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What is the best method of transportation between China and Canada?


There exist 2 different methods for your goods’ transportation between China and Canada that are either Sea or Air.Shipping time from China to Canada varies depending on the chosen mode of transport, but can usually take from a few days to several weeks. In order to provide you with the best advice on the shipment mode, we did compare between the 2 previously mentioned methods just for you.


Sea freight from China to Canada

Ocean cargo between China and Canada

After the United States comes China as Canada’s second-largest supplier. It imports mainly manufactured products such as electrical machinery, furniture, and textiles.

Sea freight Canada a common mode of transportation for imports and exports of goods in bulk or in large quantities.

The cheapest way to ship to Canada depends on the nature and weight of the goods, but shipping by sea is often more economical than by air or ground.

Shipping from China to Canada requires careful planning to ensure efficient and timely delivery of goods.
The importation of these products means some very large quantities! Therefore, the importance of the maritime traffic in the trade between these two countries.
The percentage of the imported containers unloaded at the Canadian ports from China is around 13% of the volume of Canada’s imports.

The most recent data available on trade between China and Canada is from the year 2020. According to statistics from the Canada Border Services Agency, bilateral trade between the two countries totaled 86.1 billion. Canadian dollars, down 2.6% from the previous year.

Departures are available from a number of important Chinese ports, including Shanghai Port, Guangzhou Port, Ningbo Port, Shenzhen Port, Tianjin Port, Qingdao Port, Xiamen Port and the port of Hong Kong.

The Port of Vancouver (the world's third-biggest port and North America's third-greatest tonnage capacity), the Port of Montreal (one of the world's most modern ports), and the Port of Prince Rupert are among them (specialized in grain transport). It's also worth mentioning the ports of Saint John, Toronto, Victoria or even that of Quebec.

Port of Prince Rupert (Prince Rupert)

It was built as alternative to the Port of Vancouver then acquired a massive reach in the global market. The operations affected there are known to be efficient and deliver exports such as wheat and barley through its food production terminal.

This terminal is one of the most modern grain facilities in Canada. It has a freight capacity of over 7 million tonnes of grain per year and also a storage capacity of over 200,000 tonnes. It serves the markets of North Africa, the Americas and the Middle East.

It's mainly popular for being the port of exportation of Canada's most natural resources. It's connected to mines, forests and fields of Canada. This port is capable of handling bulk cargoes arriving from the interior of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, preventing the congestion in the other port and unnecessary delays in exporting.

Website : Port de Prince Rupert


Port of Halifax

This port is the zenith of efficiency thanks to the deadlines it has inflicted on itself and which allow it to transport merchandises quickly while preserving a high level of professionalism. It's connected to 150 economies around the world. The port intends to be able to house two mega-ships concurrently from 2020, when the container post will be fully extended. Container traffic on the east coast of Canada, where this port is settled, has doubled, meaning the port must evolve to support the traffic and take advantage of the influx.

It is strategically located at the gateway to inbound and outbound freight traffic in North America with the important advantage of being an ice-free port and a deep water port with very few tides, allowing it to operate comfortably all year round. All this allowed it to be one of the best 4 ports in Canada with the capacity to handle large volumes of cargo.

Website : Port of Halifax


Port of Saint John

This port is found in the country's eastern region. Bulk, break-bulk, liquid, dry, and containerized goods are all handled here. This port has the capacity to handle roughly 28 million metric tons of cargo and is connected to 500 other ports around the world, making it a key commercial agent in the country.

The Port of Saint John has good road and rail access, as well as a well known cruise terminal, to Canada's home market. It also contains crude oil and scrap metal recycling facilities

Website : Port of St Jonh

  • Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Victoria, and Quebec City are among the smaller French ports that can accept cargo ships.

How much time does it take to ship freight from China to Canada?

Average sea freight shipping time from China to Canada is between 15 and 40 days.

Vancouver Montreal Prince Rupert Halifax St John
Shangaï 21 43 22 21 16
Shenzhen 22 43 23 22 17
Guangzhou 24 43 25 24 19
Qingdao 22 43 23 22 17
Tianjin 22 44 23 22 17
Ningbo 22 43 23 22 17
Dalian 22 43 23 22 17

What container can I choose for shipment from China to Canada?

Most commodities are sent in one of three common containers sizes:

  • The 20-foot container with a capacity of 33 m3
  • The 40-foot container with a capacity of 67 m3
  • The 40-foot HQ container with a capacity of 76 m3

Now let's compare the two transport options with these containers.

Special maritime transport between China and Canada

Reefer container

These containers are specifically designed for carrying perishable goods or chemicals in a temperature-controlled environment. They are obtainable in a wide variety of dimensions and emphasise the latest technology for adjusting the atmosphere, temperature or humidity level.

Ro Ro

Ro-Ro ships called Ro-Ro, from English roll-on / roll-off which means "to roll, to roll", are ships intended to transport cargo on wheels, such as cars, trucks, semi-trailers, trailers or railroad cars, which are driven or towed on their wheels when entering and exiting the vessel.

Why use Ro Ro sea shipping from China?

The safest, most economical way to handle and transport oversized or special project cargo.
Freight are often transported in one piece using specific trailers from the port of origin to the destination.
Less physical handling, no exposure to water or bad weather as the cargo is always stowed in the parking decks of the ro-ro container during the entire journey.


Bulk cargo is conveyed directly to the ship's hold. A distinction is thus made onboard between bulk cargo and general cargo. Solid and liquid bulk products: (such as coal, minerals, petroleum, cement, etc.). Each sort of cargo has its own ship like  charcoal burners . Bulk carriers are what they're called.


"Enormous or oversized" is what OOG (Out of Gauge) cargoes signify. Open Top Containers (open-top) and Flat Rack Containers are two types of OOG containers (flat bottom).

The open-top container is being used to carry large and/or bulky final goods that require the use overhead crane to handle and load.

The flat bottom container is designed to transport things that are heavy, bulky, or large and/or width. For objects that are excessively long, broad, lofty, or heavy.

This sort of equipment is very useful for products that aren't on the scale of the shipment yet can't fit into ordinary containers. This saves time while loading and unloading while also ensuring cargo safety.

How much is ocean freight between China and Canada?

The cost of ocean freight between China and Canada depends on several factors such as cargo size, type of goods, shipping route, freight charges, port charges and insurance charges. In general, ocean freight rates between China and Canada can vary from 1000 to 5000 USD for a 20ft container depending on the above factors.

The most crucial thing to know when calculating freight is the weight and volume of your products. Indeed, transportation price is always determined by the weight over volume ratio.

The weight / volume ratio:  "1 ton = 1 m3"

  • In conventional transport and groupage, the basic freight is computed using the weight/volume ratio rule and the 1 ton = 1 m3. The tariff is set in chargeable unit (PU), which is equal to the mass stated in tonnes or the volume stated in cubic meters. So we use the highest value.
  • The price of freight in a full container is a predetermined rate per container that is determined by the type of container used and the shipping firms who offer it.

Tariff surcharges

Maritime tariff surcharges are costs that carriers collect in addition to the base tariff and are based on the circumstances.

BAF : Bunker Adjustment Factor
This tariff fee is a percentage based on freight that corresponds to variations in crude oil prices. Following the first oil shock in 1973, shipping firms began to use it. Since then, it has maintained on the agenda.

CAF : Currency Adjustment Factor
This tariff fee is also a percentage that is applied to it based on freight + BAF and correlates to dollar rate changes. Because the great majority of ocean freight rates are determined in US dollars, corporations use this fee to hedge against currency risks.

THC : Terminal Handling Charge
THC stands for terminal handling charges. In the situation of a container (price per container), the value can be constant, but in the event of groupage, the amount can be changeable (price per number of tonnes or m3).

ORC : Origin Receipt Charge
Only Chinese ports are exposed to this fee. It allows for the very fast growth of Chinese ports to be financed.

Port Congestion
When a ship arrives at a congested port, it may have to wait many days before it can unload its cargo. As a result, the firms impose a fee to compensate for this "revenue loss."


When the loading and/or unloading time exceeds the period specified in the trip contract, the charterer is required to pay demurrage to the shipowner. In the case of a strike or port congestion, for example, whether this overrun is dependent on his will. By extrapolation, shipping firms term “demurrage” the cost of renting a container while it is parked in a port in containerized marine trade.


As you can see, there are a variety of elements that influence delivery costs. Fill out our online form to speak with one of our experts right now. For more information about this kind of transportation, see our website devoted to marine freight: Sea freight


Docshipper advice: If you have any questions regarding sea freight between China and Japan, please contact our specialist who can offer you the best solution at a competitive rate. You can fill out our online form to submit your request. For more information on this mode of transport, you can also visit our page dedicated to ocean freight forwarding: Ocean Freight.

Air freight from China to Canada

Classic or express air freight

Although 90% of items are carried by sea, there are times when importers need to transfer high-value, seasonal commodities, clothing, gadgets, and/or products to Canada swiftly and reliably. They utilize air freight since they are more delicate and have a higher danger of degradation at sea. It will just take a few days for your goods to travel from a plant in China to your target in metropolitan Canada using this approach.

Air transport has two options: classic air freight and express air freight.

It's critical to distinguish between the two, both in terms of pricing and service:

  • Air Canada, Air China, Qatar Airways,Emirates utilize the capacity available for commercial flights on normal routes for conventional air freight.
  • DHL, FedEx, TNT, UPS, and other "courier firms" that provide door-to-door solutions operate express air freight.Express shipping from China is a fast and efficient method to quickly deliver goods to your destination.

Your item may be hand delivered anywhere in the globe within a week using rapid courier services. There is no need to manually approve low-value goods because this is an "all-inclusive" service. Furthermore, shipping costs for tiny amounts less than 1m3 may be reduced, making it even more cost-effective than LCL sea shipping.

What are the advantages of air transport?

1. The fastest shipping method
Without a question, air freight is a superior option than ocean freight or rail transport when your items need to be moved swiftly. Especially in certain circumstances, in a speciality firm, obtaining your product on time may be a huge benefit.

2. Very reliable arrival and departure times
Airlines are notorious for being well ahead of schedule, thus flight arrival and departure timings are quite trustworthy. Even missing a flight wouldn't create much of a delay because planes are generally scheduled every hour.

3. Send your freight almost anywhere
Many airlines provide a vast network of locations that spans nearly the whole globe. As a result, you may transfer your package to nearly any location.

4. A low insurance premium saves a lot of money
The insurance price is reduced since air freight transportation takes such a short period. Even though air freight is costly, it saves money in the long run due to cheaper insurance expenses.

5. A high level of security and a reduced risk of theft and damage
Air transportation has the benefit of providing a high level of security; severe procedures at airport gates limit cargo from any possible robbery.

6. Less need for storage and fewer items in stock
Because of the shorter travel periods of shipments by air, you may transport in few amounts and more frequently, eliminating the need for a big storage place.

7. Less packaging needed
Air shipments, for example, often demand a lighter weight packing than ocean ones. This means you'll save both time and cash by skipping the use of a packaging provider.

8. The follow-up
Many organizations, including couriers, have an app that enables you to follow the current situation of your package from leaving to arrival.

Note: The "supply chain" is made up of many links, with air freight. Also, to the principal mode of transportation, you will need export and import services, as well as airport fees and transport to the ultimate destination, which DocShipper can provide!

How to calculate the volumetric weight of your shipment?

The air equivalency rule allows a weight-to-volume ratio of 1 to 6 (1 ton for 6 m3) for conventional freight, and a tax on the gross weight for a ratio less than or equal to 1 to 6. To get the volumetric weight used as a price basis, we divide the actual volume by 6. The rule for express freight is 1 to 5.

  • Classic air freight : 1 m³ = 167 Kgs (1 for 6)
  • Express air freight : 1 m³ = 200 kgs (1 for 5)

How much time does it take to ship air cargo from to China to Canada ?

Shipping time for air freight from China to Canada varies depending on specific shipping details such as origin and destination airports, restrictions and weather conditions. Usually, it may take 2–7 days for air cargo shipping from China to Canada.

Customs clearance in Canada for goods imported from China

We'll show you how to complete the customs process in this section, which is a necessary step when importing items from China to Canada. As a result, it's critical to be aware of the regulations and duties that are applicable for the Canadian soil.

Here you'll discover all the procedures in this process, including which items are allowed to be imported, how tariffs and taxes are determinate, and how much it will cost you.

Find out if the goods can be imported into Canada

We frequently assist new importers in finding their way to double-check the eligibility of the imported items. As a result, knowing what may be brought into Canada should be the first step.

As a start, you have to:

  • Make a detailed list of the things you want to import or export.
  • Determine the items' producer and exporter in China.
  • Check to see if the items you intend to import are approved in Canada. Import limits are in place in Canada for a variety of products. These items are listed on The Import Control List (ICL).

Canada utilizes supply management systems such as production quotas, producer marketing boards that regulate pricing and supply, and tariff rate quotas to defend its borders (TRQs). Certain items may be subject to inter-provincial transportation limitations, and each state regulates them differently.

Customs procedure

Canadian customs clearance is a mandatory step for all goods imported into the country, which must be verified and authorized by customs authorities.

For customs declaration You'll need a specific business number like, imports and exports, product and service tax payment, and corporate tax.

The Canada import duty is a tariff imposed on goods imported into the country and can vary depending on the type of product and its origin.

The next step is to figure out which the CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) office your items will be discharged from. In Canada, there are currently over 1,200 points of entry, including land border offices, international mail processing facilities, airports, storage facilities, and a variety of other service locations. The most convenient option is to pick a customs clearing office based on the arrival; nevertheless, it is acceptable to demand a different customs clearance bureau. Then you'll have to disclose your items. Regardless of mode of transit, all commercial items must be reported to the CBSA.

Determine the customs classification of your product

When you've determined that the products may be imported, you'll need to figure out what tariff classification number they belong to. These figures, along with the products' nation of origin, are used to calculate the rate of customs duty you'll have to pay.

Determine the "HS code" or the tariff species of the goods.

The HS code of a product is very important, to define the customs treatment.

More than 95 percent of global trade is covered by the Harmonized System (HS Code), which is utilized by 207 nations. For the nations who adopt it, each kind of item or merchandise moved internationally is allocated a number, which enables to compare the trade flows.

The composition of an HS Code

hs code ananas

Calculate customs duties with the HS Code

After you've identified the right tariff classification number, you'll need to figure out the tariff treatment your products will receive before figuring out the duty rate. Two columns on the right side of the customs tariff schedule are labelled "Most Favoured Nation Tariff (MFN)" and "Preferential Tariffs Applicable."

  • Most Favoured Nation Tariff (MFN)
    The tariff rate displayed in this column is applicable to products originating in all countries except North Korea.
  • Preferential rates applicable
    This table represents the tariff rates for commodities that have been decreased as a result of trade agreements, such as: North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA): United States Tariff (UST), Mexico Tariff (MT), Tariff Mexico-United States (MUST)… or tariff prices determined by specific tariff clauses, such as: General Preferential Tariff (GPT); The Least Developed Country Tariff (TPMA); Commonwealth Caribbean Country Tariff (CCTC)…

Then you must figure out whether your items are subject to the GST, excise tax, or excise duty.

Part IX, Section III of the Excise Duty Act, 5% GST is charged on most items.

Prescription medications, medical and assistive equipment, essential consumables, agricultural and fishery goods, and others are exempt from taxation. They are included in the Excise Duty Law's Annex VI and VII.

You must include the tax exemption code on your import paperwork if your items are tax-exempt (the Canada Customs B3 coding form).


Determine customs duties step by step

We'll run a scenario while maintaining the item example from the HS Code : Pineapple - 0804 30

To begin, go to the Canadian Customs website by clicking here: Canada Border Services Agency

Once you've arrived at the URL, click the following link:

droits de douanes canada

When you go to the Customs Tariff page, click on the most recent tariff, as seen below.

trouver tarif douanes canadda

You've arrived at a page that lists all the sections and chapters. It may be found at the following address: Customs and the HS Code in Canada

You want to go to the part that relates to your product, in our example is:: Section II: Vegetable Products and Chapter 8 - Edible fruit and nutsdeterminer taxes canada import

Depending on the link you choose, you may get the prices on the internet or in PDF format. Then you click, seeking for your product's precise HS Code.

Continuing with the pineapple example, the HS Code 0804 30 is as follows:

dedouanement taxes canada pineapple

Does Docshipper charge customs duties?

We will not take any commission on your customs duties. We will return the documents issued by European customs to you to prove it to you. Customs clearance costs will only correspond to the constitution of an administrative declaration file. These customs clearance costs will of course be collected by DocShipper because we will constitute the file for you, while the costs of customs duties and taxes will be collected by the government.


Customs procedure and contact



Necessary documents

The following documents are required to continue with the customs clearance of imported goods:

Canadian customs invoice (CCI) or commercial invoice (original invoice)

The commercial invoice is the fundamental document that the seller uses to pay exporter. The commercial invoice serves a dual purpose in the case of imports: it allows the exporter to claim his money while also assisting the importer in clearing the items.

Bill of Lading

The bill of lading is an evidence of transportation document. It attests that the exporter has delivered the items indicated. It's a legal document that outlines the conditions of an agreement between the shipper and the transportation firm in charge of the commodities. The bill of lading is a legally binding document that contains all the information needed to handle and charge the freight cargo accurately. An LTA (Air Waybill) for air freight can be used.

A B3 coding form

This is a "tax" declaration that all importers must fill out in order to disclose what they are bringing into Canada. It calculates how much duty and tax an importer should give to Canadian customs based on the import activity. This form must be assigned on the official customs website, you will find it here.

Loading manifest

A manifest is a description of the elements of a cargo generated by the transporter and information given by you, the shipper, to be presented to customs officials for clearance. Cargo Control Document is another title for the manifesto (CCD).
A cargo control number is a unique identification for a manifest or CCD. A cargo control number, often known as a CCD, is a unique identifier for a manifest. This form must be completed on the official customs website.


Note Docshipper: If you plan to import goods from China, our specialists can help you manage other logistics operations, including customs clearance. Do not hesitate to contact our experts via our form for more information. We are committed to providing you with a free estimate within 24 hours.

Are there any agreements between China and Canada?

In international organizations such as the United Nations, the G20, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the World Trade Organization, they have international relations.

There is currently no trade agreement between China and Canada, except a bilateral agreement on the promotion and protection of foreign investments (FIPA), which went into force in 2014.The signing of a free trade deal has been discussed for a long time, but it appears to have stopped since a diplomatic crisis in Vancouver in 2018 following the arrest of Huawei's chief financial officer.

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