, travels along the coast of Japan, and reaches the west of Canada and the US. The Atlantic route traverses through the South China Sea to connect with the Indian Ocean, then either sails to the Mediterranean Sea via the Arabian Peninsula to reach Europe or takes the route of the Cape of Good Hope located in the south of Africa.

Understanding transit times and shipping routes for different shipping methods can help you make informed decisions about your shipment. By selecting the most appropriate method and route, you can ensure that your goods arrive in Canada within your desired timeframe, minimizing any potential delays or disruptions to your supply chain.

Insurance and Protecting Your Shipment

As a business proprietor, safeguarding your investment throughout the shipping process is of utmost importance. One way to safeguard your shipment from damage or loss during transit is by purchasing insurance. Various coverage options are available, including all-risk coverage, which provides protection for all risks of physical loss or damage, and named-perils coverage, which covers specified risks.

In addition to purchasing insurance, working with a reliable freight forwarder with a proven track record for secure delivery can help ensure the safety of your shipment during transit. A reputable freight forwarder will be familiar with the shipping process from China to Canada and can provide valuable guidance on the appropriate insurance coverage for your specific shipment.

By taking these steps to protect your shipment, you can minimize the risk of damage or loss during transit and ensure a smooth delivery to your final destination. Insurance and a reliable freight forwarder can provide peace of mind, allowing you to focus on growing your business while your goods make their way from China to Canada.

Door-to-Door Shipping Services

Door-to-door shipping services offer a straightforward and stress-free solution for transporting your goods from China to Canada. With this service, the shipping company picks up your items from the sender’s location and delivers them directly to the recipient’s door, eliminating any need for intermediate handling or transportation. This all-inclusive service can save you time and effort, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business.

Door-to-door shipping services are available for various shipping methods, including air freight, sea freight, and express shipping. When selecting a door-to-door shipping service, it’s essential to consider factors like transit time, cost, and the reputation of the shipping company. By choosing a reliable door-to-door shipping provider, you can ensure a seamless and efficient delivery of your goods from China to Canada.

In summary, door-to-door shipping services offer a convenient and streamlined solution for transporting your goods from China to Canada. By entrusting your shipment to a reputable shipping company, you can save time and effort, allowing you to focus on growing your business while your goods make their way to their final destination.


Shipping Regulations and Compliance

A thorough knowledge of shipping regulations and compliance requirements is paramount when transporting containers from China to Canada. These regulations ensure the safety and security of your goods, as well as adherence to international trade laws. It’s crucial to be aware of any prohibited and restricted items when shipping from China to Canada, as failure to comply with these regulations can lead to legal and financial issues.

In addition to understanding shipping regulations, it’s important to familiarize yourself with incoterms, which define the responsibilities of buyers and sellers in international trade. These terms help ensure a clear understanding of the supply chain and can prevent potential misunderstandings or disputes between you and your supplier.

By staying informed about shipping regulations and compliance requirements, you can avoid potential delays or complications during the shipping process. This knowledge will help ensure a smooth and successful delivery of your goods from China to Canada, allowing you to focus on growing your business.

Preparing Your Shipment for Transport

Appropriate preparation of your shipment for transport is a critical factor for a triumphant delivery from China to Canada. This includes:

  • Packaging your goods according to the prescribed standards

  • Ensuring that your shipment is properly labeled

  • Providing the necessary documentation for customs clearance

Packaging is a critical aspect of preparing your shipment, as improperly packaged goods can lead to rejection by Canadian customs or the shipping company. Ensure that your items are securely packed and labeled, and follow any specific packaging requirements for your goods. Additionally, it’s essential to verify labeling regulations with the Canadian customs agency or the shipping company to avoid any potential issues during transit.

Necessary documents

Bill of Lading

This is the most important shipping document, as it is used to specify the shipping company, the seller, the buyer, the type of cargo, the volume, the incoterm which applies to the shipment, etc.

1 = Shipper

2 = Consignee

3 = Notify party

4 = Vessel No.

5 = Port of loading / discharge

6 = Place of receipt / delivery

7 = Containers No.

8 = Goods description

9 = Net weight

10 = Dimensions / volume


According to the terms of payment agreed between the supplier and the buyer, the bill of lading can serve as a document:

  1. Confirm the release of a letter of credit (L / C)

  2. Or, serves as proof of shipping, which requires the buyer to transfer payment of the balance.

*The second option is common when paying by telegraphic transfer (T / T).


Commercial Invoice

This invoice is used to proceed to customs clearance and calculations of customs duties and other fees like GST.


Packing list

Certificate of Origin / Form A

A document mentioning the origin of the goods. This document can also help to determine customs duties (as some countries benefit from exemptions or preferential duties), but also for statistics and enforcement of embargoes.

Import Licenses

In most cases, there is no need to provide any Import license when importing into the United States.

However, here are some exceptions:

  • Medicines

  • Specific types of chemicals

  • Animals and plants

  • Foodstuff products

Honour Ocean Advice : Do you have a borderline product? You are not sure if you need an import license or not? Feel free to contact our SINO Expert to have further information about your shipment and any related requirements

By properly preparing your shipment for transport, you can minimize potential delays or complications during the shipping process, ensuring a successful delivery of your goods from China to Canada.

Remark Honourocean : Even if we are living in a digital era, paperwork, and shipping documents are still mandatory in the world of international shipping. Let’s have a closer look at the shipping documents you need to be in possession of when entering American territory.

Canada air

Tracking Your Shipment

Monitoring your shipment’s journey from China to Canada is crucial to stay abreast with its progress and anticipate any potential delays. Most reliable shipping companies provide real-time tracking services, allowing you to monitor your shipment’s status and estimated arrival time.

Tracking your shipment not only keeps you informed but can also help you address any issues that may arise during transit. By staying up-to-date on your shipment’s progress, you can proactively communicate with your freight forwarder or shipping company to resolve any potential delays or complications.

Several applications and websites offer real-time shipment tracking, such as:

  • AfterShip

  • Detrack

  • ShipStation

  • Shippabo

  • 17TRACK Package Tracker

By utilizing these tools, you can stay in control of your shipment’s progress and ensure a successful delivery from China to Canada.


In conclusion, shipping containers from China to Canada can be a complex process, but with the right knowledge and resources, you can ensure a smooth and successful delivery. From choosing between LCL and FCL shipping options to understanding customs clearance requirements and tracking your shipment, this comprehensive guide has provided you with the tools and information necessary to navigate the world of international shipping.

As you embark on your shipping journey, remember that partnering with a reputable freight forwarder, staying informed about shipping regulations, and properly preparing your shipment for transport are all crucial steps in ensuring a seamless and cost-effective shipping experience. With this knowledge in hand, you’re well on your way to mastering the art of shipping containers from China to Canada and growing your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to ship belongings to Canada from the USA?

The best way to ship belongings to Canada from the USA is to use USPS Flat Rate Boxes, as they are cost-effective and have reasonable delivery times. Additionally, using UPS or FedEx for their extensive logistics network, and DHL for international shipping are other popular options. Finally, for larger items like furniture, Honour ocean’s International MoveCube® is recommended.


How much does it cost to ship a 20gp/40-foot container?

The cost to ship a 40-foot container is between $1,500 and $5,000, as quoted by International Van Lines. This range reflects factors such as distance, volume, and timeframe. updated Nov,2023.


Origin PortDestination PortContainer SizeTransit Time (Days)Ocean Freight Rates (USD)
Port of ShanghaiVarious Ports in Canada20ft35$1150
  40ft $3150
Port of ShenzhenVarious Ports in Canada20ft40$2150
  40ft $3850
Port of Ningbo-ZhoushanVarious Ports in Canada20ft38$2150
  40ft $3850
Other Ports in ChinaVarious Ports in Canada20ftVariesFrom $1150 to $2150
  40ftVariesFrom $3150 to $4850

Can I ship furniture from china to Canada?

Yes, you can ship furniture from the china to Canada using a professional full-service moving company that will pick it up from your home and deliver it to its destination.


What is the cheapest way to ship a container?

To save money, opting for sea freight is the most cost-effective way to ship a container as it can be up to five times cheaper than air freight. Comparing prices across companies is also beneficial as this can lead to further cost savings.

How long does shipping take from China to Canada?

Shipping from China to Canada takes between 30-38 days.

Origin PortDestination PortTransit Time (Days)
Port of ShanghaiHalifax35
Port of ShenzhenMontreal40
Port of Ningbo-ZhoushanToronto38

Do I have to pay customs duties for a package sent from China to Canada?

You will be required to pay customs duty and GST when importing from China to Canada before your products are published in the country. Those costs may be substantial.

Investigating your expenses early can prevent you from getting caught by accident.

The Foreign Investment Protection Agreement among Canada and China is a Bilateral Investment Treaty that came into force on October 1, 2014, referred to in the DFAIT as the Canada-China Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments Agreement (CCPRPIA). It gives significant security to Chinese and Canadians putting resources into the other nation, and is a foundation of China’s remote combination strategy.

Partners and organizations

All nations also enjoy successful working relationships in international organizations, like the G20, the United Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the World Trade Organization, in pursuit of world peace, security, and prosperity.


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